09 Dec 2021
Through its Pacific Arts Strategy, Creative New Zealand is excited to support seven young Pasifika creatives to share meaningful conversations about Pasifika lives, in Talanoa delivered through podcasts to champion traditional practice and inspire their communities.
Talanoa Toko is a collective of seven creatives of Māori and Pasifika descent, all training actors attending Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School. They will receive $24,000 to record, film and produce six one-hour long podcasts from Pacific perspectives, drawing on their combined acting, writing, music and design skills.
“The kaupapa of Talanoa Toko (Talk to me Brother) is to normalise the practice of Talanoa among our young Pasifika and Māori brothers whilst uplifting our rangatahi to pursue a career in the arts,” project manager, co-founder and collective member Kasi Valu says. Kasi is also one of 10 creatives announced this week as selected for the Tautai Fale-Ship Residency Programme.
“We’re shaking the mud off our roots through multiple creative pathways in order to reciprocate opportunities back into our communities.”
“We see this project as an entry point into the arts industry, both domestically and internationally, while opening a medium of conversation where we can bask in the fullness of our brown skin.”
Creative New Zealand Manager, Pacific Arts Kawika Aipa says, “We’re so excited to support these young Pasifika men to share their diverse voices in the creative and digital space. The Talanoa Toko project reflects the value of the ecosystem of support Creative New Zealand has been building through our Pacific Arts Strategy.”
Support for Talanoa Toko aligns with Creative New Zealand’s Pacific Arts Strategy 2018 – 2023, specifically the Tagata pou, which focuses on leadership opportunities and Va partnership outcomes. It also aligns with the strategy’s #DigitalMoana focus, to strengthen the presence and stories of Pacific artists in the online space.
Talanoa Toko was one of 15 projects to receive funding through Boosted X Moana 2020. For the past two years, Creative New Zealand and creative crowdfunding platform Boosted, run by the Arts Foundation, have teamed up to help kickstart Pacific arts projects. Funds raised through the initiative are matched dollar for dollar, up to a set amount. Boosted X Moana will run again in 2022.
“Boosted X Moana has proved to be the kickstart the Talanoa Toko project needed and has led to further funding to really lift it off the ground,” Kawika says.
Filming is underway, with the first podcast on track for release in December 2021.
Talanoa Toko creative collective:
- Kasi Valu: Project manager, Co-founder, Actor & Writer (here’s a link to the Tautai website, with the Fale-Ship Residency Programme announcement)
- Seiyan Thompson-Tonga: Co-founder & Actor
- Gideon Tanielu-Smith: Co-founder, Actor & Writer
- Brett Taefu: Actor, Writer & Fashion Designer
- Uatesoni Filikitonga: Actor & Musician
- Albert Latailakepa: Actor, Musician, Director & Writer
- Kaisa Fa'atui: Actor, Director, Writer and Podcast Editor