Saluting and Professing Pasifika



This video    salutes the life work of the late Professor 'Epeli Hau'ofa, Tongan and Pacific visionary and friend, in a seminar at the Oceanic Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies which he founded, on the occasion of this year's  50th anniversary of the University of the South Pacific. 

The 'Seminar on the Sea of Islands' could not have come at a better time for this blog because it adds support to my final comments in yesterday's post on free speech and hate speech when I asked if free speech was a Western-perceived concept always applicable to non-Western societies. I asked if 'one size fit all'. The Oceania Centre speakers were not talking about free speech. Some have been most critical of the Bainimarama government in this regard but they would probably agree with me on the unacceptability of unfettered free speech in the context  of most Pacific cultural protocols and village situations. 

'Epeli was concerned most of all with redressing the damage done by the often subtle attacks by Westerners on Pacific Islanders' identity, even though some were undoubtedly well meaning. He was concerned about their assumptions of Pacific cultural inferiority, and the 'colonial cringing' response of many Pasifika. I am indebted to him (and his late wife Barbara) for their practical help, kindness and teaching by example on Pacific mores.

Speakers included Centre Director Frances Koya-Vaka'uta, my friends and former colleagues Dr Claire Slatter, professors Konai Helu Thaman, Eric Waddell and Vijay Naidu -- and 'Epeli on a video made at USP's 25th anniversary. They were introduced by former well knownStudies columnist and educator Seona Smiles

It is a long video, over an hour. I hope you'll find time to put your feet up and listen, if not today, on some evening soon. You will not be disappointed. 


N.B. Click on the words 'video' in the opening paragraph to listen and on 'Oceanic Centre ...'  to learn more about the Centre.  

Two books worth reading are A New Oceania: Rediscovering Our Sea of Islands edited by 'Epeli, 1993, School of Social and Economic Development, USP, and The Margin Fades: Geographical Itineraries in a World of Islands, co-edited by Eric, 1993, Institute of Pacific Studies, USP.  

The Speakers







From top left:Dr Frances Koya-Vaka'uta. Seona Smiles, Prof Konai Helu Thaman, Prof Vijay Naidu, Dr Claire Slatter 
@CrozWalsh #FreeSpeech # usp @KonaiThaman



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