ABOUT
Talanoa

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 Oceanic 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. Founded in 2015 by Arieta Rika, Talanoa has become the largest digital storytelling platform by and for Oceanic peoples in Australia. We define Oceania as the islands of the central and southern Pacific,  including Melanesia, Polynesia, Micronesia, French Polynesia and Australasia.

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 Family

Illustration by Toria Talanoa

Arieta Rika

Founder (she/her)

Arieta is of Tongan and Fijian descent. She is a written and oral communicator and storyteller. She has worked as a consultant, producer (podcasts) and mentor. Arieta’s work explores the participation of Pacific voices and stories in the design, delivery, and evaluation development projects that involve Pacific people, lands, and communities.

Emele Ugavule

Creative Director, Education & Community (she/her)

Emele is of Tokelauan and Fijian descent. She is a multidisciplinary storyteller. Emele works across live performance, film, tv & digital media as a writer, director, producer, performer, educator and mentor. Her work explores creative processes and outcomes grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing, and nurturing the vā where where embodiment, cultural expression, digitisation and neuroscience intersect.

Illustration by Toria Talanoa
Illustration by Toria Talanoa

Amy Zhang

Development associate (she/her)

Amy is of Chinese descent. She is a Movement Director + Dancer. Amy is super fascinated by movement. She loves learning about the culture and the history behind street styles and how that translates into the movement and music. She is also intrigued by the human connection aspect of creating movement on bodies, particularly in people that wouldn’t necessarily call themselves a “dancer”. Naturally, her movement style reflects her cultural understanding of the world being a Chinese woman, born and raised in Australia.

Brandon Tacadena

Associate Educator (he/him)

Brandon is of Sāmoan, Tokelauan, Filipino, & German descent. His practice centers themes of faith, spiritual fluidity, ecology, and decoloniality. He is a writer, storyteller, orator and gardener. Brandon’s work navigates the historical and contemporary effects of colonization and Christianity on Indigenous Pasifika personhood and being. He is dually trained as a Christian theologian and a Christian social ethicist—weaving together the fields of biblical studies (specializing in postcolonial and empire-critical scholarship), liberation theologies, critical race theory, indigenous studies, post-colonialism, and decoloniality. Outside of the classroom, his practice manifests primarily in pastoral or spiritual care capacities as open, affirming, and inclusive of all backgrounds, faith traditions, and spiritual journeys.

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Malia Letoafa

Digital and Social Media Manager (she/her)

Malia is of Tokelauan and Samoan descent. She is a writer and actor. Malia is interested in Pasifika and Indigenous sovereignty and would love to produce her own work in the future.

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Sela Vai

Associate artist (she/her)

Sela is of Tongan and Australian descent. She is a movement director and storyteller, and has worked as a teacher and performer. She is interested in the diasporic experience and empowerment of womxn.