Creating a place for Moana Pacific poetry

1 Feb 2022

This content is tagged as Pacific arts .

NEWS

Pasifika artist Faith Wilson stands looking at the viewer with her hands on her hips. She has blonde hair, wears large earrings, a white shirt and jeans.
Pasifika artist Faith Wilson, on a mission to create a place for Moana Pacific poetry and a platform for Pasifika authors. Credit: Stephen Barker

Pasifika artist Faith Wilson is on a mission, and being selected for a new Creative New Zealand and Penguin Random House New Zealand internship, under the funding agency’s Pacific Arts Strategy initiative, will help her achieve it.

Faith is a Samoan and Pākehā artist, writer and poet, as well as a staff writer and former editor at The Pantograph Punch. Her ‘mission’ is to establish Saufo`i Press and publish Moana Pacific poetry, generate an online presence and build a platform for Pasifika authors.  

Faith says, “I've been part of the Aotearoa literary scene for many years and Saufo`i Press is my way of giving back to my community, of creating opportunities for future generations.” 

“I want to acknowledge the amazing Pacific writers who have forged the path for me and my generation to continue. Saufo`i Press publishes for those who have gone before us, who will come after us, and for us.” 

The internship is part of the larger Creative New Zealand funded Pacific Arts Legacy Project. It is a new strategic opportunity for a Pacific artist and creator to develop skills in professional book publishing. Faith will spend the first six months of 2022 working with Penguin Random House New Zealand. 

Creative New Zealand Senior Manager, Pacific Arts Makerita Urale says, “We need more Pasifika stories, told by Pasifika writers, everywhere. This internship also opens up new skills and career options to develop Pacific arts. This will help to develop Faith’s fantastic dream for her own publishing company where she will be the boss, as a writer and editor, and help to grow the Pacific creative economy.” 

Penguin Random House New Zealand Head of Publishing Claire Murdoch says, “We are honoured and excited to welcome Faith to Penguin Random House under this genuinely transformative initiative. My deepest thanks to the energetic and visionary team at Creative New Zealand who have made it possible. We look forward to learning as much from Faith, who is such a bright star in the field of Moana Pacific writing and books, as we hope she will learn here about every aspect of publishing.”  

“We have long published the voices of talented Pasifika and Māori writers and artists and taken them to the world. Now more than ever, this is true. But we also know that people from these backgrounds have not been as well represented on the other side of our business – as publishers, editors, booksellers, sales and marketing experts and content professionals. This internship will help to change that, and to create a legacy of books, spaces and ways of working that are more inclusive and reflective of our communities.” 

Faith’s relationship with Creative New Zealand began in 2015 when she was selected for a Creative New Zealand-funded internship through leading Pacific arts organisation Tautai Pacific Arts Trust and joined the team putting together Writer’s Week for the 2016 New Zealand Festival. Tautai is core-funded by Creative New Zealand to facilitate and develop contemporary Pacific art and artists with strong networks in Aotearoa and globally. 

“I learnt the ins and outs of arts management from some of the best in their field during my time there. The variety of knowledge and experience I had access to was immense,” Faith said following the Tautai internship. 

Faith was also the 2016 Blumhardt/Creative New Zealand Curatorial Intern, curating Dark Objects for the Blumhardt Gallery at The Dowse in Lower Hutt.    

More recently, Faith was one of the creatives selected to participate in Creative New Zealand’s crowdfunding initiative Boosted X Moana 2021 and raised $13,008, including $5,000 from Creative New Zealand, towards establishing Saufo`i Press. She is also one of the emerging writers recently awarded a 2022 Michael King Writers Centre residency. 

The Pacific Arts Legacy Project is a collaboration between Creative New Zealand’s Pacific Arts Strategy and The Pantograph Punch. Curated by Lana Lopesi as independent Editor-in-Chief, and with an all-Pasifika team working with key Pasifika artists, it’s a digital-first history of Pacific arts in Aotearoa told from the perspective of the Pacific artists who were there. The all-Pasifika team have worked with key Pasifika artists on the stories which will have an initial online distribution on the Pantograph Punch website.  

For the past two years, Creative New Zealand and Boosted, run by the Arts Foundation, have teamed up to help kickstart Pacific arts projects through Boosted X Moana. Crowdfunding donations for selected creatives are matched dollar for dollar up to a set amount. Boosted X Moana will run again in 2022.