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Reflections on the life work of a distinguished Pacific educationist: ‘Ilaisa Futa ‘I Ha’angana Helu, 1934 – 2010.

Author(s): Eve Coxon

Journal: MAI Review
ISSN 1177-5904

Volume: 2010;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: education | indigenous knowledge | Tongan society and culture | Western cultural tradition

Towards the end of the gestation period of this MAI Review volume on Pasifika Education we learned with sadness that Futa Helu, founder and until recently director of the ‘Atenisi Institute in Tonga, had died. Professor Helu had close links with a number of New Zealand learning communities including the University of Auckland where he was appointed Visiting Professor in Pacific Studies and in Education a number of times in the 1980s and 1990s. He was well known to a number of the contributing writers to this volume. My own familiarity with the educational thought of Futa Helu, and its practical manifestation through ‘Atenisi, goes back to the mid-1980s. Since that time Futa and ‘Atenisi have provided both the inspiration and a constant reference point for my own work as an educationist. This brief reflection is offered as a tribute to a life well spent, to a colleague and friend notable for his wisdom, humanity, courage, entertaining company and dedication to the critical tradition of education.
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