Below is a piece I wrote – originally published on Stuff.co.nz, 19 September 2016 – about the importance of global representation of Pasifika nations and cultures in the climate change era. I was concerned that that representation would get lost to concerns about cultural appropriation.
Opetaia and Julie were asked about cultural appropriation, “You think they’ve learnt their lessons with Pocahontas and so on?”
Julie responded, “Oh absolutely. But in saying that, you’re never going to please everybody but they were sincerely moved by their own experiences in the South Pacific and they wanted to reflect the beauty that they discovered for themselves. The producer, and the directors and various other people had toured around the islands for a couple of years before we were on board. They’ve done a lot of development and investigation and all the things that they do to make what you’re going to see shortly.”
The concerns about cultural appropriation are entirely valid. I just hope that those concerns don’t drown out representation of nations that so desperately need to be seen and heard right now.
Here’s my original editorial in full: