Love of storytelling brings award

16:00, Jan 06 2014
Reina Vaai
SURPRISE WIN: Reina Vaai was shocked to receive an award at the Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards but looks forward to creating a documentary series.

A love of storytelling and community spirit has earned an aspiring documentary-maker an award at the Prime Minister's Pacific Youth Awards.

Reina Vaai won the Vodafone NZ Foundation Mobiles4Good award for using mobile technology or social media for a community initiative.

The 23-year-old plans to make a documentary series looking at the triumphs and challenges faced by individuals in the Pacific Island community and to use social media as a way to tell those stories.

"I want to get people who have overcome something. It's important for young people to see that because youth feel more empowered when they see someone they can relate to," she says.

For her application Ms Vaai explained she was an aspiring documentary maker and wanted to create a documentary based on the stories of Pacific people in the community.

She also chose to make a short video about how Pacific Islanders are perceived in the media for her application.


Ms Vaai is studying law and arts at Auckland University but has enjoyed film-making since taking media studies at school.

"I've always loved storytelling and it's important for Pacific Island people to be more active in storytelling roles," the Manurewa resident says.

She plans to use the $5000 award to buy a new camera and work on her documentary mini-series.

Ms Vaai's other work includes being a mentor for the Pacific Power Up for NCEA campaign run by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs to help prepare students for NCEA.

She recently spent time in Samoa collecting books and donating them to schools in that nation's most remote areas.

She was also responsible for setting up the first Pacific Island homework centre at her former high school, Baradene College.

Ms Vaai is searching for potential interviewees. To be considered for the documentary email her at

Manukau Courier