Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Stars of Pacific poetry come out to shine

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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Kendall Vano | Reporter

The Pacific poetry community finally got a chance to celebrate in their shared craft at the Te Atatu Peninsula Library last month.. 

The event was full of cheerful reunions of old friends and new acquaintances after a two year hiatus brought about by the global Pandemic.

“It’s very overwhelming. It’s been two years of postponements and cancellations and lockdowns,” says poet and event facilitator Doug Poole. 

“And to see each other again, it’s like we’ve seen each other yesterday; all that playfulness and the teasing and the alofa, it’s still all there. 

“And I think that’s what I like about Stars of Pacific Poetry. It’s become a movement. An aiga. A family,” he says. 

Among those present on the night were the Reverend Mua Strickson-Pua, Serie Barford, Daren Kamali and Selina Tusitala Marsh. 

Tusitala Marsh remarked abou how very weird she had felt, adding that it was her first performance in two years and that it was great to see some familiar faces again.

Some of the old timers are here and really great to hear how their work has changed and morphed and just moved into different directions. So yeah, it’s cool,” she says. 

And it was a sentiment shared by poet Serei Barford.

“It was wonderful, I really missed them. We test work with each other and have ideas and share ideas and we’re just good friends. So it’s been a long time, It’s been three years.” 

With the stage set for a reunion among fellow colleagues it was also a warm welcome for a newcomer into their ranks. 

Lastman So’oula, up and coming spoken word poet is the latest addition to the stars of Pacific poetry. Initially, he was awed to be in this company. 

“Yeah, like when I saw the people who were invited I was like, ‘what the Hell am I doing here?’ But yeah it was always a privilege to share, I guess, our poetry. And to even have this space is even more rewarding in a way.”  

And while there is a sense that Pacific poetry is in good hands, poets like Doug Poole say, it now needs a wider audience.

“Our Pasifika voice needs to be heard, published and heard far and wide and internationally, It’s incredibly popular,” Poole says. 

“New Zealand needs to catch up with what polynesian people are doing internationally, and I think that’s right across the arts in this country.”



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