30 May 2023

This content is tagged as Pacific arts .


A collage of Pasifika people of all ages smiling and holding a book published by Mila's Books.
Image supplied.

Pasifika children’s publishing company 'Mila’s Books' is receiving investment through our Pacific Arts Strategy to develop a sustainable future for Pasifika indie writers and publishers. 

Founded by Dahlia Malaeulu, an award-winning author and creator, Mila's Books is an all-Pasifika publishing team of children's books. The organisation is “driven by allowing tamaiti (children) to be seen, heard and valued through Pasifika stories they read.” 

This project forms part of an initiative to support the future of Pacific creative enterprises. 

For Mila’s Books, this initiative will support research and development towards national and international book distribution, and include mentorship from HUIA Publishers –  a Māori owned, independent publisher producing innovative and inspiring books and resources since 1991. 

Dahlia, winner of the Emerging Pacific Artist Award at the 2022 Arts Pasifika Awards, says she is honoured and humbled to receive this support to develop her creative enterprise.  

“At Mila’s Books, we have been on a journey of producing stories that help Pasifika be seen, heard and valued, and we truly understand the need to develop sustainable and resilient business systems and practices,” she says. 

“[This support] will provide us with the time and space to do this, while we also work towards something we wished we had when we first started on this book journey – a pathway that will better support future Pasifika indie writers and Pasifika stories.” 

Eboni Waitere, co-owner and Executive Director of HUIA Publishers, welcomes the opportunity to build capacity with Pasifika-led initiatives. 

“It’s time for all publishers in Aotearoa to promote Pasifika-led publishers to deliver into the communities they know and understand best,” Eboni says. 

 “In 32 years, HUIA has published over 500 Māori authors and 1000 books in te reo Māori - the impact of our work in the literature landscape of Aotearoa is undeniable. I’m looking forward to exchanging knowledge and ideas with Dahlia and the team at Mila’s Books. Given the right support, their impact in Aotearoa and throughout Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa will carry on for generations to come.” 

Ane Tonga, an artist and curator who recently edited Declaration: A Pacific Feminist Agenda, and is also a member of the Arts Council, Creative New Zealand’s governing body, says this initiative aligns closely with the Tagata, Vaka, and Vā pou of the Pacific Arts Strategy.  

“Supporting our Pasifika creatives to grow their artistic practice into a thriving enterprise is a huge priority for us,” she says. “It’s essential we create the conditions to allow artists to lead their own growth and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.  

Dahlia is a trail-blazing leader in the Pasifika literary space, and we are proud to support the development of Mila's Books.” 

For all media queries, contact: 

Esther Lees, Senior Communications Adviser, Pacific