SLC / Va‘aomanū Pasifika Research Seminar Series 2019 - Melanie Puka

SLC / Va‘aomanū Pasifika Research Seminar Series 2019 - Melanie Puka

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Event type: Seminars

24 July 2019 from 3.00 pm - 5.00 pm 24 Jul 2019 3:00 pm 24 Jul 2019 5:00 pm

Rm 102, 6 Kelburn Parade (6KP), Kelburn

This seminar explores the diverse motivations for collaborative kinships in Oceanian film and the contributions that they make to development in the region.

“Oceanic kinships in film practice”

Presented by Melanie Puka

Melanie Puka
Melanie Puka, recent Master of Development Studies graduate.


The contemporary production and circulation of film offers the possibility to share diverse stories and to reach out across multiple horizons, generating diverse connections and conversations. A range of organisations and kinships are currently emerging to support film-making, capacity-building and the sharing of stories through film across Oceania.  The film projects coming out of such kinships and organisations have various kaupapa but share connections which can be seen as part of the global indigenous agenda to decolonise spaces, including film.

Melanie's masters research applies an intersectional framework grounded in Pacific Studies and Postdevelopment theory to examine film and film-making processes and their contributions to social and cultural outcomes in Oceania.  In this seminar she will discuss a range of film projects and spaces, including Vai (2019), Through Our Lens, the Māoriland Film Festival, Pacific Connections and how their practices reflect the regional imaginary as articulated by Hau’ofa (2008) and Wendt (1976).  Melanie will also discuss how collaboration in film practice endeavours to address inequalities in voice and representation of Oceanian peoples in film and how such efforts contribute to expansive understandings of development in Oceania.


Melanie Puka is of Tokelauan and Samoan descent.  She has recently completed her Master of Development Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.  She received a conjoint Bachelor of Laws and Arts majoring in Development Studies in 2017.  She will be pursuing a PhD in Geography at Louisiana State University beginning in August 2019 focusing on Tokelauan diaspora and the politics of cultural identity within Tokelauan communities.