Professor Vilsoni Hereniko, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa

Professor Vilsoni Hereniko

Vilsoni Hereniko is originally from Rotuma, Fiji, but has taught at the University of Hawaii (UHManoa)  for nearly 30 years. A former Director of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at UHManoa as well as former Director and Professor of Pacific Studies at the University of the South Pacific (USP), he has a Masters in Education degree from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England and a Ph.D. from USP in Fiji. He is also an award-winning filmmaker, playwright, and educator. Today, he is a full and tenured professor at the Academy for Creative Media at UHManoa in Hawaii.

Recent works:

“Moana Rua: The Rising of the Sea” is based on a stage production that toured Europe that we filmed in Norway. It has been shown at several academic conferences followed by discussions or Q and A with the audience. See link:

“Let the Mountain Speak” is a poetic tribute to the mountain of Maunakea on the island of Hawaii. It’s a gentle intervention on the controversy between the sacred and the secular, with activists on both sides claiming they know what the mountain wants. See link


Associate Professor Joanna Kidman, Victoria University of Wellington

Associate Professor Joanna Kidman

Joanna Kidman (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāto Raukawa) is a sociologist who works with Māori youth living in precarious economic circumstances in a wide range of urban, municipal and rural settings. Over the past 25 years, she has investigated the impact of institutional and systemic racism on Māori young people and their whānau. Her main focus is the ongoing impact of colonialism and associated state policies and practices linked to income poverty, high incarceration rates, and poor educational outcomes for Māori. She is particularly interested in working alongside Māori communities that are actively rebuilding tribal futures for taiohi Māori. Joanna has also investigated indigenous children’s experiences of institutional and structural racism in other parts of the world. As a member of an international collaboration of indigenous researchers, she carried out studies in indigenous Sediq communities in mountain village schools in Taiwan and published her findings in international journals.

Recent works:

Kidman, J., Yen, C.F. & Abrams, E. (2013). Indigenous students’ experiences of the hidden curriculum in science education: A cross-national study in New Zealand and Taiwan. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education. 11(1), 43-64.

O’Malley, V. & Kidman, J. (2018). Settler colonial history, commemoration and white backlash: Remembering the New Zealand Wars. Settler Colonial Studies. 8(3), 298-313.


Dr Michelle Johansson, Ako Mātātupu: Teach First NZ

Michelle is South Auckland born and raised, a Polynesian theatre-maker and mother,

Dr Michelle Johansson

doctoral scholar and a former high school dropout.  She is currently Kaihapai and Programme Director at Ako Mātātupu: Teach First NZ and the Creative Director of the Black Friars Theatre Company. South Auckland, decile one born and bred, Michelle is proud to work in the spaces where Education, Equity and the Performing Arts meet for Young Brown Scholars.