1. What is the purpose behind KavaX?
KavaX really formed out of the Talanoa Tuesday sessions that we started just before all of the Covid-19 stuff. It continued during Covid-19 too, just online. Talanoa Tuesday had a focus on business and personal development for the most part. I got busy with some things and Talanoa Tuesday had to be put on hold, but it has now re-emerged as KavaX.
We currently hold once a month KavaX events on Monday nights to provide a platform for celebrating and empowering Pacific voices, cultivating a safe vā for different perspectives and building community. It is a platform where we can talanoa honestly about things everyone talks about BUT does not talk about at the same time.
So far, we have covered topics such as intergenerational trauma and concepts of masculinity in the Pacific.
2. What part does kava and kava drinking play with KavaX?
The use of kava in our talanoa sessions is an integral part of what we do. This is not only because the KavaX talanoa session take place in Four Shells Kava Lounge here in Auckland, but because when people have kava they generally feel more relaxed and open to talking about issues that might make them feel uncomfortable otherwise. For many people who attend our sessions, kava is a very new thing. They know what it is of course but may not have interacted with it. The perception of kava is often that it’s just a bunch of old men drinking it in a garage, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With KavaX we are using kava with younger people to provide a safe space that is very different from alcohol spaces, and where we can use kava for something positive.
3. Who are the founding members?
Myself (Tongan), Malcolm Andrews (Fijian/ Solomon Islands), and Louina Fifita (Tongan). We all share a common vision in terms of the KavaX goals and where we want it to go.
4. What is the overall goal of KavaX for the future?
We want to push the boundaries on simply talking about topics that affect the Pacific community but are often taboo. Not only that, but we want to feature monthly guests that are influential and who can tell interesting stories, or talk about experiences that they have had in an open way. We also want to showcase people in our community that are involved in academic research or in job roles that could inspire others.
We hope to grow KavaX beyond the monthly sessions that are currenly being held at Four Shells. At the moment we are letting it grow organically, but it’s something that could eventually extend to livestream events, podcasts, youtube channel, who knows! We are really letting the direction of KavaX be influenced by those who attend our sessions. If there is a demand, then we will expand as necessary.
5. How can those who are interested connect with KavaX to get updates etc?
At the moment those who are interested can follow us on Instagram @kava__x (that’s with two underscores), or people could reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org