The Contemporary Pacific, vol. 26, no. 1 (2014)

TCP 26-1 coverAbout the Artist: Visesio Poasi Siasau, vii

The Pacific Islands, viii


Climate-Change Migration in the Pacific
John R Campbell, 1

Abstract: Despite considerable debate about whether or not climate change will cause large numbers of people to migrate, there has been little consideration of how such displacement might be caused. Three effects of climate change are identified as possible drivers of migration: loss of or reduction in land security, livelihood security, and habitat security. Where these are destroyed by climate change, migration will be forced and would require the abandonment of some locations. Such community relocation is likely to be a disruptive form of climate-change migration, and past experience indicates that there are numerous social, cultural, emotional, and economic costs associated with such moves, even at relatively small distances. Where the loss of security is partial, voluntary or induced migration may be a practical adaptive response, reducing pressure on declining local life-support systems and providing remittances to supplement declining livelihoods. Most attention has been focused on atoll communities, but most Pacific communities (with the exception of Papua New Guinea) are coastal, and the security of some inland areas may be threatened by increasing magnitude and frequency of droughts. Destinations for climate-change migrants may range from locations within customary lands to foreign countries within and beyond the region. A key issue is the essential link between Pacific Islands people and their land, which poses major problems not only for those forced to leave but also for communities within the region that may be required to give up land for relocatees.
Keywords: climate change, migration, relocation, land security, livelihood security, habitat security

In Their Own Voices: Contemporary Native Hawaiian and Archaeological Narratives about Hawaiian Archaeology
Kathleen Kawelu, 31

Abstract: Archaeology in Hawai‘i has reached the century mark, and public perception of the discipline as a marginal esoteric pursuit has changed to one that associates the practice with land development and colonialism. The sociopolitical climate surrounding archaeology in the Hawaiian Islands is charged, and controversial events have contributed to present-day tensions. However, to understand these tensions we must go beyond anecdotes. This article presents narratives about the sociopolitical history of Hawaiian archaeology as conveyed in ethnographic interviews with Native Hawaiians and archaeologists. Themes brought forth in these narratives include discussion about the persistence of a living Hawaiian culture and the varying degrees of archaeological commitment to that culture. Ultimately an approach is sought that emphasizes Native Hawaiian people and culture and reframes archaeology in a supporting role. Through such reframing, issues of the practical application of archaeologically constructed knowledge for descendant communities are addressed, and the capacity of the discipline to advocate for Native Hawaiian communities is increased. Changing the current trajectory of historic preservation in Hawai‘i to encompass a collaborative approach to cultural stewardship is necessary for the viability of the discipline as well as for the perpetuation of Hawaiian culture.
Keywords: Hawai‘i, indigenous archaeology, politics of the past, ethnography

Is Genetic Labeling of “Risk” Related to Obesity Contributing to Resistance and Fatalism in Polynesian Communities?
Lena Rodriguez and James Rimumutu George, 65

Abstract: For Western health professionals, obesity and related illnesses are viewed as preventable and arising from lifestyle choices; however, for Polynesians and many other Indigenous peoples, these same diseases are regarded as genetically determined. This article examines this contradiction and questions whether high clusters of these illnesses are evidence of “faulty genes” or are a product of other socioeconomic and cultural influences related to postcolonial marginalization. We suggest that both the ways genetic findings are disseminated and a limited understanding of their predictive capacity may in fact contribute to certain fatalistic attitudes within these populations. Labeling Polynesians “at risk” can engender fear in the community, arguably leading to a greater reluctance of people to be tested. In turn, this leads to more Polynesians presenting late for treatment as well as to poorer outcomes. Our article focuses on the results of qualitative interviews with sixty-seven Polynesian migrants to Australia.
Keywords: Polynesian, Indigenous health, obesity, genetics, risk, migration


Oceanic Historicities
Chris Ballard, 96

Abstract: “We need a word that includes memory but embraces all the other ways of knowing a past,” wrote Greg Dening, in advocating the notion of a “poetic for histories”: culturally specific forms of knowledge of the past that embrace “reminiscence, gossip, anecdote, rumour, parable, report, tradition, myth . . . saga, legend, epic, ballad, folklore, annal, chronicle” (1991, 348–349). To this list we might want to add a range of other performative and sensory modes of engaging—consciously or unconsciously—with the past, including dancing, gardening, carving, smell, sound, and touch. Drawing on a large but diffuse body of global literature, and illustrating my argument with material from local historians, I consider how we might set about describing these historicities, or cultural logics of temporal process, in an Oceanic setting: how are they expressed, how might we come to understand them, and how are they transformed over time and through encounter with other historicities?
Keywords: historicities, Oceania, Pacific, history, historical consciousness

Being “Nesian”: Pacific Islander Identity in Australia
Kirsten McGavin, 126

Abstract: Pacific Islanders in Australia use the terms “Islander” and “Pacific Islander” in many ways and in different circumstances to define themselves and others. Through invoking discourses including these terms, Pacific Islanders both consciously draw on “panethnicity” and subconsciously strengthen and support their localized identities. In this way, Pacific Islanders blur the ethno-cultural and sociopolitical boundaries that traditionally separate groups with connections across a diverse range of countries. Indeed, diasporic settings give rise to transnationalist sentiment and actions and serve to strengthen panethnic identity. Using insider and auto-anthropology and ethnographic research techniques, I draw on my experiences as an Australian of Pacific Islander descent and use examples drawn from my involvement in formalized community groups, cultural events, and social functions. In doing so, I argue that the expression of Islander and Pacific Islander identity is entwined with ideas about “race,” place, stereotypes, and behavior that highlight the dynamic ethnogenesis of this group.
Keywords: Pacific Islanders, identity, panethnicity, insider anthropology, Australia, transnationalism


Gathering the ’Net: Efforts and Challenges in Archiving Pacific Websites
Eleanor Kleiber, 158


Micronesia in Review: Issues and Events, 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013
David W Kupferman, Kelly G Marsh, Samuel F McPhetres, Tyrone J Taitano, 170

Polynesia in Review: Issues and Events, 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013
Lorenz Gonschor, Hapakuke Pierre Leleivai, Margaret Mutu, Forrest Wade Young, 192


Oceania at the Tropenmuseum, by David van Duuren, Steven Vink, Daan van Dartel, Hanneke Hollander, and Denise Frank
Reviewed by Chris Ballard, 232

Vestiges d’une histoire Marquisienne: Contribution à l’archéologie de Ua Huka, by Eric Conte and Guillaume Molle
Te Tahata: Etude d’une marae de Topoto (Nord); Archipel des Tuamotu, Polynésie française, by Eric Conte and Kenneth J Dennison
Reviewed by Jennifer G Kahn, 234

Echoes at Fishermen’s Rock: Traditional Tokelau Fishing, by Elders from Atafu Atoll
Reviewed by Ingjerd Hoëm, 237

Théâtre océanien: Anthologie, edited and translated by Sonia Lacabanne
Urbanesia: Four Pasifika Plays, edited by David O’Donnell
Reviewed by Diana Looser, 240

The Missing King, by Moetai Brotherson
Reviewed by Steven Gin, 245

Daughters of Fire, by Tom Peek
Reviewed by Susan Y Najita, 247

Managing Modernity in the Western Pacific, edited by Mary Patterson and Martha Macintyre
Reviewed by Jessica Hardin, 249

Communication, Culture and Society in Papua New Guinea: Yu Tok Wanem? edited by Evangelia Papoutsaki, Michael McManus, and Patrick Matbob
Reviewed by James Slotta, 251

Canning Paradise [documentary film]
Reviewed by David Lipset, 254

The Land of Eb [feature film]
Reviewed by Julianne Walsh, 255

Contributors, 259