Center for Pacific Islands Studies Newsletter

No. 3 July-September 2008


“Pacific Alternatives” to be March 2009 Conference
David Young is Fulbright–Creative New Zealand Writer
News in Brief
George Terry Kanalu Young
Pacific Library Training at UHM
Alumni Profiles: Katherine Higgins
Center Occasional Seminars
Two New PIMS Volumes
The Contemporary Pacific, 20:2
Faculty and Staff Activities
Renée Heyum Scholarships Awarded
Meller Research Award


Pacific Alternatives: Cultural Heritage and Political Innovation in Oceania will be held 24–27 March 2009 in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. This international conference will explore innovative social, cultural, and political responses to global processes in Oceania. Speakers will discuss viable local alternatives to the institutions and practices commonly advocated in development discourse but difficult to implement in Pacific settings. There will be a particular focus on expanding perceptions of cultural heritage in Pacific societies, and how this awareness intersects with local political forms emerging in response to the challenges of global political economy. Pacific Alternatives features situations from many parts of Oceania, with some emphasis on Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

The Pacific Alternatives conference is a milestone event in an ongoing research and educational project of the same name, coordinated by the Bergen Pacific Studies group at the University of Bergen, Norway, in collaboration with institutional partners at the University of Hawai‘i, East-West Center, Solomon Islands National Museum, Vanuatu Cultural Center, British Museum, University College London, James Cook University, New York University, and the University of Tulsa. The conference is cosponsored by the Center for Pacific Islands Studies and the Department of Anthropology, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa; the East-West Center’s Pacific Islands Development Program; and the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Bergen.

For further information about the conference contact Terence Wesley-Smith (, Tisha Hickson (, or Edvard Hviding ( For conference updates visit the website of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at For more information about the Pacific Alternatives>/q> project, see


David Young
David Young

The Center for Pacific Islands Studies is very pleased to welcome David Young as its 2008 Fulbright–Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer. He will be in residence at the center until the middle of December.

David Young works from the perspective that people and landscape—history and the environment—are one. A writer, environmentalist, and historian from Aotearoa/New Zealand, his work covers the nature-culture relationship, including perspectives from indigenous nature and indigenous culture. A former journalist and editor, for the past 20 years he has worked as a freelancer on books and television documentaries.

Among Young’s books is Woven by Water: Histories from the Whanganui River, a study of race relations on what is arguably the most distinctively Māori river in the country. Rising in the volcanic central plateau of the North Island, the awa [river] is regarded by Whanganui iwi [tribal groups] as an ancestor, as the source and the center of their lives. However, in the 1930s they realized that their river had been taken from them by stealth; by the 1970s a State hydroelectric scheme began to divert its headwaters. In the mid 1980s the author met Titi Tihu, tohunga [priest] of the river, then in his late 90s, who for many years had been battling in the courts for the return of the Whanganui to his people. So began an unusual relationship, and a fraught project that took more than a decade to complete.

In Hawai‘i, David Young will continue his focus on conservation issues and address the need for a cross-cultural dialogue on the source of pure water and its cultural and spiritual significance. His plans include a series of essays on the sources of water and their centrality to sustaining life, looking especially at traditions and knowledge within the Pacific.

David Young has just completed a contract with the Waitangi Tribunal on the famous (WAI 262) flora and fauna claim. His most recent books are Ours Islands, Our Selves: A History of Conservation in New Zealand; Whio: Saving New Zealand’s Endangered Blue Duck; and Keeper of the Long View: The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and Sustainability. While in Hawai‘i, he is available to discuss issues of ecosystem depletion and endangered species and can be contacted at


UH Hilo Plans Center for Pacific Islander Education

The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo has received a $682,982 grant from the US Department of Education for planning and design of their proposed Center for Pacific Islander Education and Retention. The center is scheduled to open in fall 2010. It will host speakers, presentations, and performances, while providing an informal gathering place for students, faculty, and staff. Other activities will include peer mentoring, tutoring, and learning communities and multicultural training and workshops. There are close to 200 Pacific Islander (not including Native Hawaiian) students at UH Hilo, most of them from Micronesia and American Sāmoa. Student Development Director Jim Mellon (CPIS MA, 1991) says that UH Hilo has a long history of Pacific Islands students coming to UH Hilo and returning home to leadership positions. According to him, the center constitutes one of the missing links that will help these students get the most out of their educational experience.

IPS Publications to Become Part of New USP Press

After 32 years, IPS (Institute of Pacific Studies) Publications at the University of the South Pacific (USP) is being subsumed into a new entity—USP Press. Plans to establish USP Press coincide with the fortieth anniversary of the university. CPIS Director Vilsoni Hereniko has been invited to be on the board of USP Press. Over the course of its life, IPS has been an important and respected publisher of Pacific Islands fiction and nonfiction. IPS Publications’ backlist will be marketed and distributed by the USP Book Centre at


by David Hanlon

Kanalu Young
Kanalu Young

The Center for Pacific Islands Studies lost a dear friend and staunch supporter with the passing of George Terry Kanalupilikokoiāma‘ihui‘i Young on 31 August of this year. A diving accident at the age of fifteen left him a quadriplegic; his injuries, however, did not prevent Kanalu from becoming a powerful scholar, educator, and advocate on the Mānoa campus and beyond. He possessed a deep and searching intellect. His first book, Rethinking the Native Hawaiian Past, pointed persuasively to the culturally informed differences that separate Hawaiian accounts of the past, or mo‘olelo, from the Western practice of history. Kanalu’s argument constitutes a major, if not yet fully appreciated, contribution to the field of cultural and historiographical studies.

Remembered most immediately for his prodigious efforts in the field of Hawaiian studies, Kanalu also contributed in richly substantive ways to the advancement of education on the Pacific. His deep commitment to the sovereignty and well-being of his people extended to larger Oceania as well. In his capacity as an affiliate faculty member of the center, he sat on numerous MA committees, and contributed to the political and book review sections of The Contemporary Pacific. In November 2003, Kanalu gave the welcoming chant and was an active discussant at the center’s regional workshop, Learning Oceania: Toward a PhD Program in Pacific Studies. He felt strongly about the difficulties facing the different Micronesian communities here in Hawai‘i, and had planned another welcoming chant for those gathered at this past April’s Micronesian Voices in Hawai‘i conference. A last-minute scheduling conflict prevented his participation.

The center also benefited significantly from Kanalu’s status as a founding faculty member of the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies at Mānoa and the first chair of its graduate program. He was always a source of wise counsel in matters involving cultural protocol and the relationship between Kamakakūokalani and CPIS. In 2004, Kanalu was chosen as one of two representatives from the affiliate faculty to serve on CPIS’s first executive committee. In that capacity, he provided sage advice on matters involving center policies, programs, and initiatives. At the memorial services held for Kanalu at Kamakakūokalani on 13 September, faculty and staff from CPIS, including director Vilsoni Hereniko, spoke movingly about the inspiration and guidance they had received from Kanalu over the years and in more recent months. He will be deeply and sorely missed by all of us.


Participants at Pacific Library Training
Librarians who attended the training (Photo courtesy of PREL)

During summer 2008, Dr Karen Peacock, Pacific Collection curator at the University of Hawai‘i Library, was the instructor for the Pacific Library Training Institute (PLTI), which was funded by the US Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and organized by Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL). Librarians involved in the Pacific Islands Association of Libraries, Archives, and Museums (PIALA) have long emphasized the urgent need for further training in the profession, and PIALA regularly offers short workshops at each of its annual conferences. In response to the region’s need for more in-depth training, PREL sought and received IMLS funding for the PLTI program and worked with UH Library to set up two three-week institutes, in 2006 and 2008.

Working closely with PREL’s project director, Ms Jane Barnwell, Peacock taught and coordinated programs for 17 pre-professional librarians from Micronesia and American Sāmoa. This year’s institute focused on special collections. Island participants represented a number of academic institutions, including American Sāmoa Community College, College of Micronesia, Northern Marianas College, University of Guam, and Palau Community College. In addition to librarians who work in Pacific-focused collections at academic libraries, there were also participants from law, environment, museum, and job-training libraries in the region.

The institute’s curriculum responded to needs expressed by the participants and covered collection development, cataloging, reference, instruction, and preservation, among other topics. UH librarians were generous with their time, offering talks, demonstrations, and tours. Field trips included visits to Brigham Young University&#ndash;Hawai‘i Campus, Mānoa Heritage Center, the UH medical library, the UH law library, and the Bishop Museum. Special guest speakers included Dr Jan Rensel and Dr Alan Howard, who gave a talk on their archival research on Rotuma’s history, the publication of their book Island Legacy: A History of the Rotuman People, and the various resources on the Rotuma website.

Participants were Nathaidia Moeai from American Sāmoa; Erlinda Naputi and Gregorio Sablan from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; Kersweet Eria from Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM); Shra Renton from Kosrae, FSM; Atarino Helieisar, Karleen Manuel, and Julia Martin from Pohnpei, FSM; Erica Ruwepin from Yap, FSM; Walfrid Benavente and Lourdes Nededog from Guam; Pearl Anien, Tina Edmond, and Kiona Lalimo from the Republic of the Marshall Islands; and Pioria Asito, Sandy Fernandez, and Grace Merong from the Republic of Palau.

The institute ran from 21 July through 8 August, and ended with a celebration at which each librarian received a certificate of accomplishment. Songs and dances from the Island nations were enjoyed by all, and the participants presented Peacock and Barnwell with beautiful gifts woven or carved in the region. Many participants noted that in addition to the value of the training they received, a highlight of the institute was the chance to meet librarians from other countries who share the same needs and goals, and to create a network of support. According to Peacock, the long tradition of UH support for library development in the Pacific Islands has been greatly enhanced and enriched by PREL’s grant work and dedication to the region.


by Marata Tamaira, CPIS MA Student

Katherine Higgins
Katherine Higgins

In 2007 Katherine Higgins graduated with an MA in Pacific Islands studies and an MA graduate certificate in museum studies. She went on to receive a prestigious Pacific studies scholarship and is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. Last month, the CPIS alumna celebrated the release of her first publication, Red Wave: Space, Process, and Creativity at the Oceania Centre for the Arts and Culture (see Publications). Based largely on her master’s portfolio project, Biau Kula: Space, Process, and Creativity at the Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture, Red Wave explores the exciting and creative work being accomplished at the Oceania Centre for the Arts and Culture, at the University of the South Pacific, specifically in the area of the visual arts. The following interview highlights Katherine’s fieldwork experience at the centre, her current PhD work, and some advice for CPIS students who are interested in taking the next step in their academic journey.

* * * * *

MT: What inspired you to do an MA in Pacific Islands studies at UH?
KH: On completing a year of teaching at an elementary school in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), I was trying to decide if I would stay on with the RMI Ministry of Education or continue my own education. I realized that my strengths were not in teaching English, but I wanted to remain connected to the community in Kaven (an island in the Maloelap atoll), and I decided that a degree in Pacific Islands studies would allow me to do that.

MT: Can you tell us about your fieldwork at the Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture? What did you bring away from your experience there and how does it inform your work now?
KH: Being at the Oceania Centre was an incredible experience. I was fortunate that Katerina Teaiwa [a former assistant professor at CPIS] had been part of the dance program at the Oceania Centre, and she contacted them on my behalf. The next thing I knew I was invited as a visiting artist.

There were only a few resources available to learn about the center and its programs ahead of time. So in preparing for my fieldwork, I decided to be open to whatever might come my way because expectations would only leave me disappointed. My intention was to go there, work on my own art (so that I was working with the artists rather than hovering over them), and learn about the unconventional space and process at the Oceania Centre. It was also important to me that I include a multimedia component in my portfolio project, so I brought video equipment in hopes that I could interview the artists—and taping was a lot easier than taking notes!

When I arrived it was the first day of Epeli Hau‘ofa’s (the founder and director of the Oceania Centre) first leave in about a decade. Still, I was there at a perfect time because there were exhibitions, performances, and conferences happening at the center, and John Pule—the acting director—and the artists were exceptionally welcoming.

As part of my own artistic expression, I decided to work with sennit lashing and wax casts, which was a fun technique for me to learn as well as a great way to get to know the artists. They were also curious about what I was making, since none of them practiced lashing. Being at the center was incredibly inspiring, especially because of all the events I was able to experience while I was there. I wish I could take credit for planning how everything eventually turned out, but it was more serendipity than organization on my part. Since that first visit was so fruitful, I ended up returning to the Oceania Centre six months later to write my portfolio paper as well as fulfill the practicum requirements for a certificate in museum studies. I didn’t end up writing much because the projects I had developed with Epeli Hau‘ofa as part of the practicum—writing artist biographies, providing some Photoshop/graphic design training, and holding a conservation workshop—consumed much of my time, albeit in a good way. The artists were extremely enthusiastic about the projects, although I had moments of panic wondering how I would ever get my paper written. Nevertheless, I realized that by working with each of the artists to write their bios, I gained an incredible amount of information and insight into the programs at the center. Just being there every day allowed me to learn so much without even realizing it.

My experience at the center has shaped my approach to research and continues to inform my current projects. I am in the process of researching artist residencies in Oceania, in part because I found the experience of being a visiting artist at the Oceania Centre so incredibly stimulating. From those experiences I have come to realize how important it is to make a contribution to the people or place I am writing about or researching. The projects I worked on for the Oceania Centre were mutually beneficial; I gained valuable experience that enabled me to write my thesis, and I left each of the Red Wave artists with a biography that they designed and wrote with some assistance from me.

MT: How did your experience at the Center for Pacific Islands Studies prepare you for the work you’re doing now?
KH: I constantly think about my experience at CPIS—the dedicated and resourceful staff and the interesting, fun, and supportive students. Aside from all that, I learned a great deal from my coursework at CPIS, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to think creatively and present my ideas in different ways. Because the center encourages creativity and innovation in how research is conducted and shared, I try to think of new ways of presenting my work, such as the DVD component I included in my portfolio paper—something I plan to do as part of my PhD, too.

MT: You’ve had the opportunity to network with and get to know Pacific Islander artists in New Zealand. How have they inspired you in your own research?
KH: Getting to know artists is what keeps me engaged and excited about my research. It is important to me to try to use the artists’ words about their work whenever possible. Fortunately, everyone I have met here is extremely accessible and supportive. I am lucky to have met some incredible artists who I learn a great deal from and who always seem to introduce me to other artists and resources.

MT: What advice do you have for students at CPIS who are considering pursuing a PhD?
KH: Plan ahead. Contact potential supervisors and ask them about what doctoral research in their department is like in terms of resources, financial aid, facilities, support services, other students and professors, and lifestyle. Also, contact former CPIS students who have gone on to PhD programs. They will be happy to tell you about their experience and make helpful suggestions about what they wish they had known when they enrolled.

MT: What does it feel like to have your first book published?
KH: The publication of Red Wave is not so much a reflection of me or my writing but the need to celebrate Epeli Hau‘ofa’s exceptional vision and perseverance, as well as the dedication and creativity of the artists at the Oceania Centre. It just happened that I contacted IPS Publications at the right moment and that Wendy Tubman [then Publications Fellow in the Pacific Institute of Advanced Studies in Development and Governance] was there to make it all happen. Everything from my first day at the Oceania Centre to the publishing of Red Wave was serendipitous. I just feel so fortunate to have been able to share some of what I discovered there with others, and I hope that it brings more attention and appreciation to that innovative and important space for Oceanic creativity.


Marie Salaün, of the Université René-Descartes and the French National Research Agency, and Eric Wittersheim, research fellow at the East-West Center Pacific Islands Development Program, gave a talk titled Independence, Nationhood and Sovereignty in New Caledonia Under the Nouméa Accord: Old Concepts, New Meanings? The talk, on 21 August, was part of the UHM Department of Anthropology Colloquium Series.

The Center for Pacific Islands Studies was pleased to be among the cosponsors of a talk on 26 August by His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, Head of State of Sāmoa and Chancellor of the National University of Sāmoa. The talk, Pacific Indigenous Dialogue on Faith, Peace, Reconciliation, and Good Governance, was sponsored by the UHM Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict. Following the presentation there was a panel discussion with professors from the Institute for Peace, the William S Richardson School of Law, the UHM School of Travel Industry Management, the UHM Department of Religion, the East-West Center, and Hawai‘i Pacific University. The Center for Pacific Islands Studies was represented on the panel by director Vilsoni Hereniko.

Sporting with Leviathans: Making Feasible Actors at the Porgera Gold Mine, Papua New Guinea was the talk given on 4 September by Alex Golub, assistant professor in the UH Department of Anthropology. The talk, part of the Anthropology Colloquium Series, looked at the politics of identity among Ipili-speaking people, who host the Porgera gold mine.

Jonathan D Baker, recent PhD graduate of the UHM Department of Anthropology, gave a talk in the department’s colloquium series on 18 September. Kava Toxicity in Context: A Contribution to Biocultural Considerations of Ingested Substances examined the kava (Piper methysticum) safety debate, in particular the culturally constructed and socially negotiated bases for evaluations of safety and risk in different contexts.

Tirohia Kimihia: The First Monolingual Dictionary of Māori was the topic of the talk on 23 September by new UHM Assistant Professor of Māori Mary Boyce. In her talk, sponsored by the UHM Department of Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures and the Center for Pacific Islands Studies, she discussed the process of designing and compiling the first Māori monolingual dictionary, a dictionary for young readers published by Huia Publishers.


The Center for Pacific Islands Studies is pleased to announce the publication of the latest books in its Pacific Islands Monograph Series (PIMS)—The Other Side: Ways of Being and Place in Vanuatu and Jean-Marie Tjibaou, Kanak Witness to the World: An Intellectual Biography.

The Other Side, PIMS 22, by John Patrick Taylor, a Simon Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, is the first major ethnographic and historical study of the Sia Raga people of north Pentecost Island, a region that was home to the late Father Walter Lini, Vanuatu’s first prime minister. It gives insight into the convergence of indigenous and exogenous cosmologies and hegemonies historically, and shows how these are implicated in contemporary social, ritual, and material cultural expressions. These analyses engage with broader concerns relating to colonial and postcolonial identities, political economy, and globalization in island Melanesia. 2008, 256 pages. ISBN 978-0-8248-3302-2, cloth, US$52.00.

PIMS 23 cover

Jean-Marie Tjibaou, Kanak Witness to the World, PIMS 23, by independent scholar Eric Waddell, focuses on a man who is arguably the most important post–World War II Oceanic leader. Jean-Marie Tjibaou’s intellectual abilities, acute understanding of both Melanesian and European civilizations, stature as a statesman, commitment to nonviolence, and vision for Melanesia's potential contributions to the global community have all contributed to the creation of a remarkable and enduring legacy. Until now, no substantial English-language study has existed of Tjibaou, who was assassinated in 1989. This intellectual biography of the Kanak (New Caledonia) leader takes an essentially chronological approach to his life—from his beginnings in the mountains of northern New Caledonia and his studies at the Sorbonne to his leadership of the independence movement in the Territory. The work focuses on the spiritual, cultural, and intellectual sources of Tjibaou’s ideas and actions as well as on those who were a source of inspiration to him. The author, Eric Waddell, has attachments to the Département de géographie, Université Laval, Canada, and the School of Geosciences, University of Sydney. 2008, 344 pages. ISBN 978-0-8248-3314-5, paper, US$25.00; ISBN 978-0-8248-3256-8, cloth, US$55.00.

Both PIMS volumes are available from University of Hawai‘i Press at


Cover of The Contemporary Pacific
The Contemporary Pacific

The latest issue of The Contemporary Pacific: A Journal of Island Affairs includes articles, political reviews, and book and media reviews, and features artwork by Southern California–based artist Jewel Castro.

Alternative Market Values? Interventions into Auctions in Aotearoa/New Zealand—Haidy Geismar

The Army Learns to Luau: Imperial Hospitality and Military Photography in Hawai‘u—Adria L Imada

The Martial Islands: Making Marshallese Masculinities Between American and Japanese Militarism—Greg Dvorak


The Aloha Spirit and the Cultural Politics of Sentiment as National Belonging—Isaiah Helekunihi Walker

Interdisciplinarity and Pacific Studies: Roots and Routes—Graeme Whimp

The Region in Review: International Issues and Events, 2007—Karin von Strokirch

Melanesia in Review: Issues and Events, 2007—David Chappell, Jon Fraenkel, Anita Jowitt, Brian Lenga

Featured artist Jewel Castro has presented her work in individual and group exhibitions in California, Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts, and curated two exhibitions, Turning Tides: Gender in Oceania Art (University of California, San Diego, 2006) and Island Affinities: Contemporary Art of Oceania (with Dr Keri Klemm, California State University, Northridge, 2007).

According to Stacy L Kamehiro’s About the Artist note, Castro began painting Samoan subjects in the 1990s, portraying members of her family and telling their stories. She conveys her tales of memory and travel through individual paintings, painted series, and installations. While her images represent personal reminiscences of family in Sāmoa, American Sāmoa, and California, her visual narratives resonate with diverse viewers sharing common experiences related to immigrating, living in diaspora, and negotiating cultural and national identities.


Congratulations to CPIS affiliate faculty member Robert Sullivan, of the UHM Department of English! Sullivan, an associate professor, was a recipient of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Chancellor’s Citation for Meritorious Teaching. The award recognizes Mānoa faculty members who have made significant contributions to teaching and student learning. Sullivan was described as an inspired and captivating performer and teacher who has close and charismatic rapport with his classes and audiences.

Congratulations, also, to CPIS affiliate faculty member Terry Hunt, of the UHM Department of Anthropology, who was awarded a Board of Regents Research Medal. Hunt was honored for his work in the Pacific, including Rapa Nui, where he challenges the empirical foundations of recently popularized accounts of the island’s prehistory and the demise of its ancient civilization.

Congratulations to Ethnic Studies and Anthropology Associate Professor Ty P Kāwika Tengan on the publication of his book, Native Men Remade: Gender and Nation in Contemporary Hawai‘i, published by Duke University Press (see Publications).

Several UH Mānoa staff and faculty gave papers at the seventh European Society for Oceanists (ESfO) conference in Verona, Italy, 10–12 July 2008. The conference theme was Putting People First: Intercultural Dialogue and Imagining the Future in Oceania.

In Verona, CPIS Editor Jan Rensel and her husband, Emeritus Professor Alan Howard (UHM Anthropology Department), presented a paper, “Youthful Visions: Place and Identity in Teenage Rotuman Poetry,” as part of a session titled The Poetics of Existence: Words and Images. Former CPIS Director David Hanlon’s paper, in a session called Cultural Heritage and Political Innovation, was Nan Madol: A Micronesian Example of Heritage and History as Innovation. Guido Carlo Pigliasco’s (UHM Anthropology Department) paper in the same session was Voyaging Beyond Epistemological Boundaries: Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection in Fiji and Oceania. Alex Golub’s (UHM Anthropology Department) paper, in a separate session, was Everyone Has a Garden: Relations to Land among Papua New Guinea Elites.


Two outstanding students have been chosen to receive Renée Heyum Endowment Fund Scholarships of $3,000 for the 2007–2008 academic year. Arlynne Shof Chugen, from Yap, Federated States of Micronesia, is a sophomore economics major at University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. After graduation, Arlene hopes to work for the Yap State Government to boost its economy. This is her second year to be awarded the scholarship.

Ponipate Rokolekutu, from Fiji, has an MA degree in political science from UH Mānoa and is currently pursuing his PhD in political science. His dissertation project entails the formulation of a conceptual framework that synthesizes the indigenous and Western conceptions of land as the basis for rethinking land in the Fijian context.

The Heyum Endowment Fund was established by the late R Renée Heyum, former curator of the Pacific Collection, Hamilton Library, to assist Pacific Islanders pursuing education or training in Hawai‘i. It awards a scholarship of up to $3,000 a year to a student, or students, enrolled at a University of Hawai‘i campus. For more information, contact the center directly at or see the center’s website at

The center welcomes contributions to the endowment to honor the memory of Miss Heyum and further her initiative. Donations may be sent to the UH Foundation/Heyum Endowment, University of Hawai‘i, 2444 Dole Street, Honolulu, HI 96822.


James Perez Viernes is the winner of this year's Norman Meller Research Award competition. He was awarded the prize for his thesis Fanhasso i Taotao Sumay: Displacement, Dispossession, and Survival in Guam, which focuses on a pre-World War II village in southern Guam that was destroyed during the Japanese invasion of the island and seized by the US military in its recapture of Guam in order to begin construction of the present-day Naval Base Guam. It was completed and submitted during the summer 2008 term in partial fulfillment of the Master of Arts degree in Pacific Islands Studies. Congratulations James!

Dr Meller, a distinguished political scientist and former director of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies, bequeathed the gift that makes this award possible. The award is for the most outstanding master’s thesis or graduate research paper written by a UH Mānoa student and focusing on the Pacific Islands from a social science or humanities perspective. The award recipient receives $250.


Congratulations to our three latest graduates! They are Lorenz Gonshor, James Stiefvater, and James Perez Viernes.

Lorenz Gonshor’s thesis, Law as a Tool of Oppression and Liberation: Institutional Histories and Perspectives on Political Independence in Hawai‘i, Tahiti Nui/French Polynesia and Rapa Nui, compares the political histories and perspectives on independence in three political entities in the Pacific. The thesis looks at the role of international law, as well as the constitutional and organic law of states. It analyzes how legal systems have been employed as tools of oppression by imperialist powers, but can also be used by independence advocates for their own purposes. Lorenz is currently a doctoral student in the UHM Department of Political Science.

James Stiefvater’s thesis, Merdeka Papua: Integration, Independence, or Something Else? aims to bring discussions of West Papua back to the fore. He argues that self-determination has never been realized in West Papua, thus making the United Nations’ attempt at ending colonialism there a failure. He argues that the indigenous peoples must be allowed to choose their future, and he looks at ways that self-determination and indigenous demands for merdeka (liberation) might be satisfied. James is looking for an opportunity to return to Papua New Guinea to work.

James Perez Viernes thesis, Fanhasso I Taotao Sumay: Displacement, Dispossession, and Survival in Guam, explores experiences of displacement, dispossession, and survival as told by the people of Sumay, a pre-World War II village in southern Guam. After the war, the US military condemned the village in order to construct the present-day Naval Base Guam, exiling its residents to a new site, known today as Santa Rita village. The thesis considers issues of Chamorro agency, transforming social identities, and the interaction between history and memory, as well as the broader regional and historical contexts for Guam and Sumay histories. James is currently a TA in CPIS, while he pursues his PhD in history at UH Mānoa.

A warm welcome to our new students who entered in August:

  • Christina Mauigoa Akanoa has a BA in political science from Brigham Young University–Hawai‘i Campus and an MA in political science, specializing in comparative and indigenous politics, from UH Mānoa. She is interested in the economic, social, and cultural changes taking place in the Pacific and how these changes, and the issues they give rise to, can be approached.
  • Nicole Llewella Dela Fuente was born and raised in Hawai‘i and has a BA from UH Mānoa in interdisciplinary studies. While working in the retail business, she became interested in the increasing demand for objects with cultural meaning. In particular, she is interested in the impact that Asian-made cultural reproductions have on Pacific artists and Pacific Islands art.
  • Kisha Ann Borja-Quichocho, who is from Guam, has a BA in English from Hawai‘i Pacific University. She is interested in the changes taking place in the Pacific and how Guam and its indigenous people have been affected by outside interests. After she graduates, she plans to return to Guam to teach.
  • Keola Kim Diaz, who is from Palau, has a BA in communications from UH Mānoa. He is interested in the transformative power of the media, particularly visual media, and hopes to put his interest in different forms of media to work in addressing issues that confront the Pacific, Palau in particular.
  • Rachel Leah Miller, who has a BA in anthropology from Vassar College, recently spent a year teaching on Namdrik Atoll, in the Marshall Islands, and a year working in a Majuro-based nongovernment organization, Waan Aelōñ in Majel (Canoes of the Marshall Islands). She is using her studies at the Center for Pacific Islands Studies to prepare for a career in the community-based sector in the Pacific.
  • Lauren Michelle Morawski has a BA in anthropology from UH Mānoa and has been working with the State Historic Preservation Division, Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources. She has also worked on an archaeological project on Huahine, in French Polynesia. She is interested in how historic preservationists can work hand in hand with local communities throughout the Pacific.
  • Kamoa Jade Quitevis is Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) and has a BA from University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu. He served in the US Navy for eight years and more recently studied Hawaiian healing arts and performing arts under a number of respected local practitioners. He is interested in the protection and preservation of Hawai‘i’s unique cultural and environmental resources.
  • We also would like to give a warm welcome to our newest certificate student, David Kupferman. David is pursuing a doctorate in education at the UHM College of Education, specializing in educational foundations. His dissertation research will focus on the education systems of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia. After graduation he will return to the College of the Marshall Islands, where he is dean of academic affairs.

Recent graduate Trisha Shipman (CPIS MA, 2008) is co-organizing a session (with Marie Salaün) for the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania meeting in February of 2009 in Santa Cruz, California. The session is Vernacular and Culturally Based Education in Oceania Today: Articulating Global, National, and Local Agendas.

Recent graduate James Perez Viernes (CPIS MA, 2008) and current MA students James Arriola and Keola Diaz, recently joined with other UH Mānoa and Chaminade University Pacific Islander students to volunteer at the Future of Health Care in the Insular Areas health summit convened in Honolulu by US Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne and sponsored by the US Department of the Interior, Office of Insular Affairs. The summit brought together healthcare professionals from the US–affiliated states (Republic of Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Republic of the Marshall Islands, American Sāmoa, and the US Virgin Islands), as well as US federal officials and the heads of state of the affiliated islands.

Congratulations to Hawai‘i State Senator J Kalani English (CPIS MA, 1995) who has been elected president of the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures, a voluntary organization representing 12 states from around the Pacific. He is the first Hawai‘i legislator to be elected to lead the group. Members of the association meet regularly to consider matters of mutual concern and interest and possibilities of regional cooperation, exchange, and assistance.

Congratulations to alumnus Matthew Kaopio (CPIS MA, 2004), whose latest book is Hawaiian Family Album (see Publications). Borders hosted a book signing for Matthew on 27 September 2008.

And finally, congratulations to alumna Karen Stevenson (CPIS MA, 1981), whose new book, The Frangipani is Dead: Contemporary Pacific Art in New Zealand, has just been published by Huia Publishers (see Publications).


Available from UH Press

Hāena: Through the Eyes of the Ancestors, by Carlos Andrade, director of the UHM Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, provides a unique perspective on the complex story of the ahupua‘a (land division) of Hāena, Kaua‘i. Andrade examines the stories of the earliest inhabitants and the impact of land privatization, and relates the little-known story of the 39 Hawaiians who pooled their resources, bought the ahupua‘a of Hāena, and held it in common from the late 1800s to 1967. 2008, 184 pages. ISBN 978-0-8248-3119-6, cloth, US$30.00.

The Frangipani is Dead: Contemporary Pacific Art in New Zealand, 1985–2000, by Karen Stevenson, senior lecturer in art history at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, is published by Huia Publishers and distributed in the United States by UH Press. The Frangipani is Dead examines key individual artists and key issues that underlie contemporary Pacific art in New Zealand. It also contextualizes the emergent Pacific art within the broader new Zealand sociopolitical scene of the time, particularly that of the Māori sovereignty movement. 2008, 228 pages. ISBN 978-1-86969-325-1, paper, US$42.00.

UH Press bookscan be ordered through the Orders Department, University of Hawai‘i Press, 2840Kolowalu Street, Honolulu, HI 96822-1888; website

Other Books

The Pacific Arts of Polynesia and Micronesia, by Smithsonian anthropologist Adrienne L Kaeppler, is a new volume in the Oxford History of Art series. It focuses on the artistic types, styles, and concepts shared by the two regions and covers the full range of arts—from textiles to musical instruments to canoe construction. The book features both historic and contemporary works of art and includes background information on migration into the Pacific and external influences in the Pacific. 2008, 216 pages. ISBN 978-0-1928-4238-1, paper, US$27.95.

Tell It As It Is: Autobiography of Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Kenilorea, KBE, PC, Solomon Islands’ First Prime Minister, edited by Clive Moore, was recently launched in Honiara, Solomon Islands. Published by the Center for Pacific Area Studies, Academia Sinica, in Taiwan. 2008, 516 pages. ISBN 978-986-01-4497-0, cloth, NT$800; ISBN 978-986-01-4498-7, paper, NT$700. To order, contact Lexis Book Co, Ltd, at

In Solomon Island Years. A District Administrator in the Islands 1952–1974, James Tedder writes about his work as a district administrator in all four districts of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate. The book also contains eight short stories published in the 1990s. 2008, 303 pages. ISBN 978-064-64-9018-2, paper, A$32 plus postage. Electronic transfer can be arranged. To order, contact the author at

Institute of Pacific Studies (IPS), at the University of the South Pacific, announces publication of three new books:

  • A Personal Perspective: The Speeches of Joni Madraiwiwi, compiled and edited by Wendy Tubman. Madraiwiwi, Roko Tui Bau, is a former high court judge and former vice president of Fiji. His deeply considered, often provocative, yet always engaging public addresses seek to build bridges, challenge stereotypes, and encourage his audience to reflect on the issues as part of the process of nation building. 2008, 302 pages. ISBN 978-9-8202-0391-4, paper, US$30.00.
  • Red Wave: Space, Process, and Creativity at the Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture, by Katherine Higgins, is an introduction to the University of the South Pacific’s Oceania Centre, its artists, and the role and nature of the work they are doing there. At the center, dancers, musicians, and artists of the Red Wave Collective explore the interface of traditional and contemporary forms of creativity in a unique space and endeavor established by inspirational founder and muse Epeli Hau‘ofa. 2008. 104 pages. ISBN 978-9-8202-0392-1, paper, US$30.00.
  • Legends, Traditions & Tales of Nauru, by Head Chief Timothy Detudamo. In 1938, Detudamo transcribed and translated a series of lectures relating to the legends, customs, and tales of Nauru, Delivered by native teachers, these lectures have been brought together in this book. 2008, 104 pages. ISBN 982-9-7802-0394-5, paper, US$15.00.

IPS books are available from the USP Book Centre website at

Hawaiian Family Album, by writer and artist Matthew Kaopio, presents eleven of his grandmother’s once-forbidden stories, each accompanied by one of the author’s vibrant paintings. The stories are heartwarming, funny, and scary. They tell of a time in Hawai‘i when clouds foretold the events of the day and animals had the power to protect or curse. 2008, 48 pages. ISBN 978-1-5664-7870-0, paper, US$13.95.

Native Men Remade: Gender and Nation in Contemporary Hawai‘i, by UH Mānoa anthropologist Ty P Kāwika Tengan, analyzes the refashioning and reassertion of masculine identities in a Native Hawaiian men’s group, Hale Mua. 2008, 296 pages. ISBN 978-0-8223-4321-9, paper, US$22.95; ISBN 978-0-8223-4338-7, cloth, US$79.95.

In Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity, J Kēhaulani Kauanui, explains how blood-quantum classification of native Hawaiians by the US Congress emerged as a way to undermine Native Hawaiian (Kanaka Maoli) sovereignty. She provides an assessment of how this arbitrary correlation of ancestry and race has had far-reaching legal and cultural effects and addresses the ongoing significance of the 50-percent rule. Published by Duke University Press. 2008, 248 pages. ISBN 978-0-8223-4079-9, paper, US$22.95; ISBN 978-0-8223-4058-4, cloth, US$79.95.

Media and Development: Issues and Challenges in the Pacific Islands, edited by Shailendra Singh and Biman C Prasad and published by the Fiji Institute of Applied Studies and Pacific Media Centre, contains research articles and essays that look at the strengths and weaknesses of media coverage in the Pacific and offer recommendations for improvement. The aim is to make the media more aware of its key role in development. 2008, 326 pages. ISBN 978-9-8230-1031-1, paper, US$15.00.


Forced Migration Review’s latest issue is Climate Change and Displacement, with articles on Kiribati, Palau, and Sāmoa. The journal is available free of charge, in print and online, at

The University of Auckland Library and the Polynesian Society are collaborating to digitize the first 100 years, from 1892–1991, of the Journal of the Polynesian Society. They are about halfway through the project, which can be viewed at


Poet Teresia Teaiwa’s first solo recording is a CD of poetry and sound titled I Can See Fiji. According to Teaiwa, whose family tree has roots in Banaba, Kiribati, and the United States, the CD explores themes of travel, migration, displacement, and what sometimes feels like an unrequited love for her adopted homeland of Fiji. It mixes Teaiwa’s spoken word and sound recordings with musician Des Mallon’s percussive interpretations. I Can See Fiji was produced with support from Creative New Zealand. To order the CD, contact Teaiwa at or visit NZ$24.99.

Films,Videos, and DVDs

Cloth of the Gods (2007, DVD, 48 minutes), a film by John Sullivan, is a film on Fijian masi (tapa cloth). It shows the harvesting of the paper mulberry trees, the treatment of the bark, dyeing, designing, and stenciling. It also demonstrates the part that masi plays in Fijian ceremonies and rituals, and includes interviews with craft people who are committed to preserving this art form. The cost for universities is US$365.00; the cost for individuals for private use is US$50.00. To order, contact Carlos Alperin, in Australia, at

OLPC Laptops in Bekabeka (2008, 10 minutes) follows the first pilot tests in western Solomon Islands with laptop computers from One Laptop Per Child in Oceania. The film is directed by anthropologist and media culture researcher Jari Kupianen. For more information, contact Kupianen at

The New Zealand Film Commission, at, lists its latest short films, which include

  • The Graffiti of Mr Tupaia (2008, 35mm, 15 minutes) follows a Cook Island school cleaner as he answers an unusual graffiti message that changes his life. The director is Christopher Dudman.
  • In Patu Ihu (2008, 35mm, 15 minutes), a young man explores a memory of a childhood game and a lesson learned from his uncle. The director is Summer Agnew.
  • Journey to Ihipa (2008, 35mm, 15 minutes) tells the story of how an old Pākehā woman comes to live in an isolated Māori community. It unfolds over the course of a few days when an old man’s body is returned to his community, and a tangihanga (funeral) is held. The director is Nancy Brunning.
  • In The Trophy (2008, 35mm, 11 minutes), a young girl’s commitment to a science project investigating worm farming wins her a trophy, but creates tension within her traditional Samoan family. The director is Justine Simei-Barton.
  • Being Rapanui (2007, DVD, 58 minutes), directed by Susan Hitoshapiro and Santi Hitorangi, is an insider’s perspective on the history of Rapa Nui (Easter Island), set against the ocean, monolithic moai, petroglyphs, and oral histories. Distributed by LongTale International; e-mail


    Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania

    The 2009 meeting of the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania will be held in Santa Cruz, California, 10–14 February 2009. For information, see the website at

    New Zealand, Germany, and the (Post) Colonial Pacific

    The New Zealand Studies Association is joining with the Centre for New Zealand Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London, and the Institute for English and American Studies at Goethe University, for its sixteenth annual conference, to be held in Frankfurt, Germany, 3–5 July 2009. Paper proposals for New Zealand, Germany and the (Post) Colonial Pacific must be sent to Ian Conrich (, Frank Schulze-Engler (, Claudia Duppé (, or Dominic Alessio ( by 8 December 2008. The conference will accept papers within three strands: New Zealand and Germany, New Zealand and the Pacific, and Germany and the Pacific. Conference inquiries should be sent to Ian Conrich or Frank Schulze-Engler, at the above e-mail addresses.

    Conferences Announced in Previous Newsletters

    • The next Pacific History Association (PHA) biennial conference will be held in Fiji, 8–12 December 2008. For information, see
    • “Ownership and Appropriation” will take place at the University of Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand, –12 December 2008. For information see The deadline for abstracts is 1 December 2008.
    • The Pacific Science Association will hold the 11th Pacific Science Inter-Congress in Tahiti, French Polynesia, 2–6 March 2009. The theme of the inter-congress is Pacific Countries and Their Ocean: Facing Local and Global Changes. For more information, see the website at


    Pacific Islands Politics Position at UHM

    The Political Science Department at UH Mānoa is advertising a tenure-track, assistant professor position, to begin 1 August 2009. Minimum qualifications are a PhD in political science or related field and a demonstrated ability to teach and conduct research in Pacific Islands politics. (ABD with all requirements for degree completed by 1 August 2009 will be considered.) The successful candidate will be expected to participate in activities associated with the Center for Pacific Islands Studies. For details of the position see the political science website at or e-mail

    Kihara Images at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Sina ma tuna: Sina and Her Eel
    Sina ma tuna: Sina and Her Eel,
    from Faleaitu: House of Spirits series
    (Courtesy of artist Shigeyuki Kihara
    and photographer Sean Coyle)

    Two photographic works by Auckland artist Shigeyuki Kihara have been purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The works are from Kihara’s Fa‘a Fafine: In a Manner of a Woman series, which was first shown in Sydney, Australia, in 2005. In her works, which are both provocative and evocative, Kihara uses photography and a team of technical assistants to transform herself into different personas drawn from Samoan cultural traditions, colonial fantasies of South Seas belles, and her own imagination. According to Metropolitan Museum Research Curator Virginia-Lee Webb, The creativity that Kihara brings to her work is exemplified by an astute synthesis of performance, multiple media, historical images, art history, and contemporary art practice.

    Beginning on 7 October, Kihara will also have a solo exhibition at the Metropolitan—Shigeyuki Kihara: Living Photographs. An early survey of her career, the exhibition will feature selections from four of her photographic series: Black Sunday; Fa‘a Fafine: In a Manner of a Woman; Fale Aitu: House of Spirits; and Vavau: Tales from Ancient Sāmoa. The exhibition will be in place through 1 February 2009.

    LA County Museum of Art Gets Oceanic Collection

    The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has acquired a significant 46-piece private collection of Oceanic art. It is broadly representative of cultures across the Pacific, with particular strengths in Polynesian and Melanesian art. The museum plans to begin exhibiting the collection in early 2009. It will be placed among the museum’s modern art collection, to illustrate the influence of Oceanic art on Dada and other modern art movements. The collection was displayed at the Honolulu Academy of Arts during the 1990s, in a touring exhibition, Island Ancestors, Oceanic Art from the Masco Collection.


    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

    Vilsoni Hereniko, Director; Letitia Hickson, Editor

    Items in this newsletter may be freely reprinted. Acknowledgment of the source would be appreciated. To receive the newsletter electronically, 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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