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Beyond the game: Moana Vā Collective's impactful participation in the Rainbow Games
Updates / Community , 23 Apr 24
Moana Vā are a collective who were established to identify and address the needs for Pacific Rainbow+, LGBTQIA+, MVPFAFF+ communities in the Canterbury Region. With a foundation of values such as collectivism, alofa (love) and aiga (family), the organisation aims to uplift and advocate for Rainbow+ communities. Earlier this month they entered a netball team in the inaugural Rainbow Games, with support from Pasifika Futures (PFL) through their Sports Strategy.

The 2024 Rainbow Games held in Auckland is a fully-inclusive multi-sport tournament for LGBTQIA+ and allies. Through this tournament, 650 participants from 21 countries competed across twelve different sports. Operations Coordinator for Moana Vā, Lana Shields, says this was a first for the collective branching out to sports.  

"The sports scene was an untapped area for us. We did a lot of fundraising leading up to the tournament and it brought a lot of us closer together. Pasifika Futures' support was a massive boost towards our campaign and we're very grateful."

Moana Vā were one of only four organisations and collectives representing Pacific and Māori at the tournament. Coach, Lana Afu, expresses that the representation of the Rainbow+ Pacific community helped put them on the map. 

"We were the people's vibe and we brought happiness. Moana Vā is just going to get bigger and better from here. We had so much fun and look forward to the next games."

Being based in Canterbury where there is a smaller population of Pacific and Māori, Moana Vā is continuously evolving in both numbers and a glowing reputation. Shields reiterates the importance of working together to build a stronger community. 

"It was about a year's worth of preparations for the Rainbow Games and we had a lot of members and allies join in and participate, including people who were not previous members of Moana Vā.  

"This allowed new members of the community to join which led to a positive mentality of people feeling included and a sense of belonging because they could play a sport where they did not have to worry about defining their gender."

Chair and Founder of Moana Vā, Vui Suli Tuitaupe says they were striving for a sense of collectivism and inclusion. 

“Yes we were going for netball, but we were really going for each other. It was life changing for some. We always have to navigate challenges in our lives in order to be our true selves. 

"Moana Vā is a welcoming platform for everyone so that our chosen family can have a safe space; we bring everyone in for the ride and journey. We really enjoyed the Rainbow Games together with that village concept in our values as Moana Vā."  

Learn more about the Moana Vā collective by visiting their website here. 

Photos from Moana Vā and Rainbow Games.