Pacific Arts

Pacific Arts

26 March 2023

Laufatu o fa`atufugaga

Pacific arts

Totō hau tōkiga nei, aua na tupulaga e fāi mai

Plant a seed today, for the future generations

What are the Pacific arts about?

For many Pacific peoples, art, culture, and daily life are connected. The arts are an expression of creation and connection that tells stories of culture, communities, traditions, and genealogy. Most importantly, identity, language, and culture are at the forefront of engaging in Pacific arts by making connections with the stories, histories, values, and beliefs of Pacific nations.

Each Pacific nation has its unique ways of telling its own stories that describe who they are through songs, poems, dance, and patterns. These relate to their environments, unique histories, previous generations, ancestors, and families - but there are also common threads they share.

The use of natural resources and materials in Pacific arts is common. Making use of abundant natural resources connects people strongly to the land and the natural environment. It is an expression of acknowledgement of creation and supports sustainability.

There are indigenous processes across the Pacific that provide frameworks for approaches to life and ways of knowing, being, and doing.

For example:

  • the kakala represents the Tongan process of selecting the most beautiful flowers and leaves to create garlands;
  • in the Cook Islands the making of ‘ei katu involves the gathering of flowers and leaves to weave;
  • in Fiji the process of salusalu involves weaving dried flowers into a necklace;
  • in Samoa, the process of laufatu, weaving flowers and leaves to create ula and floral garlands.

All of these artefacts are created to adorn people and decorate environments for special occasions and events.

This highlights the significance of the art forms surrounding us in connecting to the people, places, and things we engage with in our everyday lives and serve to strengthen and enhance our identities, languages, and cultures.

Pacific people are creative in using the environment to represent their values of welcoming and including people. Spaces are often decorated with art created by using natural materials and resources. Through art practices, values, spiritual beliefs, and pride in identities, languages, and cultures are demonstrated.

Experiencing spiritual connectedness through the arts is significantly important to Pacific people. The actions and words in songs, dance, stories, and patterns convey spiritual connections with the environment and ancestors as well as spiritual beliefs and values.

Information from – Te Kete Ipurangi