Samoan Queer Lives Book Launch

Presented by Little Island Press as part of Same same but different

Tuesday 5 February, 5 PM

Betty Wark Room  Ellen Melville Centre, Freyberg Square, Auckland Central
Free Event

Samoan Queer Lives is a book featuring a collection of autobiographical pieces by fa`afafine, transgender, and queer people of Sāmoa, one of the original continuous indigenous queer cultures of Polynesia and the Pacific Islands. Fa`afafine have lived their culture for as long as Samoans in the South Pacific can remember – and although their lives were ridiculed and then outlawed by explorers, missionaries, and colonial authorities, fa`afafine survived and thrived. Samoan Queer Lives is a new book of fa`afafine autobiographical stories from the 1940s into the 21st century.


Shevon Matai who was part of a fa`afafine transgender house culture in a 1960s–1980s tailor shop called Hollywood in Apia, Sāmoa, and a sister shop called Beverly Hills in Pago Pago, American Sāmoa; Allan Alo, a gender liminal choreographer’s journey finding artistic voice and what it means to bea fa`afafine with a pe`a (customary Samoan tattoo for men); Isaako Si`uleo, a Samoan gay man and activist who lived in San Francisco and New York during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemics; Jean Melesaine, a butch lesbian photographer whose recent immigrant childhood included gang life, prison and self-discovery.

The author–editors also provide a background on the history of the fa`afafine of Sāmoa with images from the 19th century, and the influence of fa`afafine on the founding of Gay Liberation since WWII. This is a book that appeals to all readers wanting books about cultures that were part of the origins of the Transgender and Gay movements; and about contemporary fa`afafine culture in the Sāmoa Islands and global diaspora, as told by renowned fa`afafine artists Yuki Kihara and Dan Taulapapa McMullin.

Join co-author–editor Yuki Kihara for the Auckland launch of Samoan Queer Lives.

Presented by Little Island Press as part of Same same but different


Please get in touch to discuss your access requirements

Find a 2019 Event

Find a 2019 Event