Pacific News Briefs
FASHION GIANTS JOIN FORCES FOR CHRISTMAS COLLECTION —
In an ever changing and dynamic retail environment, two of Samoa’s high profile and longstanding family businesses, MENA and Eveni- Koko Pacific, have joined forces to give their customers the best Christmas experience.
MENA and Eveni are getting together to launch their new collections in time for Christmas.
The launch is scheduled in the next few weeks.
Both Samoan brands have made successful transitions across to New Zealand with local marketing, retail and distribution channels in Auckland.
A key part of their sales strategy has been a strong focus on the e-commerce market.
MENA’s growing online channel has seen the business consolidate their retail and online operation to new premises in Grey Lynn, Auckland.
Likewise, Eveni- Koko Pacific has gained significant reach with their prominent social media campaigns.
Both labels have a following of over 100K on their respective Facebook pages.
Although MENA and Eveni- Koko Pacific target slightly different sectors of the market, the team at MENA is optimistic of the benefits to both brands in this collaboration.
Jackie Loheni says that their MENA brand has always looked to innovate in what is always a challenging retail environment.
“A key driver for us is deciding who to partner with is making sure that the business is sustainable and that we are aligned in our values, we are very excited to launch our Salamasina Collection alongside Eveni- Koko Pacific. Eveni Carruthers has a wonderful story with a rich 88-year business history in Samoa and we’re really proud to be working alongside them.”
(Source: Samoa Observer)
THE PSUSY POSSE
Jaya Beach-Robertson and Aria Dehar are the talented team behind the New Zealand (and decidedly NSFW) web series PSUSY.
Even though her male friends insist on saying 'pa-sussy', It's pronounced 'pussy', Jaya tells Bryan Crump.
"I'm like 'actually, no. It was a marketing decision. You can say the word 'pussy'. It's alright'."
Jay and Aria (who play Karen and Sharee in the show) first met as wine telemarketers.
"We were the people who called you up in the middle of the night and went 'Kia ora, would you like a case of sav today? Oh, no. You don't? … Bye,'" Jaya says.
Jaya was then an aspiring actor experimenting with writing something that reflected herself and the women she knew.
"There's such a spectrum of women and such a small percentage of the multifaceted people we can be are represented in media."
She wanted to work with someone who wasn't "cookie-cutter white girl" and her co-worker Aria was unique and funny.
Aria's first scene for PSUSY (and first-ever acting experience) involved using a grapefruit as a sex toy – "I can't believe she's still here".
The pair collaborate on script ideas and Jaya does the writing.
The imperfect lead characters Abby and Ilana in Comedy Central show Broad City were a huge influence, Jaya says.
To her surprise, men have been relating to the show and finding it funny.
"They are like 'This is really gross and weird and I like it'.
The pair hope to get funding and international distribution for the third series of PSUSY and extend its 5-minute episodes to 10 or 25 minutes.
"Aria's got a trove of experiences that have not been tapped yet so I don't think we'll be running out anytime soon," Jaya says.
You can watch PSUSY on YouTube.
TRADITIONAL PACIFIC STORYTELLING 'DESERVES A HOME IN NZ'
The instigator of “Moana Pacific Storytelling” says she saw a need for traditional Pacific tales to be told in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Pacifica Arts Centre's project manager Tuaratini Ra'a gathered Pacific storytellers to share the lore of the region, including the classic Samoan myth, Sina and the Eel.
Stories from Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu were present at the Corban Estate Arts Centre in west Auckland.
Ms. Ra'a said the Pacifica Mamas, a group of women who travel around New Zealand teaching Pacific culture, was her motivation for this event.
"I started storytelling for the Mamas in 2008 when I worked for their Pacific experience program.
"One day we were hosting a workshop for school kids around the 'Sina and the eel' tale and our Niuean mama usually tells that story."
"However, she was away sick and so I was thrown in the deep end and stepped in her place on the day. Since then, storytelling has stuck with me," she said.
The event was part of the Pacifica Mamas exhibition called 'Turou' meaning the call from our ancestors, and featured in the Pacific Heritage Arts Fono (PHAF 2017).
The director of the Pacifica Arts Centre, Jacinda Stowers-Ama approached Ra'a to bring storytelling to the community during the fono.
The theme for the PHAF 2017 is transmission, preserving, developing and passing on Pacific heritage art forms.
Ra'a asked Tongan academic Hufanga Professor Doctor 'Okusitino Mahina to represent the Kingdom of Tonga.
She said it took some convincing to get Dr. Mahina on board, due to the different styles of storytelling from the Pacific.
"He said that Tongan storytelling is a dying art and that Tongans don't do it the way Cook Island people do it.
"I told him, 'no I don't want you to do it the way I do it. I want to know how stories are told in Tonga' and he said, 'well we tell stories all the time in my faikava group'."
"I thought, can you imagine the kind of stories that come out of the kava bowl?" she said.
Ra'a wanted to prove that stories in the Pacific language would not be a barrier for the audience to understand.
Pacific poet, writer and musician Daren Kamali represented Fiji, with his bilingual story written on Masi or tapa cloth.
Mr. Kamali was initially worried the audience would not understand the plot due to it being in Fijian and English.
Ra'a told all her storytellers for the event that people tend to observe the storyteller's facial expressions, gestures and body movement to get the gist.
"It's a rare opportunity to get a taste of this authentic style of storytelling and you won't see this in the theatres.
"It is truly an expression of identity, an expression of culture, a vehicle for the language," she said.