Center for Pacific Islands Studies Newsletter

No. 1 January–March 2011


Recent Oceanic Films Reflect the Diversity of the Region
Norman Meller Research Prizes Awarded
Center Presentations
Cultures of Commemoration:New PIMS Volume
Student and Alumni Activities
Faculty and Staff Activities
Conferences and Meetings
Bulletin Board


Even a casual glance at film festivals across the region reveals a healthy and varied production of moving images in the Pacific.

The eighth FIFO (Festival International du film documentaire océanien), in Tahiti, 24–30 January 2011, showcased a wide range of films, including the following award winners:

A partial list of the other films shown at FIFO 2011 includes the following:

For a list of all the films shown at this year’s FIFO, see the website at

The annual Hawai‘i International Film Festival also strives to provide a good geographical sampling. The 2010 festival included the following:


Pacific short films presented at the 2010 Hawai‘i International Film Festival included

Image of child behind a chainlink fence

Collateral Damage (DVD, 2008, 29 minutes) is one episode in the four-hour documentary series Unnatural Causes . . . Is Inequality Making Us Sick? Produced by California Newsreel, the series explores racial and socioeconomic inequities in health in the United States. Collateral Damage focuses on Marshall Islanders in the Republic of the Marshall Islands and in Springdale, Arkansas. Over the years, US occupation, military policy, and globalization have affected the health of Marshallese in unanticipated ways. The series was shown on PBS Television in the United States.

Yumi Piksa: Stories from the Papua New Guinean Highlands is an engaging set of short films produced by a group of emerging filmmakers at the University of Goroka. The set includes


Congratulations to Rachel Miller and Donovan Preza, who were selected to receive 2010 Norman Meller Research Awards. Each award was accompanied by a check for $250. The award is given annually to the best MA research paper produced at the University of Hawai‘i in the social sciences or humanities and focused on the Pacific Islands. In the latest competition, the selection committee elected to make two awards.

Rachel Miller, a CPIS alumna (MA, 2010) received the award for her thesis, “Wa Kuk Wa Jimor: Outrigger Canoes, Social Change, and Modern Life in the Marshall Islands.” The thesis is an exploration of the state and shape of the canoe tradition for Marshallese people today: how it has changed over time and how it currently articulates with the broader contemporary Marshallese culture. Her research relied heavily on interviews she conducted, as well as proverbs, legends, and the Marshallese language.

The selection committee commended Miller for her “well-argued, sophisticated, and nuanced discussion of the paradoxes of tradition and change” in the Marshall Islands. According to the committee, each chapter is “introduced by a compelling and engaging account of personal experiences related to canoe sailing and repair in the Marshalls.” Prior to joining the MA program, Miller lived in the Marshall Islands for three years, two of which she spent working with Waan Ael?ñ in Majel, a youth vocational training organization that teaches skills using the media of traditional outrigger canoes, boat building, and woodworking.

Donovan Preza, who earned his MA in the UHM Department of Geography, received the award for his thesis, “The Empirical Strikes Back: Re-examining Hawaiian Dispossession Resulting from the Māhele of 1848.” The thesis examines the transition of land tenure in Hawai‘i to a system of private property. Known as the Māhele, this transition has long been believed to be the cause of the dispossession of Hawaiians from land. The thesis questions the identification of the M?hele as a sufficient condition for dispossession and proposes an alternate explanation: the loss of governance. Ultimately, Preza says, this is a story of dispossession and how it has been “understood, misunderstood, and re-understood in Hawai‘i.”

The selection committee described the thesis as groundbreaking; committee members were particularly impressed with the amount of work that went into the thesis: the volume of material that Preza was able to sift through in order to identify misinformation and its paths of replication and the thousands of land sales records that provided data for a reinterpretation of the process of Hawaiian dispossession.

The Meller awards are made possible by a bequest from Dr Norman Meller, a political scientist and founding director of the Pacific Islands Studies Program, who passed away in 2000. For more information on the award, see the CPIS website at


Professor of Economics Wadan Narsey, University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji, gave a talk on 28 January 2011 on “Regional Integration in the Pacific Islands: Moving from Fiction to Fact.” The talk was sponsored by the EWC Pacific Islands Development Program and the UHM Center for Pacific Islands Studies.

Dr Steven Winduo, Arthur Lynn Andrews Chair in Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, gave two talks during the first part of the semester. On 9 February 2011, he was the featured speaker in the East-West Center Wednesday Evening Seminar Series. As part of his presentation, “Chewing Buai and Poetry in Papua New Guinea,” Winduo read from his poetry collections. On 10 March 2011, in a talk entitled “Metonymic Function of Language and Cultural Truth in Pacific Writing,” Winduo illustrated the metonymic function of indigenous language in English texts in Oceania with extracts from works by other Pacific writers, such as Papua New Guinea playwright Nora Vagi Brash. His talk was cosponsored by the UHM Department of English and the UHM Center for Pacific Islands Studies.

On 10 February 2011 Dr Matthew Lauer, an anthropologist at San Diego State University, gave a talk entitled “Getting Locals Involved: Integrating Indigenous Knowledge, Customary Sea Tenure, and Geographic Tools for Marine Environmental Management in the Solomon Islands.” The talk was cosponsored by the UHM Department of Anthropology and the UHM Center for Pacific Islands Studies.

On 16 February 2011 Dr Manuel Rauchholz, adjunct assistant professor anthropology at the University of Guam, gave a talk, “Adoption in Micronesia: Understanding Adoption, Person, and Emotion.” His presentation highlighted current research on the multidimensional aspects of adoption in Micronesia, with a focus on the Federated States of Micronesia.


Volume cover

The latest volume in the Center for Pacific Islands Studies–University of Hawai‘i Press Pacific Islands Monograph Series is Cultures of Commemoration: The Politics of War, Memory, and History in the Mariana Islands, by Keith L Camacho, CPIS alumnus (MA, 1998) and assistant professor of Pacific Islander studies in the Asian American Studies Department, University of California, Los Angeles. It draws from an extensive archival base of government, military, and popular records to trace the formation of divergent colonial and indigenous histories in the Mariana Islands. Camacho describes how US colonial governance and Japanese colonial governance led to competing colonial histories that inform how Americans, Japanese, and Chamorros remember World War II in the islands. He also looks at the processes of history and memory making that inform American, Chamorro, and Japanese war commemorations today.

According to Teresia Teaiwa of Victoria University of Wellington, Cultures of Commemoration is both a unique comparative study and “an engaging book that asks fundamental questions about colonial legacies, national loyalties, and, most importantly, indigenous historical agency.”

The book was published in 2011 (248 pages, ISBN 978-0-8248-3456-0, cloth, US$52.00). It can be ordered through the Orders Department, University of Hawai‘i Press, 2840 Kolowalu Street, Honolulu, HI 96822-1888; the website is


CPIS MA student Tammy Tabe, from Solomon Islands, gave a paper, “Relocation: An Issue and Benefit,” on 19 February 2011, as part of a “Construction & Reconstruction of Identities” panel at the Tenth East-West Center International Graduate Student Conference on the Asia-Pacific Region. The paper focused on I-Kiribati in the Solomon Islands.

Alumnus Alex Mawyer (CPIS MA, 1997), an assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at Lake Forest College, was in town during the first part of February 2011 to attend the annual meeting of the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania (ASAO). Alex co-organized the “Spatial Orientation” session and presented a paper entitled “Can you Get There from Here? Orientating (In)Commensurable ‘Spacetimes’ in the Gambier, French Polynesia.” He also took part in the “Forests of Oceania” symposium, where he presented “Wildlands, Deserted Bays, and Other ‘Bushy’ Metaphors of Pacific Place.”

Also taking part in ASAO were alumnae Marata Tamaira (CPIS MA, 2009) and Ann Marie N?lani Kirk (CPIS MA, 2010), along with Carl F K Pao, arts editor for The Contemporary Pacific. Together they organized an informal session, “The State of Contemporary Maoli Arts in Hawai‘i: Visual and Cinematic Insights,” which included local artists and filmmakers Anne Ke‘ala Kelly, Solomon Enos, Maile Meyer, and ‘Imaikalani Kalahele.

Marata was recently awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship at Australian National University. She will join the ANU School of History, Culture, and Language in June 2011 as a doctoral student in Asia and Pacific Studies. This semester she is teaching in the Māori Culture and Literature course at UH Mānoa.

Alumnus James Arriola (CPIS MA, 2009) is currently working in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Department of Public Health’s Community Guidance Center (Guma Ina' Ayuda/Imwall Alilis), a center for mental health and substance abuse. He works as part of Project Brabu, which in Chamorro means staying strong in overall health. He is also working toward his prevention specialist certification in order to better support prevention initiatives in CNMI and other parts of Micronesia.

Alumna Edelene Osedil Uriarte (CPIS MA, 2010), who hosts Pacific Island News on Hawai‘i Public Radio (HPR), interviewed current CPIS student Patrick Kaiku, from Papua New Guinea, about his experiences as an East-West Center grantee. You can hear her report at Pacific Island News is a collaboration of HPR and the EWC Pacific Islands Development Program.

Congratulations to alumna Jane Reeves (CPIS MA, 1992), whose first feature-length film was chosen for competition at the 2011 FIFO (Festival International du film documentaire océanien) in Tahiti. You can read more about the project at

Jane, a freelance television director based in Auckland, has worked on a number of series and documentaries. Her documentary Gang Kids won a Peace Award in 2004. In recent years she has been a director for various shows on Māori Television, including the popular Kete Aronui arts series and the Kaitiaki environmental series. She is currently directing a show, Tatai Hono, on whakapapa (genealogy).

Congratulations, also, to alumnus Floyd K Takeuchi (CPIS MA, 1977), whose book, School on the Hill: Micronesia’s Remarkable Xavier High School, has just been published by 2LDK Media (see Publications).

Finally, congratulations to alumnus Keith L Camacho, whose book Cultures of Commemoration: The Politics of War, Memory, and History in the Mariana Islands has just been published as part of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies Pacific Islands Monograph Series with University of Hawai‘i Press (see separate article).


Several CPIS faculty and staff took part in conferences held in Honolulu in February. Mary Boyce, assistant professor of Māori in the Department of Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures, gave two papers at the Second International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation. The first paper was “Te Reo i te Papa Takaro: Language in the Playground at Several Māori Immersion Schools.” The second, with M?mari Stephens, was “The Legal Māori Dictionary: Expressing Western Legal Concepts in Māori.”

CPIS Managing Editor Jan Rensel, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology Alan Howard, and Pacific-specialist librarian Stuart Dawrs presented papers in the working session “Photographing Pacific Islanders” at the annual meeting of the ASAO. The session focused on photographs taken and/or used in the context of anthropological research and the interpretations and uses of these photographs in past and present contexts.

The ASAO Distinguished Lecture this year was given by Jonathan Kay Kamakawiwo‘ole Osorio, CPIS affiliate faculty member and professor in the UHM Kamakak?okalani Center for Hawaiian Studies. His lecture was entitled “All Things Depending: The Future of Interdependence in Oceania.”

David Chappell, associate professor of history, spoke at the colloquium “Destins des collectivités politiques d’Océanie: Peuples, populations, nations, États, territoires, pays, patries, communautés, frontiers” in Noumea, New Caledonia, in early March 2011. His talk was on Hawai‘i’s federal relationship with the United States.

Noenoe Silva, Hokulani Aikau, and Noelani Goodyear-Ka‘opua, CPIS affiliate faculty members in the UHM Indigenous Politics Program, have been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Hawai‘i state Office of Hawaiian Affairs to provide tuition and stipends for six Native Hawaiians to participate in “Land, Water, and Governance: Reclaiming Celánen (Ancestry/Birthright),” a two-week exchange during summer of 2011 with indigenous scholars and practitioners in Victoria, British Columbia. The exchange is a collaborative project of the UHM Indigenous Politics Program and the School of Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria.


Available from UH Press

Cultures of Commemoration: The Politics of War, Memory, and History in the Mariana Islands, by Keith L Camacho, is volume twenty-five in the Pacific Islands Monograph Series (see separate article). 2011, 248 pages. ISBN 978-0-8248-3456-0, cloth, US$52.00.

UH Press books can be ordered through the Orders Department, University of Hawai‘i Press, 2840 Kolowalu Street, Honolulu, HI 96822-1888; Web site

Other Publications

On the Edge of the Global: Modern Anxieties in a Pacific Island Nation, by Niko Besnier, examines the ways in which people in Tonga grapple with their anxiety about their future and their fear that the twin forces of “progress” and “development” have bypassed them. This ethnography adopts a wide-angled perspective that brings together political, economic, cultural, and social concerns and focuses on the interface between the different forms of modern uncertainties. Published by Stanford University Press. 2011, 328 pages. ISBN 978-0-8047-7405-5, cloth, US$70.00; ISBN 978-08-0477-406-2, paper, US$22.95.

Devil-Devil, the first novel in Graeme Kent’s new series featuring Sergeant Kella and Sister Conchita, is set in pre-independence Solomon Islands. Sergeant Kella is a member of the Protectorate Police and has also taken on a traditional peacemaker role in his Malaitan culture. Sister Conchita is a young, outspoken nun. An American anthropologist has disappeared into the mountains, and a skeleton has been uncovered. Check out the online reviews for this promising series! Published by Soho Press. ISBN 978-1-5694-7873-8, cloth. Available from Amazon for US$16.50.

Volume cover

School on the Hill: Micronesia’s Remarkable Xavier High School, by writer, photographer, and CPIS alumnus Floyd K Takeuchi, is a photo essay about a high school that has trained many of the Western Pacific’s leaders since 1952. Xavier High School, according to the author, “has been successful, despite having few resources, when others have failed.” Published by 2LDK Media. 2011, 180 pages. ISBN 978-0-6154-5835-9, paper, US$35.00.

In Museums and Māori: Heritage Professionals, Indigenous Collections, Current Practice, Conal McCarthy, program director of the School of Art History, Classics, and Religious Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, explores the revolution that has transformed New Zealand museums in recent decades and is influencing how museums worldwide care for indigenous objects. McCarthy looks at how museum professionals handle the day-to-day care of indigenous objects, how they engage with indigenous communities, and how they meet the needs of a wide range of visitors. Published by Te Papa Press. 2011, 288 pages. ISBN 978-1-8773-8570-4, paper, NZ$69.99.

Les dynamiques religieuses dans le Pacifique: Formes et figures contemporaines de la spiritualité océanienne/Religious Dynamics in the Pacific: Contemporary Forms and Key Figures of Oceanian Spirituality, edited by Françoise Douaire-Marsaudon and Gabriele Weichart, contains eleven chapters on contemporary religion in the Pacific. Six of the articles are in English, and five are in French. The volume is the first publication of the newly formed Pacific-Credo Publications, whose mission is to publish manuscripts on the Pacific in the social sciences and the humanities. 2010, 268 pages. ISBN 978-2-9537-4850-5, paper, US$25.00. The book is available through Amazon.

E Publications

In Search of Refuge: Pacific Islands, Climate-Induced Migration, and the Legal Frontier, by Maxine Burkett, director of the Center for Island Climate Adaptation and Policy in the University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program, examines the stumbling block international law presents for the planning that must take place to address the consequences of the flooding that threatens low-lying coastal and island communities. According to Burkett, international law is not prepared to address the crosscutting impacts of climate and migration; a reconsideration of existing legal boundaries is needed. AsiaPacific Issues 98, published by the East-West Center. 2011, 8 pages. The article can be downloaded at


Volume 45:1 (2010) of Archaeology in Oceania contains the article “Rethinking Polynesian Origins: A West-Polynesia Triple-I Model,” by David J Addison and Elizabeth Matisoo-Smith.

The inaugural issue of World Art is now available. The issue, which includes an article on New Zealand M?ori artist Lisa Reihana’s photographic and video art installation Digital Marae and a visual essay by Scottish/German/M?ori carver and sculptor George Nuku on his work, can be read online, free of charge through the end of 2011. See


Women, Kastom, and Modernity in Papua New Guinea

The University of Papua New Guinea and the PNG Department of Community Development are holding an international symposium on 16 May 2011. The symposium aims to provide a forum for critically discussing changing perspectives on custom and its empowerment and disempowerment of women in Papua New Guinea today. The deadline for responding to the call for papers is 21 April 2011. Abstracts may be sent to one of the conveners: Dr Anne Dickson-Waiko (, Dr Nicholas Garnier (, Ms Fa‘afo Pat (, or Ms Eleina Butuna (>

AAAPS Conference: "Sustenance"

The fourth conference of the Australian Association for the Advancement of Pacific Studies will be held 12–14 April 2012 at the University of Wollongong. The focus is what the Pacific draws sustenance from economically, physically, socially, culturally, historically, politically, spiritually, and intellectually. The closing date for panel proposals is 4 July 2011. For more information, e-mail

Conferences Announced in Previous Newsletters


School on the Hill—An Exhibit

The UHM Hamilton Library is hosting "School on the Hill," an exhibit of seventeen large-format photographs by Floyd K Takeuchi. The exhibit is in conjunction with the publication of "School on the Hill: Micronesia's Remarkable Xavier High School," a book-length photo essay on life at Xavier High School in Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia (see Publications). The exhibition runs through the end of April 2011 (see

Thèse-Pac 2011 Competition Is Announced

Thèse-Pac has announced award categories for its 2011 competition. The categories include the best university work on the South Pacific Islands and Australasia and the best university work about New Caledonia, as well as prizes for works on nursing, the environment, generalized medicine, and specialized medicine. All submitted works must be forwarded to the association before 31 December 2011. For more information, see the website at

Pacific Studies Outreach and Research Fellow

Australian National University seeks to broaden and deepen its outreach and research capacity with migrant Pacific communities. The closing date for applications for the position of outreach and research fellow is 1 May 2011. Applicants of Pacific Islander or Māori heritage are encouraged to apply. For more information, e-mail, or see the website at


Pacific News from Mānoa is published quarterly by
The Center for Pacific Islands Studies
School of Pacific and Asian Studies
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa
1890 East-West Road
Honolulu, HI 96822 USA
Phone: (808) 956-7700
Fax: (808) 956-7053
Web site:


Terence Wesley-Smith, Director; Letitia Hickson, Editor

Items in this newsletter may be freely reprinted. Acknowledgment of the source would be appreciated. To receive the newsletter electronically or to receive notification of its posting online, contact the editor at the e-mail address above. The University of Hawai'i at Mānoa is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution

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