Pacific Voices VI Postgraduate Symposium
Back left to right: Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai,
Marsa Dodson, Talai Mapusua, Radilaite
Delaibatiki, Shane Siataga, Lesieli Tongati'o,
Moira Fortin, Esmay Eteuati, Vaisualua Posese-Okesene, Tupe Tagomoa-Isara, Jullian Fenny
Lilo, Fanaafi Aiono-LeTagaloa
Front left to right: Willie Lahari, Dr Mele Taumoepeau, Professor Karen Nero, Emeritus Professor Linda Holloway, Dr Teresia Teaiwa,
Dr Claire Matthewson
Three days after the tsunami hit Samoa on 29 September, the Pacific researchers preparing to gather for the sixth Otago Pacific Postgraduate Symposium decided the tragedy gave them all the more reason to continue with their event.
"Most of the presenters dedicated their presentations to the tsunami victims," explains symposium organizer Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai, who also helped to organize a devotion to the victims the day before the symposium was held.
The symposium represents an opportunity for Pacific postgraduate students and non-Pacific postgrads with an interest in Pacific topics to share their work with their peers, colleagues and supervisors from across the university. This year's event featured 15 presenters from almost as many disciplines, from economics to education, obstetrics to environmental science. Two presenters also attended from Canterbury University, along with Dr Teresia Teaiwa, the Programme Director of Pacific Studies at Victoria University of Wellington.
Nina explains that the symposium is the culmination of monthly seminars held at the Pacific Island Centre, where postgraduate students can begin by presenting their work in a more informal environment.
"One of the exciting things for me is to see how those who have completed their studies and are presenting their findings have grown in confidence over time," says Nina. "And it really shows up the beauty of Otago, because there are so many different voices from so many different subject areas here."