My name is Alexa Shaw. I am a Kapiti Coast based photographer and artist. I am working on this project, Takai - A portrait of Niue with Niue born illustrator/animator Maka Makatoa.
After university, I moved to Niue to pursue a project of documenting life in a small Pacific community. This was the start of my love affair with an amazing little island and it's generous, welcoming community. It was then that I first saw this publication 'The Millennium Project', a collection of portraits of most of the people in Niue in November 2002. Since then, I have wanted to update it. Now is my opportunity!
Since leaving Niue in late '07, I have returned a few times to contribute artistically at the biannual Niue Arts and Culture Festival. The most recent occasion was in 2013 where i produced two big murals in the capital, Alofi. It was at this last festival that I met Maka, who was there to host animation workshops. This trip to Niue was Maka's first in 30 years, and an opportunity for him to reconnect with his homeland. It was there that he conceived the idea of drawing portraits of all the children in Niue.
With me looking at updating 'The Millennium Project' with photographs, and Maka interested in drawing all the children, combining our ideas feels like a natural collaboration. This year Niue are celebrating 40 years of independence, the timing of producing a collection of images of everyone in Niue seems apt.
Join us on our journey to Niue to create this exciting 'photo album' for a place that both of us hold close to our hearts.