The new album is happening! Of course Opetaia has to fit the writing in around the music that Disney wants for “Moana” but I think that good old saying “ If you want a job done, ask a busy man” is definitely relevant here.  So we were both already busy then, out of the blue came the trip to New Zealand for Pasifika! Writing Pacific-orientated albums demands a connection with the culture, so what better way to do that than to go to the annual Pasifika Festival held in Auckland every March. Te Vaka first started performing at Pasifika back in 1996 and in those days it was a massive event with heaps of culture, complete with a ceremonial stage and a contemporary stage. Unfortunately, Pasifika has diminished over the last few years due to, amongst other things, the stallholders being charged way too much to sell their beautiful labour-intensive homemade arts and crafts plus the isolating of the different Islands into villages which all have their own stages. Even so it is still a great place to soak up South Pacific culture and there was lots of it.

Olivia came with us so Opetaia, Olivia and Neil did a small acoustic performance on the Tokelau stage. Nana and Papa were there and many other family members that it was so nice to see. So many generations enjoying and expressing their culture. We watched our Te Vaka dancer, Edwin’s two young sons performing the Tokelau ‘fatele’ - so good to see the culture being handed down to the young ones and the Tuvalu stage was on fire this year. I managed to get around most of the villages and checked out the beautiful basketry, arts and crafts tapa cloths etc. and picked up a few bits and pieces for new costumes.