Vaka Pasifiki Education Conference provides an opportunity for the sharing of ideas, presentation of research and best practice, and discussion of issues relevant to teacher education, educational policy and practice, and teaching and learning in Oceania. This year’s events mark 20 years of the Re-thinking Pacific Education by Pacific Peoples for Pacific Peoples (RPEI/RPEIPP), an innovative development strategy which was initiated in 2001 by key Pacific educators (Konai Helu Thaman, ‘Ana Taufe’ulungaki, Tili Afamasaga, John Niroa, Hilda Heine, Kabini Sanga, Kelly Kalolo, Unaisi Nabobo-Baba, Teweiariki Teaero, Ina Herman, Priscilla Puamau, Emery Wenty, and a number of other Pacific educators) and supported with an NZAID grant.
The Vaka Pasifiki Education Conference (VPEC) was first devised from a symposium in December 2011 at The University of the South Pacific’s Laucala Campus, Suva, Fiji. This one-day symposium was organized as one of the activities marking “a decade of re-thinking Pacific education” through the Re-thinking Pacific Education Initiative for and by Pacific Peoples (RPEIPP). Specifically, the symposium was aimed at contributing towards nurturing a new generation of indigenous Pacific leader-scholars. It was a seed-sewing event, with the hope that over the next decade, a new generation of scholars would learn and mature as Pacific leader-scholars.
In this meeting the issue of Pacific scholars and academic publications was discussed. It was obvious that there was a need for a regular academic gathering to happen where academic papers could be presented and published. IoE came away from the first symposium with renewed determination to make VPEC a regular event and to create publication opportunities for its participants.