Many may stress the need to do one thing at a time but leave it to an ambitious woman such as Vaimoana Niumeitolu to simply do it all. As a poet, actor, painter, activist, and educator, Moana (short for Vaimoana) has spent much of her adult life tuning into her true self and not just for self-fulfillment but for the betterment of everyone around her. The scope and influence of Moana’s work knows no boundaries and The WhatItDo is proud to share the great accomplishments and work of this multi-talented artist.
Tonga. Hawaii. Utah. New York. No one, including Moana, could ever imagine that she would be a connecting link between these very distant and diverse locations. Growing up in such culturally rich places essentially cultivated Moana’s Tongan-American identity, but rest assured that though these places played a part in molding her, Moana has the final say in what truly defines her. She is proud and grateful to be Tongan-American and she is an advocate of peace, joy, love, cultural awareness, and artistic expression.
Moana’s painted artworks and poetry are “urban indigenous”, her acting is an insightful phenomenon, her activism is constant, and her want to educate is second nature. And don’t think for one second that she is a jack of all trades and master of none for she has mastered all her talents and owns up to the responsibility that comes from having done so.
As founder of Mahina Movement, a dynamic trio of poets and musicians, Moana and her co-performers Gabriella Callendar and Erica De La Rosa took the initiative in creating a group that performs and tells stories that relate to individuals like themselves who deal with dual identity. Mahina Movement provides entertainment that is empowering, uplifting, informative, and thought-provoking and they are definitely a must-see. To add, Moana also has her own one-woman show entitled “Tongue-in Paint” in which she performs thirteen characters! When Moana hits the stage, you would never believe that just five years ago, she was incredibly shy and incapable of standing let alone speaking in front of people. The journey to public self-expression wasn’t easy and required a lot of courage but all it took, as with many things, was commitment.
To those who are paving new paths, conquering foreign concepts, and creating new realities, Moana encourages and urges you to BE VISIBLE. Simply making yourself seen and heard in your journey to success can do so much to inspire the rising generation to know that their goals and dreams are attainable. It’s one thing to hear that something can be done and another to see someone show that something has been done…and not just by anyone but by one of our own. To aspiring artists, actors, and poets, simply give, share, and do what you love and commit to it. Only you can define you. Make it worthwhile.
Follow Moana on Facebook and Twitter for upcoming events and visit her official website. Moana will be painting eight murals this year for South Region Middle School 2B Arts and Media Academy in Bell, CA so stay tuned for photos or go see her work in person! Buy Mahina Movement’s album “Speak the Fire” here. Mahina Movement will be touring Europe and releasing their second album next year!
-Article Written By: Juliet Uata
*Painting by Vaimoana Niumeitolu, “Mother & Child”, acrylic, 2007.
*Video and photo courtesy of Vaimoana Niumeitolu