(Picture caption: A Moana Vā gathering before the Omicron outbreak.)
Moana Vā is a new collective offering an unprecedented safe space for the Pacific Rainbow community in Ōtautahi Christchurch.
Founder Suli Tuitaupe says the space is inclusive of everyone, no matter where they are at on their journey.
A collective of 14 allies and mentors, Moana Vā was launched recently via Zoom, at its Grand Coming Out event.
Suli says the collective’s vision has always been to create a place of belonging for our communities where they can be themselves, connect with likeminded people, receive support, advocacy and friendship.
“We are also here to support the mental health and wellbeing of our Pasifika Rainbow community members.”
After seeing the struggles Rainbow LGBTQIA+, MVPFAFF+ (mahu, vakasalewa, palopa, fa’afafine, akava’ine, fakaleiti, fakafifine) have been facing in the mostly conservative Ōtautahi Christchurch area, it was clear a space or vā for our communities, was necessary, Suli adds.
“This need was reinforced by the response in numbers and correspondence at our launch in late February, from our Canterbury Rainbow and Pasifika communities.
“Ōtautahi is very conservative and doesn't openly welcome such groups.”
While the collective has big dreams for Moana Vā, Co-ordinator Lana Shields says the current focus is on relationship building within the local communities and providing visibility to our Pasifika Rainbow and their families.
“Our hope is our collective will help inspire other Rainbow communities around Aotearoa to form like-minded groups,” Lana says.