The Contemporary Pacific, vol. 17, no. 1 (2005)

TCP 17.1 cover imageErrata

About the Artist: Meleanna Aluli Meyer, p. vii


Precarious Positions: Native Hawaiians and US Federal Recognition, p. 1
J Kehaulani Kauanui

This essay examines the politics of the controversial proposal for US federal recognition for Native Hawaiians. It explores a range of historical and legal issues that shed light on the multiple claims that constitute the complex terrain of Hawaiian sovereignty politics. The article provides a historical overview of the events that impact the current situation and then discusses a particular set of contemporary conditions that serve as key elements in catalyzing widespread support for federal recognition—namely, the implications of the recent US Supreme Court ruling in Rice v Cayetano and subsequent legal challenges to Native Hawaiian programs and funding by the US government. It also highlights difficulties with the promise of federal recognition as a solution to “the Hawaiian problem” by looking at lessons from Indian Country, Native Alaska, and the Pacific—especially the US unincorporated territories. Finally, the essay explores the independence movement as an alternative to domestic dependent nationhood.
Keywords: Native Hawaiians, sovereignty, United States, federal recognition, indigenous politics, land, self-governance

He Lei Ho‘oheno no na Kau a Kau: Language, Performance, and Form in Hawaiian Poetry, p. 29
Ku‘ualoha Ho‘omanawanui

Hawaiian poetry developed in the nurturing embrace of oral tradition for nearly two thousand years before American missionaries introduced writing in the 1820s. Once literacy was established, Native Hawaiians enthusiastically set out to use the new technology to record their oral traditions in writing. During this period they also experimented with and developed new forms of mele, such as hula ku‘i. After the Hawaiian language was banned and the government overthrown in the late nineteenth century, there was a period where Hawaiian poetry was carried forward into the twentieth century by entertainers—singers, dancers, and musicians—who kept the performance aspect of Hawaiian poetry alive. The art of Hawaiian poetry was transformed in the latter half of the twentieth century, when haku mele (poets) began to write primarily in English and Hawai‘i Creole English while still maintaining Hawaiian themes and utilizing traditional metaphors. Since then, contemporary Hawaiian poetry in these languages has thrived alongside Hawaiian-language compositions, which are still perpetuated, mostly through the practice of hula. Today, Hawaiian poetry can be best described by using the metaphor of a haku lei, where different strands of language and influence are woven together to create something beautiful and unique, an enduring and perpetual symbol of Hawaiian cultural tradition—a lei ho‘oheno no nä kau a kau, a lei to be cherished for all seasons.
Keywords: Hawaiian poetry, form, performance, Hawaiian literature

Tauhi va: Nurturing Tongan Sociospatial Ties in Maui and Beyond, p. 83
Tevita O Ka‘ili

Although studies have shown that Tongan migrants maintain strong linkages with Tongans in Tonga as well as with their kin in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States, the Tongan concept of va, social space, has not been used to understand Tongan transnational relations. For Tongans, vä is organized through one’s genealogy and kinship ties. The concept of space is central to our understanding of transnationality because global practices involve the movement and flows of people and things within space and across spatial boundaries while people maintain sociospatial connections with one another. Tongans generally view reciprocal exchanges, whether within Tonga or transnational, as tauhi va: taking care of sociospatial ties with kin and kin-like members. In this article, I explore the concept of va and the practice of tauhi va primarily through my research among Tongans in Maui, Hawai‘i, as well as my experience with Tongans in Seattle, Washington. I argue that va and tauhi va provide us with new spatial concepts for framing our understanding of Tongan transnationality.
Keywords: Social space, va, transnationalism, tauhi va, Tongan Americans, genealogy, fonua


Governance, Corruption, and Ethics in the South Pacific, p. 118
Elise Huffer

A Conversation with Mililani Trask, p. 142
Noe NoeWong-Wilson


Micronesia in Review: Issues and Events, 1 July 2003 to 30 June 2004, p. 160
Kelly G Marsh, Samuel F McPhetres, Donald R Shuster

Polynesia in Review: Issues and Events, 1 July 2003 to 30 June 2004, p. 185
Frédéric Angleviel, David Chappell, Tracie Ku‘uipo Cummings Losch, Jon Tikivanotau M Jonassen, Margaret Mutu


The Trial of the Cannibal Dog: Captain Cook in the South Seas, by Anne Salmond Cook: The Extraordinary Voyages of Captain James Cook, by Nicholas Thomas, p. 224
Reviewed by Tom Ryan

Sailing in the Wake of the Ancestors: Reviving Polynesian Voyaging, by Ben Finney, p. 232
Reviewed by Richard Feinberg

No Sword to Bury: Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i during World II, by Franklin Odo, p. 235
Reviewed by Jonathan Y Okamura

Kahana: How the Land Was Lost, by Robert H Stauffer, p. 237
Reviewed by David Keanu Sai

Secrecy and Cultural Reality: Utopian Ideologies of the New Guinea Men’s House, by Gilbert Herdt, p. 240
Reviewed by Andrew Lattas

Raiding the Land of the Foreigners: The Limits of the Nation on an Indonesian Frontier, by Danilyn Rutherford, p. 243
Reviewed by Chris Ballard

Under the Gun: The Small Arms Challenge in the Pacific, by David Capie, p. 245
Reviewed by Edwina Thompson

Akono‘anga Maori: Cook Islands Culture, edited by Ron Crocombe and Marjorie Tua‘inekore Crocombe, p. 248
Reviewed by Jukka Siikala

Pacific Island Tourism, edited by David Harrison, p. 250
Reviewed by Wardlow Friesen

Marshall Islands Legends and Stories, collected and edited by Daniel A Kelin II, p. 252
Reviewed by Laurence Marshall Carucci

Samoan Art & Artists: O Measina a Samoa, by Sean Mallon, p. 255
Reviewed by Carol E Mayer

Conversations: Occasional Writing from the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies 2:1, June 2001, edited by Brij V Lal, p. 258
Reviewed by Paul Lyons

Kwamra: A Season of Harvest, by Russell Soaba Captain Cook in the Underworld, by Robert Sullivan, p. 260
Reviewed by Briar Wood

Gender, Song, and Sensibility: Folktales and Folksongs in the Highlands of New Guinea, by Pamela J Stewart and Andrew Strathern, p. 264
Reviewed by Don Brenneis

Panpipes across the Ocean: A Production of Popular Tunes from the South Pacific Islands (compact disc), p. 266
Reviewed by Don Niles

Kuo Hina ‘E Hiapo: The Mulberry is White and Ready for Harvest (video), p. 268
Reviewed by Ping-Ann Addo

The Songmaker’s Chair, by Albert Wendt (play), p. 270
Reviewed by Melani Anae

Paradise Now? Contemporary Art from the Pacific (art exhibit), p. 273
Reviewed by Fred Myers