Teresia Teaiwa

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Teresia Teaiwa (12 August 1968 – 21 March 2017)[1] was an I-Kiribati and American poet and academic. The University of Oregon described her as "a groundbreaking scholar in the research of the culture of the Pacific Islands".[2]


Teaiwa was born in Honolulu to an I-Kiribati father and an African American mother. She was subsequently raised in Fiji. She achieved a Bachelor of Arts from Trinity College, Washington D.C. and a Master of Arts from the University of Hawai’i. In 2001 she completed a PhD in History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz, on the topic "Militarism, Tourism and the Native: Articulations in Oceania".[3][4]

She taught history and politics for five years at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, before moving to New Zealand to teach Pacific studies at Victoria University. She was later a Senior Lecturer and Programme Director at Victoria University. She was also co-editor of the International Feminist Journal of Politics.[5][6]

In 2007, Teaiwa received a Marsden Fast Start research grant for her oral history and book project on Fijian women soldiers.[7]

The Guardian in April 2009 described her as one of Kiribati's "national icons".[8]

Teaiwa passed away on 21 March 2017.[3]

Partial bibliography[edit]


  • James Liu, Tim McCreanor, Tracey McIntosh and Teresia Teaiwa (eds), New Zealand Identities: Departures and Destinations. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2005.


  • Teresia Teaiwa, Searching for Nei Nim'anoa (poetry), 1995
  • Teresia Teaiwa, I can see Fiji: poetry and sound (CD of poetry), featuring Des Mallon, sound design by Hinemoana Baker
  • Vilsoni Hereniko and Teresia Teaiwa, Last virgin in paradise: a serious comedy, 2001, ISBN 982-02-0317-1
  • Teresia Teaiwa, "Real Natives Talk about Love” (creative non-fiction), in Niu Voices: Contemporary Pacific Fiction 1. Wellington: Huia, 2006: 35–40. ISBN 1-86969-254-3

External links[edit]