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 an art 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.

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.

If you’re interested in working with Talanoa, get in touch via email at hello@talanoa.com.au.