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Academic’s passing ‘big loss for Fijians’

Academic’s passing ‘big loss for Fijians’
The late Alumita Durutalo.
October 10
13:03 2018

It is a big loss for Fijians in New Zealand.

This was how Radilaite Cammock, of Auckland University of Technology, described Alumita Durutalo’s passing.

The Otago University lecturer reportedly collapsed in her office at the university and could not be revived.

Mrs Cammock said she was a student at Otago University in New Zealand when Dr Durutalo joined in 2013.

“I was doing my PhD when she joined and we were in different faculty, but she was the only other Fijian academic at Otago,” she said.

“For me being a Fijian student, I was really fortunate that she was there, she took us under her wings.”

She said while doing her thesis, part of it was the context of the indigenous Fijian.

“I was actually able to get her expertise in that area, so she really helped guide me while I wrote my thesis around iTaukei context and how behaviour might be impacted by iTaukei values and belief systems,” Mrs Cammock said.

“In my PhD (Public Health) I actually acknowledged her contribution to writing my thesis. She came at the right time for me because I wasn’t sure about which direction to really go within that space and she really came and explain a lot about the context of iTaukei.”

Radilaite Delaibatiki Cammock.

Radilaite Delaibatiki Cammock.

Mrs Cammock added that she acknowledged Dr Durutalo in the acknowledgement section of her thesis.

“Every time when I go back to Otago, I would stop to see her, she was very accommodating. You could say that she was there guiding us students and she was also involved in the Fijian community,” she said.

“It’s a big loss for us Fijians here in New Zealand because of all the experiences and all the knowledge is gone.

“I am really sad to hear that.”

Mrs Cammock added that Dr Durutalo was very supportive and did not only focus on academics, but also reaching out to the community.

Mrs Durutalo was a Lecturer in Pacific and Indigenous Studies at the University of Otago.

She graduated with Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Political Science and International Relations at the Australian National University.

She was also associated with the University of the South Pacific, Pacific Islands Political Studies Association and Pacific History Association.

Mrs Durutalo was wife of another prominent USP academic, Simione Durutalo.

Her son Andrew represents the USA in rugby 7s and the full code.

Edited by Epineri Vula



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