Showcasing Pacific Poetry at COP26

Radio New Zealand posted an interesting article about how there are 11 pieces of poetry displayed against digital art to create a collection at COP26. The poems have been a consistent part of side events that share stories from the Pacific islands.

Director of Climate Change Resilience of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) Tagaloa Cooper said they presented the designs to be heard and seen in Glasgow. “Our numbers are small here at this COP, so we have to be heard and seen in as many different ways, and spaces possible, these works are designed to take our experiences across the divide with us to Glasgow,” she said.

Supported by Aotearoa New Zealand, SPREP have worked with Mana Moana, a collection of artists, to amplify the Pacific voice at COP26 through the Mana Moana – Pacific Voices.

“We have a great collection of stories and art that profile the Pacific as a unique region, the Pacific people are great orators and storytellers. It’s the first time for us to undertake a project like this, but we have found it to be successful with the works moving all the see them,” Cooper said.


“We will not come to speak numbers.

We will not be stuck in the small cages of spreadsheets.

We come accounting for generations to come:

knowing our blue bonds are to the ocean, earth and sky.”

–  Our Ancestors Speak, by Karlo ’Ulu’ave Mila

The Mana Moana – Pacific Voices spans Our Ancestors Speak, a powerful work that is a call to arms for peoples across the Pacific and globally.

It was filmed in multiple locations featuring real people and voices from Aotearoa, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Guam, Hawaii, Kiribati, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Torres Strait Islands and Tuvalu.

Our Islands Speak, another part of Mana Moana – Pacific Voices, culminates 10 different poems from 10 different Pacific Island poets merging with indigenous artists to create a visual, moving, digitally enhanced offering in the series of poems hand-picked by special curator Dr Karlo Mila.

The poems have been featured on the big screens within the halls of the COP26 in Glasgow, showcasing Pacific prose to those at the conference, strengthening the call for a 1.5 degrees Celsius world.

A Pacific poet who contributed to the Mana Moana – Pacific Voices Audrey Brown-Pereira said it has been an honour to see and hear the Pacific prose resonate at COP26. “We know that words are powerful at this conference and are proud to be able to contribute – support our Pacific negotiators in some way. Poetry can touch people at different levels.”

“We are pleased to share our gifts to help people understand and act upon the climate change challenges our people are experiencing, to help us make a difference and bring a 1.5 world about for our Pacific survival.”

These videos have been developed to be screened during the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) COP26 and other relevant climate change events.

Mana Moana was established in 2019 and brings together leading interdisciplinary Māori and Pasifika artists to collaborate on multimedia and moving image artworks exploring our relationships with the ocean, climate change and highlighting indigenous knowledge and stories.

The project innovates a fine art delivery presentation across multiple platforms, while adhering to its kaupapa values of art-activism, indigenous values, and creating a medium for upholding a healthy and respectful relationship with the Moana in all its forms (ocean, lakes, rain, rivers).

Mana Moana seek to draw attention to, critique, and to request action on environmental issues with a future indigenous frame, using technology and art.

Their goal is to generate and maintain a healthy space between us, each other and our environment, and to bring people together.


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s