Vai Poster

Vai - 2019

Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions - 86+ min.

DVD UPC/EAN # 9312590158940(NZ/AU); 030306707990(US)

Principal Cast: Mereani Tuimatanisiga(Fiji), 'Ar-Ramadi Longopoa(Tonga), Betsy Luitolo(Solomon Islands), Agnes Pele(NZ born Samoan), Evotia-Rose Araiti(Cook Islands), Fiona Collins(Samoa), Maliaga Erick(Niue), Hinetu Dell(Aotearoa/NZ).
Director of Photography: Drew Sturge; Original Music: Lauren King; Editor: Dione Chard; Costume Designer: Lindah Lepou; Production Designer: Riria Lee; Art Direction: Andy Currie, Producers: Kerry Warkia, Kiel McNaughton; Written and Directed by: Nicole Whippy, Ofa Ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki, Matasila Freshwater, Amberley Jo Aumua, Miria George, Marina Alogagia McCartney, Diana Fuemana, Becs Arahanga.

Vai is a portmanteau (a linguistic blending of words) feature film made by nine female Pacific filmmakers, filmed in seven different Pacific countries. It is about the journey of empowerment through culture over the lifetime of one woman, Vai, played by a different indigenous actress in each of the Pacific countries. Each segment is about 10 minutes and each story represented is about 12 years apart. The movie shows different practices, different ways of dress, different problems, features different languages, deals with different themes of diaspora and sacrifice. Yet, there’s also an undercurrent of resilience, of what it means to hold onto to one’s cultural heritage against the pressures of time and conformity.

Censor Rating: PG - Review rating: B

Vai trailer
Official MP4 Trailer


Starting 17 July 2019, a PAL R0 DVD, is available from Australian and New Zealand resellers, selling for about $25. It is presented 2.38:1, 16x9 enhanced, with a dolby digital 5.1 spoken Fijian, Tongan, Roviana Samoan, Cook Island Maori, Niuean, Maori and some English soundtrack. When a language other than English is spoken, there are English subtitles, but no subtitles when English is spoken.
Starting 27 August 2019 an NTSC Region 1 DVD is available from US resellers selling for about $20us. It offers both 5.1 and 2.0 soundtrack options of spoken Fijian, Tongan, Roviana Samoan, Cook Island Maori, Niuean, Maori, plus English subtitle option. Both the NZ/AU disc and the US extras contain short, 1 minute each, introductions to the eight directors. The US disc has a Vai trailer plus four other unrelated trailers. Comparing the US & NZ discs, the NZ disc is presented in the original format, whereas the US one is slightly smaller at 2.32:1. The US disc has a higher bitrate of about 8mbps compared to the NZ one at 7mbps. The US disc has optional English subtitles for the whole disc, whereas the NZ has English subtitles only when there is non-English spoken. Finally, the US disc has the option of either 5.1 or 2.0 soundtracks, whereas the NZ one only has the 5.1 soundtrack.

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Reviews at

Kate Rodger's Review

Liam Maguren Review

James Croot Review

Jean Teng Review

Jennie Kermode Review

Christopher Llewellyn Reed Review

Dominic Corry Review

Peter Calder Review

Darren Bevan Review

User Reviews at IMDB


VIDEO VAULT - Links to trailers and clips for all titles.

NZ On Screen Videos & Comments

Metro speaks with director Amberley Jo Aumua

Official Website

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Information at IMDB

Internet Movie Poster Awards


2019 - Jury Awards to the director ensemble of “Vai”: ‘Ofa-Ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki, Amberley Jo Aumua, Becs Arahanga, Dianna Fuemana, Marina Alofagia McCartney, Matasila Freshwater, Miria George, Nicole Whippy.
2019 - New Zealand Cinematographers Society - Silver Award to Drew Sturge
2020 - DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon - Best feature narrative

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