In 2006 I attended, Vaka Vuku: Navigating Knowledge, a Pacific Epistemologies Conference at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji. For the highly considered diversity of academic enquiry, the conference’s inherent rootedness in Pacific ways of seeing and thinking, and almost by default, the exceptional showcase of hosting and hospitality, Vaka Vuku: Navigating Knowledge has set the standard for inspiration, event delivery and thought leadership; it transformed my thinking.

It may be the jet lag, but there have been talks in the Pacific Arts Association International Symposium that have literally made my contact lenses fall off my dried up eyeballs. This is what I mean when I say, dryballz.

But, there have been two speakers who have activated my thinking about the Ocean.

Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas delivered a keynote presentation on the second day of talks. His consciousness for environmental truth and damage made me reflective of my role and what I can do. His environmental parable, Flight of the Hummingbird, is a sweet reminder that every little bit counts. The story is animated here and the book is available on Amazon; it’s a beautiful thing.

Cook Islander Eruera Nia discussed the re-thinking of traditional Ocean boundaries to protect and honour that which sustains Island life. It was a moving tribute, within the context of this forum, to the source of life, people and culture in our region.

This week has been full of signs that have galvanised my thinking about returning to Fiji. In a more poetic way, I might say that the Ocean is whispering to me to return, but my homing call is an incessant alarm: it is time to come home.

 

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