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Mourning The Passing Of Epeli Hau’ofa 1939 – 2009

Celebrating The Life And Mourning The Passing Of Epeli Hau’ofa (1939 – 2009)

Professor Epeli Hau'ofa

Photo courtesy of the University of the South Pacific

The Tongan Advisory Council (TAC) of New Zealand wishes to acknowledge the passing of Professor ‘Epeli Hau’ofa on Sunday 11 January 2009. His funeral is being held today at the Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture, University of the South Pacific, Fiji.

A well known writer of fiction and non-fiction, critic, and thought leader of Oceania, Epeli will be remembered for his many contributions, especially to the Pacific imaginary. His perceptive, satirical novels “Tales of the Tikongs” and “Kisses in the Nederlands” were groundbreaking contributions to the canon of Pacific literature.

Hau’ofa encouraged the Pacific region to seek a unified, inclusive identity sourced in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, rather than the smallness of individual atolls, scattered islands and struggling nation states. Hau’ofa saw the Ocean as our major source of sustenance, “our pathway to each other and to everyone else, the sea is our endless saga, the sea is our most powerful metaphor, the ocean is in us”.

Professor Epeli Hau’ofa was a former Deputy Private Secretary to the late King of Tonga, Reader and Head of Sociology at the University of the South Pacific. He was the founding Director of the Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture at the University of the South Pacific and held this post until his untimely passing. He leaves behind a great legacy of literature, art and intellect. Professor Hau’ofa will be sadly missed. His ideas will live on.


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