About the Vaka Pasifiki Education Conference

The Vaka Pasifiki Education Conference (VPEC) is normally a biennial conference organised by the Institute of Education (IOE), The University of the South Pacific (USP) in partnership with the host country from one of the USP twelve member countries. VPEC is the outcome of the Pacific Education and Research Foundation (PERF) that was established under the Rethinking Pacific Education Initiative for and by Pacific Peoples (RPEIPP) as a professional consortium for advocacy, mentorship and support for context-embedded educational research in the Pacific.

Entertainment group at the VPEC 2016, Honiara, Solomon Islands

What is Vaka Pasifiki?

Vaka Pasifiki has both literal and richly metaphorical meanings. In a number of Pacific languages vaka or waka is literally understood as a means of transport, and most commonly refers to ocean-going sail boats and canoes. Pasifiki is a transliteration of the English word Pacific in a distinctly Pacific form, and refers collectively to the island dwelling Oceanic peoples.

Metaphorically, Vaka Pasifiki captures the essence of a vessel for, and of, our Pacific people. Vaka Pasifiki is inclusive of the many and diverse cultures of those who carry an educational vision forward; the means by which they carry it and are carried by it; and the reason it is done.

The destination of Vaka Pasifiki is, as yet, uncharted. It is dependent on the clarity of the collective visioning of Pasifiki people, who alone can define and navigate to a destination which is sustainable, and in which Pasifiki flourish, are assured, and can forge new Oceanic paradigms.

Vaka Pasifiki must be open, and able to see and utilise the navigational wisdoms of its people. It must “ride low, close to Oceania: so that we feel the currents”, and strive to be ever responsive to the hopes and aspirations of Pacific peoples, serving them with humility, respect and courage.

Vaka Pasifiki, therefore, is an educational movement, supported by “ordinary people with extra-ordinary dreams!” It is the initial name for the emerging Indigenous Pacific Research School of Thought. We invite you to journey with us. (With thanks to Johansson-Fua, 2009)

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