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 About Us 

Moana Vā was established to identify and address the needs for Pacific Rainbow+ LGBTQIA+ MVPFAFF+ (mahu, vakasalewa, palopa, fa’afafine, akava’ine, fakaleiti (leiti), fakafifine) communities in the Canterbury Region. 


We aim to provide support, advocacy and mentorship of our Pacific Rainbow+ communities, and acknowledge the challenge of living in a region that is systemically conservative, enabling unconscious racial bias and stereotypes of our community members.


Pacific Rainbow+ communities are rebuilding, and Moana Vā is the conduit by which we may connect or reconnect, share aspirations, goals, stories and create narratives to be heard and pass on to our future allies. We will do this not only by being a support group but also a provider of information and access to services addressing the needs of our community.


Outside of the gender binary, there are several ways to think about gender in the Pacific. Some terms for gender identities used in the Pacific include:


for Mahu in Tahiti and Hawai'i.

V for Vaka sa lewa lewa in Fiji.

P for Palopa in Papua New Guinea.

F for Fa'afafine in Samoa and American Samoa.

A for Akava'ine in the Cook Islands.

F for Fakaleiti or leiti in the Kingdom of Tonga.

F for Fakafifine in Niue.

-Phylesha Brown-Acton MNZM



Tautua Leadership

Acknowledging authentic Tagata Moana
leadership models, frameworks, approaches and terminology that will be used to support the Rainbow and wider Community in Ōtautahi.
Servant leadership in the wider context of Aotearoa and beyond.


Moana Vā acknowledges the importance of the diverse Pacific languages, cultures, sexualities, spirituality and protocols and
will ensure these are incorporated into all of the services and functions.


A ‘Teu le vā’ collective and partnered approach to creating safe spaces, raising awareness and the active education,
advocacy, allyship by, with, for Tagata Moana rainbow communities.



A deep sense of love, manaaki and caring for our Rainbow community and the creation of spaces and places where they are
cared for and looked after.


This recognises that every person belongs to a family and every family belongs to a person. Moana Vā recognises and helps the
Rainbow community navigate the vā around family, identity and belonging. We also recognise Ancestry and safe places involve
connections and kinship with whom and what has gone before us.



Our short to medium-term vision is to establish and cement our Pacific Rainbow+ communities by socialising, meeting, hosting workshops, creating relationships, building support networks and capabilities to train facilitators to educate communities of Pacific Rainbow+ pedagogies, worldviews and realities.

Our long-term vision is to provide information sessions and events to create meaningful outcomes for our communities to gather, grow and become visibly strong and resilient.


Through fellowship, connectivity, events and workshops we will be able to support our marginalised folks who sometimes feel there is no family (‘aiga / ’ānau / fāmili / magafaoa / matavuvale / whānau) for them.


Arcadia, Buddle Findlay, C1 Espresso, Core Education, Christchurch Pride, Christchurch NZ, Christchurch Foundation, Cross Polynate, Dept of Internal Affairs, Life in Vacant Spaces, Manalagi Project, Ministry for Pacific People, Mind the Gap, Pegasus Health, Rata Foundation, Rule Foundation, Seven Siblings, Tangata Atumotu Trust, Te Ora Hou Ōtautahi, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, Te Whatu Ora, Wayne Francis, and Vaka Tautua Canterbury
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