John, or JP, is from Holopeka, Ha‘apai & Kolomotu‘a – Nuku‘alofa, Kingdom of Tonga. John caught the bug for the media industry after joining Tagata Pasifika in 2005; he then graduated from AUT with a Bachelor of Communication Studies majoring in Television in 2009. John is particularly passionate about utilising the media as an outlet to convey the rich culture and heritage of Pacific people. “I’m a firm believer that Pacific people deserve to be served by and represented in the media, highlighting social issues affecting their community.”
Marama began her career at Radio 531pi and later Niu FM. She then worked as a reporter and director for Tagata Pasifika before taking up the presenter role. “I love telling our Pacific stories, and it really is a privilege to be a part of documenting our own history.” Marama has also worked as a newsreader at 1 News and is currently a newsreader for RNZ National. She is of Tuvalu-Pākehā heritage. Raised in the South Island, Marama is now a proud West Aucklander where she lives with her husband and young children.
Born in Auckland, Soana is an AUT graduate and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications majoring in Radio and a Certificate in Journalism. From interviewing Dames and Hollywood superstars in Aotearoa to cradling abandoned disabled children in Samoa, Soana is grateful for what these experiences have taught her. The last 10 years has been an honour telling stories of and for our Pacific communities both in Aotearoa and abroad. Proud of her heritage, Soana is from Kolomotu’a and Kolofo’ou in Nuku’alofa, Tongatapu.
Karima has been with the team since 2012 and operates on the belief that ‘there’s a story in everything’. Highlights so far include travelling on a navy ship to Tokelau and reporting on the 10th Anniversary of the Samoa Tsunami. Also a keen videographer, he can often be spotted roaming with a camera or procrastinating in an edit suite. Karima is of Samoan descent from the villages of Magiagi and Sapapali’i. Since 2015, he has held the title of Anauli from his mother’s village of Tanugamanono in Apia.
Reporter / Director / Videographer
Alice holds a BA majoring in Film, Television and Media Studies from the University of Auckland. Through her studies, she developed a passion for working in Pacific media and has worked across a variety of different mediums including digital, film and radio. Alice was a former host on Pasifika radio station Niu FM and was also a content creator, editor and videographer for Pacific Media Network. She joined the Tagata Pasifika team in 2019. Of Tongan descent, Alice is from the villages of Ma’ufanga in Tongatapu, and Ofu and Tu’anuku in Vava’u.
Born and bred in the Western Suburbs of Auckland, Hanalei prides herself in her Samoan heritage. Her passion for visual storytelling began at 17. In 2016 she graduated with a Bachelor of Communications in Television from AUT and began working in the television industry. Now a reporter with Tagata Pasifika, Hanalei hopes to compassionately tell stories of her people in hopes to break stereotypes and create positive impact. When not in the field, Hanalei enjoys spending time with her family, friends and learning how to be a great wife to her new Tongan husband, Emiliano.
Simone is a digital strategist, author, performance poet and director. Her debut poetry collection Lucky Punch was published in 2016. She has a Bachelor of Communication Studies from AUT, and a master’s degree in poetry from Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters. She’s also a graduate of South Seas Film & Television School, and the Director of the E-Tangata web series ‘Conversations’.
Reporter/Director – Wellington
Johnson is a proud Cook Islands broadcaster who joined the TAGATA PASIFIKA team in February 2016 with an interest in connecting with the Pacific Islands community and telling their stories authentically. Johnson has a background in mainstream radio (Flava FM announcer) and television presenting (What Now, Operation Hero, Polyfest). Johnson’s other interests and work includes academic education, emerging digital platforms, Pacific Island governorship and an ambassador for Variety NZ and Duffy Books charities. He has a Masters in Communications from AUT.
Reporter/Director – Wellington
Sanele joined TAGATA PASIFIKA in 2013. Prior to this, he worked at TV3 as a 3 News reporter in Auckland. He is a graduate of the New Zealand Broadcasting School, where he was awarded the John Foy Memorial Award for excellence in radio news in 2011. He also has an Arts degree in film and religious studies from Victoria University.Sanele is of Samoan descent and holds the matai title Seinafolava from the village of Lano in Savai’i. He is from the villages of Afega and Lotofaga, Aleipata.
Ann is passionate about utilising media to address and highlight the stories of our Pasifika people. She completed her Bachelor of Communication Studies at AUT in 2020, and shortly joined the team at Tagata Pasifika in 2021. She is of Samoan descent and hails from the villages of Sataoa and Sa’anapu, Upolu.
Antonia joined the team in 2016 as an Accounts Intern whilst studying towards a Bachelor of Business at AUT. She is now the Production Coordinator and oversees all accounts for Tagata Pasifika and Post Production facility Sunpix Post. Her Production Accountant profile includes working on ‘Gangs the Documentary: 12 years on’ and Tusitala Media’s ’26:29’ Supernatural episode for TVNZ 2. Antonia is a proud Cook Islander and hails from the Islands of Rarotonga and Mauke.
Digital Producer/Production Manager
Sarah holds a BA (Hons) in English from Victoria University of Wellington and has worked across the arts, media, film and TV. Sarah joined Tagata Pasifika in 2017 as a Production Intern and has since become the Production Manager and Digital Producer, managing the digital platform tpplus.co.nz. Sarah is Samoan and Palagi and is from her dad’s village of Sato’alepai in Savai’i.
(News Editor) Producer
Cook Islander John Utanga’s been a journalist in New Zealand for over 25 years. He’s been with Tagata Pasifika for most of that time as a reporter and is now the news editor. John got his start in journalism as an intern on the Cook Islands News newspaper in Rarotonga before moving to New Zealand for further study and work on community newspapers in Auckland and the Coromandel. Outside of work, John’s interests include Pacific Islands politics and cycling. He is the co-author of the book ‘Patterns of The Past: Tattoo Revival In The Cook Islands’.
Ngaire has more than 30 years’ experience in television production and more recently film. She’s one of the founding Directors of SunPix, SunPix Post, Producers of Tagata Pasifika and the primary digital platform tpplus. Ngaire’s production experience expands across scripted factual to drama, having produced award-winning short films Ma and Liliu and co-produced Tusitala Media’s 26:29 supernatural episode for TVNZ 2. She was also EP on the webseries Misconceptions and Soul Sessions, and currently has three feature projects in development. Ngaire is a Pacific Music Awards Trustee and a member of the Film Auckland Board.
Stephen is almost a pensioner but there’s life in the old dog yet. He has been with the programme since its beginnings but has taken time out on other shows in the early days of Māori and Pacific Programmes. He is still trying to learn Samoan through PEC (thanks to his teacher Seumanutafa Daniel Lafaialii) and holds the title of Taualeo’o from his grandmother’s village of Sagone. He was awarded an MNZM honour for services to Pacific Arts and Television in 2008.