Indigenous people are over-represented as professional players in many sporting codes, and recently a trend has developed whereby Indigenous athletes are choosing to play internationally for their heritage nations as opposed to the top-tier countries they reside in. With regard to rugby league and rugby union, many of these athletes are Pasifika who have had minimal exposure to their heritage nations, being born and raised in, for example, Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia or the United States. Nevertheless, this cohort is increasingly choosing to play for their heritage nations, despite the substantial cut in pay and available resources this decision entails.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the world to stop. It has halted societal modes of being and operating, and collective responsibility is now premised on a discourse of prevention or fear. These tensions are also relevant to higher education. In this situation report we aim to elucidate such tensions through Pacific Indigenous philosophy that affirms collective and relational ontologies by way of transnational Pasifika engagement in the university. This report is produced by two Pasifika researchers who have never physically met. However, through the digital vä, their voices are connected to tell this story.