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Rosie Roache image

Samoan and Rotuman student Rosie Roache moved from Manurewa, Auckland to Ōtepoti to pursue Film and Theatre studies at the University of Otago.

A Film and Theatre student wants “Pacific beauty to be celebrated and immortalised” in this year’s Dunedin Fringe Festival.

As a recent recipient of the Creative New Zealand (CNZ) Fringe Festival Pacific Grant, Rotuman and Samoan tauira Rosie Roache will showcase her photography at the Festival for the second consecutive year.

Her interactive photography exhibit, entitled ‘Brown Skin Girls’, captures Pacific complexions, beauty and movement against the backdrop of Ōtepoti.

Rosie's photography exhibition will also come to life with her Samoan, Tongan and I-Kiribati muses dancing alongside their prints at her exhibit's closing reception.

“Polynesian women are very good at dancing. There is such beauty in the dances that we come up with,” she says.

Rosie was inspired for her project after attending the CNZ conference last year, where she was in a room full of “artistic and talented brown women”.

She hopes her exhibit will highlight the relationships between 'brown skin girls'.

“It’s about how organic those relationships are, and how easy it is for brown girls to get together and start chatting like we’ve known each other forever but really, we’ve just met.”

Capturing “the beauty of candid images” is her speciality, she says.

“I look like a weirdo flashing photos with the camera, but the results are photos of people in the moment, dancing, singing, being silly.”

Food will also be a key element of her Fringe exhibit, she says.

“You’re going to be well fed at a Pacific event. Food is what brings us together.”

Rosie Roache exhibit image

A print from Rosie’s upcoming exhibition. She says she wanted her project to reflect the coming together of her Pacific community and her theatre community.

Rosie was raised in vibrant Manurewa in Auckland, which she says is “a very warm place with a lot of culture, hospitality and great food that I miss”.

“I’m going to mix Polynesian food with European food. I want people from my theatre community to get a little taste of the love that us Polynesians can give around food.”

Dunedin Fringe Festival  Co-director Kate Schrader says it is a privilege to be “putting resource in the hands of artists to realise their creative potential and develop their skills in Fringe”.

“The whole purpose of the CNZ grant that Rosie has received is to bring more perspectives into the Festival and to create space for artists who haven’t necessarily participated in the Festival in the past.

“And for audiences to see themselves reflected in the art as well. At the end of the day, that’s what we want for Fringe - we want it to be diverse and share lots of different perspectives and lots of different art forms.”

Rosie hopes to one day turn ‘Brown Skin Girls’ into a performing arts showcase that would feature an “all-brown cast from all corners of the earth” to reflect the diverse cultures she grew up with in South Auckland.

“Brown skin to me is love. In the simplest way possible, it is love,” she says.

“It is the way we show love as brown people, it’s the way we accept love, it’s the way we make food with love, the way we dance with such elegance and love.

“Love is in everything that brown people do, and I want to show that to Dunedin first, and then the world.”

Kōrero by Keilah Fox

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