27 Jun 2022

This content is tagged as Pacific arts .


Pacifika Creative Entrepreneurs
Top L-R: Coco Solid and Tokerau Brown (Wheke Fortress), Ema Tavola (Vunilagi Vou - credit Pati Tyrell). Bottom L-R: Tavai Taefu, Petone Groom, Havea Latu and Ash Aiono of Vain Creative.

We’re proud to announce the Pacific Creative Enterprise initiative, which will support the development of sustainable enterprises and careers for Pasifika artists.

Developed through the Pacific Arts Strategy 2018-2023, the initiative will support Pasifika creatives to begin the move from being creative practitioners to building resilient, sustainable enterprises. 

Three Pacific Creative Enterprises have been supported through this pilot initiative: Vunilagi Vou, Wheke Fortress – both based in South Auckland – and Vain Creative, based in Wellington.  

Each enterprise will receive $50,000 to develop their ideas, professional development and business capacity over a 6-to-12-month period. 

Ema Tavola is an award-winning artist-curator, and the founder of Vunilagi Vou – a shapeshifting gallery, community and consultancy space based in Papatōetōe, South Auckland. This funding will support expanding the Vunilagi Vou network as well as mentorship and building strategic and e-commerce capacity. 

“Whilst operating in survival mode, it has proven challenging to plan or build strategies for the future”, says Ema.  

“This support feels like an investment in Vunilagi Vou’s resilience, giving time-space to consult, dream, remember and sharpen the skills that have gotten me to where I am. It is deeply empowering to be supported in this way.” 

Wheke Fortress is an experimental gallery and community space in Onehunga. Core team members Coco Solid and Tokerau Brown will use funds to help fortify business capabilities, ensuring a strong foundation for the growth of the space, its artists and their creative outcomes. 

The investment will enable the Wheke Fortress whānau to focus on sustainability and success of the gallery. 

Vain Creative are a team of four inter-disciplinary Pasifika designers based in Wellington, utilising design as a tool to innovate our vā. They’re also an alumni of BoostedXMoana 2021 - another Pacific Arts Strategy initiative developed in collaboration with the Arts Foundation Boosted team. Vunilagi Vou also successfully crowdfunded support through the BoostedXMoana 2020 pilot.   

Vain Creative have a dual purpose: they want to re-imagine design with a Pasifika-centred lens and push the Pasifika community forward with future technologies. 

“Thanks to the Pacific Creative Enterprise investment, we have been able to spend more time focussing on the internal processes of our business and developing our own products as creatives”, says Petone Groom, Creative Director. 

“The $50,000 has allowed us to figure out how to not only survive but thrive as an enterprise in Aotearoa. A huge thank you to Creative New Zealand for believing in our vision and entrusting us with this opportunity.” 

Senior Manager, Pacific Arts, Makerita Urale, says this initiative looks to solve a chronic problem for many artists – career sustainability. The Pacific Creative Enterprise focus is a result of many talanoa and conversations with independent Pasifika artists. 

“Artists often spend half their time creating, and half their time trying to survive and make a living to put a roof over their heads and food on the table for themselves and their aiga,” she says. 

“This strategic focus allows us to start investing in innovative creative entrepreneurs so they can lead their own dreams and growth. It will support our Pasifika creative community to build a sustainable living and generate income opportunities through their own creative services or products.” 

“We continue to learn together with our Pasifika arts community through various strategic projects – this means the support Creative New Zealand provides is relevant and makes longer-term impacts via innovative solutions, ideas and opportunities.” 

To read more about the enterprises mentioned above, check out their websites/social media below: 

Vunilagi Vou

Wheke Fortress

Vain Creative