Talanoa With Dr T: Professor Enhances Fijian Vernacular Education On Facebook

Tarisi Sorovi-Vunidilo, a Fijian Assistant Professor at the University of Hawaii started a Facebook page to enhance Fijian vernacular education.
13 Jun 2020 10:50
Talanoa With Dr T: Professor Enhances Fijian Vernacular Education On Facebook
Dr Tarisi Sorovi-Vunidilo.

More than seven weeks ago, Tarisi Sorovi-Vunidilo, an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii, started a Facebook page known as Talanoa with Dr T.

The page is mainly to enhance Fijian vernacular education.

Mrs Vunidilo, who hails from Natokalau, Yawe in Kadavu, is a familiar face to those from the 90s era.

“I used to present on a television show called Talanoa on Fiji One in the 90s. The key priorities I am trying to achieve are:

  • To prominently use Fijian vernacular (Vosa Vakabau) in all my classes;
  • Involving all children of iTaukei descent (in Fiji and around the world);
  • Openly share the prehistory and history of Fiji;
  • Empower iTaukei to study more about their past and history; and
  • Make every iTaukei child proud of their rich heritage.

She loves history and prehistory.

“Indigenous knowledge drives me to do this programme and I just love to connect with my audience, and help them re-connect to their own history.

“My target market are Fijian speaking families and mostly children,” Mrs Vunidilo said.

“I believe that the transmission of cultural knowledge to our young ones is key, as they will be the future of Fiji,” said the Professor.

The mother of two did most of her university studies and work experience overseas. She is an archaeologist by profession.

Talanoa with Dr. T

KOROWAIWAI kei na KORONIVALU: Oqo saka erua na kena droini (image 1 & 2) e tabaki me da rawa ni raitayaloyalotaka na ‘korowaiwai’ (ring-ditch forts) ka droinitaka o Ferenc Zamolyi. Au biuta talega e dua na mape ni Korowaiwai mai Sigatoka (image 3).


Her family has been her biggest inspiration and support group.

“Story-telling from my parents, especially my late mother, inspired me in all facets of life.,” Mrs Vunidilo said.

“She used to tell me all her life stories of collecting firewood, catching fish, weaving mats, cooking in the open fire etc whilst growing up in Kadavu. This, added to my active imagination, I often visualise her stories whilst growing up in Suva (I was the only one that was born in Suva-my older siblings were born in Kadavu).”


She has projects in the pipeline, one of which is with the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. She is currently writing a book and hopes to also complete a documentary.

She admits she would not have been able to do her videos without the help of her two children and her husband who came up with the idea.

The programme should last 10 weeks with each video lasting an hour. They can also be viewed on a YouTube channel.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback: susana.tuilau@fijisun.com.fj

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