Unconscious bias, diversity and inclusion are two themes tackled head-on by a new web series currently in production.
Misadventures of a Pacific Professional is a six part web series created by husband and wife duo Esera Tanoa’i and Tupe Solomon-Tanoa’i.
The series is directed by Reina Va’ai, filmed by Abe Mora, and stars Lagi Farani - an exciting new player on the Pacific acting scene.
In addition, the web series boasts a cast of established actors including Gerald Urquhart, Matthew Chamberlain, and Tammy Davis.
The series centres on Alofa Williams - a young Pacific woman climbing the corporate ladder.
Alofa is constantly bumping up against unconscious bias in the workplace, and must find an authentic way of dealing with it.
This prompts an internal struggle between the part of Alofa raised to be humble, and the part of her descended from warriors.
Tupe says there are two main goals in telling this story.
“The first is to diversify the narrative around Pacific women, while the second is to hold a mirror up to New Zealand society so people might become more aware of their unconscious bias and be better placed to do something about it,” she says.
Director Reina says as more Pacific people gain access to opportunities in education, the narrative is beginning to change.
“We are making valuable contributions in so many different spheres of society,” Reina says.
“As we enter these spaces, predominantly occupied by Palagi people, we are disturbing the status quo.”
Misadventures of a Pacific Professional is being released on March 8 - International Women’s Day.
The creators hope it will resonate with anyone interested in a more diverse and inclusive workplace, and empower a new generation of women leaders.
“This story is one that encourages us all, regardless of your background, to acknowledge the issues that minorities face - to not be a passive bystander but to stand up and be part of the solution,” Reina says.
Misadventures of a Pacific Professional is an independent production made with the help of the Ministry of Pacific Peoples, Tagata Pasifika, Prestige Law, and Manukau Institute of Technology.