Welcome to Talanoa, a digital space for Pacific storytelling. Talanoa connects Pacific people around the world, through the power of our stories. 

Do you have a story to tell? Do you think stories are important? Are you looking to connect with Pacific people around the world? Then you’ve come to the right place. Sit down and talanoa with us, an inclusive global community of Pacific people who are sharing their stories online.

In many Pacific languages, talanoa means to tell a story, or have a conversation. Seu’ula Johansson Fua describes it perfectly:

Talanoa is a generic term referring to a conversation, chat, sharing of ideas and talking with someone. It is a term that is shared by Tongans, Samoans, and Fijians. Talanoa can be formal, as between chiefs and his or her people, and it can be informal, as between friends in a kava circle. Talanoa is also used for different purposes; to teach a skill, to share ideas, to preach, to resolve problems, to build and maintain relationships, and to gather information.” – The Kakala Research Framework, Seu‘ula Johansson Fua.

Creative Director // Emele Ugavule

Emele is a Tokelauan (Te Kaiga Ona Lomatutua, Nukunonu) Fijian (Kaideuba, Navua) woman, born in Aotearoa (Takapuna, New Zealand) and living on Gadigal lands of the Eora Nation (Sydney, Australia).

She is a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts & the National Institute of Dramatic Art. She has performed live with Solange Knowles & the Chinati Foundation, The Joan, Griffin Theatre Company, Belvoir St and at Black Girl MagicYirramboi Festival, Transoceanic Visual Exchange. She has also worked in film and television, featuring in ABC and Playmaker Media’s series, The Code. Emele’s visual art and film has exhibited in Australia & Barbados. She recently produced the AV series, The Places We Call Home, for Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIIC), Cowbird & PBS. As a creative director & photographer Emele has worked with the likes of Ngaiire, Wallace, Ric Rufio, Kate Wadey & The New Venusians as a videographer shes worked for Fluir. Emele also has a passion for fashion and design and has  styled, designed and made costumes for Sampa the Great. As a theatremaker and producer Emele has shared talanoa via Out of the Box, Huffington Post, and Audrey Journal.

She is currently an Associate Producer of Q Theatre’s New Works + Development at The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Co-Artistic Director of Black Birds and the Creative Director of Talanoa.

Founder // Arieta Tegeilolo Talanoa Tora Rika

Arieta founded Talanoa in January 2015. Born in Australia, she spent most of her childhood and teenage years in Tonga, New Zealand and Fiji. Her mother is Tongan (Kolomotu’a, vasu i Lakeba, Lau) and her father is Fijian (Somosomo, Gau).

Talanoa began with a dream of creating a digital marketing agency for the Pacific, incorporating Arieta’s love of writing and storytelling to help raise brand awareness. After sharing the stories of a few Pacific people she knew, Arieta soon realised Talanoa was empowering people by giving them a safe space to candidly share their experiences and truths without judgement or censorship. She then decided to shift her full focus on writing and sharing Pacific stories, and hasn’t looked back since.

Since founding Talanoa in 2015, Arieta has shared her knowledge of Pacific storytelling with international organisations such as the World Bank and LAUNCH, Australian based agencies like S1T2, Millipede, SecondMuse and Keep Left, as well as grassroots charity organisations such as the Australian Fijian Rugby League. As a Pacific writer and storyteller, Arieta’s work has been published by BBC Worldwide, ABC News (Australia), Fiji Times, Samoa Observer, Nuku’alofa Times (Tonga), Coconet TV (New Zealand and the Pacific), Stella Magazine (Papua New Guinea). Arieta has also shared talanoa via podcasts and radio shows on SBS Radio, ABC Radio National, ABC Pacific Beat, USA Today and BBC World Service World Have Your Say.

Read more about The Founder of Talanoa here, in an interview with The World Bank.

21 thoughts on “About”

  1. I love reading whatever comes on your website. They are always a great read, amazing stories, and very good advices even. It’s such a beautiful thing to read & know what our pacific island brothers & sisters have done to contribute back to their families and socities. Such an inspiration & you’ve done such a great job on this. Looking forward to more stories. Much love x

    1. Thanks so much Stephanie! That means a lot to me, and I hope you continue to find value in the stories you find here. We appreciate you!
      Arieta x

  2. Bula vinaka Talanoa…

    Just discovered a few of your articles recently on my twitter and fb feeds, have been a gorgeous discovery, from the images to the words #Joy Looking forward to more reads and contributing in the future. Big love, Maggie

    1. Bula Vinaka Maggie,
      Thank you so much, it’s a joy to know that talanoa makes you feel that way too! Lots of love right back, Arieta x

  3. I just subscribed my tween daughter to your blog. It is so refreshing and I am so grateful to find a blog that will help her to understand her mixed heritage in such a positive way. Thank you!!

    1. Wow, that’s awesome! I hope she’s been enjoying what we’ve been sharing! Thank you so much! Arieta xx

  4. This website is bookmarked as one of my favorites. I constantly find myself losing time reading articles I have read countless times before. Biggggg fan of Talanoa Team. Xxxx

    1. We’re a big fan of yours too Ms.Naiqama! 😉 Thank you so much for your support and ongoing encouragement! We love you!

  5. Absolutely love the new look of your website and looking forward to reading more inspiring stories. x

  6. Always look forward to your stories great way to unwind and also to motivate me for the week ahead since University life is tough. Vinaka Talanoa.

  7. Man LOVE THIS BLOG!!!!!!!!! Esp the meaning of the word Talanoa and the whole purpose of Talanoa

    Keep It Coming!!!

    God Bless ?????

  8. Have just come across this and am really enjoying the stories on our Pacific people and their experiences. Is there any way we can subscribe to receive updates via email? Keep up the good work. Malo lava!

    1. Bula Jess, thanks for reaching out! We do/did have email subscription, however they’re not as regular as our Facebook and Instagram updates.

  9. I am a 17 year old Fijian girl who finds joy in reading your stories and articles ! They are so fresh and something wayyyyy out of the box ! It is also very encouraging seeing stories and photos of young entrepreneurs and basically anyone who is trying to make it big ! I love love love your work and I am still very guttered that I missed out on your recent talanoa session here in Suva ! Love and Blessings x

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