Pacific Dynamics: Journal Articles

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  • ItemOpen Access
    (Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, 2023) Davis, Michael
  • ItemOpen Access
    An evaluation of a generic course at a university in the Pacific Islands
    (Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, 2023) Rafiq, Loriza; Dorovolomo, Jeremy
    This study aims to evaluate a generic course at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in order to gather perceived strengths and gaps that may need addressing. A qualitative study, the evaluation was conducted via two methods. The first was through the interviews with four teaching staff of the course. The second involved an email feedback from six academics from different departments of the university. The findings of this study indicate that the course is generally perceived to be achieving its objectives, strong in promoting Pacific consciousness and has very clear and attainable learning outcomes and expectations. Moreover, the use of Pacific terms such as the vaka (canoe) and talanoa (conversation), were seen as strengths of the course. The course being delivered via a variety of mediums by an active, passionate and committed group of staff was viewed as a strength. In terms of areas that may need improvement, there were suggestions that the content and its scope, course description, and the marking rubrics could be re-examined. There was also a suggestion that there needs to be a pool of assignment tasks so that repetition semester after semester does not occur, and to reduce the level of plagiarism. In addition, there is a suggestion to have regular meetings among members of the teaching team, to listen to each other. These suggestions have implications for curriculum decisions regarding the course and its possible revision regarding content and focus, its delivery and assessment.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The gift of health : Cuban medical cooperation in Kiribati
    (Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, 2023) McLennan, Sharon; Leslie, Helen; Werle, Cristine
    Since 2006, 33 I-Kiribati students have undertaken medical education in Cuba and returned home as doctors, but little is known about how they translate the Cuban preventive model of care to medical practice in the Pacific context. The research addresses this gap through qualitative fieldwork in South Tarawa and reveals that the assimilation of Cuban-trained doctors into medical practice is complicated by challenges related to clinical skills, language and contextual knowledge. These challenges have been successfully addressed with the development of the Kiribati Internship Training Programme but a misalignment between the prevention-focussed medicine taught in Cuba, and the curative orientation of the Kiribati health system and internship programme remains a concern, and the graduates’ knowledge and experience of primary and preventative care is not yet well utilised. This paper argues that the challenge now is to ensure that the knowledge and skills gained by the Cuban graduates at all steps of this journey are utilised in order to bring better health outcomes for the people of Kiribati
  • ItemOpen Access
    Talanoa methodology in Samoa law and gender research : the case for a Samoan critical legal theory and gender methodology
    (Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, 2023) Fa’amatuainu, Bridget
    The need for more scholarly reflection on alternative ontological voices and indigenous methodology serves to deconstruct the often exclusionary or one-dimensional approach to research on gender and law. The critical review on what the most culturally competent research method to employ in research about indigenous issues, by both indigenous, and non-indigenous researchers is a recent phenomenon. Samoan perspectives in gender and law research may not always be harmonious; and this diversity carries the potential to widen the scope of methodologies that can be employed in order to engage with power relations at the intersection of indigenous voices. This article examines some of the prevailing assumptions underpinning legal and gender methodology, and why such assumptions may either be discarded or used to enrich the design of indigenous methodologies in law and gender research. This article examines the merits of a more inclusive and uniquely Samoan critical theory and gender methodology (for which there is none) underpinned by fa’asamoa principles.
  • ItemOpen Access
    My power is my culture : athletes of color in American Football
    (Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, 2023) Keung, Sierra; Enari, Dion
    The over representation of people of color in the NFL (National Football League) has resulted in their increased visibility. Many of these athletes are portrayed by their coaches, fans and the media as ‘gifted’ or ‘natural warriors’. Sadly, much of the public discourse surrounding these athletes ignores the positive affect their cultures have on their professional sporting career. This article shows how professional athletes from a migrant group have positively used their cultural values and pride in the sporting arena. It is our aim to increase awareness of the important role their cultures play in their professional success. As members of this community, who actively work in these spaces, we privilege their stories.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Storying Gender-based Violence (GBV) in Niue
    (Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, 2023) Thomas, Erin; Tukiuha, Charlene; Underhill-Sem, Yvonne; Talagi, Jamal
    The family space is a crucial and under-researched space in published research on Gender-based Violence (GBV) in Niue. The aim of this research is to examine how to work with the family space in Niue to eliminate violence in social relations in Niue and promote healthy relationships. This research applied family-tree mapping as an innovative method to access stories of GBV within families and how dynamics of disclosure, education, accountability, and gossip play out in practice. The research involved two parts: twenty-seven fact-finding interviews with thirty-two participants and fourteen family-tree mapping interviews with a woman from each village. This article shares the output of this sensitive research, as a fictionalised dialogue based on careful analysis of interviews and argues that creative writing can be a rigorous method for writing GBV research which can provide useful policy insights while preserving the privacy of research collaborators.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Talanoa he vā māfana : an indigenous Tongan approach to leadership
    (Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, 2023) Paea, Mele Katea; Manu‘atu, Linitā; Rohorua, Halahingano; Rohorua, Fred; Fa'avae, David Taufui Mikato; Paea, Sione
    Based on a study of Tongan leadership practices in the New Zealand Public Service, a question was asked as to what could be an appropriate approach to exploring leadership from a Tongan perspective. This paper discusses talanoa he vā māfana as a concept useful in developing an approach upon which to explore the ideas of leadership that are exercised by Kakai Tonga (Tongan people) across given contexts. Drawing upon Tongan language and culture, talanoa he vā māfana is unpacked through three different ways or forms of talanoa – talanoa mo e loto (talking from the heart and soul), pō talanoa (peaceful dialogue), and talatalanoa (ongoing dialogue). Talanoa he vā māfana extends beyond the existing talanoa research approach, enabling conversations that engage with and embrace the loto, heart and soul of the people. It also provides a Tongan perspective on, and new insights into qualities of meaningful leadership within non-indigenous organisations.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Colonial political economy, social policy and poverty in Fiji : 1874-1970
    (Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, 2023) Plange, Nii-K
    Recent analysis of colonial social policy and welfare locates their origin at the period just before and after the WWII. This demonstrates a historical shortsightedness and silences an earlier and racialized and binary Imperial Welfare policy with differential re-distributive structure prior to WW II, which denied services to the colonized. The concepts Metropolitan and Colonial Welfare Regimes are used to capture this binary which also valorized traditional solidarity, of the colonized, as the site for their welfare and absorption social risks. This was in spite of profits which flowed from the colonial economy to imperial coffers under the through the agency of the colonial state. This is held to have contributed to the emergence poverty in post-colonial societies. Fiji is only an example.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Indigenous Knowledge Systems role in addressing Sea Level Rise and Dried Water Source : a Fijian case study
    (Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, 2023) Raisele, Kolaia; Lagi, Rosiana
    Global responses to the climate crisis continue to focus on Western theoretical perspectives and scientific solutions but overshadow community-based responses by indigenous communities. An effective response to the climate crisis in the Pacific Islands needs the Pacific Islanders' own story and their own response systems. This study will explore the role of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) in addressing sea-level rise (SLR) and dried water sources (DWS) drawing from a case study in Vatutavui village, Fiji. Using the methods of focus group discussion and individual interviews, the study will identify how members of Vatutavui village are responding to SLR and DWS using their Indigenous knowledge and practices. The paper will then weave the findings of this study together with contemporary discourses of social ecological resilience to the climate crisis. We discovered that Indigenous Knowledge System (IKS) continue to cement their significance in Indigenous Fijian villages, and it is a foundational response to the climate crisis. Placing emphasis on IKS in addressing the climate crisis in Vatutavui had positive ecological and social cultural implications.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Beyond bouncing back : a framework for tourism resilience building in the Pacific
    (Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, 2023) Movono, Apisalome; Scheyvens, Regina; Ratuva, Steven
    This paper argues that although Covid-19 has had problematic consequences, it must spur a selfdetermined and collective approach to resilience - beyond merely bouncing back to the way things were. It touches on how tourism development and its disruption by Covid-19 can inspire action that enables resilience building to withstand future shocks. The Tourism Resilience Framework is proposed, as offering a Pacific-centred approach that can guide a cohesive multi-stakeholder model grounded in action research. More importantly, this paper accords power and agency to local stakeholders, supporting the notion that resilience building must be part of a self-determined and inclusive process if tourism is to be reimagined sustainably.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) production in Fiji : challenges and opportunities for smallholder potato growers in Fiji
    (Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, 2023) Vurebe, Atama; Leweniqila, Ilisoni; Tuivanualevu, Tetalo
    In terms of food consumption, potato is ranked the third most important crop on which many in developing countries depend. The popularity of potatoes in local diets in Fiji has tremendously increased since its introduction in the 1860s by European settlers. Developing the potato industry in Fiji was mainly driven by an increase in local consumption and import reduction. There are increased efforts by the government and various stakeholders to improve potato production, but supply has not been stable to meet the local demand. For this reason, Fiji continues to import potatoes in large quantities and supply them to local markets more efficiently. This paper explores the challenges faced by the potato industry and future opportunities for the socio-economic viability of smallholder potato production in Fiji. A qualitative research approach was used, underpinned by the talanoa methodology of research within the Fijian Vanua Research Framework. Talanoa sessions were conducted with growers and other relevant stakeholders in the major potatogrowing areas in Fiji.
  • ItemOpen Access
    “Sa vosa na Vanua” - The Land Speaks. Indigenous Agriculture Knowledge (IAK) : the philosophy of life values and epistemology, and relationship to kumala production in Ra
    (Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, 2023) Leweniqila, Ilisoni; Roskruge, Nicholas
    Subsistence agriculture is the primary means of production for food for most I-Taukei or indigenous Fijian farmers. Indigenous Agriculture knowledge (IAK) is the local knowledge adopted by indigenous people largely dependent on traditional knowledge, common in the agricultural system to preserve the ecosystem, biodiversity, and maintain sustainable food and well-being. The purpose of this research was to build an understanding of how Indigenous Agricultural (or traditional) Knowledge (IK) can contribute to achieving Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) in Fijian farming systems, with a particular focus on its relevance to kumala (sweet potato - Ipomoea batatas) farming in Ra province in Fiji. The implementation of the Fijian Vanua Research Framework FVRF in this research has paid specific attention to indigenous Fijian society in an agricultural context aligned to future food security issues. This research sought a solidarity approach for the rural areas in Fiji, using their systems of knowledge and understandings as the basis for inquiry and investigation. This opens the possibilities of extending the knowledge base of indigenous people and transforming their understanding of the social-cultural world like solesolevaki, which is our current cultural currency. The findings of this research show the cultural role of kumala production in the traditional Fijian context, assessed under four components; values and beliefs, practices, skills, and knowledge. Indigenous Agriculture Knowledge (IAK) exists across all facets of the Fijian way of life, including health, spiritual beliefs, and environmental survival.
  • ItemOpen Access
    GEF in the Pacific Islands : pathways to incorporate monitoring, ecosystem theory, and stewardship
    (Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, 2023) Metherall, Nicholas; Veitayaki, Joeli; Waqa-Sakiti, Hilda; Beavis, Sara; Qamese, Semi; Holland, Elisabeth Ann
    This study sheds light on the evolution of the work of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in financing biodiversity and climate adaptation and mitigation in the Pacific. This evolution includes how the growing role of ecosystems theory and environmental monitoring has been applied in the Pacific. This has included a shifting focus from separate coastal and highlands programs towards more integrated monitoring of watersheds from ridge-to-reef. This has also correlated with increasing resourcing through GEF Phases one to eight. Through the example of the work of Veitayaki (2004-2021), the concept of Islands and Ocean Stewardship on Gau Island, Fiji is analysed as a prototype for building future uptake of participatory co-design of monitoring and conservation interventions. This participatory approach can help to address some of the concerns relating to the GEF as a contributor to top-down power dynamics commonly linked to the other Bretton Woods Institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (Garcia, 2007; Buira, 2005). The methods employed for this research include: 1) a critical review of the scientific literature and programmatic reporting of GEF support in the Pacific; 2) a review of the financial reports of the GEF across phases one to eight; and, 3) an interdisciplinary analysis of Islands and Oceans Stewardship using the case study of Gau Island. This analysis includes a GIS mapping and land cover classification, as well as semi-structured interviews and qualitative insights from local stakeholders. The results of the study highlight the increasing importance of the role of integrated environmental monitoring that considers ecosystem theory and connectivity between oceans and islands. This connectivity is augmented within islands composed of river catchments where surface-groundwater flows connect oceans and islands in close proximity. A clear example of this is demonstrated in Gau Island. The case study of Islands and Oceans Stewardship also identifies a way forward for co-design of monitoring and conservation interventions, with greater opportunities for long-term spatio-temporal coverage in environmental monitoring. In doing so, the study examines the interdisciplinary confluence of oceans and islands stewardship, ecosystems theory, and hydrological connectivity, and how this has been mirrored by the evolution of GEF biodiversity and climate financing mechanisms. The review also highlights the potential for GEF to optimise climate change and biodiversity outcomes by supporting oceans and islands stewardship initiatives. These recommendations are visualised in a flow chart roadmap which covers the steps for how Islands and Ocean Stewardship can be applied based on the examples of research, conservation, and restoration work of Pacific communities, scholars and practitioners.
  • ItemOpen Access
    (Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, 2023) Davis, Michael
    At the heart of this issue of Pacific Dynamics are themes around the critical intersections between power, authority, leadership, and the dynamics of culture, embracing Pacific knowledges and epistemologies. The papers range widely in specific subject matter, but find common ground in these themes. Whether the focus is on health systems, sport, gender and sexuality, education and training, food crops and climate change, or on culture, community and Indigenous philosophy and methodology, the papers all in different ways speak to these key themes. Many of the papers demonstrate the ways in which qualitative and quantitative field-based research engaging with Pacific methodologies can be successfully deployed for a wide range of projects.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Reporting legislation of child sexual abuse in the Pacific – a review
    (Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, 2022) Naduva, Adriu
    The global concern with Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is afflicting the countries in the Pacific, with some countries being affected more than others. Pacific countries are trying to deal with the issue through various means, including the reporting legislation amongst the public, mandated professions, or both. This review analyses reporting laws in thirteen Pacific countries – Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Differences were found for the following – the presence of reporting laws specific for children; whether the reporting system is mandatory, voluntary or both; type of professions who are mandated to report; penalties and protection incurred by reporters; the reporting decision and process; and how CSA is defined. The review also noted that reporting legislature in Pacific countries did not match specific needs and challenges of the island countries, and it failed to consider local social and cultural differences that affect reporting.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Are we losing the battle: Fiji’s efforts against illicit drugs
    (Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, 2022) Gounder, Sandhiya
    Illicit drugs have become a growing cause of concern in Fiji. This paper seeks to discuss the illicit drug related events and issues in Fiji. Despite diverse sentiments both negative and positive shared on the cultivation and use of illegal drugs, empowerment training, wellbeing seminars, discussions and campaigns being promoted, illicit drugs production, consumption and trade have become part of life for Fijians. To explore this reality, the paper adopts a qualitative research design in the form of media analysis of Fiji’s two main daily newspapers; The Fiji Times and The Fiji Sun. The analysis draws on news stories in the two newspapers between June 2020 and May 2021. Findings provide insights into the environmental, social, political, judicial and technical factors that are preventing Fiji from eradicating or lowering illicit drugs production, consumption and trade. Commitment from the wider Fijian society including NGOs, civil society, development and technical partners and the community with the Fiji Police Force is required to successfully combat the illicit drug problems.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The revitalised Fonofale as a research paradigm: A perspective on Pacific sexuality and reproduction research
    (Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, 2022) Young, Cameron D.; Bird, Rebecca J.; Hohmann-Marriott, Bryndl E.; Girling, Jane E.; Taumoepeau, Mele M.
    Research into Pacific peoples’ sexuality and reproduction is often complex and conflicts with social tapu. Historically, Pacific sexuality and reproduction research had been approached using a deficits-based lens with minimal congruence of Pacific cultural values. We offer a revitalised Fonofale model (Pulotu-Endemann, 1995) as a research paradigm that centres tapu in all considerations and decisions surrounding the research. This revitalised model offers a strengths-based approach that can promote valuable collection of, and meaningful engagement with data. We offer a case study which utilised this research paradigm as an overarching strategy. Te Tīpani Project was a mixed methods investigation into eighty-two Pacific tertiary students’ understandings of sexuality and reproduction. Pacific research methods and methodologies, including the Kakala model and Talanoa method supported the integration of the paradigm into components of the study. We encourage researchers to utilise this strategy to fulfil their research obligations, as facilitators and guardians (mana tiaki) of the research environment. Pacific research methods, methodologies and epistemologies hold an important place in the field of sensitive Pacific well-being research by enabling cultural consideration and responsiveness.
  • ItemOpen Access
    If exam scripts could talk: Insights for literacy teaching and assessment in Oceania
    (Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, 2022) Toumu’a, Ruth; ‘Otunuku, Mo’ale
    Each year, students in Pacific nations sit high-stakes national and regional examinations of English, their second or other language. The results often determine their secondary schooling choices and trajectories. This paper argues that repeated uninterrupted enactment of these forms of summative language assessment, and a preoccupation with final scores and ranking in Pacific nations including Tonga, has resulted in an imbalance between the dual ‘educational accountability’ and ‘instructional enhancement’ functions of assessment. This current imbalance obscures the powerful formative potential of these assessments, and masks the wealth of information within the scripts themselves for informing pedagogical practice. Failing to ‘listen to’ what scripts can tell us potentially robs education systems, children, teachers, teacher educators and education policymakers of vital real-time feedback for continual responsive improvement and innovation in teaching, learning, and assessment. To address the imbalance, we argue for the value of a multi-disciplinary approach which mines examination scripts for their insights into instructional and assessment improvement. Two small-scale studies are presented as examples of this. Item analysis and error analysis of student answers in a past Tonga Secondary School Entrance Examination (SEE) Class 6 English examination have revealed multiple insights into the nature of test items and test construction as well as students’ productive language abilities and strategies in English as a second language (ESL). The findings from these studies point clearly to the need for continued capacity building in assessment literacy, and the value of placing a solid understanding of the child’s first language and culture at the heart of effective teaching, learning, and assessment of English as a second language.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Talanoa – Pasifika and Beyond
    (Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, 2022) Maniam, Regina
    In this paper I discuss how the values, beliefs, and processes of talanoa contribute to wholesome research. I used to think that my PhD journey should not have been this difficult. There were times when I had difficulties in supporting my intuitive thoughts. I concluded that this was my lack of academic skills, but now I recognize that those intuitive thoughts are aligned to indigenous worldviews. I realized that I was not the only one who faced this problem when I mentored Pasifika DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) students. In my perception, the lack of access to indigenous methodologies knowledge and a collaboration space made it difficult for students to engage their culture and tradition within their research proposal. I then understood the tension that I had felt when my own values conflicted with the mainstream methodologies I was expected to use in my research. As deadlines approached, it was safer for me to go with the prevalent acceptable research standards as there was neither time, nor an appropriate collaboration space, to think through such conflicts. In subsequently studying indigenous methodologies as an alternative approach to mainstream thinking, I found that talanoa with its underlying values and beliefs bridged the conflicts that I had felt. Talanoa reflected my reciprocal conversations during my interviews with the research participants, but I realised that the discussions lacked co-constructing research outcomes. I feel that just contemplating underlying talanoa values such as respect, reciprocity, collective responsibility, humility, love/charity, service, and spirituality form a basis for valuable conversations. In contrast, I find research interviews to be more process oriented with little contemplation to values attached.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Navigating Fiji’s higher education landscape with indigenous research methodologies
    (Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, 2022) Kwan, Charmaine; Anderson, Vivienne
    My doctoral study explored the development of the Fiji higher education sector following the 2006 coup, from 2007 to 2017, and the challenges faced by the sector during this time. The study involved interviews with government officials and higher education stakeholders, alongside analysis of key policy texts. As a Fijian researcher doing potentially sensitive research, I was acutely aware of the need to conduct the study in a way that was robust, but beneficial to Fiji and Fijians. I was also aware of my status as a Fijian (and former government employee) who was bonded to return ‘home’. In this paper, I describe my study context, and the considerations that led me to draw on the Fijian Vanua Research Framework as an ethical and methodological guide for my research. I describe how I applied the Fijian Vanua Research Framework at each stage of my study, and conclude with some reflections on research, reciprocity and research ethics in politically sensitive contexts.