Image: Andi Crown


UPU Collective

UPU Collective is a Pasifika-led creative organisation from Aotearoa, New Zealand. UPU means word in many languages of islands in the Pacific. We are committed to growing opportunities for Pasifika artists to develop, create and present theatre works that centre storytelling from our sea of islands. We champion Pasifika artists holding full agency over their work at every stage.


UPU brings the wealth and power of Pacific literature to roaring theatrical life. Curated by award-winning poet Grace Taylor and led by powerhouse director Fasitua Amosa, UPU gives the stage to Oceania’s most electrifying poetry.

In Samoan “UPU” means “word”.

UPU is made from the words of an intergenerational collection of 28 Oceanic poets. It captures voices from across the largest body of water on earth, known to us as Te-Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa and to you as the Pacific Ocean. UPU weaves these poems with theatre craft, using performance and a magical sound, light and projection design, to amplify the words, emotions and themes inherent in the exceptional writing.

It’s an important work for us. The coloniser has divided, conquered, and labelled us. Poly, Mela, Micro, Nesia. Many, black, little, islands. They made us focus on the smallness of our Islands as a way to disempower and distract us from the vastness of our ocean. The ocean that our navigating, seafaring and wayfinding ancestors, traversed regularly and freely. To them the ocean was not a barrier but a “blue watery highway” . We are a Sea of Islands. Connected by the ocean, not divided by it. UPU is a decolonisation of that space a reclamation of our vastness and a reconnection to our islands.

In UPU, borders disappear and for just over an hour, your theatre becomes a sea of Islands. Let us transport your festival audiences across our ocean and hear from the people dealing with colonisation, family, climate change, tourists, love, sex, religion and power.

Director: Fasitua Amosa
Curator: Grace Iwashita-Taylor

Performance: Mia Blake, Ana Corbett, Maiava Nathaniel Lees, Miriama McDowell, Shadon Meredith, Gaby Solomona and Jarod Rawiri

Session Times
PROFILE: Here’s What We Made
Thursday 8 June, 10:00am & 5:30pm AEST