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Waikato Museum welcomes giant penguin fossil

16 Feb 2017
The recipients of 2017’s Pasifika internships are textile designer Sonya Elspeth Withers, captions producer Sarah Maiava, and artist Sara Riordan.

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Waikato Museum - Te Whare Taonga o Waikato
Feb 2, 2017

The Pasifika internship programme is funded by Creative New Zealand, delivered by Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust, and provides art practitioners with professional development opportunities to develop as arts managers and administrators. The 20-week internships involve placing recipients with organisations able to enhance the interns’ skills, knowledge and experience, and build audiences beyond their communities. Tautai works with the interns to identify a suitable host organisation and prepare for the placement.

During the placement, support is provided by respected photographic artist and community worker, Edith Amituanai, who also teaches at both Elam School of Fine Arts and Whitecliffe College of Art and Design. “I am very excited to work with both the institutions and the interns,” Edith says. “These internships are a wonderful opportunity for those who wish to pursue a career in arts administration, and a proactive way of getting more Pacific people working in that area.”

The internships are open to New Zealand residents of Pacific heritage with a tertiary qualification and/or at least three years’ continuous experience working as an artist, practitioner or administrator. The first of these CNZ Pasifika internships were offered in 2013, with three placements being made available each year. The recipients of the 2016 internships were designer Catherine Hunt, placed at Auckland’s split/fountain design studio and RM Gallery; curator and producer Bonni Tamati, at Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery; and artist Jasmine Te Hira, placed at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki and Wellington’s Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Archive. 

The internships program has proven to be successful, with many of the interns finding employment within the arts sector. Recent examples include Amiria Puia-Taylor (Youth Outreach Programmer at Auckland War Memorial Museum), curator Jodi Meadows (awarded a Marilyn Mayo internship at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki and a role at Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery); and writer Faith Wilson (awarded the prestigious Blumhardt Internship at The Dowse Lower Hutt).  Jodi Meadows describes her internship as “an invaluable stepping stone” into the art and museum sector; Amiria Puia-Taylor says it helped her better understand how different sized organisations managed projects, supported artists and connected with people; and Faith Wilson says she was able to learn more about arts management from some of the best in that field.  

Sonya Elspeth Withers is an Auckland-based textiles designer who draws on Samoan cultural traditions to produce commercial textiles that align with community values. “I want to develop my knowledge about how Pasifika methodologies can contribute to the livelihood of the Pasifika community through using indigenous creative innovation.”

Sonya’s tertiary study culminated with a Masters in Design from Massey University’s School of Design. In 2013 she travelled to Samoa to do further research on Siapo and in 2016 to New York to develop international contacts. Sonya is committed to working collaboratively and has developed business skills as a store manager for a leading New Zealand menswear retailer. In 2016, she presented a range of Siapo prints at New Zealand Fashion Week.

Sarah Maiava is a captions producer in Auckland, has a BA with honours in English Literature from Victoria University of Wellington and is studying Samoan and Te Reo.  “I want to forge a path in the arts management field. This internship will enable me to gain valuable skills to advance and advocate the arts for all.”

Sarah has previously worked as a visitor host at Palmerston North’s Te Manawa Museum of Art Science and History, and for disability services at Victoria University of Wellington.

Wellington-based artist Sara Riordan brings a mix of tertiary study and work experience to her internship; with ambitions to strengthen a career in the creative arts industry. “This internship will further cultivate my knowledge about art management and provide me with valuable literary material for the use of my own art practise. Ultimately, I intend to use the experience and skill-set gained by this internship to positively impact the promotion and sustainability of the Pasifika arts community.”

Sara is a cartoonist with a passion for graphic satire and contemporary Polynesian art. She currently works as a Visitor Services Tour Host at Te Papa Tongarewa with a Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours) from Massey University's College of Creative Arts.

Edith Amituanai has been described as a “chronicler of her cultural milieu.”

Edith Amituanai’s photographic work has developed from unusual attentiveness to her immediate social world.  In 2005 Edith graduated from Unitec with a Bachelor of Design in Photography. In 2007 she was inaugural recipient of the Marti Friedlander Photographic Award and in 2008 a finalist in the Walters Prize. 

2017 Pasifika Internships announced