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Australian Pasifika Educators Conference 

Friday 3 December, 2021

APEN was incredibly proud to have been deliver the inaugural Pasifika Educators Conference Australia (PECA).


Major thanks go to the Pasifika programs at the University of Technology Sydney and Western Sydney University, whose co-sponsorship and event management helped deliver such a successful event.​

The conference brought together Pasifika staff, practitioners, and representatives from Australia's Secondary, Tertiary, and Vocational education and training sectors to strengthen, support, and advance educational opportunities, achievements, and outcomes for Pasifika communities.

In 2021, PATHE at Western Sydney University and the UTS Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion co-hosted an online conference to engage Pasifika educators in Australia.

The conference enabled delegates to:

  • share innovative, effective, and culturally responsive best practices in education for Pacific learners 

  • create and sustain professional connections, networks and development opportunities

  • establish an Australian collective to dialogue, advocate and design a blueprint for action to address Pasifika educational outcomes in Australia

Over 180 educators tuned in from Australia, New Zealand and neighbouring Pacific Island countries, representing education in all forms, early childhood education, tertiary institutions, community organisations and government departments. The overwhelmingly positive feedback demonstrated a massive gap in these discussion forums.

We asked conference participants to imagine a future where their stories and experiences of excitement and fulfillment were the norms and what factors need to change for us to get there.

Keynote speakers

Professor Jioji Ravulo

Innovating, engaging, and strengthening Pasifika Achievement

Exploring the central themes of the conference and the importance for Pasifika educators to proactively utilise these key principles in promoting Pasifika achievement. This includes deconstructing, decolonising, demonstrating and developing our space and place across educational landscapes within Australia and beyond.

Dr. Maryanne Pale

Navigating the Vā in Education Research with Pasifika students in Australia. 

Addressing how education research with Pasifika students in Australian educational settings is reimagined through exploring the concept of Vā – a space that is relational which enables relationships to be established, nurtured and maintained and in turn, propositions for how Australian educational sectors and governing bodies can work collaboratively with Pasifika communities are discussed.  


Lefaoali'i Dion Enari & Dr. Jacoba Matapo

Negotiating the relational vā in the university.

The global phenomenon has significantly disrupted economic, political and social  systems at all levels. For Pasifika people, the impact of Covid-19 has exacerbated inequities that have long existed within the order of capitalist and neo-liberal ideologies, including in higher education. This session will explore the resilience of Pasifika students, and the need to disrupt University systems with Indigenous knowledges.  

Tiana Hippolite

Influencers weaving through a learners’ education journey.

Weaving is a practice observed across many cultures to create something that serves a purpose. Modern society often refer to the items produced from this practice as a form of art.  Let's further establish this practice and apply the techniques of weaving a kākahu (cloak) with an education context to represent and discuss the influences in a Pasifika learners education journey. 

Dave Folau

Supporting success mindset for Pasifika students - A paradigm shift conversation.

As educators, we unofficially and accidentally become the success mindset coaches to our students. The dialogue within the conversations or Talanoa between educators and students is crucial to a student's development and perception of a success mindset because everyone communicates, few connect. 

Esita Sogotubu

Navigating your Career Voyage.

This session will cover the key elements of navigating your career path and how you can use the same foundational principles to relate it to your students and their careers. It will include aspects of the Future of Work which thanks to the pandemic, is NOW. Esita will weave in stories on how we use our unique value as Pasifika people to "connect the dots" in our careers. 

Dr. Gemma Malungahu 

Strengthening Pacific Indigenous approaches to research and learning.

This workshop aims to provide a Pacific perspective on the processes of decolonising and indigenising research in academia. People who attend the session are welcome to share their own views and experiences contributing to a rich and engaging discussion.  

Moera Tufunga 

The Partnership Paradox - partnership in co-curricular and extra-curricular programs and initiatives.

The Talanoa Initiative at Western Sydney University creates organic engagement between Pasifika students and mental health by incorporating a cultural lens and relevance for students within a western context. This workshop will discuss how we can enhance the capacity, knowledge, and resilience of Pacific students to engage, recognise, understand, and manage their mental health and wellbeing through connection, partnership, and student co-design in Talanoa. 

Cathleen Hafu-Fetokai 

Disrupt the vā to Tauhi vā - disrupting spaces to create and maintain harmonious spaces/relationships.

This workshop will be delivered in two parts. A short presentation followed by meaningful Talanoa. The first half of the session will empower us to be critical of the vā/spaces we occupy as Pasifika parents, students, or practitioners in higher education. The second part of the workshop is an opportunity to Talanoa how to navigate the vā to create harmonious relationships for those we serve. 

Pasifika Mental Health and Wellbeing

Moera Tufunga 

Pasifika Mental Health and Wellbeing.  

Strategies to support our own mental wellness as Pasifika educators. Highlights for a Talanoa Action Plan in Higher Education 2022 and beyond

The conference was sponsored by

Pasifika Achievement to Higher Education (PATHE)

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Western Sydney University

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University of Technology Sydney 

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