Toloa Declaration – Pasifika Philosophies PTC

Toloa Declaration

We, the graduates and mentors of the inaugural Pasifika Philosophies course 2023 from American Samoa, Aotearoa-New Zealand, Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Hawaii, Kenya, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Rotuma, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and West Papua, delivered by the Pacific Theological College and Nadakuni, Nalase, Nubukaluka and Vunisinu villages in Fiji:

  • Acknowledge the ‘whole of life’ philosophies that underpin the deep cosmologic and inextricable spiritual connection we have with the vanuai (land, ocean, skies), with each other, and with God;
  • Recognise that most of the development policies and frameworks are shaped and driven by non-Pasifika philosophies that are normally one-dimensional and privilege compartmentalisation;
  • Privilege Pasifika holistic, multidimensional ways of knowing, being, and doing by revitalising, reclaiming, and reconnecting with our stories, cosmologies, and spiritualities;
  • Recognise Pasifika people as the rightful custodians and stewards of the vanua and moana, and the rightful narrators of Pasifika stories today, tomorrow, and into the future;
  • Revisit the past to help us move forward by building on the powerful work of our ancestors who paved the way for resiliency;
  • Celebrate our differences by acknowledging the rich and unique diversity of spaces, language, ethnicity, and culture that unites the one in the many and the many in one;
  • Recognise that the solution to the historical and ongoing issues of colonisation (such as, but not limited to: the erosion by our ocean, dispossession and exploitation of our land and resources, urbanisation, displacement, disruption in Indigenous knowledge systems, customary practices and languages, globalisation, and the overreliance on foreign aid and imported goods) lies within the vanua, and with our communities’ knowledge-holders including our chiefs, and our traditional and faith leaders.
  • Endorse transformative futures through lolomaii we have for each other and our vanua, shown in nurturing the inheritance of our present and future generations who will carry the knowledge and wisdom of the region.
We urge Pasifika people, partners, and friends to:
  • Strengthen a new development consciousness by redefining the philosophical foundations of our development narrative;
  • Resist the violence of compartmentalisation through the destructive impacts of colonisation, capitalism, imperialism, and neoliberalism on the region;
  • Redefine and contextualise from a ‘whole of life’ perspective dominant concepts (such as human rights, development, gender, equality, ecology, climate change, social inclusion, and others) to align with Indigenous Pasifika wisdom and relational philosophies;
  • Adopt integrated and ground-up ‘whole of life’ approaches of Pasifika communities to help inform all decision-making and practices, across all sectors and levels, including research, policy making and implementation, when working in the region;
  • Underline the significance of Pasifika relationality to navigate the complexity of communities, and observe intentional relational and respectful practices specific to each Pasifika context prior to, during, and after interacting with such communities;
  • Create space for Pasifika faith and traditional leaders, including women and youth, in the national and regional levels, to inform decision making;
  • Safeguard Pasifika Indigenous wisdom and knowledge systems (both intangible and tangible) and seek consent and permission from the rights holders who have the authority to decide if and how the knowledge is shared, and protect from exploitation by foreign and private stakeholders, to ensure that Pasifika rightful owners and communities benefit;
  • Redirect and mobilise funding and resources towards research, development projects, biodiversity protection, and education that is informed by Pasifika ‘whole of life’ philosophies and led by Pasifika peoples.
  • Prioritise visiting, respectfully and with permission, Pasifika communities in rural villages, to engage and learn with Pasifka communities to experience, feel, and understand what it is like to live in the villages.




i) We refer to vanua in this document with our respects to the people of Fiji where this declaration was made, and acknowledge the diverse lands of Pasifika and its friends including but not only enua, vanua, fenua, fanua, fonua, aba and honua and the diverse indigenous lands of Aotearoa, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, West Papua and throughout the region.
ii) We refer to loloma in this document with our respects to the people of Fiji where this declaration was made, and acknowledge the diverse forms of expressing love in Pasifika including but not only ‘ofa, ‘alofa, alofa, aloha and the diverse indigenous ways of expressing love in Aotearoa, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, West Papuathroughout the region.