Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Podcast channel takes on sports and pop culture news from a Pacific perspective

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

WesWes Network producer and editor Cam Schuster.
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Neueli Mauafu | Reporter

Our Polynesian people are never far from our minds and so using our platform to do more to help our community now and to the future is always a great goal for us.

In this day and age with the rise of social media, podcasting has been on the rise as a trendy medium of trending news. Late last year I spoke with the team at Mandate Podcast who have gone on to extreme heights with their platform. 

I caught up with Cam Schuster who is the producer and editor of the WesWes Network who acts as an umbrella of 14 podcasts. Born and raised in West Auckland with roots to Malie and Tufuiopa Samoa, Schuster is part of a team of 23 who all act under the WesWes network through the different podcasts. I had a chat with Cam on how the journey has been so far.

  • Talofa Cam. Podcasting. Is that the way forward in terms of the new media in this day and age?

I believe so, it’s a great alternative to mainstream radio because there are no broadcasting type rules to adhere to, you can pretty much say anything you want and so you end up with content that is real, raw and authentic in terms of how us Pacific Islanders banter, which in effect is occupying a space out there that is non-existent especially from the grass roots.  Anybody can pick up a phone or mic and record and that’s the cool thing.

  • Are Pasifika people well suited for this type of media (podcasts)?

Absolutely!  As Pasifika we are passionate when it comes to our culture, sports and the arts so podcasting is a good way to promote those passions, ideas and to inspire others.  Also, Pasifika has a unique banter not heard in mainstream media but is relatable and I feel our content reflects a lot of that banter.  

  • Setting up Weswes, what were some of the challenges you were facing through the whole journey?

It’s funny, the setting up of the Network seems easy when I look back. I’m extremely grateful for the friends that have jumped onboard to be a part of the journey because we wouldnt have this Network without everyone.  We all have fun and enjoy talking about the things we love so I guess personnel wise there was no trouble recruiting podcast hosts. 

Isaiah Kalava’s Funeral Service poster. Photo: YouTube.

For me, the biggest challenge throughout this journey is finding time for post production.  I work full-time in a profession totally opposite of media and so with the amount of podcast shows we have and the need to get videos onto multiple social media platforms quickly, it becomes a struggle to get content out on time.  The obvious solution is to hire the services of videographers and sound engineers, but we will go down that road when we get the opportunity.

Last year we were saddened by the unexpected passing of our friend and co-founder of the WesWes Network Isaiah Kalava.  He was the heart and soul of the Network and a visionary. That was a huge blow for us and we faced the challenge on how to go on without him but in the end I think we had to honour him and carry on building on top of what we have now.   

  • Any other podcasts/new media platforms who you draw inspiration from?

I get a lot of inspiration from American podcast networks and there are a few of them over there like NPR, Crooked Media, Wondery and sports oriented ones like Colin Cowherd’s The Volume.  The idea of like minded people coming together to discuss topics of interest in long form and using free internet platforms like YouTube and podcasts is very interesting to me. 

  • When starting up, what was the initial goal you had in plan for how Weswes should be?

Initially It was to produce podcasts about sports, music and movies from a Polynesian perspective without the restrictions of NZ Broadcasting rules, and at that time there wasn’t really anything out there, we wanted to fill that void.  I am proud that we have filled some of that void but there is still some work to do, there are new podcast shows to be made and people to take the helm.

The goal still remains to expand our Network with more podcasts from a Polynesian perspective.  We have recently pushed written opinion pieces on our website by our members and over the past few months have regular contributors which is cool.  I am a fan of creative writing particularly in sports writing and movie reviews and so for me and a few others it’s great to have a platform like our website to exercise this craft.

  • Where do you see yourself and Weswes say in the next five plus years?

In 5 years I see myself behind the scenes producing and editing our content, managing shows and brainstorming episode ideas.  The creative writing I find exciting and so maybe in 5 years I would have finally written a book about the movies I grew up watching. 

With the Network in 5 years I see all our regular podcast shows cross the 100th episode milestone which would be a great achievement considering most Podcasts don’t last more than 8 episodes. 

I see the Network becoming sustainable so more time can be spent by members to produce content.  Imagine a job where all you do is watch the latest movies or TV Shows and talk about it on a podcast each week, or watching sports, going to sports events and talking about it on a podcast, or going to a music concert and talking about that on a podcast.  Hopefully the WesWes Network to be able to provide this one day. 

You can find the WesWes Network on the following platforms:

Website / YouTube / Instagram / Facebook / TikTok / Podcast Links

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