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Hip Hop Artist Poetik opens retail shop promoting music and connection to island roots

Mary Afemata

Hip-hop venture: Poetik touch to Avondale creative outlet

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

There’s something Poetik about a new creative space in Avondale.

Big Village is more than a retail shop. Co-founder and Kiwi Samoan hip-hop artist Ventry “Poetik” Parker says it’s also a space for indigenous creatives to be heard.

The West Auckland shop opened on Saturday with balloons, music, free food, and a village of supporters coming to check out the merchandise for sale, including a one-off custom print to commemorate the opening.

Poetik and his best friend and business partner, Bass Tauiliili have been looking forward to this for some time.

“This is the next phase for us. It took a while to get here. It’s a bit of a struggle to be here right now. But we’re taking it all as it comes and learning as we go.

“We want to see more of our community in the music industry, work together, collaborate together, help each other out.”

The shop sells Poetik merchandise, CDs and books.

It’s not all about the music - Poetik would love to sell coconuts.

“That’s the dream.

”He welcomes other artists who want to collaborate at Big Village.

“This is just another avenue.”

He has also recorded the first episode of podcast The Village Council in the shop.

“The podcast is a place where we can come and say what we want, how we want to say it, be ourselves, and be free because I feel like it, even though we’re out here walking about free, we’re not always free.”

He also wants to support the next generation of artists.

“I wanna make sure that the next guys come through, they can carry the flag, the torch, everything a lot more smoother and get further along.”

Rizván “Rizzy” Tu’itahi, a Tongan-born rapper from the North Shore, was at the shop opening.

He is also a youth worker and has been part of the NZ hip-hop music scene for the past 20 years.

Rizzy has seen Poetik and Bass hustle at the markets with their merchandise and music.

“It’s a big achievement and just for them to anchor themselves somewhere.

“Now they’ve got a home base and a headquarters… I think it’s important to, just like any entity, you gotta find your identity and ground yourself. And this is it,” Rizzy says.

“What’s unique about Big Village is that the shop is out West.

“I feel like there haven’t been a lot of hubs or bases for Pacifika hip hop or Pacifika music compared to South and South has always been strong. And so this is something new that I feel is, is becoming established out here.”

Rizzy says the Big Village boys have a strong connection back to the motherland.

“This connection directly to Samoa with the whole 685 concept, with the whole village concept, is really strong.”

685 is the postcode for Samoa and is the brand of Poetik’s merchandise.

There are other area codes represented for the islands such as 682 (Cook Islands), 679 (Fiji) and 676 for Tonga.

“I think our young Pasifika are yearning for that. They’re like, craving for connection to the motherland, to home, to their roots.  And if it’s not through their village elders or their family, it’s through the music.”

Hero Image: Ventry “Poetik” Parker and his business partner Bass Tauiliili have opened a West Auckland venture.Photo / Angelo Toalepai

Image Podcast: The Village Council Podcast is recorded in Avondale. From left: Poetik (Ventry Parker), Melodownz (Bronson Price), Bass685 (Bass Tauiliili) and Tenelle.

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