NZ On Screen presents the Pacific Collection

NZ On Screen presents The Pacific Collection, curated by Taualeo’o Stephen Stehlin, showcasing the rich history of Pacific peoples and Aotearoa as reflected in NZ television and film history.



From early Pictorial Parade footage of independence struggles, through the tumultuous years of fighting for a nuclear-free Pacific, right through to the cutting-edge music videos of the 2000s –Pasifika screen history is a rich and varied record of the region’s political and cultural history.


Long-standing producer of Tagata Pasifika, Stephen Stehlin has brought together some of the most important television, film and music titles that represent Pasifika in all its colourful and varied perspectives.


The titles all tell their own stories, some of them hilarious, such as bro’Town, and others poignant, such as Atoll People, which documents how half the population of Tokelau was resettled in Aotearoa in the 1960s.


In the same vein, Niue – A Cautious Colony Comes of Age, sheds light on a continuing problem – the depopulation of islands for the bright lights and big cities of New Zealand.


As Pacific nations were struggling for independence in the 1960s, many Pacific people were leaving their home shores for New Zealand; and in the 1970s there was a political awakening as the Polynesian Panthers movement brought public attention to the divisive Dawn Raids, youth unemployment and nuclear testing in the Pacific.


The diverse collection also looks at Pacific film heritage, exploring Albert Wendt’s seminal Sons for the Return Home and the Tala Pasifika series of short films, as well as looking to the future with current titles such as Vai, which brings the perspective of Pasifika women to the big screen.


“The Pacific communities in Aotearoa are extremely diverse,” says Stephen.


“Tagata Pasifika’s role over the last 30 years has been to reflect those communities on screen in regular programming, as well as in specials like Ngaire Fuata’s moving Salat se Rotuma - Passage to Rotuma.”


And of course, as we move into a digital future, so do the programmes we make.


“Tagata Pasifika has also had to change with the times serving up news live on to the website along with digital only material.


“As we navigate our way in the digital world, we are now able to recognise ourselves as Tuakana in the great moana nui a kiwa.”


The NZ On Screen Pacific Collection is now available to view here: