Caring for our oceans – exploring cultural connections and kinship with whales

May 10, 2023
11:00 am - 12:30 pm (AEST)
Online (via Zoom)
Event series: Ocean Rights and Kinship Alliance (ORKA)

Please join ORKA (the Ocean Rights and Kinship Alliance) for our 2023 webinar series, which explores our connections and kinship with the ocean and our interconnected community of marine life.


Communities and peoples throughout Oceania have had long standing ancestral relationships with migratory marine animals. This webinar, the second in a series of five, invites us to consider how Oceanian cultural connectivity and kinship with migratory marine animals is important today as the world considers how best to care for the ocean for present and future generations.

In this second webinar we focus again on whales. In Oceania, whales are ancestors and family, they are voyaging companions; their yearly migrations to Pacific Islands are indicators of upcoming flowering, planting and/or fishing events; they have traditionally provided cultural sustenance and have been a part of Oceanian knowledge that traverses the vast liquid continent, surpassing national borders and connecting islands and peoples.



Fiafia Rex is a graduate of the University of the South Pacific (USP) specialising in maritime and environment. With her passion for learning, Fiafia has also graduated with certificate papers from USP and the Australian National University in the areas of climate change adaptation and resilience. She has multi-sectoral experience having had roles with Niue’s Fisheries Division (DAFF), Reporter with Niue’s Broadcasting Corporation, former Director with the Niue Chamber of Commerce and Niue Broadcasting Corporation,  and is a current Director for Niue Entrepreneurial Women that leads an Academy for Women Entrepreneurs in Niue. Fiafia’s passion is for community and environment prosperity exemplified having founded Oma Tafua (to treasure whales) and Aliutu Conservation for biodiversity preservation, ecosystems protection for future generations. Fiafia has her own consultancy Eco Niue and demonstrates her baking flair also with side business Taste of Happyness. Fiafia has been employed with several projects in Niue such as the Ridge to Reef Project and the Scaling Up Pacific Adaptation Project (SUPA) – USP. She has had the privilege of research work alongside National Geographic, NZ Geographic, Conservation International and USGS.


Salanieta Kitolelei is an Indigenous Fijian Doctoral candidate at the University of the South Pacific at the University of the South Pacific whose research focuses on the Indigenous and local knowledge of fishers in Fiji. She is a recipient of the Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) Scholarship and has extensive experience in carrying out research in local communities. She is an environmentalist and social scientist with research interests in traditional and Indigenous fishing knowledge of Fiji and the Pacific, gender-based fisheries and the application of localized solutions using local knowledge in the management and conservation of fisheries resources. Sala has publishing background in social sciences, gender and Indigenous issues related to fishing in Fiji.


ELISE HUFFER - Adjunct Associate Professor, Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies and Vice-Chair, CEESP Oceania