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About

 

Welcome to the home of Talanoa – a place where you can find authentic Oceanic voices sharing real stories and experiences in the hope of inspiring, encouraging, and informing people in our communities and in our world.

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 Oceanic 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.

 

Our Team

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.

At the moment, Arieta is a Communications Manager at the Salvation Army, and a part-time student at Western Sydney University as she completes a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology).

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

Creative Director // Emele Ugavule

Emele is a Tokelauan (Te Kaiga o Fagatiale, Nukunonu, Te Kaiga o Koloi, Uea) Fijian (Kaideuba) multi-disciplinary storyteller working across live performance & film as a performer, writer, director & photographer. 
 
Her work is intercultural centering the development of trans-indigenous collaborative creative processes & outcomes informed by Indigenous epistemological frameworks. 
 
Emele has worked with Next Wave, Mangere Arts Centre – Nga tohu o Uenku,  Q Theatre, Arts House, Transoceanic Visual Exchange, Griffin Theatre Co, Belvoir, Warner Music, Sydney Opera House, Casula Powerhouse, Solange Knowles & The Chinati Foundation, ABC + Playmaker Media & SBS Life. Emele has also been featured on ABC Arts, Huffington Post, Audrey Journal & Out of the Box.
 
Emele is an Ambassador for the 2019 Human Rights & Arts Film Festival, and is a board member for PACT – Centre for Emerging Arts. She is also recipient of the 2018/19 Creative Development Fellowship (Theatre) from Create NSW, enabling her to research and document Pacific theatrical practice in Australia, Fiji & Aoteaora including as a resident artist of Vou Dance Co & the University of South Pacific.
 
Her photography & film work has exhibited in Aotearoa, Barbados, Australia & the USA.
 
Emele is the Creative Director of Talanoa.
 
Amy Zhang // Associate Artist

Amy is an Australian-born dancer who has completely immersed herself in the global street dance scene by working, teaching, choreographing and performing both nationally and internationally.

Amy moved to Sydney to train under Brent Street’s full time course and caught the eye of many, gaining roles as a feature dancer for the likes of Nike, Wrangler, Universal Store and Paces. She toured through L.A with Bust a Move Dance Company, performing at the Special Olympics World Games and the annual Dizzy Feet Gala.

She is known in Sydney for her versatility, rocking her groove when she jumps into hip hop and other street styles whilst also being trained in ballet, contemporary and jazz styles. Amy’s extensive dance vocabulary is no accident, as she has been mentored by and performed for some of the biggest international choreographers, including Dana Foglia and Rob Rich, recently placing in the Australian division of the internationally renown urban dance crew RichFam .