Vilsoni Hereniko received his Ph.D. from the University of the South Pacific (USP) in 1991. He moved soon after to the University of Hawai`i (UHManoa) where he taught Pacific literature and film. In 1997 he received the Elliot Cades writing award for his “significant body of work of exceptional quality.” In 2000 the UHManoa awarded him with a Presidential Citation for his teaching. In 2005 Cambridge University awarded him a Fellowship with Corpus Christi College.
From 2008-July 2010 Hereniko was the Director of the Center for Pacific Islands at the School of Pacific and Asian Studies at UHManoa. From August 2010-July 2012 he was the Director of the Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies at USP.
Hereniko is a playwright and stage director and seven of his plays have been produced and published. As a screenwriter, film director or producer, he has written and directed or produced five films, including a narrative feature, “The Land Has Eyes”, set on his homeland, Rotuma.
“Land” premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and has been shown at over 20 international film festivals, including Rotterdam, Montreal, Brisbane, Shanghai, Singapore and Moscow. Winner of several awards, including “Best Dramatic Feature” at the 2004 Toronto Imaginative Film and Media Arts Festival, “Land” was also Fiji’s official entry (2005) for the Academy Awards in the Foreign Language Film category. In addition, Hereniko has served on the film selection committee for the Hawai`i International Film Festival as well as a jury member for several international film and theatre festivals.
Hereniko was the editor of the award-winning journal “The Contemporary Pacific” from 2002-2008. He has also authored or edited academic books or articles on Oceanic literature, film, art, culture, and the politics of representation.