Photographing Polynesian dance is a bit like catching images from a rugby game.
Mt Eden born Samoan photographer Evotia Tamua has armed herself with cameras for the last 20 years of Auckland's Polynesian Festival and produced a book on it, along with another essaying the city's Pacific people.
Yes, she says, it is easy to photograph the annual Polynesian Festival, and no, its not.
"I have seen people photograph it badly... not getting the emotion, not getting that delicate hand movement in the dance."
Thousands of Auckland students take part in the annual competition in March each year and while Tamua admits she never made it into the Auckland Girls Grammar team, her passion for it gives her insight others miss.
"Its like photographing a rugby game, you need to know where on the side line you need to be standing, who's got the ball... You need to be on the ball."
Polynesian festival and Pacific Auckland (published by Little Island Press) offer an intimate look into the lives of Auckland's Polynesian people.
A photographer for 13 years, she has long wanted to document her own community.
"Photos in Pacific Island families are really important, it is about recording historical information."
Everything is photographed, from weddings to funerals.
"I photograph funerals, which is a bit scary in the western culture but for us its about remember who we are and who we are related to, and it doesn't matter that they have passed on."
She doesn't see herself as been intrusive; pointedly noting she doesn't take pictures during prayers: "it's illegal".
Her new books are sparse on word.
"I am a visual person and the photograph says it all."
Her latest project is to document her family's village, Salelesi, in Upolu, east of the Samoan capital of Apia.
She is looking at the changes occurring with everybody owning DVDs and flat-screens and cars.
The village has a major role in fa'a Samoa, but the modern youth seem reluctant to get involved.
So Tamua is documenting it all and photographing them, some in the formal black and white portrait style of the 1930s-40s.
- © Fairfax NZ News
A different life for Tess
Will Yahoo ruin Tumblr?
Breaking Bad is back!
The vanilla Budget
A day of building in time-lapse video
The cookbooks that made me
Monarch magical mystery tour
Microsoft reveals Xbox One
Born Sandy Devotional
Books you should read ... in your 20s
The groom's perspective of weddings