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Tuesday 4 July 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Education, National


Hundreds of delegates gather in Raro for Pacific research meetings
Delegates register for the Pacific Island Universities Research Network (PIURN) conference at the USP Campus. MELINA ETCHES/23070309

The biggest Pacific Island Universities Research Network (PIURN) conference starts this morning with an opening ceremony from 9am at Te Are Karioi (National Auditorium) Dome.

The PIURN team has worked tirelessly for months to provide the 230 delegates with an “exceptional conference experience” and are incredibly excited to host the delegates in this ‘large ocean state’ of the Cook Islands.

“To have more than 200 delegates participate in this conference has exceeded our expectations and we have been able to almost tangibly feel the rising excitement that has drifted on the tides and currents of Moana nui o Kiva as we have put the finishing touches to the conference programme,” said Dr Debi Futter-Puati, Director of The University of the South Pacific (USP) Cook Islands Campus.

“Through this unprecedented number of scholars coming together from across the Pacific triangle, we enact Epeli Hau’ofa’s (1994) argument that ‘the world of Oceania is not small, it is huge and growing bigger every day’.

“Having so many scholars of the Pacific coming together to share their research offers the opportunity for each of us to connect, support, and to ‘transcend all forms of insularity, to become one that is openly searching, inventive and welcoming’ (Hau’ofa, 1994) as we continue to pursue our academic lives as people living in Pacific indigenous communities with relational ties that bound us to honour these communities,” she said.

Futter-Puati said she is looking forward to making new friends, being challenged to think differently, to discover new ideas to consider, and to hear about the incredible research work being undertaken across the region.

Tomorrow Wednesday July 5, as part of the PIURN conference, Te Vairanga Kite Pakari (TVKP) executive have organised a Festschrift (a tributary volume) to celebrate the extraordinary contribution Dr Marjorie Tuainekore Crocombe (D.Litt) made across multiple scholarly spaces during her career. 

The word Festschrift is commonly used to designate a volume of essays, papers and the like prepared by colleagues and friends as a tribute to distinguished scholar.

The aim has been to bring together a group of colleagues and friends who had professional association with Dr Crocombe across a number of differing spaces.

Te Vairanga Kite Pakari asked the many people who have been influenced by Dr Crocombe to contribute to the event which will be held at the USP Campus from 1.30pm - 4.30pm.

The Journal of Pacific History Book in honour of her will be launched at the event followed by an address from the Keynote speaker Konai Thaman, followed by: Makiuti Tongia, Jon Jonassen, Linda Crowl, Emma Powell, Vaine and Ina, Lisa Williams-Lahari, Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop, Diane Goodwillie video, Mike Tavioni, Mary and Kevin Salisbury.