Talofa, meet Seumanu Simon Matāfai the Village Cultural Advisor for Samoa Village
Former local government politician and international activist, Seumanu has volunteered as the Assistant Village Coordinator/Stage Manager for the Samoa Village since 2005, now taking up the new ‘Village Cultural Advisor’ role succeeding Ulalemamae Te’evā. His orator chief title is from Salelologa in Savaii, an anchor/producer of the K.o.k.o Samoa Youth Show on Radio Samoa 1593AM and ordained lay preacher of the Samoan Methodist Church. Seumanu also serves as Chief Executive of Pacific Events & Entertainment, Music Director for the Auckland Gospel Choir (8 years) and Piano Teacher/Director of the NZ Pacific School of Music (10 years). He continues as a Senior Tutor of the renowned Avondale College Samoan Group for Polyfest (12 years) and is also a Samoan Language Interpreter for government, the courts of law & corporate. Former Head Prefect/Deputy Head Boy & Student President of Avondale College, Seumanu also holds degrees from the University of Auckland in Music and History, Postgrad in Law and has recently completed his Masters (MBA) at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT). Seumanu was recently appointed as a Justice of the Peace (JP) for New Zealand by the Crown. Seumanu Simon has been appointed by the Pasifika Festival Village Co-ordinators Trust to oversee funding activities of the annual festival.
Talofa, meet TJ Taotua, programmer for Samoa Village
TJ Taotua is an R’n’B, Soul and Gospel Artist, based in South Auckland, New Zealand. Off the back of his highly successful release of his single “Firstly” TJ won both the Best Pacific Gospel and Best Pacific Male artist award at the Pacific Music Awards in 2015. He won the Best Pacific Gospel Artist award again in 2016. TJ has opened for international artist such as Eric Benet, Musiq Soulchild, KC & JoJo and Tevin Campbell, just to name a few and has been influence heavily by music legends such as George Benson, Stevie Wonder, Brian Mcknight and Boys 2 men. TJ is due to release his next single called “You and I”, which will be released early November.
Talofa, meet Natalie Toevai the Dance Programmer for Samoa Village
Talofa lava! I am Vaiotausala Natalie Leitulagi Toevai from the villages of Afega and Vailele. My passion for my Samoan heritage stems from my strong cultural upbringing – grounded in the core values of alofa, tautua and fa’aaloalo. This passion was translated into my love for siva which has led me to a number of opportunities in national Samoan/Pacific events and competitions, but also internationally at the Asia-World Expo in Hong Kong with the Samoa Tourism Authority. I completed a Master of Arts in Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland where I also tutored a number of Pacific Studies courses; I have been a Samoan Group tutor for various Secondary Schools at the ASB Polyfest; a Tuakana Mentor for the Year 3 PIPA Students Cultural Exchange in Hawai’i and lead tutor and core member of the all-female collective Ura Tabu Pacific Dance. My service to our community was further extended when I was crowned Miss Samoa NZ 2017-2018. I look forward to seeing what Pasifika has in store for us in 2021!