He Vaka Moana is a strengths-based project framed by oceanic principles and methodologies that connect us as Māori and Pasifika to the ocean. The underpinning kaupapa and theoretical framework of He Vaka Moana is the Tongan proverb “pikipiki hama kae vaevae manava”, which refers to our individual vaka coming together to support each other as we navigate the moana.
The notion of “success” for Pasifika students in higher education remains contested given the socio-political agendas of education in New Zealand targeting Pasifika engagement. The motivation to increase academic achievement for Pasifika peoples stems from “tail-end” outcomes, in which Pasifika populations are compared with other demographic populations in the attainment of higher qualifications. Many institutional “success” strategies are initiated essentially from a deficit positioning, to respond to barriers of participation, and ensure academic progression and student completion.
This paper examines the ethnicity of academic scholars employed by New Zealand’s eight universities, with a particular focus on Pasifika academics. The paper discusses how, despite national and university policies to see education serve Pasifika peoples better, there has been no change in the numbers of Pasifika academics employed by the universities between 2012 and 2017, and notes that Pasifika who are in the academy are continually employed in the lower, less secure levels of the academy.
Around the world, favourable social and political circumstances have encouraged the development of academically non-traditional ways of researching. This article explores the recent proliferation of research approaches from Pacific and Pasifika communities which, in some Australian and New Zealand contexts, are attracting increased interest from policymakers and researchers. We present a socio-historical account of how the Pacific research paradigm emerged and some key contemporary Pacific research approaches within this paradigm.