Season two of the award winning docu-series STILL HERE is now live, and continues to dispel the myth of Pasifika people’s absence in Tāmaki Makarau’s inner city suburbs. 

Director Litia Tuiburelevu, producer Torisse Laulu and executive producer Ursula Grace Williams reflect on the journey of bringing these stories to life. 

Litia - Director

I remember grocery shopping with my mum in 2017 when we passed an elderly Niuean woman, Mele, on Ponsonby Rd. 

I’m not sure what ignited the conversation, maybe it was just seeing another brown face, but she proceeded to tell me about how real estate agents were always pestering her family to sell their Ponsonby home. 

Her anger was palpable, and as we went our separate ways I marinated about how many other Pacific families in the area were having similar experiences. 

Much of our community has shifted from Auckland city’s nucleus and this series is a visual love letter to those who have left, those who remain, and for those still to come. 

Although I wasn't working in the film or tv space at the time that interaction really stirred something in me and the idea to create a visual piece came into my mind almost instantly. 

I remember pitching the idea to a work colleague who quipped, “well you won’t have much to film because there’s no islanders there anymore”. 

His poor attempt at humour only galvanised my resolve to make STILL HERE happen. 

Ursula - Executive Producer 

My own intergenerational roots in inner-city Tāmaki Makaurau meant this project was always going to get my attention. 

When I read Litia’s opening paragraph stating that only 7% of our Pacific community still occupied their houses in central, I knew STILL HERE had to be made. 

Not only as an act of resistance, but as an historical record that would hopefully encourage further protection of these iconic people and places. 

This season rolls to the same rhythm as season one but with a key point of difference: where the first season focused predominantly on family homes, season two listens to a chorus of inter-generational voices speaking to the importance of them being still here. 

To me this series helps to rejuvenate a collective pride for our generation of Pasifika people who feel displaced by their disconnection to both the islands as well as the places their families have called home for decades. It’s a reminder that we’re still here, and aren’t going anywhere. 

Torisse - Producer

I am a proud South sider. 

My family was one of many Pasifika families that were affected by gentrification and were pushed into the outer parts of Auckland. 

This history made STILL HERE an opportunity to help shape the contemporary understanding of our communities and the impact they have on our city.  

We spent the past six months creating season two. This time we orient our lens to four stories that felt both nostalgic and urgent. 

The fading Maota Samoa tucked away from the cranes and construction sites along Karangahape Rd, a Tongan faikava group running 45 years strong with no sign of slowing, the mighty Richmond Rovers rugby league club holding fort at Grey Lynn park, and a Niuean community group singing loud and proud from atop Ariki St.

But, these four stories are only a few threads pulled from the area's wider cultural tapestry. 

For us making STILL HERE as young Pacific women storytellers has always been about having the agency to create our own visions, whilst taking risks, making mistakes and reaching our potential. 

Objectively the series is, quite simply, about people in a place. But it’s also a commitment to our ordinariness, subverting the demands for our trauma and struggles to be repeatedly exploited on screen. 

It’s an allowance to move to our own rhythms and collaborate with those who want to join in that dance. We are excited to hear our village respond. 

Made with the support of NZ On Air.

Watch the full season two of STILL HERE now. 

More stories:

The Grey Lynn home where Niuean culture thrives | STILL HERE S2 | Episode 1

Watch the first episode from the new season of STILL HERE now.

Saving Samoa House on Karangahape Rd | STILL HERE S2 | Episode 2

“It’s important that we move quickly to restore the mana of this fale.”

The league club continuing the Pasifika legacy in Grey Lynn | STILL HERE S2 | Episode 3

“The Richmond Rovers and Grey Lynn park go hand in hand. It wouldn’t feel the same anywhere else.”