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May 29, 2017 | by  | in Editorial |
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Editors’ Letter

Samoan Language Week officially began yesterday, and on Thursday Samoa commemorates 55 years of independence from New Zealand. New Zealand’s administration of Samoa was, according to the NZHistory website, “an uncomfortable chapter of this country’s history.” It is unclear whose discomfort they are referring to. One of the casualties in the fight for independence was Mau leader Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III, whose last words, as engraved on his gravestone, are: Samoa filemu pea, ma si o’u toto ne’i ta’uvalea, a ia aoga lo’u ola mo lenei mea (Peace, Samoa. My blood has been spilt for Samoa. I am proud to give it).

For some parts of the Pacific, this battle continues. Salote writes about the ongoing struggle of West Papua and the many layers of colonialism. Born in Papua New Guinea, Jasmine struggles with the politics of space, and the colonial border that halves her island.

Climate change is another ongoing battle for the Pacific, and Josh Brian writes about his research on the declining population of coral reefs and why this matters not only to scientists, or to the Pacific, but to everyone.

Imagining Decolonising Cities is a collaborative project between Ngāti Toa and VUW, that explores what a decolonised city means and what it could look like. Their symposium at Takapūwāhia Marae hosted a range of speakers including Patricia Grace and Moana Jackson. In his piece, Dan reflects on the knowledge shared, the stories told, and the challenging questions raised at the hui.

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This issue inadvertently revolved around the Pacific, and the words of the late Teresia Teaiwa sum up our intention of running these together:

“But there’s also a way that I feel that climate change is colonising the Pacific and people’s imagination of the Pacific… I’m constantly resisting other people’s attempts to reduce the Pacific to one thing — to one issue. Whether it’s climate change or their relaxing holiday in Fiji. I want to disturb all that. For us, it’s never one issue. We live complicated lives. We’re constantly having to negotiate different challenges. And that’s my job as a Pacific Studies academic. It’s to raise those things. It’s to remind people of the complexity and not let them try to paint us with a single brush stroke.”

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LOCKED-OUT

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Locked Out

: - SPONSORED - The first prisons in New Zealand were established in the 1840s, and there are now 18 prisons nationwide.¹ According to the Department of Corrections, the prison population was 10,035 in March — of which, 50.9% are Māori, 32.0% are Pākehā, 11.0% are Pasifika, a