From the ground up: Weaving a tok Stori of quality education


  • Dominique Mahuri University of the South Pacific
  • Vilive Cagivinaka Fiji National University
  • Sereima Baleisomi Fiji National University
  • Onelau Faamoemoe Soti National University of Samoa
  • Martyn Reynolds Victoria University of Wellington


Quality education is an often-heard term that has no single meaning. In this paper, we use the metaphor of mat weaving to structure an exploration of various elements that inform quality education. To form the mat, a warp of literature-derived threads is woven with the weft of practitioners’ ideas of quality education. These local perspectives were gifted through tok stori, a Melanesian oral form, through a session held at the OCIES 2022 Conference at the Fiji National University. The session brought together frontline educators from diverse Pacific settings to explore the dynamics of quality across contexts ‘from the ground up’, a seldom investigated direction. The woven discussion includes explorations of tensions between colonial pasts and the present, and points to hopeful expectations about the not-yet-here. The resultant mat balances prevalent notions of quality that flow from distant places into Pacific settings with locally derived positional understandings, and in so doing offers contextual flesh and currency to some of the key concepts valued by regional initiatives.

Author Biographies

Dominique Mahuri, University of the South Pacific

Dominique Mahuri, from Pentecost Island, Vanuatu, has been a teacher for fifteen years. He is currently working as a school Principal under the Vanuatu Ministry of Education and Training.

Vilive Cagivinaka, Fiji National University

Vilive Cagivinaka is from Fiji. He has been an academic and a teacher educator for 24 years and works for the Fiji National University. His expertise is in teacher education, higher education administration, programme development and review.

Sereima Baleisomi, Fiji National University

Sereima Baleisomi is from Macuata, Fiji. She is a lecturer in primary education at the Fiji National University.

Onelau Faamoemoe Soti, National University of Samoa

Onelau Faamoemoe Hakai Soti is from Samoa. She has 15 years’ experience at the Curriculum Division, Ministry of Education. Moe has also been an academic and a teacher educator for the same period and currently works for the National University of Samoa.

Martyn Reynolds, Victoria University of Wellington

Pacific Research Post Doctoral Fellow,  Victoria University of Wellington Teaching Fellow, USP