Posts tagged ‘West Papua’

Oceania Interrupted produced this video for a gathering on World Press Freedom Day, Saturday 3 May, in collaboration with South Auckland-based film maker, artist and activist, Tanu Gago.

As the fourth of 15 planned interventions to raise awareness for West Papua  in Aotearoa New Zealand, Action 4 took the form of a call for women to conduct interviews and discuss the issue of West Papua, visibility and freedom with people in their lives. The interviews are woven together with footage from previous Oceania Interrupted interventions or actions, along with imagery and footage that has inspired the collective.

I love being part of Oceania Interrupted; it is life-giving and deeply empowering. Massive thanks to the women who participated and to those who were interviewed, to Tanu Gago who laboured for many hours processing footage and editing, to all the women who have been involved and will be involved in future actions. To Fresh Gallery Otara for hosting our launch and gathering on World Press Freedom Day, to the Faculty of Creative Arts at Manukau Institute of Technology for supporting the project and to everyone who has contributed to this collective effort. We ALL share one love for West Papua and in small ways, hope to be contributing to broadening awareness, mobilising action and affecting change.

Oceania Interrupted: Empowering Collective Action

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Auckland-based collective Oceania Interrupted launches its fourth of 15 planned ‘Actions’ on World Press Freedom Day, Saturday 3 May at South Auckland’s Fresh Gallery Otara.

Oceania Interrupted Action 4: Freedom is... Video Project

Oceania Interrupted Action 4: Freedom is… Video stills

Formed in November 2013, Oceania Interrupted is a collective of Māori and Pacific women committed to undertaking public interventions to raise awareness for issues that affect Pacific Islanders both here in Aotearoa and throughout the region. The collective is currently engaged in producing a series of 15 Actions to raise awareness and demonstrate solidarity for the people of Papua and West Papua.

Past Actions have been performance based; women have assembled to march silently with the Morning Star flag down Queen Street in the Auckland CBD (Action 1: The Rise of the Morning Star), through the notorious Otara Market (Action 2: All We Want for Christmas is a Free West Papua) and most recently at Auckland’s Pasifika Festival (Action 3: Free Pasifika – Free West Papua).

All I Want For Christmas Is A Free West Papua, photo by Tanu Gago

Action 4: Freedom is… takes the form of a video project and gathering to mark World Press Freedom Day. Oceania Interrupted extended the invitation to participants to produce their own videos asking people in their lives about the meaning of freedom, awareness of West Papua and the visibility of the Pacific in New Zealand mainstream media. Filmed on phones, cameras and tablets, the contributions were collated and edited together with footage from past Oceania Interrupted performances by Samoan artist and activist, Tanu Gago.

Designed by Katarina KatoaDrawing attention to the power and privilege of media freedom, and freedom of expression, the Action 4: Freedom is… video will be launched on YouTube at 5pm on Saturday 3 May at a gathering at Fresh Gallery Otara.

Bringing together participants, supporters, families and friends, the Action 4: Freedom is… gathering is an opportunity to discuss and broaden awareness for West Papua as well as invite contributions for future Oceania Interrupted actions.

A limited edition Oceania Interrupted T-shirt has been designed by Cook Islands visual arts student, Katarina Katoa, who is currently completing a Bachelor of Creative Arts degree at Manukau Institute of Technology. Katatrina has undertaken the project as part of an internship for PIMPI and Oceania Interrupted; the t-shirts have been designed and hand screen-printed in Otara, South Auckland with support from the Faculty of Creative Arts. They’ll be for sale at Fresh Gallery Otara on Saturday 3 May from 5-7pm for NZD40. All proceeds raised go towards future Oceania Interrupted Actions.

Oceania Interrupted Action 4: Freedom is… | 5-7pm, Saturday 3 May | Fresh Gallery Otara


Instigated by Samoan writer, teacher and community activist, Leilani SalesaThe Rise of the Morning Star was a performance undertaken on Auckland’s Queen Street on Sunday 1 December 2013 as part of a network of global events to create awareness and activate support for the struggle towards independence in West Papua.

It was an honour and privilege to be part of this collective of Maori and Pacific women standing in solidarity, activating our own awareness, moving with love and intention, silence, respect, sadness and hope. Leilani designed this performance because, “our freedom as indigenous Maori and Pacific women in Aotearoa/New Zealand is inextricably bound up with that of our indigenous West Papua brothers and sisters. We call on all New Zealanders to take notice, that at this very moment in the Pacific, there is a genocide taking place”. Read more here.

The performance included an ordered procession down Queen Street stopping at three major intersections. When the pedestrian light turned green, the performers assembled in a circle around Salesa in the middle of the intersection. Facing outward, the women raised their right fists to the sky as a gesture of solidarity. Throughout the performance, the Morning Star flag representing the West Papua independence movement, was symbolically raised 15 times, a reference to the 15 year jail sentence handed to Papuan independence activist, Filep Karma in 2004 for raising the flag at ceremony in Jayapura, Indonesia.

The performance symbolically began and ended at Selwyn Muru’s public sculpture, Waharoa, a stylised Maori gateway in Auckland’s Aotea Square. The performance inspired emotion amongst all its participants; in its silence, its visibility and in the stark juxtaposition of consumerism and commerce with the quiet reflection and gratitude for the freedom of expression, speech and for independence.

Whilst the issues are large, and there is much to know and understand, small gestures of awareness and opportunities to reflect on our positions as indigenous Pacific women are inspiring and commendable. Well done, Leilani Salesa and sincere thanks to the women who took time out to support, to be aware and be visible.

View more photos from “The Rise of the Morning Star” performance here

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