Dr Teresia Teaiwa

Award for Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching

Senior lecturer, Pacific Studies, Victoria University of Wellington

"Charting the awe-inspiring waters of Pacific studies, Teresia inspires us all to live and thrive in the midst of diversity"

Since 2000, Teresia has courageously led the development of her discipline implementing the first undergraduate Pacific Studies major in the world. Using the concepts of Etak and Akamai, Teresia is challenging not only a European philosophy around learning and teaching, but also Pasifika peoples’ confidence in their ways of knowing and achieving. One student comments: “I now have a deeper understanding of my purpose and why my parents pushed me so hard to go to university”.

Teresia’s commitment to carving a permanent and reputable place for Pacific Studies in the education curriculum is evident in the many publications she has written on the subject. She serves as a guide for others to follow: and they do.

The strength and significance of Teresia’s teaching and work is shown in the students that go through to become lecturers themselves and thus become an invaluable contribution to Pasifika people’s presence in education. Another student writes: “I hope you know just how much of an inspiration you are to many of your students! I can say my life was changed for ever having you as a lecturer…”

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Dr Teresia Teaiwa - 2014 Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award Recipient