Rev. Dr. Upolu Vaai appointed Principal of Pacific Theological College

About the author:

Tina Mata'afa-Tufele is a Pasifika journalist that has been writing and covering news related to the Samoan experience for over a decade. She's written for Samoa News in American Samoa, (covering news from Hawaii, the U.S.

  • Rev. Dr. Upolu Luma Vaai
    Rev. Dr. Upolu Luma Vaai


Samoan Theologian and Scholar Rev. Dr. Upolu Luma Vaai has been appointed Principal of the Pacific Theological College in Suva, Fiji.

His appointment  announced early this week by the PTC's Mission and Research Institute.

PTC says it is "wonderful news for PTC and for the Pacific Churches."

Rev. Dr. Vaai recently participated in the "Climate Change and Conflict in the Pacific: Prevention, Management and the Enhancement of Community Resilience" conference held in Auckland.

The importance of uniting  western and indigenous perspectives to tackle climate change in the Pacific region was highlighted at the conference.

"The narrative, the climate change narrative has been dominated by either the scientific world view or perspective or the economic perspective where the indigenous perspective and indigenous world views are often excluded," Rev. Dr. Vaai is quoted by Radio New Zealand in an October interview.

He has been at PTC since January 2014 and serves as Associate Professor and Head of Theology & Ethics, states, the college's Web site.

Before PTC, Rev. Dr. Vaai taught theology and ethics at Piula Theological College in Samoa in 2001 and from 2008–2013 and at the Brisbane College of Theology from 2003-2005.

He has previously worked as a board director for the government of Samoa, served in various committees and is an ordained minister of the Methodist Church in Samoa since 1999.

He is the chief editor of the ‘relational renaissance series’, architect of Pacific relational hermeneutics, and co-founder of the Pacific Itulagi Research Network.

Rev. Dr. Vaai is the Pacific ambassador for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) and Pacific coordinator for the G20 Interfaith Summit.

He sits in the editorial board of The Pacific Journal of Theology. He currently reviews curriculums and programmes, drafts frameworks, and facilitates various projects for many organisations including the Pacific Conference of Churches, the PTC Institute of Mission and Research, the UNODC, the Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies at University of the South Pacific, as well as some theological colleges in the region.

Rev. Dr. Vaai succeeds Rev. Professor Feleterika Nokise as PTC Principal.

He will take leadership of the college in January 2019.