USP launches Niu Student Magazine


The new literature and art magazine, Niu, launched today by the School of Pacific Arts, Communication and Education (SPACE) at The University of the South Pacific (USP), Laucala Campus in Suva, Fiji, aims to provide a platform for students to share their art.

The magazine – Niu – is the first student-focused magazine to be published in 20 years.

Edited by SPACE academics Tarek Wazni, a Teaching Assistant and Dr Thomas Vranken, the magazine focuses on storytelling through comics, poems, photographs, short stories and articles, contributed mainly by USP students and some staff from across the region.

The pair said they wanted to inspire students to see literature as something they could relate to and had ownership over.

“In the 1970s”, Wazni and Dr Vranken said, “USP students started this famous magazine, MANA, that produced all this incredible material that scholars still talk about today. Since MANA folded in the early 2000s, USP students haven’t had an outlet like this to publish their creative work. So, we wanted to bring that energy back”.

Wazni and Dr Vranken are trying to show students that any form of storytelling can be considered “Literature.”

However, for Tarek, publishing the first issue of Niu magazine is an achievement that began in 2019 from a conversation in a classroom setting between him and a few of his postgraduate literature students and the now Head of SPACE, Dr Mathew Hayward.

“When Dr Thomas joined USP last year, we realised we had a mutual interest in comic books. So, we got together and organised a comic book workshop that started the process of materialising what we now have as our first issue.”

Dr Vranken said, “The idea of Niu is to have students create their material, and it would be their window into literature. It would also encourage sometimes reluctant readers to the wonderful world of books”.

The first issue contains a comic about a Fijian office worker imagining himself in precolonial times, poetry about contemporary Pacific identity, gender-bending photography, yasa art, robotic coconuts, soul-trapping librarians, and even a Pacific steampunk story. Contributors hail from Fiji, Tonga, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Kiribati, and Hawai’i.

A contributor to the first issue of Niu magazine, Lily Tagici Finau, 19, said, “I was already working on my comic when I came across a post on the USP Instagram page about the comic book workshop that piqued my interest”.

Tagici, who was in Year 13 last year, has been a comic enthusiast all her life and often got into trouble for tearing pages off her exercise book to draw.

“When I heard that USP would publish some of our work, I was ecstatic because I’ve never seen or had my work published in any magazine. Seeing my work in the magazine today is a proud moment for me.”

With increasing interest from students and staff in the region, the two USP academics plan to publish the magazine bi-annually or once per semester.

As such, there are plans to host a few activities in the future that encourage active participation not only from interested contributors in Fiji but also from USP member countries across the region.

You can access the Niu magazine online using the link:


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