Janet Tupou: Speaking life into your goals and seeing dreams come true

Dr Janet Tupou … injecting diversity into university communications space. Image: AUT Pacific

By Dr Janet Tupou

Hand over heart, speaking life into your goals and dreams can see them come true.

After sitting in my first ever lecture at university, I knew that I wanted to be the one on the other side of the lectern. Week after week for three years in my undergraduate studies, I failed to see any Māori or Pasifika educators on the stage.

It was during those years that I set out the goal to be a university lecturer to inject some diversity into that space. Six years on, you can find me in front of the lecture stage and classroom, doing just that.

After completing a Bachelor of Communications Studies and honours degree, I began studying a Masters focusing on emotional labour. In other words, I call it ‘mastering the art of wearing different masks.’

As I was studying, I began teaching on undergraduate papers, the very same ones I had taken a few years back. It was such a surreal moment, to be lecturing alongside the same educators that once taught me. And it still is.

I then began studying a PhD called (De)constructing Tongan Creativity: A talanoa about walking in two worlds, which was recently awarded. The topic came to me after noticing a lack of scholarship around creativity in Tongan culture while I was teaching.


I wanted to show all sides of the story, particularly from a Tongan perspective. I therefore wanted to explore what creativity meant for Tongan people, specifically Tongan youth in New Zealand, and that’s exactly what I did.

Identity crisis
Creativity is seen as a concept that can be seen as a threat to the Tongan culture. For example, for Tongans who are born in New Zealand, there can be an identity crisis in how to express one’s Tonganness in a Western world.

I found there is a lack of awareness of how much creativity and studying creative subjects at a higher level can better Tongan people.

My passion of exploring the notion of creativity at a deeper level is also put into practice in my teaching approaches, by way of allowing students to share their creative outlooks, voices and perspectives on any given topic that is discussed in a safe space. At the same time, to back up my talk, I walked the walk by studying my Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Teaching.

As well as lecturing full time, I am also a part time real estate salesperson. I use my skills to help educate and shed light on the complicated terminology and processes in this industry that often exploits people. How did I get to where I am today?

As a Christian, my faith has helped me power through achieving goals. Supportive family and friends, commitment and taking up incredible opportunities at institutions such as AUT has also played a huge part in my journey.

My ultimate goal as a teacher is to nurture belief in students to dream big and to achieve big. The classroom is my space to encourage students to be the best versions of themselves, because “Hand over heart, speaking life into your goals and dreams can see them come true.”

Dr Janet Tupou is a lecturer in Communication Studies and chair of the AUT School of Communication Studies diversity committee. This article was first published by Spasifik magazine and is republished by Asia Pacific Report with permission.

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Flavourz film festival wows audience with ethnicity, pollution, fun films

Banabans of Rabi: A Story of Survival – the trailer.

By Rahul Bhattarai

Nine years on the popular Flavourz Film Festival has grown and grown … with more than 170 people watching the screening of 15 student documentary and feature productions at Auckland University of Technology at the weekend.

The short films – ranging between 2min30sec and 12min – featured topics as wide ranging as birdlife, culture, ethnicity, matchmaking, migration, plastic pollution, racism, the Banabans of Rabi and the closure of Hato Petera College. Some were quirky and funny.


“Flavourz has evolved over the years. In the beginning it had a small screening and a small lecture hall, now we have got about a 170 people here today,” said senior lecturer and film maker Jim Marbrook.

READ MORE: Banabans of Rabi short climate change documentary chosen for Nuku’alofa

Part of the audience at the Flavourz Film Festival screening at Auckland University of Technology. Image: David Robie/PMC

“it’s a showcase of some of our really interesting work with the focus on diversity and culture.”


Marbrook was one of the founders of the festival along with Tui O’Sullivan, Isabella Rasch and Pacific Media Centre director Professor David Robie.

“We got the idea to put on a film festival to celebrate diversity,” said Marbrook

AUT has one of the New Zealand’s leading school of communications with the latest facilities and highly experienced staff for the students to learn from.

A Migrant’s Story, by Irra Lee, one of the films screened at the festival. Trailer

‘Lucky students’
“In a Bachelors of Communications Studies programme students are very lucky because we have a very strong journalism school and we have screen production courses,” said James Nicholson, curriculum leader and a senior lecturer for television and screen production.

AUT filmmakers Tom Blessen (left) and Hele Ikimotu … telling the Pacific stories away from the mainstream. Image: Rahul Bhattarai/PMC

An 11 minute postgraduate documentary, Banabans of Rabi: A Story of Survival, by Hele Ikimotu and Blessen Tom, made as part of the three-year-old Bearing Witness climate change project, was one of the films screened.

It has been accepted as an entry in the Nuku’alofa Film Festival in Tonga later this month.

Banabans of Rabi shows the impact of climate change and on the remote northern island of Rabi in particular.

Hele Ikimotu was inspired to make this film in order to explore his own unknown Kiribati culture and the struggles of the people on the island where the Banaban people had been relocated by the British colonial government.

Such voices are seldom heard in the mainstream media.

“When it comes to climate change it is only about the bigger cities and the islands,” Ikimotu said.

‘Telling the stories’
“In Fiji, it’s always about Nadi and Suva but not so much about the outer islands. So, I thought this would be a good opportunity to tell the stories of those who don’t get the opportunity to talk about what they are going through.

“I had never really experienced that side of my culture, never knew too much about it,” he said.

“So when the opportunity to go to Fiji came with the Pacific Media Centre, I used it to go to Rabi. I knew it was a difficult trip but if I put in some effort it could happen.”

The trip from Suva to Rabi was 15 hours long.

“it was a very gruesome trip, with up to seven hours in a motor vehicle at a stretch, and a boat ride,” said Blessen Tom.

Banabans of Rabi: A Story of Survival will be screened at the 2018 Nuku’alofa Film Festival in Tonga on November 22/23.

The inaugural Flavourz film festival in 2009.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Former PCF media intern welcomes Pacific newbies on NZ exchange

Adi Anaesini Civavonovono of Fiji (left) and Elizabeth Osifelo of the Solomon Islands (both of the University of the South Pacific) against the green screen in the television studios during their visit to Auckland University of Technology this week. Behind them are the Pacific Cooperation Foundation’s Suzanne Suisuiki (partially hidden) along with AUT students Leilani Sitagata and Pauline Mago-King. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

By Rahul Bhattarai

It was a case of Pacific meets Pacific in AUT’s School of Communication Studies this week as one of the inaugural winners of the Pacific Cooperation Foundation internships welcomed this year’s new batch of four student journalists from Fiji, Samoa and Solomon Islands.

Pauline Mago-King of Papua New Guinea was a final year communication studies student in Madang when the internships began and she visited New Zealand in 2015 thanks to PCF.

Now she is a master’s degree student at Auckland University of Technology doing research into domestic violence and non-government organisation responses in her home country.

She says she knew the flexibility of the AUT programme was just right for her – “especially when you come from a country where there aren’t enough opportunities for a student to gain experience.”

AUT’s Pacific Media Centre hosted the PCF internship students and director Professor David Robie welcomed them, saying “we‘re just a small programme but with quite a reach, we have an audience of up to 20,000 on our Asia Pacific Report website”.

The PMC, with a small part-time team, covers the region with independent news as well as conducting out a discrete media research programme.


Three of the students on the two-week internship in New Zealand come from the University of the South Pacific and the student newspaper Wansolwara – Elizabeth Osifelo (Solomon Islands), Salote Qalubau and Adi Anaesini Civavonovono (both from Fiji). The fourth, Yumi Talaave, is from the National University of Samoa.

The interns toured AUT’s communications facilities, including the state-of-the-art television studies and control room.

Pacific Media Centre student journalist Rahul Bhattarai and University of Samoa’s meet King Kong on the AUT television studio green screen. Image: David Robie/PMC

They then visited AUT’s journalism newsroom and media centre.

The students also watched the final editing stages of a short current affairs documentary by two AUT students involved in the PMC’s Bearing Witness climate change project.

Hele Ikimotu and Blessen Tom travelled to Rabi Island in the north of Fiji in April and filmed the documentary Banabans of Rabi: A Story of Survival in the hope of spreading awareness about the impact of climate change in the Pacific.

Their lecturers, Jim Marbrook and David Robie, hope to enter the documentary into film festivals and an earlier video by the students as part of the project gives a glimpse of life on the island.

Suzanne Suisuiki, communications manager of PCF, says these kinds of internships provide the opportunity for Pacific students to gain wider exposure and better understanding of media.

“We wanted interns who had a sense of appreciation of the media industry,” she said.

She plans to next year expand to the wider Pacific region, including Tonga and Papua New Guinea.

Two students were also selected from New Zealand to go to Fiji and Samoa.

The Pacific Cooperation Foundation internship students with Pacific Media Centre students and staff at AUT this week. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Bearing Witness students win big at AUT communications studies awards

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Bearing Witness students win big at AUT communications studies awards

Spasifik Magazine’s Laumata Lauano (from left) with winners Julie Cleaver, Kendall Hutt, and Pacific Media Centre’s chair Associate Professor Camille Nakhid and Storyboard donor Professor David Robie (rear) at last night’s AUT communication studies awards. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

By Jean Bell in Auckland

Bearing Witness climate change project students won big last night at the annual awards ceremony for AUT’s School of Communication Studies last night.

Julie Cleaver and Kendal Hutt took out the Spasifik Magazine Prize and Pacific Media Centre Storyboard Award for Diversity Reporting for their work on the Bearing Witness climate change project last year.

Hele Ikimotu was awarded the John Foy Memorial Award for broadcast journalism and will be flying to Fiji tomorrow to continue the Bearing Witness climate change project this year.

READ MORE: Bearing Witness climate project stories

‘Great honour’
Cleaver and Hutt both travelled to Fiji last year where they created a multimedia feature on the Fijian village of Tukuraki, which was hit by a deadly landslide and two cyclones in the space of five years.

The project also won the Dart Asia-Pacific Prize for Journalism and Trauma at the annual Ossie Awards for Student Journalism at Newcastle, NSW, last December.


Cleaver is now editor of Debate Magazine and Hutt is a reporter with the North Shore Times.

Hutt said it was a great honour to receive this award.

“This award is not just our award, it is also Tukuraki’s award for letting us come up to the community and let us tell their story. I think it had only been told in Fijian media and ABC Australia,” said Hutt.

‘Journalism highlight’
Cleaver said her time in Fiji was a moving experience. “It was a privilege to be a journalist and hear these people’s stories. When else would you get to hear these people’s personal testimonies from someone who has been through so much as well.”

“The Pacific Media Centre has been so supportive to both of us throughout this process. Thanks so much to Professor David Robie and everyone else involved,” said Cleaver.

“The trip was a journalism highlight. This is why I wanted to get into journalism.”

“It’s so awesome that Dr Robie is driving this PMC project. It needs someone passionate to keep it going and it’s such a privilege to be a part of that.”

John Foy Memorial Award for broadcast journalism Hele Ikimotu with his parents Grace and Jone at last night’s AUT communication studies awards. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

Ikimotu ‘excited’
Bearing Witness climate change project participant Hele Ikimotu received the John Foy Memorial Award.

Louise Matthews, curriculum leader of AUT’s journalism programme, presented the award to Ikimotu and said he “aced” his undergraduate courses and stayed on to do postgraduate study this year.

Ikimotu thanked God, the John Foy Memorial Trust sponsors and his “supportive and inspiring” journalism tutors in his acceptance speech.

“I’m so excited and nervous to go over there. I come from an ancestry of storytellers. There are times I doubted I had the ability to be a good storyteller but this award has affirmed I have what it takes, and I’m so excited to see where journalism takes me.

“I’m so excited to use it as a platform for my people and continue being a voice for the Pacific. I was born in the Islands and I know my family back home are proud that I’m doing it and representing them.”

Ikimotu leaves for Fiji tomorrow with fellow participant Blessen Tom to carry on this year’s version of the Bearing Witness project.

Ikimotu and Tom will be heading on a two-week climate change mission to the main island of Viti Levu where they will be interviewing local people who are directly affected by the devastating effects of climate change in the Pacific.

Ikimotu and Tom will be searching for stories, interviewing people directly affected by climate change and reporting directly for Asia Pacific Report, Wansolwara and other media.

Tagata Pasifika’s master of ceremonies John Pulu, an AUT graduate and past winner of the Storyboard for diversity journalism, entertained the audience with his witty remarks. Image: Del Abcede/PMC.

Full 2017 School of Communication Studies awards:
School of Communication Studies Award for Top Student in the Certificate in Communication Studies: Schumacher Liuvaie

School of Communication Studies Award for Top Year One Bachelor of Communication Studies: Amy Wang

School of Communication Studies Award for Top Year Two Bachelor of Communication Studies: Jamie Ensor

School of Communication Studies Award for Excellence in Communication Theory: Adam Szentes

Communication Studies Postgraduate Scholarships: India Fremaux, Yulia Khan, Malini Radkrishna, Jayakrishnan Sreekumar

Dean’s Award for Best Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies: Elizabeth Osborne

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Master of Communication Studies – Thesis: Ximena Smith

Oceania Media’s Spasifik Magazine Prize and the Pacific Media Centre’s Storyboard Award for Diversity Reporting: Julie Cleaver and Kendall Hutt

The Radio Bureau Award for Top of Research Project: Radio: Georgina Cain-Treleaven

The Radio Bureau Award for Top Radio Student: Maxene London

John Foy Memorial Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism: Hele Ikimotu

Bauer Award for Excellence in Magazine Journalism: Nicole Barratt

New Zealand Herald Award for Top Post Graduate Diploma Student in Creative Practice – Journalism: Arun Jeram

National Business Review Award for the Outstanding Graduate in the BCS Journalism Major: Nicole Barratt

New Zealand Geographic award for Excellence in Photojournalism: Adam Szentes

Public Relations Institute of New Zealand Award for the Top Year 2 Public Relations Student: Jamie Ensor

The winners of the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand Paul Dryden Tertiary Award 2017: Boyan Buha, Jodealyn Cadacio, Simon Cooper, and Georgia Ward

Highly Commended Public Relations Institute of New Zealand Paul Dryden Tertiary Award 2017: Abby Berry, Emma Hilton, Morgan MacFadyen

Public Relations Institute of New Zealand President’s Award for the Top Academic Student in the Public Relations Major: Adam Szentes

The Postgraduate Public Relations Global Virtual Team Winner (2017): Alex Ubels

FCB Change Agency Award for Digital Media Excellence: Stefanee Chua

School of Communication Studies joint Award for Academic Excellence in the Creative Industries Major: Kaylah Burke and Laura Reid

QMS Awards for Advertising Creativity:
QMS Art Director of the Year – Holly Smith
QMS Account Executive of the Year – Ella Bilham
QMS Team of the Year – Will Macdonald and Adam Ramsdale

Francis Porterfield Memorial Award for Excellence in Multicamera Production: Steven Yee

MediaWorks Award for Best Producer: McKay Carroll

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Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz