Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Photo expo a once in a lifetime opportunity for young pacific creatives

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
20 Youth participants with tutors and camp leaders. Photo: Neueli Mauafu
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Neueli Mauafu | Reporter

National Geographic in collaboration with Air New Zealand recently held a 5-day camp/expo for young Pacific creatives.

The event featured some of the best photographers from around the world and New Zealand, sharing their knowledge to the youngsters from the ages of 12-21.

Event leader Tupe Solomon Tanoai spoke on the event and how NatGeo has been running such camps for 20 years across the world.

There will be four of these camps across New Zealand with this specific one focusing on Pacific youths. Each participant took part in activities and workshops held by the tutors, honing their craft and helping them tell their stories through the lens of a camera.

I joined Tanoai and her team on Wednesday afternoon, as the participants were handed their certificates in front of their loved ones signalling a successful end to the camp. I managed to chat to a couple of the participants asking them about their reflections from the program.

Camp leaders Tupe & Esera Tanoai. Photo: Neueli Mauafu

Gerry Talo (Currently studying his Bachelor in Fine Arts)

The camps has been really good in terms of building connections, like meeting people you’ve never met before. Even seeing some familiar faces but like strengthening those relationships even more. It’s also something that’s really been needed for me personally, in just needing a break from actual life and focus on practising and creating my art form.

To me personally, art is everything in the sense where it’s everything I’ve done my whole life since I was like 6 or 7. From this camp however, I’ve gained what I wanted, which is connections. Forget everything I know, and soak in what I can from the NatGeo photographers and team. Super grateful and extremely blessed for the opportunity they’ve given me.

Gerry Talo (left) with family member. Photo: Neueli Mauafu

Tavake Kamana (Youth Pastor and aspiring photographer)

Kia Orana my name is Tavake Kamana. I am 17 years of age and I hail from the Cook Islands. I’ve found this camp very good. It’s been nothing but love, acceptance and just learning how to be you behind the camera, your eyes tell a story through the lens of the camera. I’m so thankful for the knowledge that has been passed down towards us. The Pasefika community and youth, we may not have the resources to do what we want to do. So I’m glad that I can learn a lot from here and utilise their time and knowledge.

Photography for me I liked, but I think it’s more of videography that took me along the way. Listening to a story being told is what suits me. If it hits me, I will cry. Photos tell emotions, and are emotions that are told through the lens and put on paper and could be told on our own perspectives. And that’s what caught me, it was the emotions from the images we took.

This camp has made me tell my story. It’s encouraged to tell your story in any way you can but photos and videos are special. I encourage all Pacific youths; we all got a phone. Take a photo on your phone, share it on your Instagram story and that becomes your way of letting your story be heard. Sharing it through these mediums means a lot. Not only is it your way of helping our indigenous people, but audiences around the world will also engage with it.

Teuila Va’aelua (Young Pasefika creative)

Today has been really good. I think we are all sad that it is coming to an end, but the entire camp has been so amazing to learn from the tutors from National Geographic. It is such a privilege to have them be here in New Zealand and help us.

My mum’s an artist, so from a young age I was always interested in taking photos whether it was from my phone or like a point and shoot camera. I definitely want to see more of our young Pacific creatives come through here and use this opportunity. One of our tutors Raymond Sagapolutele was talking to us about how photographers in our Pacific community are visual orators which is super important. Being able to see other PI come through s truly beautiful.

I hope to maintain the friendships and bonds that we have created here as well as continuing our passion for photography and creative arts.

Teuila Va’aelua with her family. Photo: Neueli Mauafu
Camp leaders & tutors. Photo: Neueli Mauafu

National Geographic in collaboration with Air New Zealand recently held a 5-day camp/expo for young Pacific creatives.

The event featured some of the best photographers from around the world and New Zealand, sharing their knowledge to the youngsters from the ages of 12-21.

 

 

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