John Taukave is a current Graduate Degree Fellow with the East West Center pursuing his MA research in Pacific Island Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa (UH Mānoa). His work focuses on promoting indigenous epistemology, reconnecting oceanic identities and climate advocacy in the arts. Interweaving both the arts and academic scholarship together has been a key tenet of his work. He has also provided technical and research support on climate policies and negotiations for the Micronesian Center for Sustainable Transport (MCST) and Pacific (6PAC-Plus) delegations at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). John has also been a performing artist with Rako Pasefika, a Rotuman and Pacific Performing Arts company based in Fiji for 15 years and has extensive experience in Oceanic and Rotuman Performance. He continues to advocate for cultural, traditional and indigenous preservation and conservation of Pacific heritage, stories and identity through the Performing arts with applied experiences in cultural research and academia. Working and creating with Rako Pasefika has been the foundation of inspiration for his creativity and research. His current research at UH Mānoa revolves around reconnecting to a Rotuman identity through ‘storyliving’ (lived stories through the medium of performance) around an endemic species of bird in Rotuma called the ‘Armea’. Having the space to grow and create with the support of family and the community has been life changing and believes this is the trajectory of his voyage in life.
John Taukave holds a Postgraduate diploma student at University of the South Pacific in Diplomacy and International Affairs with an advanced level (B2) in French speaking. He also holds a Bachelors of Arts double majoring in History and Politics with a Gold medal in History from the University of the South Pacific.
He holds extensive experience:
- As a cultural researcher into reviewing the Festival of Pacific Arts with Queensland University of Technology in 2021,
- being part of the Fiji Delegation to the Pacific Arts festival held in Guam in 2016,
- being a silver medalist for outstanding PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) mentor,
- participating at Youth leadership forums at the University of the South Pacific,
- being the outstanding participant to the JENESYS student exchange program to Japan in 2018,
- being a youth participant at the Moana Pasifika Peoples’ Forum held in Vanuatu in 2019,
- being an English teaching assistant to the Lycée de Pouembout in New Caledonia in 2014 and 2015,
- being the cultural ambassadors for International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Fiji to the Ocean’s Congress in Honolulu, Hawaii as well as,
- being a storytelling fellow for the indigenous organization, Nia Tero in 2020,
- being a lead choreographer and composer for the theater Production ‘Sau Folu’ by Rako Pasefika at the Pacific Dance New Zealand Festival in Auckland in June, 2023.
- Special performance at the White House Initiative for Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Conference in Washington DC, 2023.
- One month internship at The Marshall Islands Embassy in South Korea under His Excellency, Ambassador Albon Ishoda.
- Providing technical, research and cultural protocol support at the 14th and 15th Intercessional Working Groups and the Marine Environment Committee Conference (MEPC) at the International Maritime Organization in London, 2022 and 2023.
- MCST and 6-Pac outreach at the College of The Marshall Islands
With this drive, he feels that everything and anything is possible with the right guidance from the right people!