Written by Emmaline Matagi
NZ Born of Fijian descent

This year The Native Collective was lucky enough (Massive S/O to our friend Jayne) to be invited to be part of the Media section at the Vodafone Pacific Music Awards! So here’s how it went down, the good and the awkwardly awesome moments mixed with a few pictures of it all. The 2017 Vodafone Pacific Music Awards were held on Thursday 1 June at the Sir Woolf Fisher Arena, Vodafone Events Centre. The theme for the 2017 awards was: "Nurturing the growth of our young shoots, we tell our own stories, we sing our own songs.”  

The evening started off with an amazing (seriously there are no words to describe its amazingness) tribute performance to Opetaia Foa’i and his ‘Moana’ songs. Saints Up Performing Arts (SUPA) dazzled us with their many many MANY talents. I can guarantee that it was not just me sitting there crying my eyes out watching our beautiful babies shining on stage! It was just spectacular! We were then blessed by the talented, beautiful and forever funny Yolande Ah Chong our Emcee who was joined by the equally hilarious and beautiful and talented John Pulu. Talk about a high bar to set! The night just got better and better as it went on. Amazing performances from the finalists of the evening, Aaradhna, Kings, Kylie Auldist, SWIDT, Tommy Nee, La Coco, and Three Houses Down. We were seriously wow’ed and blessed and in awe the whole night. Our people are just magical and when they come together in one space like that you can feel our ancestors and their energy and power flowing through the spaces. Pacific people are magic!

Since we were invited along The Native Collective decided to share the opportunity with one of our followers who was interested in Media/Journo/Writing. So we shared it on our Social Media Platforms and had A LOT of interest/messages. We ended up choosing Matilda Poasa, a student in her final semester of a Bachelor of Māori Development majoring in Māori Media. Matilda wrote us the best, most hilarious and extremely charming message that resonated with us heaps. Here is a little excerpt from her message;

“ … so as scared as I may be (and my ass is totally clapping from nerves right now, even though all I'm doing is writing a msg haha) - I'm offering my very inexperienced services for selection. You know how in job interviews where they ask you to tell them all the good things about yourself so they can decide if you'll be a good fit? Well, I sucked in that part of any job interview. I was always good at the beginning and end of those - you know when they give you their hand to shake when you get there and then when they give you their hand to say thanks for coming in. So if you guys need a good handshaker on the day then,  I'm your gal. Thanks for your consideration. This is probably your longest message that isn't actually a piece for your page lol. Sorry about that. Thanks for your time. *extends hand for a solid shake* … “

Yes that was only a little excerpt (LOL)! Her entire message was worthy of a piece on our website but she wouldn’t let us publish it so we took her along instead to interview the winners on the night. The only catch was that she had to have a random question to ask and a quirky thing to share. Her most random question of the night was “If I gave you an Elephant where?” and her quirky thing was a flax box full of lollies! Heres how a few of the interviews went.



Opetaia Foa’i

 MP - Hi I’m Matilda from The Native Collective how are you?

 Opetaia - I’m really good thanks.

MP - Congratulations! 

Opetaia - Thank you thank you!  

MP - Just a quick question I read somewhere that you stood up to the Disney bosses about making sure that everything was Authentic how important was that to you?

Opetaia - Well I wasn’t going to carry on if it wasn’t going the right way. So I said no many times to many things and luckily they listened and let me. So it was very important and great that it happened that way.

MP - That is so AWESOME! So what’s next for you after this, what do you have going on? You want a rest orrrrr ….

Opetaia - Yeah well we’re gonna perform this in Hollywood. The whole Moana team. We’re just waiting for Dwayne to get some time off his movies.

MP - How cool was it to do it with your family?

Opetaia - Oh really cool! That’s how we do it in the village you know. So yes it is very cool.

MP - Thank you so much for your time enjoy the rest of your night! THANK YOU!

*Walks away *  

MP - OMG OMG OMG My hands are so sweaty OMG I am dying right now that was amazing. I AM  SO SWEATY RIGHT NOW!



General Fiyah (Nicholas Pome’e)

 MP - Hey bro can I ask you a question?

 General Fiyah - Yeah last one ok.

MP - Ok cool! If I gave you an Elephant where would you put it?

General Fiyah - Probably back in the wild (super confused look on his face like WHO IN THE WORLD ARE YOU LADY LOL)

MP - That’s a really good answer do you want a lolly? And if you could choose one person in the world dead or alive who would you want to sing with.

General Fiyah - Definitely MICHAEL JACKSON!

MP - You are so awesome congratulations! Have some more lollies! Goodluck … with your future you are so awesome!

* Walks Away * 




MP - Hiiiiii Congrats

Kings - Heyyy thanks!

MP - Ummm who did your hair? Its looking very flash! (This was said in a  good way not a bad ummm way LOL) 

Kings - Ohhhh man what happened was my Mrs started it, then she went toilet, then I was like nah it’s all good.

MP - So you just finished it off?

Kings - Yeah, nah I just left it like this half n half.

MP - Auuuu Nice! So what’s next for you?

Kings - Man, I wanna take the world OVERRRRR, nah man you know after doing all of these talks I want to inspire the youth you know. That’s the goal, it’s like the main goal! But music of course make more music and make some money to feed the kids!

MP - If there was anybody that you could collab with who would it be, dead or alive?

Kings - ohhhh! Dead or alive? Oh Michael Jackson of course! But I mean alive, I love Chris Brown man! I know he’s been in trouble …

MP - Can you dance though? 

Kings - HELL NO! But I could rap with him or maybe sing I dunno but yeah Chris Brown. But like any child star is amazing.

MP - What about a career you’d want to emulate? Like out of anybody’s? 

Kings - Ooooooh thats a good question! Probably any successful business man. Probably like Puff Daddy or something like that. Anyone that’s successful in terms of business like that.

MP - Ahhh yes! Ok one more (sorry) If I gave you an Elephant, where would you put it?

Kings - (Meanest pause whilst laughing) Arghhhhh Thailand?!

MP - Ohhhh great answer cos I did bring you an Elephant … nah … but do you want some lollies?

Kings - Wait did you? YES I’ll have some lollies! That was awesome I really liked that! HA!

*Walks away* 

MP - OMGGGGG HES SOOOOO COOL!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!! Such a really cool kind guy so cool!




Emz (Cos I had to be blues in on this fake interview too) - We’re from The Native Collective and we aren’t going to interview you we’re just here to say hi so HIIIIII!

 MP - Yeah we’re just hardcore fangirling we used to watch your old school youtube clips when we were younger, the ones where you would sit in your room and sing in your singlets LOL!  

Aaradhna - OMG yeeeeah I put those on private too you, farout that was a while ago too aye!

MP - Yes we are just fangirls hard!

 Emz - So how are you feeling? 

Aaradhna - I’m feeling GOOD! Now I get to relax and have a DRANK! Jokes DONT DRINK GUYS … LOOOOOL

MP - Wise words from a wise woman (Emz in the background yasssss driiiiink) So we love your albums because every album is a different stage in your life, so like what’s next, what’s your next stage?

Aaradhna - Oh yeah so right now I’m going through that creative process. I have this idea in my mind and of course I’ve got the stories in my head but you just have to kind of wait until they come out because I always wanna do something a little bit different. But not too different. The fundamentals are still there I mean the Old School R&B and the Soul Music, but yeah there’s just so many things I want to do with my new stuff.

Emz - We can’t wait! Where did you get your outfit from? Is it a sari?

Aaradhna - This I made! It’s actually not even a Sari! I bought it from spotlight and then cut it up and made this.

MP - Is this the same one from your Forever Love clip?

Aaradhna - Yeap! I just tied it and sewed it. You gotta make do with what you got hey!

Emz + MP - OMG you are amazing beautiful talented all the things that are good in this world is you!!! Thanks for talking to us and we love you!


And those were just a few of the interviews we got during the night. There were so many amazing artists to meet and hear and watch and love! We are so thankful to be able to share this experience with others. Our entire platform was created so that when we get these opportunities we can share them with our people. We would like to thank Matilda Poasa not only for taking the opportunity with both hands but for really being an amazing professional throughout the night.

Matilda we love you! You are going to do amazing things no matter what you choose to do with your future. Our people are blessed to have such an amazing strong Pasifika woman doing the things you do! Also who else can really say that Kings loved their interview (I didn’t hear him say that to anyone else that night just saying LOLOLOL)!!! Don’t worry that Tagata Pasifika microphone will be yours one day soon we are sure! We will be proud to say we are your friends you talented Wahine Toa!  

Check out our awesome pics and the full list of prize winners from the night can be found HERE. Thanks again to everyone who supports our site and the amazing people who contribute their work to it. What a gift our people are to the world!