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Pacific Theological College

Rev Prof Dr Upolu Luma Vaai

Principal and Professor of Theology & Ethics

At PTC since 2014


Upolu Luma Vaai is Principal and Professor of Theology & Ethics at the Pacific Theological College (PTC) in Suva, Fiji. He studied theology at St. John’s Trinity College, Auckland, NZ; Piula Theological College in Samoa; Brisbane College of Theology, Brisbane; and Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. He holds a BD, MTh, and PhD in Theology and Ethics. He also holds a Certificate of Corporate Governance from the School Institute of Directors. He held board director positions in multiple Samoa government ministries. He was also a senior lecturer at the Piula Theological College in Theology and Ethics.

He joined the faculty staff of PTC in 2014 as Senior Lecturer and Head of Department for Theology and Ethics, lecturing in theology, Christian ethics, theological and Pacific hermeneutics, eco-theology, gospel and culture, ecumenism, interfaith studies, contextual theology, Christian anthropology, Trinity, Christology, pneumatology, social ethics, ecclesiology, and academic skills.

He is chair and member of many international organizations and committees. To name a few: Member of the Advisory Council of the International Academy for Multicultural Corporation; Facilitator of the WCC Global Ecumenical Theological Institute (GETI); Chair of the Oceania Centre Advisory Committee, University of the South Pacific; Oceania chair of the Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies, Oxford University; Chair and Convenor of 2020 Pacific Philosophy Conference, Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture, Honolulu, Hawaii; Member of the G20 Anti-Racism Initiative; Member of the G20 Environment Working Group; Member of the European Society of Oceanists; Expert Member of the Anti-corruption Academic Initiative (ACAD) of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC); Member of the Berkeley Centre of Religion, Peace, and World Affairs; Advisory board of the Laudato Si Institute, Oxford University; Editorial board member of 6 International Journals; Member of many committees of the Pacific Conference of Churches and the Association of South Pacific Theological Schools. He currently chairs most of the committees in the transitioning of the Pacific Theological College towards University by 2024.

He had obtained various fellowships, scholarships, and invitations for periods of research at several universities around the world. He is an international speaker on many conferences and an international examiner to many Masters and PhD theses, including non-theological theses. His publications are mostly in the intersection of the Trinity, ecological or eco-relational theology, development, ecumenism, and indigenous philosophies. 


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

Selected Publications of 3 years: 2019-2022.

  • Joerg Rieger and Upolu Luma Vaai (eds). Methodist Revolution: Evangelical Engagements of Church and Society. Nashville: GBHEM Publishing, 2022.
  • Upolu Luma Vaai, Fernando Enns, Andres P. Lozano, Betty Pries (eds). Transformative Spiritualities for the Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Justice. Geneva: WCC Publications, 2022.
  • Upolu Luma Vaai, “Others are Enjoying Life from our Death: Eco-relational Theology and a Methodist Ecological Revolution in the Pacific.” In Methodist Revolution: Evangelical Engagements of Church and Society. Edited by Joerg Rieger and Upolu Luma Vaai. Nashville: GBHEM Publishing, Feb. 2022.
  • Upolu Luma Vaai, “Eco-relational Spirituality: A (K)new Story for the Earth from a Pasifika Perspective.” In Transformative Spiritualities for the Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Justice. Edited by Fernando Enns, Upolu Luma Vaai, Andres P. Lozano, Betty Pries Geneva: WCC Publications, March. 2022.
  • Upolu Luma Vaai, “A Dirtified God: A Dirt Theology from the Pacific Dirt Communities.” In Theologies from the Pacific. 15-30. Edited by Jione Havea. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021.
  • Upolu Luma Vaai, “From Atutasi to Atulasi: Relational Theologizing and Why Pacific Islanders Think and Theologize Differently.” In Theologies from the Pacific. 235-250. Edited by Jione Havea. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021.
  • Upolu Luma Vaai, “Faith and Culture.” In Christianity in Oceania. 235-246. Edited by Kenneth Ross, Katalina Tahaafe-Williams, and Todd M. Johnson. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Press, 2021.
  • Upolu Luma Vaai. “A Lasting Memorial to the Pacific Islander Missionaries:
    A Brief History of the Islander Missionaries Memorial Chapel, PTC.” Journal of Pacific History 36 (2021):
  • Upolu Luma Vaai, “Pacific Spirituality and Changing the Climate Change Story,” In Religious Soft Diplomacy and the United Nations: Religious Engagement as Loyal Opposition. 241-258. Edited by Sherrie M. Steiner and James T. Christie. New York: Lexington Books, 2021.
  • Upolu Luma Vaai, “Lagimalie: Covid, De-Onefication of Theologies, and Eco-Relational Wellbeing.” In Doing Theology in the New Normal. 209-221. Edited by Jione Havea. London: SCM, 2021.
  • Upolu Luma Vaai, “The Eco-Relational Story of the Cosmic Aiga: A Pasifika Perspective.” In Taking a Deep Breath for the Story to Begin…An Earthed Faith 1. Edited by Ernst Conradie and Pan-chiu Lai. Durbanville: Aosis / Cascade, 2021.
  • Upolu Luma Vaai. “The Sail.” In Weaving Theologies in Oceania: Culture, Context and Practice. Edited by Beatrice Green and Keiti Ann Kanongata’a. Cambridge: Cambridge Publishing, 2020.
  • Paulo Baleinakorodawa and Upolu Luma Vaai. “Fiji COVID Poverty Crisis.” Global Outlook. Tokyo: Toda Peace Institute, 2021. https://toda.org/global-outlook/fiji-covid-poverty-crisis.html
  • Upolu Luma Vaai. “The Dance of Relationality: Vision for a Pacific Itulagi Education for Life.” In From the Deep: Pasifiki Voices for a New Story. Edited by James Bhagwan, Elise Huffer, France Koya Vaka’uta, and Aisake Casimira. Suva: Pacific Theological College, 2020.
  • Upolu Luma Vaai. “Foreword.” In Reweaving the Ecological Mat Framework: Toward an Ecological Framework for Development, Edited by Cliff Bird, Arnie Siaki, and Meretui Ratunabuabua. Suva: Pacific Theological College, 2020.
  • Upolu Luma Vaai. “Editorial: The 55th Anniversary of the Pacific Theological College.” The Pacific Journal of Theology 58 (2020):1-5.
  • Upolu Luma Vaai. “Relational Theologizing: Why Pacific Islanders Think and Theologize Differently”, The Pacific Journal of Theology, 58 (2020):40-56.
  • Upolu Luma Vaai and Gladson Jathanna. “Let the House Speak: Memorialising the Islander Missionaries Chapel for Re-Storying Ecumenism as the Pacific Household of God.” The Pacific Journal of Theology 59 (2020):4-20.
  • Upolu Luma Vaai. “Editorial.” The Pacific Journal of Theology 59 (2020):4-20.
  • Upolu Luma Vaai. “A Call for an Eco-Relational Theology of Mission”. The Pacific Journal of Theology 57 (2019):59-64.
  • Upolu Luma Vaai. “Relational Theology and Reforming the Pacific”. In Reflecting Reformation and the Call for Renewal in a Globalized and Post-Colonial World. Edited by Claudia Jahnel. Neuendettelsau: Erlanger Verlag fur Mission und Okumene, 2019.
  • Upolu Luma Vaai. Pacific Eco-Relational Spirituality and Changing the Climate Change Story. Tokyo: Toda Peace Institute, 2019. https://toda.org/assets/files/resources/policy-briefs/t-pb-56_upolu-luma-vaai_we-are-therefore-we-live.pdf
  • Volger boege, john campbell, kevin clements, kirsten davis, and upolu luma vaai (eds). Toda pacific declaration on climate change, conflict and peace. Tokyo: toda peace institute, 2019. https://toda.org.

Forthcoming Books

  • Upolu Luma Vaai and Mark Lamport (eds). The Story of Christianity in Oceania. The Global Story of Christianity: History, Context, and Communities. Oregon: Cascade Books, 2023.
  • Ernst Conradie and Upolu Luma Vaai (eds). Making Room for the Story to Continue: An Earthed Faith 4. An Earthed Faith: Telling the Story Amid the Anthropocene. Oregon: Cascade Books, 2023.
  • Upolu Luma Vaai and Gladson Jathanna. reStorying Pasifika Christianity (series). Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2022-2025.
  • Upolu Luma Vaai and Aisake Casimira, reStorying the Pacific Household. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2022.
  • Gladson Jathanna, Helen Gardner, and Upolu Luma Vaai. reStorying History and Mission of Pasifika Christianity. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2022.
  • Upolu Luma Vaai, reStorying Pasifika Theologies. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2023.
  • Upolu Luma Vaai. Dirtified Theologies: reStorying from the Perspective of Pasifika Dirt Communities. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2023.

Presentations to Conferences/Workshops/Seminars


Current Student Supervision


Past PhD, MTh, and BD Supervisions


Past PhD and MTh Mentoring


Examiner to

PhD (9), MTh (6), BD (4)