Pacific Studies Initiative Syllabi & Bibliographies



Syllabi & Bibliographies

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Society & Culture in the Pacific

Anth 104: 1996
(with tutorial readings for Fiji, Tonga, Cook Islands, and Samoa)

Instructor: Dr Nancy J Pollock
Department of Anthropology
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600
Tel: 64-4-495-5281; Fax: 64-4-495-5064


Society and culture in the Pacific. An introductory course on the people of the Pacific with special reference to population movements, and adaptation to habitat as studied by anthropologists of various orientations.


Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 12.00-12.50 - EA 106.

Attendance at lectures is essential to passing the course. If you have a clash with another course, please see Course Coordinator.


Prescribed: Course Notes
ANTH 104: Society and Culture in the Pacific General Course Readings [Course Notes... $17.00]. (See General Readings list at the end of syllabus)

NOTE: Only those students selecting the Tonga or Cooks Tutorial will need the corresponding Course Notes:
ANTH 104: Tonga Society and Culture in the Pacific ... price t.b.a.
ANTH 104: Cook Islands Society and Culture in the Pacific...price t.b.a.

Plus one text for other tutorial groups.

All Course Notes can be obtained from the University Student Notes Distribution Centre.

Map of the Pacific Islands, New Zealand Map Service #275 or #276.


1. To introduce students to anthropological understanding of key issues in Pacific societies, both today and in the past, particularly their relationships with New Zealand.
2. To develop students' research skills, based on critical reading for essays, tutorial and the examination, through writing research essays.
3. To increase students' understanding of one particular Pacific island society through tutorial reading and discussion, research essays. In the final examination students will be expected to apply the broad principles introduced in the lecture material demonstrate their in-depth knowledge of one particular island society.
4. To offer opportunities in tutorials and beyond for exchange of ideas between students from Pacific Island societies and other students so that all may come to appreciate a range of viewpoints on key issues.


One hour per week. Each tutorial will emphasize one particular part of the Pacific. The will be a choice of tutorial times from which you will be asked to select during the first week of classes. Although every endeavor is made to give first preference this is not always possible.

Day Topics Tutors
Monday Fiji Nancy Pollock
Tuesday Tonga Nancy Pollock
Tuesday Samoa Malaeta Sauvao
Wednesday Samoa Myra McFarland
Wednesday Samoa Lani Tupu
Thursday Fr. Polynesia Nancy Pollock
Thursday Cook Islands Ni`i Bishop

Tutorials start in the second week of the semester.

The tutorial programme is an essential complement to the lectures, and provides time of discussion to which all students are expected to contribute. Students are expected to attend every tutorial unless they have communicated an excuse to the Course Coordinator. Marks for contribution to tutorials and physical presence at them are part of the total marks for this course (see ASSESSMENT). Specific reading for the tutorial programme will be handed out later. In the examination each student will be expected to demonstrate in depth knowledge of one society gained in the tutorial.

Each student will attend ONE of the following according to Tutorial Groups:

Required Text
O'Meara, Tim, 1989: Samoan Planters. Holt, Rinehart .

Required Text
Course Notes, 1995: ANTH 104 Tonga Society and Culture in the Pacific, Notes Distribution Centre. VUW.

Required Text
Pollock, N.J. & Crocombe, R., 1988: French Polynesia . Inst. of Pac. Studies, Univ. of the South Pacific.

Required Text
Ravuvu, Asesela, 1983: Vaka i Taukei . The Fijian Way of Life. Suva, Inst. of Pacific Studies.

5. COOK islands
Required Text
Course Notes, 1995: ANTH 104: Society Culture in the Pacific (price t.b.a.). Notes Distribution Centre, VUW.


Each student will be required to take a map test and a mid-semester test and write a research essay, as well as to participate weekly in one tutorial group and present the tutorial assignment A final examination is worth fifty percent of the final grade.

MAP TEST: Location of islands, and indication whether they are high or low. Use a large map of the Pacific Islands. Good ones are NZMS (New Zealand Map Service) 275 or 276, or STUDY HALL - Great Britain Admiralty. Naval Intelligence Division, Pacific Islands. Vols. 1-4(1944). [Library call-mark DU 29 G786P]

RESEARCH ESSAY: A student will select a topic from the list provided, read widely on that topic in order to present a clear argument. A good research essay is based on reading a number of different sources for a given topic, choosing the points to be argued carefully to fit the assignment so that a clear argument is presented. The essay itself must be well structured (see Essay Writing guide attached).

When writing an essay students are expected to select one main text and to consult several others. All essays are limited to 1500 words. They must follow the format set out at the back of this booklet: failure to do so will reap penalty marks. If an essay is not handed in by the due date marks will be deducted.

MID SEMESTER TEST: A 50 minute short answer and short paragraph test covering lecture material and course reading including tutorial reading.


At the end of the course each tutorial group will be expected to share with the rest of the class information about the particular society it has been studying. The format should be interesting. It may take the form of a skit, slide show, panel discussion etc., but each member of the tutorial must contribute significantly to the final production.

Assessment Marks Due Date
Map test 5 July 24
Semester test 15 August 21
Research Essay 20 September 16
Tutorial Assignment and weekly participation 10 To be arranged
Examination 50 To be arranged

WORKLOAD: Including class contact and tutorial time and preparation, the average workload for this course is approximately 12 hrs per week.

Terms will be awarded Thurs. Oct. 17, 1996. To gain terms a student must have submitted all assignments and attended 9 tutorials unless formally excused by the Course Coordinator. A student may not sit the examination if s/he has not gained terms.


- Failure to notify the Course coordinator of inability to sit a Test before the Test is given will be considered as failure to submit that assignment.
- A student who misses a Test, having notified the Coordinator as to the reason, must sit a make-up within one week of the scheduled test date.

Late essays
- Penalty for lateness is 5% of mark for essay per day.
- An essay submitted with inadequate referencing will receive an zero grade. with opportunity to resubmit.
- Plagiarism or the copying of other people's work either in part or whole without identifying it as such will lead to a failing mark.
- Failure to attend 9 tutorials will mean a student will not gain terms, thus the student is not allowed to sit the final exam.

Students' grades are worked out on the basis of 100 marks. 50 marks for course work 50 marks for the final examination paper. Students should check their total marks with Course Coordinator before going to the examination.

Success in this course depends on reading widely, particularly for the essay. The prescribed booklet for the course provides an article to be read in conjunction with week's lectures. Additional reading for the tutorial is listed in the tutorial program. Books and articles must be consulted when writing your essay and the designated referencing system used (see Essay Writing below., and Procedures for Referencing at the front of your Course Notes).

All inquiries, comments, clarifications, complaints etc. should be directed in the first instance to the Course Coordinator.

If you have particular grievances concerning teaching quality, unfair assessment or poor feedback on assignments, you should take the matter up with the course co-ordinator and then, if necessary, with the Chairperson of Department. If you are unable to resolve the problem, you should make an appointment to see an Associate Dean for advice.

General Readings

Oliver, Douglas
Physical Setting, Native Cultures of the Pacific Islands, Univ. of Hawai’i Press, pp 1-13 (1989)

Dahl, Arthur
Biogeographical Aspects of Isolation in the Pacific, Ambio 13(5-6): 302-304 (1984)

Bellwood, Peter
The Prehistory of Oceania, Current Anthropology 16(1):9-17 (1975)

Kirch, P.V.
Dispersal, Colonization and Adaptation, Chap. 4 in The Evolution of the Polynesian Chiefdoms. Cambridge University press, pp 71-95 (1984)

Green, Roger
Lapita, in The Prehistory of Polynesia, J Jennings (editor). Canberra: Australian National University, pp 27-60 (1979)

Oliver, Douglas
Salvation, Chap XIII in The Pacific Islands. A Doubleday Anchor Book, National history Library, NY pp 174-185 (1961)

Pollock, Nancy J
Land holding on Namu Atoll, Marshall Islands, in Land Tenure in Oceania, H Lundsgaarde, editor. Univ. of Hawai’i Press, pp 100-129 (1974)

Linnekin, Jocelyn
The Politics of Culture in the Pacific in Cultural Identity and Ethnicity in the Pacific, J Linnekin and L Poyer (eds). Univ. of Hawai’i Press, pp 149-174 (1990)

Kaeppler, A
Art and Aesthetics, in Developments in Polynesian Ethnology, A Howard and R Borofsky, eds. Univ. of Hawai’i Press, pp 211-240 (1989)

Connell, John
Islands Under Pressure—Population Growth and Urbanization in the South Pacific, Ambio 13(5-6):306-312 (1984)

Gounis, Constantinos and Henry Rutz
Urban Fijians and the Problem of Unemployment in Bakker, Solrun et al Fijians in Town. Univ. of the South Pacific, pp 50-87 (1986)

Trlin, Andrew
New Zealand’s Admission of Asians and Pacific Islanders, in Pacific Bridges, J T Fawcett and B Carino (eds) Center for Migration Studies, N.Y., pp 199-228 (1987)

Macpherson, Cluny
On the Future of Samoan Ethnicity in New Zealand, in Tauiwi, Spoonley, P., C. Macpherson, D. Pearson, and C. Sedgwick (eds). The Dunmore Press Ltd., Palmerston North, pp 107-127 (1984)

Crocombe, Ron
Dependence, Independence, Interdependence, Chap. 15 in The New South Pacific, Ron Crocombe, pp 165-176 (1983).



Nayacakalou (1978) Tradition and Change in the Fijian Village., So. Pac. Soc. Sci. Assoc., Fiji.
Ravuvu, A. (1983) Vaka i Taukei The Fijian Way of Life.

Geography, Location, Population, Size, etc:
Hass, T. (ed.), N.Z. and the South Pacific, pp 49-68.
France, P., "Fiji and the Fijians," in Charter of the Land. OUP.

Prehistory and History
Where did the original settlers of Fiji come from?
Frost, Everitt (1979) The Prehistory of Polynesia, Jennings (ed.) Groube, L.
____________ (1971) "Tonga, Lapita pottery and Polynesian origins," Journal Pol. Soc. 80(3):278-316).
France, Peter (1966), "The Kaunitoni Migration." Pacific History :107-113.

Missions - What were traditional Fijians beliefs?
What was the influence of the various Western Churches on Fijians?
Ravuvu, A. (1983), Vaka i Taukei, Chap.8
Burton & Deane (1936), A Hunderd Years of Grace. OUP.
Thornley, H.W. (1977), "The Vakamisoneri in Lau. Fiji," in Journal of Pac. Hist. X11(2):107-112.
Williams, T. (1982), Fiji and the Fijians.

What are the basic resources on which the economy is based? Are they used in the interest of Fiji residents or Europeans?
Ravuvu, A. (1983), Vaka i Taukei, Chap.5
Chandra, S. (1981), "The production, marketing and consumption of root crops," in (Fisk ed.), Traditional Agriculture. Development Studies Centre. Monograph No. ll, Canberra. (Also a NZAAS paper.)

WEEK 5: AUG 14
What are the main changes over the past 10 years affecting Indo Fijians?
Stanner, W.H. (1953), Fiji in The South Seas in Transition. Aus. Pub.Co.
Norton, Robert (1977), Race and Politics in Fiji. Univ. of Queensland.
Gillion, Robert (1977), The Fiji Indians, Univ. of Queensland.
Jayawardena, "The disintegration of caste in Fiji Indian rural society," in Anthropology in Oceania., Hiatt (eds), Angus & Robertson.

WHAT is "native customary tenure"? How has it changed?
Ravuvu, A. (1983), Vaka i Taukei, Chap.5
Chapelle, Tony (1978), "Customary Land Tenure in Fiji," JPS 87(2):71-88.
France, Peter (1969), Charter of the Land. OUP.
Nayacakalou, R. (1971), Fiji in Land Tenure in the Pacific.
Walter, Michael (1978), "The Conflict of the Traditional and the Traditionalized," JPS 87(2).

Social Organization - ranking and social status
Ravuvu, Asesla (1983), Vaka i Taukei, Chap. I & 4
Ravuvu, Asesla (1978), Sex attitudes and family size in Fiji. Pacific Perspective 7(1 & 2).
Walter, Michael (1978) "An examination of hierarchical notions in Fijian society," in Oceania 49(1).
Mamak & Bedford (1978), "Race, Class & Ethnicity," in Pub de la Oceanistes, No.39.
Ali, Ahmed (1977), "Fijian chiefs and constitutional change," 1874-1937." J. de la Soc des Oceanistes 54 & 55:33.

Political Considerations
Nation, John (1978), Customs of Respect - the traditional basis ofLand. ANU Dev. Studies Centre, Mono. No. 4.
Ali, Ahmed (1975), "Problems of Constitution making in Fiji. Pacific Perspective 4(1/2):74-80.
__________ (1977), "The Fiji General Election of 1977." J. Pac Hist. XII(4) 189-201.
__________ (1978), "Ethnicity and Politics in Fiji." ANZJS 14(2).
Norton, R.E. (1977), Race and Politics in Fiji. Univ. Queensland.
Lal, Brij (1987), Power and Prejudice.

What Development Possibilities? Tourism?
Samy, John (1975), "Crumbs from under the table - the workers share in tourism." Pacific Way, p.205.
Britton, Stephen (1980), "Tourism and economic vulnerability," in Shand, R.T. (ed.), The Island States of the Pacific and Oceans. Dev. Studies Centre. Mono. No.23. Fiji Development Plans, especially 1976-80.
Dakavula, Jone (1978), "Development for whom in Fiji?" In Pacific Dossier. Aust. Council for Overseas Aid.

WEEK 10: OCT 2
Urbanisation - is it inevitable?
Mamak, Alex (1977), "Aspects of social life in urban housing estate," in Living in Town (Harre & Knapman eds), pp.33-42.
Walsh Cros (1977), "Urbanisation in Fiji." Pacific Perspective 14.
Harre, J. & Knapman (1977), Living in Towns, So. Pac. Soc. Sci. Assn.
Nair, S. (1980), Rural Born Fijians & Indo Fijians in Suva Migration Study., Dev. Studies Centre, ANU.
Whitehead, Clive (1981), Education in Fiji., ANU Pac. Res. Mono.No. 6.
Vinakece (1981), "Youth and crime in a Fijian urban housing estate." Pacific Youth.. Inst. Pac. St., Life in Towns.

WEEK 11: OCT 9
Plural Society - Is Fiji a good example?
Fiji and its role in the Pacific community.
Norton, Robert (1977), Race and Politics in Fiji. Univ. Queensland.
Milne, R.S. (1978), "The Pacific Way." Pacific Affairs 48(3):413-4
Mamak & Bedford (1978), "Race, Class & Ethnicity," in Pub de la Oceanistes No.39.
Walsh, C. (1976), "The ethnic variable in Fiji urbanisation," in Kosinski & Webb, Pop. at Microscale.


Urbanowicz, Charles 1991 Tonga, in Encyclopedia of World Cultures. New Haven: HRAC.
Kolo, F. 1990 In Herda, P. et al, Historiography the Myth of Indigenous Authenticity, Tongan Culture and History, Dept of Pacific and SE Asian History, ANU, pp 1-11.
Maywald, B. 1990 Chap. 11, in Herda, P. et al, Women of the Lotu, In Tongan Culture and History, Det. of Pacific and SE Asian History, ANU, pp 111-133.
Maude, A. & Sevele 1987 Equality overtaking privilege, in Crocombe. R. (ed.) Land Tenure in the Pacific. USP.
Maesulia, Alfred 1991 Tongan agriculture, IRETA. So.Pacific Agricultural News.
*Tupouniua, P. 1977 A Polynesian Village, Chap. 3 Tonga Development Plan.
*Kaeppler, Adrienne 1971 Rank in Tonga, Ethnologv 10:174-193.
James, K.E. 1990 Chap.8. Gender relations in Tonga, in Herda, P. et al, Tongan Culture andHistorv. Dept of Pacific & S.E. Asian History, ANU., pp.93- 100.
*Biersack, Aletta   Tongan exchange structures, JPS 91(2):1181-212.
*Kaeppler, Adrienne 1978 Tongan funerals in a changing society, in Trade and Exchange in Oceania.
Afeaki, Emiliana 1983 Tonga, the last Pacific Kingdom, in Meleisea, M. (ed.), Polynesia. Inst.Pac. Studies, pp.56-78.
*Needs, Andrew 1988 N.Z. aid and the development of class in Tonga. Massey: Dept of Sociology.
Finau, Bishop 1991 One day our children will laugh at how foolish we are, in Matangi Tonga.,
Cowling, W. 1990 Chap. 15. Motivations for contemporary Tongan migration, in Herda, Terrell & Gunson (eds), Tongan Culture and History. ANU, RsPacS., pp.187-205.
Kavaliku, Langi 1977 'Ofa! The Treasure of Tonga, in Pacific Perspective 6(2): 47-67.

*Recommended text not in Course Notes

Cook Islands: Tutorial Readings

Week 1: Background: Population size, island differences, main centres geographic features + map

Ron Crocombe & M.T. Crocombe, Cook Islands. In Encvclopaedia of World Cultures., Terence E. Hayes ed., Vol.2: Oceania. Boston, G.K. Hall, 1991, pp.40-42.

Week 2: Prehistory, History and Cosmology

Reilly, Michael, In the Beginning was the Word. In The Journal of Pacific History 28(1):3-14 - for Mangaia, 1993.

Week 3: Missions

Crocombe, M. Maretu's Life. In Cannibals and Converts. Fiji: Institute of Pacific Studies [NB no copyright on this material], 1983, pp

Week 4: Economy

The Cook Islands. In South Pacific Agriculture: Choices and Constraints. In R.G.Ward and A. Proctor eds, Asian Development Bank, Canberra, 1980, pp. 369-380,

Week 5: Land rights

Crocombe, Ron. The Cook Islands: fragmentation and emigration. In Land Tenure in the Pacific (no editor). University of the South Pacific, Suva, 1987, pp. 59-73.

Browne, Tina. Traditional Rights and Customary Usage in the Cook Islands. In Land Issues in the Pacific, Institute of Pacific Studies, Suva 1994, pp 205 -211.

Week 6 Social Organization

Siikala, Jukka Chiefs, Gender and Hierarchy in Ngaputoru. In Culture and Historv in the Pacific, J. Siikala ed., The Finnish Anthropological Society, Helsinki, 1 990, pp . 1 07 - 1 24 .

Week 7: Leadership

Sissons, Jeff. The Place of Chiefs in Cook Island Politics. In The Contemporarv Pacific 6(2):371-396, 1994.

*Davis, T. et al. editors Cook Island Politics. The Polynesian Press, 1979.

Week 8: Migration

Loomis, T. Cook Island Remittances. In Migration. Pacific Research. Monograph No. 24, pp.61-81. Canberra: Australian National University.

Week 9: Urbanisation

Vini, Nihi Outer Islanders on Rarotonga. In In Search of a Home, (no editor). Institute of Pacific Studies, Suva, 1987, pp.103-109.

Batchelor, John Squatters on Rarotonga. In In Search of a Home. (no editor) Institute of Pacific Studies, Suva, 1987, pp.230-23s.

Week 10: Tourism and Education

Wong, Chris - Tourism in the Cook Islands, Paper for ES CAP seminar, Suva, 1986.

Week 11: Post-Colonial directions

Short, Iaveta, The Cook Islands, Autonomy, Self Government and Independence. In Class and Culture in the South Pacific. A. Hooper et al., eds, University of the South Pacific, Auckland, 1987, pp. 176-185.

Ingram, Pam Takiora. The Culture of Politics and the Politicization of Culture in the Cook Islands. in Culture and Democracv in the South Pacific, (no editor), Institute of Pacific Studies, Suva [no royalties], 1992, pp.153-170.

*Alternative text/not in Course Notes.



Required Readings

Main Text:
O'Meara, Tim Samoan Planters: Tradition and Economic Development in Polynesia, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1989.

WEEK 1: JUL 17
The islands, geography, population size, resources and natural hazards.
What are the main indigenous resources; what are the main cash crops?

WEEK 2: JUL 24
What impact did Europeans have on Samoans?
See: A Contest of Powers, O'Meara, Chapter 1
See also: Lagaga, Chapter 3 by Malama Meleisea

WEEK 3: JUL 31
What were the aims of the missionaries? What did they achieve through lotu?
See: O'Meara pp 42-55.
See also: Lagaga, Chapter 4 by Malama Meleisea

How is land used in rural Samoa? Who controls use?
See: O'Meara Chapter 2

WEEK 5: AUG l4
What were men's work tasks and women's work tasks in the village?
See: O'Meara Chap. 4

What responsibilities are shared in the 'aiga'? What are the responsibilities of the father, the mother, brother and sister?
See: O'Meara Chap. 4

What role does the Matai play -- in the village? -- in 'Apia? And overseas?
See: O'Meara Chap. 5

How did the economy change after Independence? What are the sources of cash?
See: O'Meara Chap. 6

How important are remittances to families in villages? Who in New Zealand sends remittances and on what occasions?
See: O'Meara Chap. 7 See also: Pitt and Macpherson's Emerging Pluralism

WEEK 10: OCT 2
What are the main elements of Fa'asamoa? How has this concept changed over time? Who commends correct observance of fa'asamoa?
See: Ngan-Woo, Feleti's Fa'asamoa - The World of Samoans, Office of the Race Relations Conciliator (1985)

WEEK 11: OCT 9
What are the relations between Western Samoa and between W. Samoa and other Pacific countries?
What are the terms under which Samoans can migrate to New Zealand, as visitors, and as permanent residents?

[Subject: Anthropology; Pacific/Comparative; Polynesia]

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