Author Bio

Konai (Tongan) is currently Professor of Pacific Education and Culture at the University of South Pacific (USP) where she was the UNESCO Chair in Teacher Education and Culture from 1998-2016. Konai was born, raised, and educated (primary and secondary education) in Tonga. She later studied at the University of Auckland, Auckland Secondary Teachers' College, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of the South Pacific. She has extensive experience in curriculum development, teacher education, indigenous education and development, women and university management, and Pacific research frameworks. She is currently a member of the Joint ILO/UNESCO Committee on the Recommendation on the Status of Teachers, the UNESCO Asia Pacific Scientific Committee on Research in Higher Education, a Fellow of the Asia Pacific Centre for Educational Innovations in Development, and the Oceania Regional Vice Chair of the IUCN Commission on Education & Communication. konaiholeva.thaman@usp.ac.fj


This notes from the field article is about my personal, educational, and professional journeys as an Indigenous woman living and working in the small island states of Oceania. My own story describes the struggles that continue today among many young Indigenous students, be they in school or in higher education institutions with structures and processes that do not take their cultural backgrounds or identities into consideration. The results are often damaging both to the students, as well as to the institutions themselves. However, in this work, I advocate for the inclusion of Indigenous knowledges in education, as I have for decades, and I interweave my sentiments with poetry that reflects my feelings and memories.