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April 3, 2006 | by  | in News |
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Pacific and Samoan Studies launched – Chancellor boogies down

The Pacific Studies and Samoan Studies Programme, Va’aomanu Pasifika, was launched last week, amid a fanfare of dancing and singing.

Although Pacific Studies and Samoan Studies have been taught at the University since 2000 and 1989 respectively, they were previously administered by the Te Kawa O Maui Department. Not only is the programme now independent, it also has its own building, located at 6 Kelburn Parade.

Vice Chancellor Pat Walsh says the launch marks the University’s commitment to Pacific Island research, and fits with the strategic plan to focus on “excellent teaching and research”. He also says the programme will help strengthen the relationship between the University and the Pacific Island community.

David Mackay, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chair of the University’s Pacific People’s Advisory Committee also spoke at the launch, saying the launch of an independent programme was recommended by a 2003 review of the programme. He also described the length of time it took to decide on a name, which means either “canoe of good fortune” or “blessed journey”.

Va’aomanu Pasifika’s Inaugural Director Dr. Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop spoke of education being the key to a better life for Pacific Island people living in New Zealand.

The programme’s first honours and masters student, Graeme Whimp says the launch was a “splendid celebration bringing together the community and the University”, but added a “huge amount” of work remained to be done to expand the programme.

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Nicola Kean: feature writer, philanthropist, womanly woman. Nicola is the smallest member of the Salient team, but eats really large pieces of lasagne. Favourites include 80s music, the scent of fresh pine needles and long walks on the beach.

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:   I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this