This documentary film is a result of multi-sited ethnographic research between 2015-2019, which explores cultural identity, gender, music, and spirituality through contemporary and common kava practices. Drawing from over 17 years of participation in kava communities, this film is grounded in Tongan experiences, while also including a mobile and expanding Moana/Wansolwara/Oceanic perspective with contributions from Fijians, Sāmoans, Māori, and more. The knowledge holders in this film span across four territories, including Te Ika a Māui in Aotearoa, Utah (US) on Turtle Island, The Kingdom of Tonga, and Kamberra, Australia. They share a complex web of experiences, purpose, and tensions within the contemporary practices of common kava gatherings known in Tongan as faikava. Contemporary kava gatherings are spaces to release the pressures of modern life, nurture ancestral and social relationships, reveal truths, build community, produce and transmit knowledge, negotiate identity, heal, and foster positive well-being through comradery and openness. This film cannot cover all of the complexity of kava culture, yet attempts to be a meaningful introduction to the dynamic practices that are alive and expanding throughout the world.
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