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Pacific loses gifted icon

“ACADEMIC space is so precious because it allows us to ask questions that sometimes we’re punished for asking off campus and what universities are supposed to uphold is that freedom – that freedom to question, that freedom to think beyond normal boundaries.” Teresia Teaiwa was a Pacific icon build through her unique thought and action through academia, the arts and social movements – this includes being involved with Women’s Action for Change (Fiji), the Fiji Young Women’s Christian Association, the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Movement and the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (Fiji).

Her own work examined militarism, colonisation, gender and contemporary arts and culture – groundbreaking not just in its focus but also in the spaces she opened for others. Speaking to femLINKpacific in 2016, she reflected on clashes as well as synergies between her own intersecting identities and discovering new ways of knowing through such a balancing act.

“I’m a feminist scholar but I’m also committed to indigenous ways of knowing and sometimes feminism doesn’t fit in with the indigenous way of knowing… (but) doing gender research is so important in the pacific for helping us understand inequality in our societies,” she explained.

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