The Contemporary Pacific, vol. 24, no. 2 (2012)

The Contemporary Pacific 24:1 Cover
The Pacific Islands, v

About the Artist: Ani O’Neill, vii


Pills, Potions, Products: Kava’s Transformations in New and Nontraditional Contexts
Jonathan D Baker, 233

Abstract: This article focuses on kava (Piper methysticum G. Forst, Piperaceae) in its various forms: plant, beverage, medicine, and dietary supplement. Specifically, I examine a relatively unexplored dimension of kava’s use: the ways in which both the form and the use of kava are changing as it is introduced into new and different cultural contexts. Kava’s popularity outside Oceania has led to changes in how and why it is used, as well as transformations in the form in which people consume it. The best known of these is the manufacture of kava-containing pills and tinctures, which are marketed for treating anxiety and depression in Western countries. But kava is also undergoing a transformation into an alcohol-like recreational analogue, and it is being incorporated into a range of food products. In this article, I first seek to document some of these transformations and to describe the contexts into which kava has been introduced. Second, I analyze these transformations and attempt to frame them within larger discourses about medicines, recreational intoxicants, and notions of authenticity and exoticism. Finally, I speculate about the future face of kava. The collapse of demand for kava for use in dietary supplements provides a second chance for kava growers and wholesale distributors to consider how they want kava to be represented and sold to the wider world. The article’s conclusion outlines some of the ongoing efforts to shape this future, while highlighting some of the lessons that might be learned by considering the problems associated with the previous kava boom.
Keywords: kava, Piper methysticum, globalization, commoditization, pharmaceuticalization

Postcolonial Anxieties and the Browning of New Zealand Rugby
Andrew D Grainger, Mark Falcous, and Joshua I Newman, 267

Abstract: This article examines postcolonial race politics and the re-centering of embodied whiteness and mediated white bodies as constituted through “white flight” and the so-called browning of rugby in New Zealand. Previous studies have problematized the ways in which rugby union is often framed within the national imaginary as a culturally unifying space—commonly depicted as transcendent of New Zealand’s postcolonial racial tensions. Here we extend these critiques by pointing to several themes that have recently emerged within popular sports media, namely, those that position male Māori and Pacific Islander bodies as a threat to the well-being of the national game and the national identities it authorizes, and grainger, falcous, and those that locate the Pākehā (white) male sporting body as under duress, or made vulnerable, by the brown-bodied, interloping “Other.” The article concludes with a discussion of how these popular representations of racialized rugby-playing bodies, in the age of global mobility and national multiculturalism, articulate to and within foundational (white) national myths of white-settler meritocracy, rurality, and coloniality.
Keywords: New Zealand, rugby, multiculturalism, postcolonialism, national identity

The Trauma of Goodness in Patricia Grace’s Fiction
Irene Visser, 297

Abstract: Postcolonial literary critics today increasingly draw on cultural trauma theory to illuminate processes concerning the traumatic aftermath of colonization. There is also, however, a growing resistance to some of cultural trauma theory’s central concepts and its basic orientation, which are often deemed inadequate for the interpretation of postcolonial literatures. This article aims to contribute to this discussion as well as to contribute to a critical understanding of Patricia Grace’s fiction—or more precisely, of the aftermath of colonial repression that is represented in her novels of the 1980s and 1990s as an invidious and in fact traumatic “goodness.” The fictional dramatization of the trauma of “goodness” in the settings of school, orphanage, and hospital foregrounds a paradox that is central to Grace’s depiction of the lives of Māori children in the second half of the twentieth century, when the colonial contradictions between education and repression, care and wounding were still making themselves felt. Grace’s emphasis is on the long-lasting psychological imprint of colonial repression in primary schools, as institutes of care and instruction, where the concept of goodness is contaminated to the extent that it becomes indistinguishable from evil. In exploring this traumatic “goodness” as a colonizing concept in Grace’s fiction, this article reflects on the expository potential of trauma theory and on its limitations for postcolonial critical praxis.
Keywords: Aotearoa/New Zealand, Māori literature, Patricia Grace, goodness, cultural trauma theory, orality


Sniffing Oceania’s Behind
Vicente M Diaz, 324

Abstract: Part tribute to the late Epeli Hau‘ofa and part reflective historiography, this essay examines the figure of the anus in Hau‘ofa’s short story Kisses in the Nederends in order to open up an inquiry into an olfactory history of Oceania. My broader goal is to augment if not challenge canonical methods still heavily reliant on literacy and visuality, and realist modalities that I believe are inadequate to the task of apprehending subaltern aspects of Oceania’s ongoing past.
Keywords: Pacific Islands history, Pacific Islands historiography, Native Pacific cultural studies, narratology, Epeli Hau‘ofa


Virtually There: Open Access and the Online Growth of Pacific Dissertations and Theses
Stuart Dawrs, 348


The Region in Review: International Issues and Events, 2011
Nic Maclellan, 360

Melanesia in Review: Issues and Events, 2011
David Chappell, Jon Fraenkel, Gordon Leua Nanau, Howard Van Trease, Muridan S Widjojo, 377


The Orator/O Le Tulafale [feature film]
Review forum edited by April K Henderson; reviews by Emelihter Kihleng and Teresia K Teaiwa, Sadat Muaiava and Tamasailau Suaalii-Sauni, and Myra Mcfarland-Tautau and Galumalemana Afeleti Hunkin, 434

Pacific Island Artists: Navigating the Global Art World, edited by Karen Stevenson
Reviewed by Katherine Higgins, 446

New Caledonia Twenty Years On: 1988–2008, edited by Jean-Marc Regnault and Viviane Fayaud; La France à l’opposé d’elle-même: essais d’histoire politique de l’Océanie, volume 1, by Jean-Marc Regnault
Reviewed by David Chappell, 448

Steadfast Movement around Micronesia: Satowan Enlargements beyond Migration, by Lola Quan Bautista
Reviewed by Manuel Rauchholz, 452

Natives and Exotics: World War II and Environment in the Southern Pacific, by Judith A Bennett
Reviewed by Paul D’Arcy, 455

Reconciliation and Architectures of Commitment: Sequencing Peace in Bougainville, by John Braithwaite, Hilary Charlesworth, Peter Reddy, and Leah Dunn
Reviewed by Katharina Schneider, 457

Out of Place: Madness in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, by Michael Goddard
Reviewed by Barbara Andersen, 460

The Lihir Destiny: Cultural Responses to Mining in Melanesia, by Nicholas A Bainton
Reviewed by Alex Golub, 462

Villagers and the City: Melanesian Experiences of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, edited by Michael Goddard
Reviewed by Paul Jones, 464