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performance

CURVE BALL

The Jaackers performing at the FAFSWAG Body Vogue Ball, Family Downunder, Auckland, August 20, 2016. Photo: Jermaine Dean.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND’S largest city, has long instrumentalized Pacific people as a way to demonstrate its cosmopolitanism and diversity. It trades heavily on its status as one of the world’s biggest Polynesian metropolises (boasting a Pacific population of some two hundred thousand, almost 15 percent of Auckland’s total inhabitants); the city’s self-promotional efforts routinely foreground Pacific culture, artists, and, most of all, sportspeople—billboards advertising local rugby matches and underwear alike feature muscular brown men as a kind of shorthand for erotically charged athleticism. In recent years, though, Auckland has become one of the least affordable urban centers in the world, and this has had an enormously disproportionate effect on blue-collar Pacific communities. For FAFSWAG (a combination of swag and fa’afafine, the Samoan cultural term for their third

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