Stories & articles of our work & our people
Lisa Taouma is a familiar face in the Pacific Arts circle. Her early days as a presenter and producer for Tagata Pasifika nurtured her passion in telling Pacific stories to Pacific audiences and in 2014, her and talented actor husband Mario Gaoa, launched Coconet TV. The rest as they say is history.
Her production company Tiki Lounge Productions Limited produces Coconet TV, an online platform together with Fresh TV (for television audiences) and with 120,000 monthly viewers worldwide every month, it’s fair to say that Lisa and her team are leaders when it comes to providing entertaining and informative Pacific content for all ages.
“Our clients are the global Pacific audience,” says Lisa. “The feedback is a chorus of appreciation for content that speaks directly to the Pacific diaspora.”
Driven by the lack of brown faces on mainstream television, Lisa has helped changed this course - even if it took two decades to do so.
“I got sick of seeing a sea of whiteness on the telly, except for a tapa tablecloth on Shortland Street. We have worked for over 20 years to get brown faces and stories on screen.
“Our vision has always been to tell Pacific stories without having the filter of mainstream.”
Her programmes have featured a ton of famous Pacific faces from Fifth Harmony’s Dinah Jane Hansen to All Black Sonny Bill Williams, providing inspiration for younger Pacific viewers.
Being given less than favourable time slots for Fresh TV by mainstream broadcasting networks was one challenge. But the social media revolution meant that she could create a online hub instead (Coconet TV) to combat the red tape put up by TV broadcasters. An online hub that could be accessed by Pacific people worldwide at any time.
Finding finances to make the actual content was another challenge.
“We face constant funding hurdles to make content and we have had many people give their passion love and time.
“Our biggest challenge is that we can’t get enough production people on board but we have had a rapid expansion this year and we’ll need more creatives coming through the sector to bring on our team.”
The respected Pacific community figure whose Samoan villages are Faleasi'u and Poutasi, offers advice to those thinking of starting up business:
“Always get great accountants to take care of the back end so you can concentrate on your core business outcomes. Invest in the best people to make up a cohesive team and treat this team like aiga otherwise what’s it all for?”
She encourages those wanting to head into the creative arts areas.
“Pacific people are some of the best storytellers in the world. We need to develop our creative currency in the arts and digital storytelling sectors. It’s one of the few areas where we're not in deficit.”
THE COCONET TV [TIKILOUNGE PRODUCTIONS] - Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
Location: Gold Star Building, 1st Floor, Matafele, Apia
Phone: +64 9 815 6476
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