First Havea Lecture explores new directions for Oceanic hermeneutics
On Saturday, 21 May, United Theological College hosted the inaugural Havea lecture.
Named for the late Rev. Dr Sione ‘Amanaki Havea, the lecture is a new event that aims to highlight the very best constructive and creative work being done by Pasifika scholars.
The speaker for this year was Rev. Dr Nāsili Vaka’uta, who spoke on the theme New Directions for Oceanic Hermeneutics.
Rev. Dr Vaka’uta is the current Principal of Trinity Theological College, Auckland, and Ranston Lecturer in Biblical Studies.
One of the people in attendance shared their thoughts on the lecture with Insights.
“Rev. Dr Vaka’uta’s work is a gift for the kāinga (community) of Oceania to engage with the reality of our lives and to weave our theological imagination from in/outside the grassroots of the moana (Ocean) and the fonua (land),” she said.
“This new direction a theological and hermeneutics from is an invitation Oceania, recognise that native people have their own way of thinking and living.”.
“The father of Pasifika Theology the late Rev. Dr Sione ‘Amanaki Havea indicated that “if Jesus had lived in the Pacific we would have coconut and Juice for communion.”
“Indeed, the new directions for moana hermeneutics is anchored on this pioneering work which highlights and celebrates Pasifika Theology. In contrast, to the global North and East, there is a sense of urgence to keep the talanoa and publication at a robust productivity.
“However, time has no control on the ripened coconut and its readiness to roll down from the coconut tree and float to new places once it is ready. This is reflected in our time to write and develop further works for the region.”
“In my view, Nasili’s work and presentation is fragment of a bigger mat that our ancestors and other pioneers has woven long before the arrival of outsiders.”
United Theological College’s Dr Michael Mawson said that the lecture, “provided an evening of theology, discussion, and celebration, with a provocative lecture by Rev. Dr Nāsili Vaka’uta.”
The event filled its allocated space for in-person attendance, with others watching online.
Dr Mawson told Insights that United theological College is already planning more events that “showcase the rich theologies and activism emerging from Oceania.”
Originally announced in June 2020, UTC intends for the Havea Lecture to be an annual event, with appointed lecturers speaking on a chosen topic with their own contextual experience.
Themes will include living in the islands, the experience of diaspora, or a combination of both. According to Dr Mawson, “It is intended as both a signal of the contribution being made by Pasifika scholars, and a spur for new and contesting voices.”