Moemoana Schwenke is a Sāmoan woman from the villages of Auala and Matavai in Savai’i, and Vaoala. She is a performance artist, emerging writer and director, environmental advocate and cultural arts tutor at Matavai Pacific Cultural Arts. Her family's cultural centre Matavai promotes the positive fundamentals of Pacific cultures through dance, music, language and creative arts. Reconnecting the Australian-Pacific community with their culture and history is a key goal of Matavai, which is achieved through the passing down of traditions and art forms.
She has extensive experience with various Pacific cultural arts, travelling internationally to promote the Pacific Islands. She has participated in cultural arts festivities and competitions such as the Te Maeva Nui in the Cook Islands, World Fire-Knife Championships in Hawai’i, Heiva in Tahiti and Teuila Festival in Sāmoa. She is heralded as one of few female fire-knife performers in the world and received international acclaim for placing 1st Runner Up in the 2019 World Fire-Knife Championships. Her central focus is empowering youth to mobilise their talents to counteract the social, political, and environmental issues that affect the Pacific.
Moemoana is undertaking a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Communications and Media; majoring in Indigenous Studies, Environmental Humanities and Screen Media Production at the University of Wollongong.
Grants, awards and scholarships
- 2022 Wollongong Local Woman of the Year Award