Ngaire Fuata has had a wide-ranging career, from presenter, producer and chart-topping singer, to fitness instructor. The Whakatane local started her screen career at TVNZ in the late 1980s, as a secretary in the Māori and Pacific Programmes department. While working there, her cover of 'To Sir with Love' hit number one. In the early 90s Fuata began presenting for Tagata Pasifika, and later produced it. She was one of the founders of SunPix, which took over production of Tagata Pasifika in 2015. Fuata returned in front of the camera for 2011 autobiographical documentary Salat se Rotuma - Passage to Rotuma.
I was still swimming around, doing all sorts. It wasn't until I started working on Tagata Pasifika that I thought, 'Yes, this is what I want to do'. Ngaire Fuata, in an interview with blog Truths She Wrote, 20 August 2017
In this March 2015 episode of long-running magazine-style show Tagata Pasifika, Sandra Kailahi explores the factors that lead some young pasifika mothers to abandon their newborns. Then hosts Marama T-Pole and Tom Natoealofa interview actor Teuila Blakely, who had her son at 17, about what it was like being a teenage mother, and what needs to change to support others in that situation. Also featured are stories about the Samoan King’s son converting to the Mormon faith, and allegations New Zealand has been conducting surveillance on its Pacific neighbours.
Former pop singer Ngaire Fuata grew up in Whakatāne thinking she was Māori. Her father Fu, from the tiny Pacific island of Rotuma — population 2000 — had long given up explaining where it was (even to his Dutch wife Marion). In this Tagata Pasifika documentary, Ngaire’s beloved father takes ill, so she visits his birthplace with her eight-year-old daughter Ruby. One flight to Nadi, a drive to Suva and a three-day boat ride later, they reach the island during the magical Fara season. Salat marked the documentary directing debut of Whole of the Moon actor Nikki Si'ulepa.
It’s Samoan Language Week and Tom Natoealofa says “Talofa!” to kick off Tagata Pasifika's Aotearoa award-nominated coverage of the 2011 Polynesian Blue Pacific Music Awards. Natoealofa co-hosts with Angela Tiatia, from the TelstraClear Pacific (now Vodafone) Events Centre in Manukau. The awards honour everything from gospel to urban. Nesian Mystik take out a trifecta including the big one, and Ladi 6 also wins. In the last clip Annie Crummer picks up a Lifetime Achievement gong, and the Ponsonby Methodist Church Choir perform her song ‘See What Love Can Do’.
One shaggy dog, dozens of humans, and a smorgasbord of Kiwi scenery: viewers were glued to the screen for this TV One promotional campaign, which began screening in August 1991. The six-part promo followed a lovable sydney silky poodle cross travelling the country by car, train and paw. En route, roughly 50 Kiwis make blink and you'll miss it appearances: including sporting figures, local townspeople, and 20+ TV personalities (see backgrounder for more info, and clues on who is who). The popular promos were directed by Lee Tamahori, before he made Once Were Warriors.
'To Sir with Love' was a chart topper for newcomer Ngaire Fuata in 1990, after winning unexpected airplay on the ZM radio network. Remade often since Lulu's 1967 original featured in the hit Sidney Poitier movie of the same name, this version pushes Ngaire's winning vocal and a slinky beat. The result topped Kiwi charts for five weeks. The largely black and white video shows Ngaire has little fear of the camera; she had recently begun working in TV, and would later present Pacific news show Tagata Pasifika. Ex-Commodores bassist Ronald La Praed (unseen here) plays on the track.
Tagata Pasifika is a magazine-style show with items and interviews focusing on Pacific Island communities in Aotearoa. Debuting on 4 April 1987, it features coverage of Pacific Island cultural events like the Pasifika festival, plus longer documentaries. It is the only show focusing on PIs on mainstream New Zealand television. After TVNZ announced that its Māori and Pacific shows would no longer be made in-house, Tagata Pasifika veterans Stephen Stehlin, Ngaire Fuata and John Utanga took over production in 2015 through their company SunPix. Website TP+ launched in 2018.