Pacific Islanders or Pasifikas, are the peoples of the Pacific Islands. It is a geographic and often ethnic/racial term to describe the inhabitants of any of the three major sub-regions of Oceania: Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia. These people speak various Austronesian languages. New Zealand has the largest concentration of Pacific Islanders in the world. However, the majority of its people are not identified as Pacific Islanders—instead during the 20th century and into the 21st century the country saw a steady stream of immigration from Polynesian countries such as Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands, Niue and French Polynesia.
Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, composed of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a shared cultural history with two other island regions: Polynesia to the east and Melanesia to the south.
Melanesia is a subregion of Oceania extending from New Guinea island in the southwestern Pacific Ocean to the Arafura Sea, and eastward to Fiji.
Polynesia is a subregion of Oceania, made up of more than 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are termed Polynesians, and share many similar traits including language family, culture, and beliefs. Historically, they had a strong tradition of sailing and using stars to navigate at night. The largest country in Polynesia is New Zealand.
The Pacific islands consist of three main regions:
The islands are scattered across a triangle covering the east-central region of the Pacific Ocean. The triangle is bound by the Hawaiian Islands in the north, New Zealand in the west, and Easter Island in the east. The rest of Polynesia includes the Samoan islands (American Samoa and Western Samoa), the Cook Islands, French Polynesia (Tahiti and The Society Islands, Marquesas Islands, Austral Islands and the Tuamotu Archipelago), Niue Island, Tokelau and Tuvalu, Tonga, Wallis and Futuna, Rotuma Island and Pitcairn Island.
The Hawaiian Islands are an archipelago of eight major islands, several atolls, numerous smaller islets, and seamounts in the North Pacific Ocean, extending some 1,500 miles from the island of Hawaiʻi in the south to northernmost Kure Atoll. Formerly the group was known to Europeans and Americans as the Sandwich Islands, a name chosen by James Cook in honor of the then First Lord of the Admiralty John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. The contemporary name is derived from the name of the largest island, Hawaii Island.
New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.
Easter Island is a Chilean island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle in Oceania. Easter Island is most famous for its nearly 1,000 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapa Nui people. In 1995, UNESCO named Easter Island a World Heritage Site, with much of the island protected within Rapa Nui National Park.
The island of New Guinea, the Bismarck and Louisiade archipelagos, the Admiralty Islands, Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea, Western New Guinea (part of Indonesia), Aru Islands, the Solomon Islands, the Santa Cruz Islands (part of the Solomon Islands), New Caledonia and Loyalty Islands, Vanuatu (formerly New Hebrides), Fiji, Norfolk Island and various smaller islands.
New Guinea is a large island separated by a shallow sea from the rest of the Australian continent. It is the world's second-largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 785,753 km2 (303,381 sq mi), and the largest wholly or partly within the Southern Hemisphere and Oceania.
The Admiralty Islands are an archipelago group of 18 islands in the Bismarck Archipelago, to the north of New Guinea in the South Pacific Ocean. These are also sometimes called the Manus Islands, after the largest island.
Bougainville Island is the main island of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville of Papua New Guinea. This region is also known as Bougainville Province or the North Solomons. Its land area is 9,300 km2. The population of the province is 234,280, which includes the adjacent island of Buka and assorted outlying islands including the Carterets. Mount Balbi at 2,700 m is the highest point.
The islands of Kiribati, Nauru, the Marianas (Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands), the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia (Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae, all in the Caroline Islands).
Kiribati, officially the Republic of Kiribati, is a sovereign state in Micronesia in the central Pacific Ocean. The permanent population is just over 110,000 (2015), more than half of whom live on Tarawa Atoll. The state comprises 32 atolls and reef islands and one raised coral island, Banaba. They have a total land area of 800 square kilometres (310 sq mi) and are dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometres. Their spread straddles both the equator and the 180th meridian, although the International Date Line goes round Kiribati and swings far to the east, almost reaching the 150°W meridian. This brings the Line Islands into the same day as the Kiribati Islands. Kiribati's easternmost islands, the southern Line Islands, south of Hawaii, have the most advanced time on Earth: UTC+14 hours.
Nauru, officially the Republic of Nauru and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country in Micronesia, a subregion of Oceania, in the Central Pacific. Its nearest neighbour is Banaba Island in Kiribati, 300 kilometres (190 mi) to the east. It further lies northwest of Tuvalu, north of the Solomon Islands, east-northeast of Papua New Guinea, southeast of the Federated States of Micronesia and south of the Marshall Islands. With only a 21-square-kilometre (8.1 sq mi) area, Nauru is the third-smallest state on the list of countries and dependencies by area behind Vatican City and Monaco, making it the smallest state in the South Pacific Ocean, the smallest island state, and the smallest republic. Its population is 11,347, making it the third smallest on the list of countries and dependencies by population, after the Vatican and Tuvalu.
Guam is an unincorporated and organized territory of the United States in Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean. It is the western most point and territory of the United States, along with the Northern Mariana Islands. The capital city of Guam is Hagåtña and the most populous city is Dededo. The inhabitants of Guam are called Guamanians, and they are American citizens by birth. Indigenous Guamanians are the Chamorros, who are related to other Austronesian natives of Eastern Indonesia, the Philippines, and Taiwan. Guam has been a member of the Pacific Community since 1983.
Ethnolinguistically, those Pacific islanders who reside in Oceania are divided into two different ethnic classifications.
An ethnic group or an ethnicity, is a category of people who identify with each other based on similarities such as common ancestry, language, history, society, culture or nation. Ethnicity is usually an inherited status based on the society in which one lives. Membership of an ethnic group tends to be defined by a shared cultural heritage, ancestry, origin myth, history, homeland, language or dialect, symbolic systems such as religion, mythology and ritual, cuisine, dressing style, art or physical appearance.
The Austronesian languages are a language family that is widely dispersed throughout Maritime Southeast Asia, Madagascar and the islands of the Pacific Ocean, with a few members in continental Asia. Austronesian languages are spoken by about 386 million people (4.9%), making it the fifth-largest language family by number of speakers. Major Austronesian languages with the highest number of speakers are Malay, Javanese, and Filipino (Tagalog). The family contains 1,257 languages, which is the second most of any language family.
The approximately 450 Oceanic languages are a well-established branch of the Austronesian languages. The area occupied by speakers of these languages includes Polynesia, as well as much of Melanesia and Micronesia.
The umbrella term Pacific Islands may take on several meanings.Sometimes it refers to only those islands covered by the continent of Oceania. In some common uses, the term "Pacific Islands" refers to the islands of the Pacific Ocean once colonized by the Portuguese, Spaniards, Dutch, British, French, United States, and Japanese, such as the Pitcairn Islands, Taiwan, and Borneo. In other uses it may refer to islands with Austronesian linguistic heritage like Taiwan, Indonesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, Myanmar islands, which found their genesis in the Neolithic cultures of the island of Taiwan.
In Australia the term South Sea Islander was used to describe Australian descendants of people from the more than 80 islands in the western Pacific who had been brought to Australia to work on the sugar fields of Queensland,in the 19th century called Kanakas. The Pacific Island Labourers Act 1901 was enacted to restrict entry of Pacific Islanders to Australia and to authorise their deportation. In the legislation Pacific Islanders were defined as:
"Pacific Island Labourer" includes all natives not of European extraction of any island except the islands of New Zealand situated in the Pacific Ocean beyond the Commonwealth [of Australia] as constituted at the commencement of this Act.
In 2008 a Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme was announced as a three-year pilot scheme.The scheme provides visas for workers from Kiribati, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea to work in Australia. The pilot scheme includes one country each from Melanesia (Vanuatu), Polynesia (Tonga) and Micronesia (Kiribati), countries which already send workers to New Zealand under its seasonal labour scheme. Australia's pilot scheme also includes Papua New Guinea.
Local usage in New Zealand uses "Pacific islander" (or Pasifika) to distinguish those who have emigrated from one of these areas in modern times from the indigenous New Zealand Māori, who are also Polynesian but arrived in New Zealand centuries earlier.
In the 2013 New Zealand census, 7.4 percent of the New Zealand population identified with one or more Pacific ethnic groups, although 62.3 percent of these were born in New Zealand.Those with a Samoan background make up the largest proportion, followed by Cook Islands Maori, Tongan, and Niuean. Some smaller island populations such as Niue and Tokelau have the majority of their nationals living in New Zealand.
To celebrate the diverse Pacific island cultures, the Auckland region hosts several Pacific island festivals. Two of the major ones are Polyfest, which showcases performances of the secondary school cultural groups in the Auckland region,and Pasifika, a festival that celebrates Pacific island heritage through traditional food, music, dance, and entertainment.
According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, Population Estimates Program (PEP), a "Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander" is "A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific islands. It includes people who indicate their race as 'Native Hawaiian', 'Guamanian or "Chamorro', 'Samoan', and 'Other Pacific Islander' or provide other detailed Pacific Islander responses."
According to the Office of Management and Budget, "Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander" refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.
The term Pacific Islands American is used for ethnic Pacific islander residents in U.S. states, and in the territories of the United States in the region.
History of the Pacific Islands covers the history of the islands in the Pacific Ocean.
The History of Oceania includes the history of Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and other Pacific island nations.
Oceania is a geographic region comprising Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the eastern and western hemispheres, Oceania covers an area of 8,525,989 square kilometres (3,291,903 sq mi) and has a population of 40 million. Situated in the southeast of the Asia-Pacific region, Oceania, when compared to continental regions, is the smallest in land area and the second smallest in population after Antarctica.
The Polynesian languages form a language family spoken in geographical Polynesia and on a patchwork of outliers from south central Micronesia to small islands off the northeast of the larger islands of the southeast Solomon Islands and sprinkled through Vanuatu. Linguistic taxonomists classify them as a subgroup of the much larger and more varied Austronesian family, belonging to the Oceanic branch of that family.
Polynesians are an ethnolinguistic group of closely related peoples who are native to Polynesia, an expansive region of Oceania in the Pacific Ocean. They are part of the larger Austronesian ethnolinguistic group who trace their urheimat to Southeast Asia. They speak the Polynesian languages, a branch of the Oceanic subfamily of the Austronesian language family.
The Lapita culture was a prehistoric Pacific Ocean people who flourished in the Pacific Islands from about 1600 BCE to about 500 BCE. Archaeologists believe that the Lapita are the ancestors of historic cultures in Polynesia, Micronesia, and some coastal areas of Melanesia. The characteristics of the Lapita culture are the extension of human settlement to previously uninhabited islands scattered over a large area in the Pacific Ocean, the spread of Oceanic languages in that area, the distinctive geometric dentate-stamped pottery, and the use and widespread distribution of obsidian.
Melanesians are the predominant inhabitants of Melanesia. Most speak either one of the many Austronesian languages, especially in the Oceanic branch of Malayo-Polynesian, or one of the Papuan languages. Other languages spoken are the numerous creoles or pidgins in the region, such as Tok Pisin, Hiri Motu, Solomon Islands Pijin, Bislama, and Papuan Malay. Melanesians occupy islands in a wide area from Eastern Indonesia to as far east as the islands of Vanuatu and Fiji.
Asia-Pacific or Asia Pacific is the part of the world in or near the Western Pacific Ocean. The region varies in area depending on which context, but it typically includes much of East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania.
Polynesian outliers are a number of culturally Polynesian societies that geographically lie outside the main region of Polynesian influence, known as the Polynesian Triangle; instead, Polynesian outliers are scattered in the two other Pacific subregions: Melanesia and Micronesia. Based on archaeological and linguistic analysis, these islands are considered to have been colonized by seafaring Polynesians, mostly from the area of Tonga, Samoa and Tuvalu.
Polynesian culture is the culture of the indigenous peoples of Polynesia who share common traits in language, customs and society. Sequentially, the development of Polynesian culture can be divided into four different historical eras:
Oceanic art or Oceanian art comprises the creative works made by the native people of the Pacific Islands and Australia, including areas as far apart as Hawaii and Easter Island. Specifically it comprises the works of the two groups of people who settled the area, though during two different periods. They would in time however, come to interact and together reach even more remote islands. The area is often broken down into four separate regions: Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia and Australia. Australia, along with interior Melanesia (Papua), are populated by descendants of the first waves of human migrations into the region by Australo-Melanesians. Micronesia, Island Melanesia, and Polynesia, on the other hand, are descendants of later Austronesian voyagers who intermixed with native Australo-Melanesians; mostly via the Neolithic Lapita culture. All of the regions in later times would be greatly affected by western influence and colonization. In more recent times, the people of Oceania have found a greater appreciation of their region's artistic heritage.
Islam in Oceania refers to Islam and Muslims in Oceania. By current estimates, there are 620,156 total Muslims in Oceania: 476,600 in Australia, 48,151 in New Zealand, 52,520 in Fiji, 6,352 in New Caledonia, 2,200 in Papua New Guinea, 360 in Solomon Islands, 221 in Vanuatu, 110 in Tonga and tiny numbers in Kiribati and Samoa.
The Contemporary Pacific: A Journal of Island Affairs is an academic journal covering a wide range of disciplines with the aim of providing comprehensive coverage of contemporary developments in the entire Pacific Islands region, including Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. It features refereed, readable articles that examine social, economic, political, ecological, and cultural topics, along with political reviews, book and media reviews, resource reviews, and a dialogue section with interviews and short essays. Each recent issue highlights the work of a Pacific Islander artist.
The Festival of Pacific Arts, Pacific Arts Festival, or FESTPAC is a traveling festival hosted every four years by a different country in Oceania (map). It was conceived by the Pacific Community as a means to stem erosion of traditional cultural practices by sharing and exchanging culture at each festival. The major theme of the festival is traditional song and dance. The 2008 Festival of Pacific Arts was hosted by American Samoa from 20 July to 2 August 2008; it was the 10th Festival of Pacific Arts.
The Oceania Area Championships in Athletics is an athletics event run by the Oceania Athletics Association and is held every year. In 1990 the Oceania Athletic Championships started as an area championships for the IAAF member countries of Oceania. Initially conceived as a quadrennial event, the championships change to a biennial format in 1996. The event had junior events until a merger with the Oceania Youth Championships occurred in 2000. Both senior and youth events are now held at the championships in a unified competition. Athletics New Zealand and Athletics Australia generally send weakened teams due to the small size of the other competing nations.
Oceania is a region centered on the islands of the tropical Pacific Ocean. Conceptions of what constitutes Oceania vary, with it being defined in various ways, often geopolitically or geographically. In the geopolitical conception used by the United Nations, International Olympic Committee, and many atlases, the Oceanic region includes Australia and the nations of the Pacific from Papua New Guinea east, but not the Malay Archipelago or Indonesian New Guinea. The term is sometimes used more specifically to denote Australasia as a geographic continent, or biogeographically as a synonym for either the Australasian ecozone or the Pacific ecozone.
This is the only contemporary text on the Pacific Islands that covers both environment and sociocultural issues and will thus be indispensable for any serious student of the region. Unlike other reviews, it treats the entirety of Oceania (with the exception of Australia) and is well illustrated with numerous photos and maps, including a regional atlas.– via JSTOR (subscription required)
Taiwan associations are based on almost forgotten old connections with far-reaching Pacific linguistic origins. The present term Austronesia is based on linguistics and archaeology supporting the origins and existence of the Austronesian Language family spread across the Pacific on modern Taiwan, Indonesia, East Timor, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, Micronesia, Polynesia, the non-Papuan languages of Melanesia, the Cham areas of Vietnam, Cambodia, Hainan, Myanmar islands, and some Indian Ocean islands including Madagascar. Taiwan is in the initiating region.
Recognition for Australian South Sea Islanders (ASSI) has been a long time coming. It was not until 1994 that the federal government recognized them as a distinct ethnic group with their own history and culture and not until September 2000 that the Queensland government made a formal statement of recognition.