O le malaga malosi tele
(A very strong journey)


17 February – 8 March 2019
Preview: Sunday 17 February, 2–4.30PM

“I was told by a friend that there are seven types of va’a in Samoa,
but there are actually eight, because the first va’a is our body!”

Embarking on a journey exploring his cultural roots and the art of building a va’aalo (traditional fishing canoe), Ioane was the 2018 Creative New Zealand Samoa Artist in Residence. An opportunity to explore Pacific navigation heritage through a contemporary, multi-disciplinary lens that looks at the traditional approach of Samoan canoe building and maritime culture. The upcoming exhibition O le malaga malosi tele is the final presentation of work made during this residency. 

My stay in Samoa happened exactly 50 years after I left it as a six year old child (1968 to 2018). This wasn’t planned. But coming back to my roots, practicing the language, connecting with my ancestors and family back there had a profound impact on me. It took me 50 years to understand…I’ve always been drawn to the ocean, I participated in as many maritime projects I could, even without knowing fully my family’s history in this arena. Now it all makes sense.

Like my brothers, I’ve always been close to my mother. However, talking to people in Samoa made me understand my father and his story. This allowed me to connect with him on a level we never did before. I’m extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to re-discover my father and the impact he had on his family and community, the exceptional man behind the father figure. The va’alo is the symbol of my own personal journey, re-discovering and reconciling all the puzzle pieces that make me.



Ioane's work is held in the public collections of the National University of Samoa, Cambridge Museum of Anthropology UK, Te Papa Tongarewa Wellington, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Pataka Museum of Arts and Culture Porirua Wellington, Tjibaou Cultural Centre Noumea, James Wallace Arts Trust the University of Auckland and many other private and public collections.