Teresia Kieuea Teaiwa

Teresia Kieuea Teaiwa

Poet and scholar Teresia Kieuea Teaiwa was born in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, to an I-Kiribati and Banaban father and African American mother, and was raised in Fiji.

She was the author of the poetry collection, Searching for Nei Nim’anoa (1995) and co-author of Last Virgin in Paradise: A One-Act Play (1993, with Vilsoni Hereniko). Her creative work was also published in Terenesia: Amplified Poetry and Songs by Teresia Teaiwa and Sia Figiel (2000) and I can see Fiji: poetry and sound by Teresia Teaiwa (2008, featuring Des Mallon and produced by Hinemoana Baker).

Teaiwa is internationally known for her ground-breaking scholarship, teaching and mentoring in Pacific Studies. She earned a BA from Trinity College in Washington, DC, an MA in History from the University of Hawai‘i, and a PhD in History of Consciousness from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She taught history and politics at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, before moving to New Zealand to found Pacific studies at Victoria University, Wellington.

Teresia died in March 2017. It was a loss that reverberated throughout the Pacific community in the region and around the world. Sweat and Salt Water: selected works by Teresia Kieuea Teaiwa (2021) is a collection of some of her most influential writing.