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Grounding Pacific practice: Fono at the fale and Veiqaraqaravi Vakavanua

Pacific practice is grounded in vanua and fonua, Fijian and Tongan terms encapsulating notions of land, culture and people. Fono at the Fale and Veiqaraqaravi Vakavanua are expressions of vanua and fonua cultural practice and are facilitated by, and through, the use of kava. Kava, a culturally significant drink made from the roots of the piper methysticum plant, is used in many areas of the Pacific (or Moana), grounding cultural practice in tradition, values and beliefs—with knowledge and meaning-making imparted and shared with those involved (Aporosa, 2019b). That meaning-making includes talanoa, an explanatory and conversational process fundamental to the ways in which Fijian and Tongan people make sense of their veiyaloni and vā inter-connections and interactions with the physical, spiritual, sacred and ancestral vanua and fonua—through land, sky, moana and people, including deity (Fa‘avae et al., 2021). In this paper we explain and reflect on the use of Fono at the Fale and Veiqaraqaravi Vakavanua, inclusive of kava and talanoa at the University of Waikato (UoW) as culturally-embedded practices associated with Pacific student and staff learning and interactions, through vanua and fonua expressions of iMua linked to UoW strategic vision and goals. With this paper focusing primarily on Fono at the Fale and Veiqaraqaravi Vakavanua, minimal explanation is given concerning iMua at the UoW, or kava as a cultural keystone species, drink and facilitator of talanoa-vā. For details on these themes, readers are encouraged to consult the following papers included in this special issue: Imua: Reflections on imua and talanoa–vā in the ongoing strategic journey of a New Zealand university and The virtual faikava: Maintaining vā and creating online learning spaces during COVID-19.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Aporosa, S. ‘Apo’, & Fa’avae, D. T. M. (2021). Grounding Pacific practice: Fono at the fale and Veiqaraqaravi Vakavanua. Waikato Journal of Education, Special Issue: Talanoa Vā: Honouring Pacific Research and Online Engagement, 26, 35–43. https://doi.org/10.15663/wje.v26i1.852
Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research
Authors retain copyright of their publications. This article is published under the Creative commons license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/legalcode