Posts from the ‘Events’ category

In another PIMPI #RealTalk session, a panel of locals will discuss impacts and observations of creeping gentrification in South Auckland to add voice and depth to the themes of the exhibition, #CHANGES, currently showing as part of the 2017 PIMPI Winter Series at Lime Espresso Bar & Eatery

Ōtāhuhu is changes, hard. What will our future look like? What changes bring value to our communities, and what threatens the culture and sense of place we know and love?

Meet the Panel

Sherrick Hulme

My name is Sherrick and I am the eldest of 7 siblings. I’m primarily of Sāmoan / English decent. I was born in Auckland, New Zealand. I am a recent graduate with a Bachelor of Social Practice, majoring in Community Development. I love building community and seeing individuals flourish. I love my family and I love God.

Qiane Matata-Sipu

Qiane Matata-Sipu is of Māori (Te Wai ō Hua, Waikato-Tainui, Nga Puhi, Te Arawa) and Cook Islands (Rarotonga, Mangaia) descent. She is a storyteller and social commentator using journalism, photography and activism in both her career and art practice. Proudly born, raised and schooled in Māngere, she is a staunch advocate for South Auckland and the retention of our unique culture and environments. Living in the historic papakainga of Ihumātao, Qiane has a whakapapa connection to one of the oldest Maori settlements in Aotearoa and, is a founding member of Save Our Unique Landscape, a mana-whenua led group working to stop further desecration of historic lands by urban development. Qiane has spent years documenting Pacific and Māori communities, the people and culture of Māngere and more intimately, the Ihumātao papakainga, surrounding historical landscapes and the people of Makaurau Marae.

Kenneth Tuai

My name is Kenneth Tuai, I am of Tongan descent and a local resident of Ōtāhuhu since the 1980’s. I’m a town planner by profession, previously worked as an advisor to the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board for six years and have recently moved to Auckland Transport as an Elected Member Relationship Manager. As a Ōtāhuhu local I am deeply interested in the changes taking place due in part to recent investments and its impact on the local community. As a town planner, I’m fascinated by how this fits into the ‘big picture’ of how Auckland deals with the issue of population growth. And as an amateur history buff, I’m engrossed with how we’ve learned from lessons of the past and how we support the shaping or mediating of better outcomes for current and future communities.

Join the panel in conversation with curator Ema Tavola for a strong dose of #RealTalk. Get updates on Facebook here.

The 2017 PIMPI Winter Series has been produced with support from the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board.

In the spirit of Vinesh Kumaran’s solo exhibition, Hello, my name is Vinesh, join us for a night of fairly chilled out speed networking! Grow ideas and projects, share skills and inspiration, and meet like minded South Auckland creatives!

The #PIMPIWinterSeries speed networking night is for creative people to mix and network, or be awkward together, break bread and build community around the creative hustle – trying to make art, make money, survive and thrive in Tāmaki Makaurau today.

This event is part of the PIMPI Winter Series, a suite of three exhibitions and public programme events produced site-specifically for Lime Espresso Bar & Eatery in Ōtāhuhu, South Auckland with support from theMangere-Otahuhu Local Board.

Keen to come along? Come! Bring a friend!

When: 6pm, Saturday 1 July
Where: Lime Espresso Bar & Eatery, 507 Great South Road, Ōtāhuhu, South Auckland
Cost: Free

Photo by Raymond Sagapolutele

Photo by Raymond Sagapolutele

We sat on a Fijian mat, beneath a Tongan barkcloth, opposite a Cook Islands Tīvaevae. I invited three respected peers, friends and colleagues into a safe space to discuss the notion of safe space, within the arts and cultural sectors that we work within here in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Photo by Raymond Sagapolutele

Photo by Raymond Sagapolutele

#RealTalk: Safe Space / Best Practice was an event developed upon invitation from ARTSPACE, a Creative New Zealand funded contemporary art gallery in central Auckland. The event sat within the Amor Mundi conversation series, ours was the first event to take place outside of the Karangahape Road / central Auckland environment. In an opening address, outgoing curatorial Director Misal Adnan Yıldız spoke about the purpose of our discussion in a wider arts community context, referencing the exhibition, U Can’t Touch This, part of the 2015 PIMPI Winter Series, as an example of dislocating and relocating art and exhibition making.

The old Ōtāhuhu Library was the ideal location for this talanoa. Now used as a mixed use community facility, the building is currently leased to the Ōtāhuhu Māngere Youth Group who coordinate free programmes from vogue workshops to homework sessions and music classes. It is safe space embodied.

Photo by Ema Tavola

Photo by Ema Tavola

After a round of introductions from the audience, the conversation started with a knowing of the presence in the room. The panel talked story, sharing experiences and insights of safety and conflict, risk, passion and frustration. The discussion went from: advocating in museums and symposia around the world, to the simple gesture of inviting people to step inside at community galleries in South Auckland, to personal safety, and the real, physical, harmful behaviour which affects the lives of Pacific Rainbow communities every day.

Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai spoke of tā-vā theory of reality in relation to the conflict, chaos and harmony in the space between real talk / unreal talk, safe space and unsafe space, best practice and worst practice.


Photo by Raymond Sagapolutele

In conversation with the audience, the panel unpacked the meaning and mana of tears, of emotional intelligence and the problematic translation of emotional responsiveness to weakness and the problematic dichotomies of reason versus emotion, thinking versus feeling.

On tokenism and the risks of audience participation as superficial social experimentation, on the recognition of Tangata Whenua at the core of any discussion of diversity, and the safety provided by peers and those who stand side-by-side in times of conflict, and order.

There was so much value in this discussion. It was rich and insightful, poetic and emotional.


Photo by Raymond Sagapolutele

Many thanks to Caroline and the team at Ōtāhuhu Māngere Youth Group and to Christine O’Brien from Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board for helping to get things moving! Thank you to ARTSPACE and the vision, courage and appetite of Misal Adnan Yıldız, thank you for creating the platform for this kaupapa, I really hope the important work you have done will continue and evolve, and we all wish you so much good luck for the next chapter.

Photo by Ema Tavola

Photo by Ema Tavola

Thank you to the panel, Tanu Gago, Leilani Kake and Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai – thank you for always bringing A-game, doing what you do, always advocating hard, representing our broader communities with passion, and changing the game in small ways every day.

Thank you to Raymond Sagapolutele for recording the event beautifully, as always, thank you for your generosity of presence. And thank you to Claudia Rakoia of Lime Espresso Bar & Eatery, who nourished us heartily with a beautiful spread.

Vinaka vakalevu.

#RealTalk- safe space best practice (5)

I was invited to create an event for Artspace’s AMOR MUNDI conversation series and took the opportunity to present a panel discussion with three of my peers who work hard every day creating platforms, channels and space for diverse indigenous communities to participate in the arts. I was able to also locate the event not in central Auckland, but closer to home in South Auckland.

#RealTalk: Safe Space / Best Practice seeks to unpack the notion of safe space within the context of curating and programming arts and culture in Aotearoa. The panel draw on experience working at the interface of institutions and communities, navigating the tectonic plates of cultural difference and the tricky terrain of social inclusion.

At the heart of Kolokesa U. Māhina-Tuai’s curatorial practice is her strong foundation of Tongan indigenous knowledge and practice. This gives her a unique understanding and appreciation of the depth and breadth of Moana Pacific arts when applied through their own respective lenses, and informs her relationships and collaborations with artists from different island nations. From museums and galleries to grassroots community organisations, and through exhibitions, events, commissioned works, conferences and publications, Kolokesa champions the importance of a holistic and cyclical perspective of Moana Pacific arts that is rooted in indigenous knowledges and practices. She currently works as Project Curator Pacific at Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Leilani Kake (Ngā Puhi, Tainui, Manihiki, Rakahanga) is an artist and educator. She holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts and Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Arts from the Faculty of Creative Arts, Manukau Institute of Technology, and a Master of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland. Leilani’s arts practice is rooted within New Zealand and Cook Island Māori ideology, speaking to the universal human condition of identity, culture, tradition and change through deeply visceral personal stories. She currently works as Gallery Coordinator at Papakura Art Gallery, a community arts facility in South Auckland.

Tanu Gago is an artist, photographer, producer and queer activist currently working as the community engagement coordinator Pacific for the New Zealand AIDS Foundation working in HIV prevention. He is a founding member of the Love Life Fono Charitable Trust set up to drive community-led social development for Rainbow Pacific communities. Tanu is also the creative director of the FAFSWAG Arts Collective.

Our event is being held this Saturday 13 May from 2pm at the old Ōtāhuhu Library, a mixed use community facility located at 12-16 High Street.


The venue has been offered to us by the current tenants, Ōtāhuhu-Māngere Youth Group, who have worked hard to create a safe space for local young people. Post-event refreshments are provided by Lime Espresso Bar & Eatery, site for the upcoming PIMPI Winter Series!

#RealTalk: Safe Space / Best Practice endeavours to be family friendly event, childrens’ activities will be provided and parents room facilities are available.

This event has been made possible with the support from Artspace, Ōtāhuhu Māngere Youth Group and Lime Espresso Bar & Eatery.

100% free, all welcome!

The impressive and relatively new campus of Manukau Institute of Technology houses two stunning commissioned large scale Pacific artworks (below) which curator, Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai notes, “The form and content of these two works are unique and cannot be found anywhere in Aotearoa NZ, the wider Moana Pacific or in the world. This is a result of the approach and process involved, the materials used, and the special collaboration of older artists and collectives practicing and innovating art forms from the homeland in Aotearoa, and younger Aotearoa born artists, whose practices are informed by influences and mediums they encounter living and growing up here. The basic intention of this approach was to do away with the problematic distinction of ‘traditional’ or ‘heritage’ and ‘contemporary’ artists and arts, when they are in reality coexistent and continuous in circular and inclusive ways.”

The work on the left (below) is called “Ngatu Tupenu Tā’uli'” (Black-marked cloth) and was produced as a collaboration between Benjamin Work and Fauniteni ‘o e Mo’ui, a central Auckland-based Tongan Women fine arts collective from the Dominion Road Tongan Methodist Church. The work on the right is called “Three Kete“; the design was created by Leilani Kake and produced with the knowledge and fine hands of the Cook Islands Mamas led by Master Tīvaevae artist Mary Ama and supported by Annabelle Wichman Hosking, Tukua Turia, Tutana Tuaeu, Mata Te Pai and the Pacifica Mamas of the Pacifica Arts Centre, West Auckland.

The Manukau Tertiary Centre is also currently hosting the small but perfectly formed, jam-packed Taku Tamaki Auckland Stories exhibition, developed by Auckland War Memorial Museum. It was a privilege to be an advisor on this project; it is the most comprehensive South Auckland 101 experience you can get and I take all visitors there as the first port of call. (I spoke at the opening and my speech is here)

I’m also super proud to have work that I’ve been part of on display in this building: six large scale photographic portraits made by Vinesh Kumaran and I at the ASB Polyfest in 2015 are on permanent display on the exterior facing wall of the theatre.

I spent four years studying at MIT completing my undergraduate degree, three semesters teaching there and many, many hours in and around the campuses in Ōtara and Manukau. I’m a big fan of the work the Institute has done to increase Pacific achievement in tertiary education, and this new campus is quietly becoming a hive of conscious Pacific art activity!





Le Malelega a le To’alau ECE in collaboration with PIMPI are excited to present a special fundraising auction of new Pacific Art at Ōtāhuhu’s Lime Espresso Bar & Eatery!

Almost 20 visual artists have generously donated artworks from photography to prints, paintings and even videography services to support the local Samoan bilingual Early Childhood Centre.

The mission of Le Malelega a le To’elau is to provide quality early childhood education learning and care for Pasifika communities using Samoan language and culture to promote their cultural identity and enhance their success in life.

Initiated by Parents’ Voice, the parents association of Le Malelega a le To’elau, funds raised will be directed towards awesome and enriching experiences for the Centre’s children and their hard working teachers!

The artworks will be displayed at the newly rebranded Lime Espresso Bar & Eatery on Great South Road in Ōtāhuhu for two weeks leading up to the Auction Night hosted by the excellent Yolande Ah Chong!

Pop in to check out the artworks and grab an excellent coffee, a cheeky treat or a great value lunch! Yum!!

  • More information on the artwork coming soon
  • Registration is now online here
  • Keep up to date with event developments on Facebook here


The Veiqia Project Fiji Museum event, 19 Sept


Event Enquiries

I’ve been dreaming about establishing another gallery in South Auckland. I love curating, I love selling art and I love collaborating with artists to make good shows that contribute to broadening awareness and understanding of Pacific ways of seeing and being in Auckland, New Zealand.

Whilst I’m hopeful my one-day gallery is in the near future, in the meantime I’ve collaborated with Tongan tattoo artist, Stan Lolohea to develop the PIMPI Winter Series: a series of three pop-up exhibitions at his Mt Eden barber and tattoo studio. We’re working with 12 artists over eight weeks facilitating the presentation of around 25 individual pieces of work, most of which has never been exhibited before, and all work is for sale!

These artists excite me! From Canberra-based Sione Monu, the Brown-Instagram-famous selfie savant, Faafeu Kapeneta, photographing the small but visible Tongan community in rural Marlborough, to visual arts students Qingze Nan, Daisy Tavilione and Pati Solomona Tyrell, each making experimental, bold work at MIT Faculty of Creative Arts in the heart of Otara, South Auckland.

I feel super privileged that for some of these artists, this is their first exhibition. Some are Pacific art regulars, whilst others have been fairly quiet on the exhibition scene. The PIMPI Winter Series has been a call to action, inspiring new work and a different context for engaging with Pacific art and ideas.

U Can’t Touch This (16 July – 1 August) features Talafungani Finau, Sione Monu, Siliga David Setoga and Daisy Tavilione. In the first of the series, this site specific exhibition acknowledges the head, the hair and the selfie. In Fiji, like many parts of Oceania, the head is the most sacred part of the body; in the words of Stanley Kirk Burrell, U Can’t Touch This. Situated in and around the barber shop floor, four Pacific artists have created new work about the head (literally), and the most important and sacred parts of life. In references to family portraiture and the celebratory lei (garland), there are acknowledgements of nature and culture, life and death, loved ones and idols.

That’s not Pacific Art (6 – 22 August) features Faafeu Kapeneta, ‘Ana Lakusa, Qingze Nan and Genevieve Pini. Inspired by conversations around definitions, problematic terminology, authorship and belonging, this exhibition confronts popular expectations of what Pacific art is / should be. Some work deviates from direct references to identity and community, people and places, others present perplexing juxtapositions of tradition, human and geographical landscapes.

Know what I mean, jellybean? (27 August – 12 September) features Leilani Kake, Niutuiatua Lemalu, Waiora Palalagi and Pati Solomona Tyrell. In reference to a line from the movie Blood In, Blood Out, this exhibition touches on the idea of cultural chameleonism, and the everyday negotiation of difference across and between cultural and social environments, vernacular and humour, ways of being and seeing.

Meet the artists at the PIMPI Winter Series Private Views, pick up a copy of Stan Lolohea’s essay and get in quick – artwork is priced to sell!

Big Willie Legacy Barber & Tattoo Studio


Big Willie Legacy Barber & Tattoo Studio is located at 159 Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden, Auckland. It’s open Mondays from 9am-6pm, Tuesday-Saturday from 9am-7pm.

Appointments and enquiries: (09) 630 4380 /


  1. Dialogue events need strong, informed facilitation; it cannot be overlooked. It is the flow, the glue, the centering force in a birds nest of disparate opinions and voices.
  2. Sometimes gold is easier to see when it’s sitting in mud.
  3. Footscray Community Arts Centre is a fantastic people-centered facility; I wish our community arts centres in South Auckland were as innovative, inspiring and integrated into the everyday lives of their local communities.
  4. Aotearoa New Zealand, in comparison to Australia, is pretty much a Pacific Island country.
  5. Being around healthy people and healthy lifestyles is contagious and empowering.
  6. The Pacific felt far away, almost abstract. Pacific protocols regarding hosting, reciprocity and respect, make me feel safe.
  7. I’m not convinced that Moananui is a term I can use comfortably to describe the Pacific ocean or Oceania. It’s not my language.
  8. I’m proud to have built my curatorial practice within the context of public service.
  9. Melanesia was present, visible and vital in the dialogue around ‘Pacific art’; I liked it a lot.
  10. I see the privileges, opportunities and value of my time and space here in South Auckland; it’s always good to press Refresh.
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Tanu Gago’s new work for Between Wind and Water is a follow-up from his 2010 three-channel video installation, YOU LOVE MY FRESH, a work developed for the Manukau Festival of Arts first shown at Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts in Pakuranga, East Auckland.

Since 2011, Tanu has worked predominantly in photography but his kaupapa has always been to acknowledge, represent and celebrate the unique positions and shared experience of his communities in South Auckland. Making photographs that reclaim the gaze, his work and the projects that have emanated from his practice, give voice, presence and mana to people, places and spaces that are generally otherwise unrepresented in New Zealand mainstream media and art history.

Five years on, The Sound of the Ocean is the sequel to YOU LOVE MY FRESH. An uncomfortable historical reminder of embedded colonialism and media power, stereotypes and expectations that still linger in coded interactions with critics and academics, curators and haters.

Concerned with authorship and representation, past and present, this work remixes found footage from the Internet with Google imagery of Pacific peoples history in New Zealand. The Idea is to re-author the past decade of Pacific media representation, using my own Pacific lens and perspective to tell my own story.

This is the informal Pacific history according to me.

Here’s a taste:

The full three part video work has been created for Between Wind and Water; Tanu will discuss his work and ideas at an Artist Talk on Thursday 22 January at Enjoy Public Art Gallery – all welcome!


Artist Talk: Tanu Gago
5.30pm, Thursday 22 January

The residency of Between Wind and Water artists will take place from 10-24 January 2015; the exhibition will be on show until 31 January.


Enjoy Public Art Gallery is located on the First Floor, 147 Cuba Street, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand.

 Between Wind and Water has been produced with support from

BWAW sponsors1


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