Rev Dr Upolu Luma Vaai

Upolu Vaai

Dr Vaai serves as Associate Professor and Head of Theology & Ethics at PTC.

At PTC since January 2014.

Prior to coming to PTC, Dr Vaai taught theology and ethics at Piula Theological College in Samoa in 2001 and from 2008–2013 and at the Brisbane College of Theology from 2003-2005. He has previously worked as a board director for the government of Samoa and served in various committees. He is an ordained minister of the Methodist Church in Samoa since 1999. He is the chief editor of the ‘relational renaissance series’, architect of Pacific relational hermeneutics, and co-founder of the Pacific Itulagi Research Network. He is the Pacific ambassador for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) and Pacific coordinator for the G20 Interfaith Summit. He sits in the editorial board of The Pacific Journal of Theology. He currently reviews curriculums and programmes, drafts frameworks, and facilitates various projects for many organisations including the Pacific Conference of Churches, the PTC Institute of Mission and Research, the UNODC, the Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies at University of the South Pacific, as well as some theological colleges in the region.

Contact

Educational Qualifications

  • CertTheol (St. John’s Trinity Theological College, Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand) 1994
  • DipTheol (Piula Theological College, Samoa) 1996
  • BD (Piula Theological College, Samoa) 2001
  • MTheolSt (Brisbane College of Theology, Australia 2004
  • PhD (Theology) (Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia) 2007

Research & Teaching Interests

  • Relational Hermeneutics
  • Relational Theology
  • Relational Ethics
  • Trinitarian theology
  • Pacific Relational philosophy
  • Pacific epistemology
  • Interfaith dialogue

Publications

  1. Relational Hermeneutics: Decolonising the Mindset and the Pacific Itulagi. Edited by Upolu Luma Vaai and Aisake Casimira. Suva: University of the South Pacific & Pacific Theological College, 2017. (Peer Reviewed)
  2. The Relational Self: Decolonising Personhood in the Pacific. Edited by Upolu Luma Vaai and Unaisi Nabobo-Baba. Suva: University of the South Pacific & Pacific Theological College, 2017. (Peer Reviewed)
  3. Matua Gagana: Le Tusi Paia ma lona Faitauga Loloto mai le Itulagi o Samoa. Suva: LUMA Publishers, 2015. (Peer Reviewed)
  4. Whispers and Vanities: Samoan Indigenous Knowledge and Religion. Edited by Tamasailau Sualii-Sauni, Maualaivao Albert Wendt, Vitolia Mo’a, Naomi Fuamatu, Upolu Luma Vaai, Reina Whaitiri, Stephen L. Filipo. Wellington: Huia, 2014.
  5. “Tino Theology”. In The Relational Self: Decolonising Personhood in the Pacific. Edited by Upolu Luma Vaai and Unaisi Nabobo-Baba. Suva: University of the South Pacific & Pacific Theological College, 2017.
  6. “Relational Hermeneutics: A Return to the Relationality of the Pacific Itulagi as a Lens for Understanding and Interpreting Life.” In Relational Hermeneutics: Decolonising the Mindset and the Pacific Itulagi. Edited by Upolu Luma Vaai and Aisake Casimira. Suva: University of the South Pacific & Pacific Theological College, 2017.
  7. “E itiiti a lega mea – Less yet More! A Pacific Relational Development Paradigm of Life”. In Relational Hermeneutics: Decolonising the Mindset and the Pacific Itulagi. Edited by Upolu Luma Vaai and Aisake Casimira. Suva: University of the South Pacific, 2017.
  8. “We are because we don’t have”. In The Relational Self: Decolonising Personhood in the Pacific. Edited by Upolu Luma Vaai and Unaisi Nabobo-Baba. Suva: University of the South Pacific, 2017.
  9. “A Theology of Talalasi: Challenging the ‘One Truth’ Ideology of the Empire.” The Pacific Journal of Theology55 (2016):1–19.
  10. Motu ma le Taula: Towards an Island ‘Let Be’ Hermeneutics.” The Pacific Journal of Theology53 (2015).
  11. “Meeting at the Crossroads.” The Pacific Journal of Theology53 (2015).
  12. Vaatapalagi: De-Heavening Trinitarian Theology in the Islands.” InColonial Contexts and Postcolonial Weaving: Storyweaving in the Asia-Pacific. Edited by Mark Brett and Jione Havea. New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2014.
  13. “The Prayer of a FaatosagaFaaaloaloin Samoan Indigenous Religious Culture.” In Whispers and Vanities: Samoan Indigenous Religious Knowledge. Edited by Tamasailau Sualii et.al., Auckland: Huia, 2014.
  14. Lotoivai ma le Siuvai: O le Fafine Mulilua i le Ioane 8:1-11.” In Le Faasoa. Samoa: Piula Theological College, 2014.
  15. Talanoa: Gifting the Future through Conversation with the Past.” In Culture, Custom, Religion and Spirituality. Apia: National University of Samoa, 2012
  16. Ulugalu ma Vaigalu: Embracing both the Wakes and the Gaps in our Academic Diving”In Measina a Samoa. Volume 5. Apia: National University of Samoa, 2011.
  17. “Church-State Covenant on the Environment.” The Pacific Journal of Theology 41 (2009):4-8.
  18. Faaaloalo: A Theological Reinterpretation of the Doctrine of the Trinity from a Samoan Perspective.Brisbane: Griffith University, 2006
    Available online.
  19. “A Theological Reflection on God’s Oikos(House) in Relation to the Samoan Context,” The Pacific Journal of Theology 16 (1996)

 

Work in Progress

  1. Relational Theology: The Trinitarian Structure of Life in the Pacific. (Palgrave Macmillan, NY)
  2. Pacific Wisdom: Indigenous Relational Philosophies of Life (USP Press, Suva)

Courses taught at PTC

  • Academic Skills (MTh)
  • Triune God (BD)
  • Christology (BD)
  • Spirit, Church, and Sacraments (BD)
  • Gospel and Culture (MTh)
  • Foundations of Theology (WP)
  • Theological Hermeneutics (MTh)
  • Foundations of Ethics (WP)
  • Theology of Disasters (BD)
  • Land and Eco-theology (MTh)

 

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