A number of academics and HDR students from QUT Centre for Justice have travelled to Wellington, NZ this week to attend the world’s first Pacific Criminology conference – to be held at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington
In April 2023, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington will host ‘Symposium: A Pacific Criminology?’, the first conference aiming to explore a Pacific—Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia—approach to criminology.
6 March 2023
“In 2013, criminologist John Braithwaite called for a “scholarship on crime” that identifies practices “of a more distinctively Pacific character”, which he entitled ‘Pacific Criminology’,” says Gisa Dr Moses M. Faleolo, lecturer in the Criminology programme at the University.
“This symposium, along with other work and activities by the Pacific Criminology Collective (PCC), seeks to answer that call. The PCC aims to bring together those who are engaged in research or social services and draw on Pacific ways of theorising crime, violence, justice, and peace, which are currently developing in a disconnected manner as hidden currents beneath the visible surface of Northern criminology. The Symposium is a rallying call to create a space for these disparate currents to surface and converge in productive and energising ways.”
The Symposium will cover a range of topics related to justice, crime, and Pacific peoples, including Pacific peoples’ movements in criminology, experiencing harm and violence in the Pacific, Pacific forms of peacebuilding and justice, the provision of security in the Pacific, and thinking and doing Pacific criminology.
There will be three keynote speakers at the event. The first speaker will be Professor Tracey McIntosh MNZM, Professor of Indigenous Studies and Co-Head of Te Wānanga o Waipapa (School of Māori Studies and Pacific Studies) at the University of Auckland.
The second speaker will be Fa’afete Taito, cultural advisor to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into State Care Abuse, alumnus of the University of Auckland, and former King Cobra gang member.
Dr Fiona Hukula will be the final keynote speaker. Dr Hukula is a Papua New Guinean activist. She advocates against gender-based violence, particularly against women accused of witchcraft or sorcery.
Other speakers will come from across the world, from the United States, Australia, Fiji, Sāmoa, Trinidad and Tobago, and Aotearoa. They will discuss topics ranging from deportation to cyber-bullying, policing natural disasters to the challenges of integrating traditional customary laws, justice theorising and modern jurisprudence, and Pacific research methodology for criminological studies.
This symposium is part of Gisa Dr Faleolo’s long-term work on Pacific criminology. He is also currently leading a team funded by a Marsden grant that are researching and helping build a theory of Pacific criminology, using life histories from gang-involved Sāmoan men and women.
“We are only at the beginning of this journey,” Dr Faleolo says. “This Marsden project will start developing a criminological theory based on a Sāmoan lens and will eventually argue for Pacific criminology to be accepted as a credible and seminal theory sitting alongside western offerings.
“After work from many people, including our Marsden and the symposium, we will have a clearer understanding of what Pacific criminology could be.”
Symposium: A Pacific Criminology? will be held on
April 21–22 at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington. Find more information or register here: https://www.wgtn.ac.nz/sacs/about/events/pacific-criminology