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Meet the researchers

Latuivai Kioa Latu and Reupena Maulolo are both PhD candidates in Theology at the University of Otago. They are assisted by Prof David Tombs, Centre for Theology and Public Issues.

About the project

This project is an outcome of University Teaching Development Grant 2021 for 'Gathering Contextual Knowledge on Pacific Life Journeys and Talanoa Pedagogy'. Using a Talanoa (open dialogue) approach it explores Malaga (journeys) as an example of what Paulo Freire calls a 'generative theme'. It shows how a Talanoa approach to Malaga can make connections between student experiences and biblical texts. It involves workshops and discussions with students plus a series of public lectures exploring topics in Moana Pasifika Theology and a day-conference. We intend to draw on learnings from the project for a new 200-300 level paper on 'Moana Pasifika Theology' to take this forward in our BTh and BA curriculum.

Project events

13 October 2021 Student Talanoa

Latuivai Kioa Latu and Otago students, 'Using Talanoa in University teaching'

14 October 2021 Student Talanoa

Reupena Maulolo and Otago students, 'Talanoa i Malaga'

21 October 2021

Latuivai Kioa Latu and Prof David Tombs, 'Working with Pasifika students in Theology', presentation at Integrating the Pacific Strategic Framework into Practice - focus on teaching and outreach.

27 October 2021

Latuivai Kioa Latu, 'I feel like, I am a 'tagata'ese'”, a 'stranger' or 'foreigner' in my own rightful spaces – University', panel presentation at 'Exploring Meaningful Engagement', University of Otago.

28 October 2021

Latuivai Kioa Latu, 'Rethinking Suli: A Re-examination of 'Inheritance' in Scriptures' presentation in Pacific Postgraduate Symposium XVIII, University of Otago.

November 2021 Moana Theology lectures

9 November 2021. Dr Jione Havea, Trinity Theological College, Auckland, 'Going native: Reading Ruth in/for Pasifika'.

16 November 2021. Rev. Prof. Mosese Ma'ilo, Piula Theological College, Samoa, 'Moana Prodigals: Encircling the Void in Luke 15:11–32 with Albert Wendt'.

23 November 2021. Dr Mercy Ah Siu-Maliko, 'Gender and Indigenous Knowledge as Lenses to Critically View a Moana Public Theology'.

30 November 2021 Moana Theology workshop

  • Dr Patrick Vakaoti, University of Otago 'Developing a Moana teaching approach at Otago'.
  • Dr Jione Havea, Tau'alofa Anga'aelangi, Mariana Waqa, and Brian Fiu Kōlia, 'Contextual Bible Readings in the Moana'.
  • Latuivai Kioa Latu, University of Otago, 'Tala-noa: Appreciating “Multicentric Dialogues” in/of the Moana'.
  • Reupena Maulolo, University of Otago, 'Malaga: Life Journeys'
  • Robert Santa Fakafu, University of Otago, 'Reflection and Response'

8 December 2021 Teaching pilot at Pacific Island Centre

A two-part workshop held at the Pacific Island Centre from 9am-12 Noon, Wednesday, 8th December and Thursday, 9th December 2021. Facilitated by Latuivai Kioa Latu.

Bible studies on the stories of Hagar and Ruth were discussed in the Talanoa. The sessions used Mercy Ah Siu-Maliko, Tatala le Ta'ui a le Atua | Rolling Out the Fine Mat of Scripture (2019) and a short video (7 mins) telling Ruth's story.

Related activities

10 March 2021

Latuivai Kioa Latu, 'O Sāmoa, o le Va'a e Tautai-lua: Dual Leadership vs Christianity – an amalgamate Culture of the Modern Samoa', Paper presented at ELM2: Pacific Health – Learning in Medicine, Medical School, University of Otago.

26 September 2021

Latuivai Kioa Latu, 'Decolonizing Pacific Islanders: Moana is my Name and Place in the World', Panelist at the Legacy of Slavery Talanoa on September – 2021, Council of World Mission Legacy of Slavery - Pacific Dimension.


Funding for this project was provided through a University Teaching Development Grant 2021 awarded by the Committee for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching, University of Otago 2021, for the project 'Gathering Contextual Knowledge on Pacific Life Journeys and Talanoa Pedagogy'.

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