Anti-vaccination conspiracy theories: Pacific Islands communities and the media

  • Philip Cass Editor, Pacific Journalism Review
Keywords: Anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theories, churches, Covid-19, Destiny Church, End Times, Fiji, media, protests, Pacific diaspora, Papua New Guinea, religion, Samoa, Tonga


This article is intended to provide an overview of the role of anti-vaccination conspiracy theories in Pacific Islands communities in New Zealand, setting it within the broader context of the Pacific and among Pasifika communities in Australia during the first years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of their key roles in Island communities and communicating information about COVID-19, it focuses on the role of churches, drawing a contrast between  evangelical/Pentecostal and mainstream religious bodies. Research findings suggest that much of the language used to oppose vaccination derived ultimately from the United States and that an inclination towards End Times eschatology was likely to have been key to the spread of conspiracy theories. However, the article also suggests that in spite of the presence of conspiracy theories and the media’s concentration on the controversial behaviour of Bishop Brian Tamaki, most mainstream Pacific churches were highly alert to the reality of the virus and supportive of their communities.


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How to Cite
Cass, P. (2023). Anti-vaccination conspiracy theories: Pacific Islands communities and the media. Pacific Journalism Review : Te Koakoa, 29(1 & 2), 153-166.