Pacific Heartbeat

Pacific Heartbeat showcases the beauty and diversity of the Pacific Islander experience - its people, cultures and contemporary issues - through rich and artistically told stories from Polynesia, Melansia, Micronesia and Australia. The anthology series features a diverse array of programs that will draw viewers into the heart and soul of Pacific Island culture.


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About Season 12

PACIFIC HEARTBEAT, a documentary anthology series now in its twelfth season showcases the beauty and diversity of the Pacific Islander experience through rich and artistically told stories about the indigenous people, cultures and places from Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Australia.

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    Ola Hou: Journey to New York Fashion Week

    When Native Hawaiian fashion designer, Sharayah Chun-Lai receives an invitation from the world-renowned Runway 7 to showcase her brand, Ola Hou Designs, at the prestigious New York Fashion Week, she and her supportive family are tossed into a fast-paced world of planning, preparation and runway readiness to bring the spirit of the Big Island to the magic of the Big Apple.

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    Island Cowgirls

    On the northwest side of Hawai‘i island, as La‘i Bertlemann prepares to graduate from high school, she must make a difficult decision whether to stay home and continue her family tradition of land stewardship or leave. On the south side, Lani Cran Petrie is at a crossroads as she continues to plan for the future of her ranch while faced with the uncertainty of the lease of the land expiring soon.

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    Daughters of the Waves

    Although only 20, Vahine Fierro is undaunted by the Teahupo‘o wave, considered the most dangerous in the world. Vahine surfs as no other Polynesian girl has ever surfed. In Tahitian culture, riding the waves is an ancestral activity from which women had been gradually eliminated, but now surfing is open to women, just in time for the Olympics.

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    Hawai'i's Precious Resources

    Three short films that explore the delicate balance in Hawai‘i’s ecosystems, that encourage us to reflect on our relationship with the natural world and show us that even the smallest species, like Hawaiian tree snails, and ornamental trees, like the coconut, are worth saving.

Season 11

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    High Tide, Don’t Hide

    In the race for existence, striking teenagers discover that activism, authority and awareness make for a steep learning curve. Determined to provoke real action, New Zealand teenagers join the global School Strike for Climate. But planning a movement and building momentum are the easy parts as they face political indifference, their own white privilege, and the ongoing struggle to be heard.

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    James & Isey

    Genuine New Zealand treasures Isey and her son James invite viewers into their lives in the week leading up to Isey's 100th birthday and its shaping up to be quite the party. The episode captures a Northland celebration of life and aroha (love) like no other.

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    Loimata, The Sweetest Tears

    Featuring the redemptive tale of waka builder and captain Lilo Ema Siope’s final years, "Loimata, The Sweetest Tears" is a chronicle of journeys – journeys of migration, spirituality, voyaging, healing and coming home. Confronting intergenerational trauma head on, the Siope family returns to their homeland of Sâmoa.

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    The Healer Stones of Kapaemahu

    On Honolulu's famous Waikiki Beach stand four large stones that represent a Hawaiian tradition of healing and gender diversity that is all but unknown to the millions of locals and tourists passing by. According to legend, the stones are a tribute to four mahu, people of dual male and female spirit, who brought the healing arts from Tahiti to Hawaii and used their spiritual power to cure disease.

Season 10

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    The Australian Dream

    THE AUSTRALIAN DREAM unravels the remarkable and inspirational story of Indigenous AFL legend Adam Goodes to tell a deeper and more powerful story about race, identity and belonging. The film unpacks the events of the 2013-15 AFL seasons and asks fundamental questions about racism and discrimination in society today.

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    For My Father's Kingdom

    FOR MY FATHER’S KINGDOM follows Tongan pensioner Saia Mafile’o and his family as they are stretched to breaking point by the commitment and passion to God that has driven Saia’s life. This debut feature documentary offers a rich view of how contemporary secular families deal with the rigors of devout Christian tithing, as well as a unique insight into traditional Tongan culture.

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    This breathtakingly honest and brave documentary follows 26-year-old musician Stan Walker as he fights a rare cancer caused by a genetic mutation that has killed 25 members of his family. Facing his diagnosis with humor and determination, he embarks on a mission to seek aggressive treatment and convince his family members who carry the gene that they need to face their potential fate.

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    Tokyo Hula

    Today it is estimated there are nearly 2 million people dancing hula in Japan – a figure greater than the entire population of Hawai‘i. TOKYO HULA examines how tourism, economics, and a love for all things Hawaiian have fueled this cultural phenomenon by focusing on the personal stories of Japanese and Hawaiian master teachers who are now living and teaching in Japan.

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    American Aloha: Hula Beyond Hawai'i

    AMERICAN ALOHA: HULA BEYOND HAWAI’I tells the stories of three kumu hula (master instructors) who direct hula schools based in California. The film explores the challenges they face trying to perpetuate hula faithfully, from the traditional to the contemporary, as it evolves on distant shores.

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    Na Kamalei: The Men of Hula

    The role of male hula dancers has long been overshadowed by Western concepts of gender and sexuality. NA KAMALEI: THE MEN OF HULA follows a group of male dancers, who range in age from 18 to 55 years old, as they prepare to compete in the largest hula competition in the world, the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival.

About Season 9

PACIFIC HEARTBEAT is an anthology series that provides viewers with a glimpse of the real Pacific — its people, culture and contemporary issues. From revealing exposés to in-depth profiles and unexpected histories, the series features a diverse array of programs that draw viewers into the heart, mind and soul of Pacific Island culture.

  • Preview

    Anote's Ark

    The Pacific Island nation of Kiribati (population: 100,000) is one of the most remote places on the planet, seemingly far-removed from the pressures of modern life. Yet it is one of the first countries that must confront the main existential dilemma of our time: imminent annihilation from sea-level rise.

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    Power Meri

    Power Meri follows Papua New Guinea's first national women's rugby league team, the PNG Orchids, on their journey to the 2017 World Cup in Australia. These trailblazers must beat not only the sporting competition, but also intense sexism, a lack of funding, and national prejudice to reach their biggest stage yet.

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    Born This Way: Awa's Story/The Rogers

    Born This Way: Awa's Story - In New Zealand, Te Awarangi 'Awa' Puna is an openly transgender Maori teen attending her final year at Kapiti College in Wellington, New Zealand. The Rogers - An intimate glimpse into the lives of those who formed the first visible group of transgender men in the Pacific Islands - The Rogers of Samoa.

About Season 8

The eighth season of PACIFIC HEARTBEAT chronicles the Pacific Islander experience from Hawai’i to the continental USA, Tonga, Australia, Easter Island, London, England, and beyond. From revealing exposés to rousing musical performances, the series features a diverse array of programs that will draw viewers into the heart and soul of Pacific Island culture.

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    Prison Songs

    The people imprisoned in a Darwin jail are shown in a unique and completely new light in Australia’s first ever documentary musical. Incarcerated in tropical Northern Territory, over 800 inmates squeeze into the overcrowded spaces of Berrimah Prison. In an Australian first, the inmates share their feelings, faults and experiences in the most extraordinary way – through song.

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    Leitis in Waiting

    The story of Tonga’s evolving approach to gender fluidity through a character-driven portrait of the most prominent leiti (transgender) in the Kingdom, Joey Mataele, a devout Catholic of royal descent. LEITIS IN WAITING reveals what it means to be different in a deeply religious and conservative society, and what it takes to be accepted without giving up who you are.

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    Te Kuhane o te Tupuna

    TE KUHANE o te TUPUNA is a journey from Easter Island to London, in search of the Moai Hoa Haka Nanaia, a statue of significant cultural importance. The film explores the social & political landscape of Rapanui as its people attempt to claim back what is rightfully theirs: the land and a lava-rock image of tremendous presence, representing one of the world's most extraordinary cosmological views.

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    Let's Play Music! Slack Key with Cyril Pahinui & Friends

    Master slack key musician Cyril Pahinui jams with some of the most revered and talented musicians in Hawai‘i in intimate kanikapila-style backyard performances. Cyril was the son of Gabby “Pop” Pahinui, who is considered the “Godfather” of Hawaiian slack key guitar and whose music was featured prominently in the Academy Award-winning film, THE DESCENDANTS.

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