On Becoming a Liquid Church: Singing the Niuean 'Fetuiaga Kerisiano' on a Distant Shore

Matagi Vilitama

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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The purpose of this thesis is to construct an ecclesiology for the Niuean church
in diaspora. It will do so replacing the traditional image of the church as
Ekalesia with the Niuean term fetuiaga. That exchange represents a linguistic
and cultural shift. There was no word for church in Niuean, so the hybridized
neologism Ekalesia was invented. Fetuiaga refers to a gathering, assembly, fellowship, relationship, interconnections, etc. In this instance, the gathering becomes the Fetuiaga Kerisiano - that is, the gathering of Christ.

The purpose of this thesis is to explore how the traditional and received experience of the Niuean Fetuiaga can be transported to a distant shore, in this case - Australia. Such a study is not peculiar to the Niuean diaspora. It mirrors in many ways what has happened in many larger island communities and their churches. This study will be mindful of comparable experiences from Oceania and the migrant other. This study will not just be about the practice of what is involved in being the church. It will explore this practice in the light of received models and what it means to be the church in a new liquid vahaloto (space). It is thus an exercise in contextual and diasporic ecclesiology - but with a difference. The distinctive images that characterize this Fetuiaga Kerisiano will be explored
through a lens of liquidity and by means of an umu hermeneutic with special attention to the inner geography, synaesthetic effects and ethnomusicology.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Pearson, Clive, Co-Supervisor
  • Drayton, Dean, Co-Supervisor
  • Burns, Stephen, Co-Supervisor
  • Monro, Anita, Co-Supervisor
Award date01 Nov 2015
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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