teresia-teaiwa

Tribute to Teresia Teaiwa

It was with deep sadness that we learned on Tuesday about the death of Teresia Teaiwa; a wonderful academic, poet, activist and leader across the Pacific.

The Green Party is reeling from the loss of this champion for human rights, justice, peace and deconstructing colonisation in Aotearoa and the Pacific.

She is a huge loss to Waiomanu Pasifika (Pacific Studies) at Victoria University and to her many causes and connections. She is an even greater loss to her family and communities and our hearts go out to them.

I had the great privilege of working with Teresia on the West Papua campaign over the last few years. She was an inspiration not only to me but also too many students who became active in the campaign under her leadership. I was always so warmed by her gracious presence and her sharp analysis. I treasure every person who has stood up for West Papua but especially for this wonderful Pacific leader from Kiribati and African American roots.

She brought her analysis of gender and power to her educational work and to her activism and she brought the young Pasifika students to the steps of Parliament to stand up for their neighbours and cousins in West Papua.

It is hard to believe such an accomplished and important voice is silent.

Moe mai e te rangatira e Teresia. We mourn you and we celebrate you and we thank you for your work to fight for your beloved Pacific and a better world for all.