Tep Tok : Our Lines Connect Us

Tep Tok : Our Lines Connect Us will be the second Tep Tok (Tap Talk) documentary by @juliamageau of Sunameke Productions. A documentary that will be told in three parts following the skin marking stories of Melanesian women living in New Zealand and Australia with Papua New Guinea and Fiji heritage. The documentary will share the conversations around revival and transmission of knowledge from the perspectives of First Peoples Revivalists from Papua New Guinea, India, Philippines, Borneo, Taiwan, Inuit, Hawai’i and Aotearoa, New Zealand.

The sequel, Tep Tok : Our Lines Connect Us will share the stories of four Melanesian women:
Ranu was one of the featured women from the first Tep Tok from Gabagaba Village in Motu, Central province, PNG. This sequel will share her and her three daughters journey since the first Tep Tok.
Vasa a young woman of Papua New Guinean, Samoan and Australian heritage picking up the hand tapping tools and wearing the marks of her Mekeo Bubu (Grandmother) as a descendant of the missionaries that stopped the last woman being marked in Ranu’s village in PNG.
Ema and Emmaline of Fijian heritage share their transitions in life, wearing full veiqia. The two ladies share their physical awakenings of an old practice and how it is relevant to their everyday lives in New Zealand.

  • Julia Mage'au Gray
    Tep Tok : Reading Between Our Lines
  • Ranu James
    Key Cast
    Tep Tok : Reading Between Our Lines
  • Salevasa Gray
    Key Cast
  • Ema Tavola
    Key Cast
  • Emmaline Martin-Pickering
    Key Cast
  • David Bridie
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    50 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    August 1, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    69,320 NZD
  • Country of Origin:
    New Zealand
  • Country of Filming:
    Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Julia Mage'au Gray


Julia Mage'au Gray is a dancer, choreographer, skin marker (tattooist), photographer and film-maker who is interested in exploring her Papuan and Mekeo heritage within an urban Australian and New Zealand context. Her performances frequently combine dance with evocative video narratives. Now based in Auckland, Gray co-founded the performance group Sunameke in 1997. Dress or adornment, including the marking of the body with tatu (tattoo), is often of particular significance in her performances and films.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Myself as a skin marker and film maker, this sequel is an avenue to author the story of the people we mark and meet on our journey through the work of Melanesian Marks.

Travelling, filming and editing Tep Tok : Reading Between Our Lines from 2012 to 2015 was a defining period of time that transformed myself from a dancer and visual artist to then picking up the tools and learning to mark skin.

The first documentary 'Tep Tok : Reading Between Our Lines' and its sequel 'Tep Tok : Our Lines Connect Us' are not the typical traditional or cinematic documentary but a complex and layered puzzle piecing of many voices from the stories shared with myself and my family. It is an avenue to author our stories from my personal Papua New Guinea Australian womans perspective.