Past Webinar

Whose voice speaks?

How Creativity can help Pasifika women and youth in Aotearoa find their voice

Dr Janet Tupou,

As a New Zealand born Tongan, Dr Janet Tupou knows all about the identity struggles that walking in two worlds can bring. In our first free webinar of 2021, she discusses her research into the way that creativity is becoming a vessel for Tongan women in New Zealand (‘Tiwis’) to unmute their voices, as they struggle to balance their cultural and personal identities.

She explores how this strategy could be adapted to help foster engagement with Pasifika youth, helping them to express themselves and their opinions, and improve their well-being.  She also discusses ways to successfully engage with young people.

Janet says: ‘Encouraging young Pacific people to dispel stereotypes when it comes to creativity is what drives me. Shedding light on how to think and not what to think is an essential ingredient in today’s society.’


Dr Janet Tupou’s PhD Thesis – (De)constructing Tongan Creativity – A Talanoa about Walking in Two Worlds

Dr Janet Tupou starring in a Music Video on YouTube – Lou Fatai – Fejoint ft Konecs & Folau [Official Music Video]

About the Presenter

Dr Janet Tupou

Mālo e lelei! Meet Dr Janet Tupou, a New Zealand-born Tongan, whose parents are from the island of Vava’u.

She is the first ever Tongan student to graduate with a PhD from the AUT School of Communication Studies. She is also a Lecturer and is the Chair of the School’s Equity and Inclusion Fono.

After she sat in her first lecture as an undergraduate student, Janet decided that one of her goals was to become a university lecturer. She noticed the lack of Pasifika academics and made a personal oath to become one, so that she could be a role model to students and to ensure Pasifika people continued to have a voice in academia.

One of Janet’s passions is making sure everyone is heard and especially ensuring that the voices of her students are honoured and respected in the classroom. She feels everyone has a right to an opinion and looks to encourage respectful sharing in her teaching practice.

She is currently supervising postgraduate masters students, is a research consultant for Point advising on community issues in the South Auckland area and is also a youth leader at her church.

If you wish to contact Janet Tupou following this webinar, please email her at: or

This Webinar was held

11am NZ Time
25 Jan
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