Pacific Islanders, or Pasifika, are the peoples of the Pacific Islands. It is a geographic and ethnic/racial term to describe the inhabitants and diaspora of any of the three major sub-regions of Oceania (Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia). It is not used to describe non-indigenous inhabitants of the Pacific islands (i.e. citizens of Pacific states who are of Asian and European descent are not ethnically Pacific Islanders).
New Zealand has the largest concentration of Polynesian Pacific Islanders in the world—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.
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, Pitcairn Island, Nukuoro, and Kapingamarangi.
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, East Timor,Moluccan 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.
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).
Ethnolinguistically, those Pacific islanders who reside in Oceania are divided into two different ethnic classifications.
The umbrella term Pacific Islands may take on several meanings.Sometimes it refers to only those islands covered by the region 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 Islanders 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 New Zealand Māori, who are also Polynesian but are indigenous to New Zealand.
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.
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 that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the eastern and western hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of 8,525,989 square kilometres (3,291,903 sq mi) and a population of over 47 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.
Melanesia is a subregion of Oceania extending from New Guinea island in the southwestern Pacific Ocean to the Arafura Sea, and eastward to Tonga.
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 form an ethnolinguistic group of closely related people who are native to Polynesia, an expansive region of Oceania in the Pacific Ocean. They trace their early prehistoric origins to Island Southeast Asia and form part of the larger Austronesian ethnolinguistic group with an Urheimat in Taiwan. 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 and indigenous inhabitants of Melanesia, in a wide area from Maluku Islands and New Guinea to as far east as the islands of Vanuatu and Fiji. Most speak either one of the many languages of the Austronesian language family, especially ones in the Oceanic branch, or from one of the many unrelated families of Papuan languages. Other languages are the several creoles of the region, such as Tok Pisin, Hiri Motu, Solomon Islands Pijin, Bislama, and Papuan Malay.
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:
The approximately 450 Oceanic languages are a branch of the Austronesian languages. The area occupied by speakers of these languages includes Polynesia, as well as much of Melanesia and Micronesia. Though covering a vast area, Oceanic languages are spoken by only two million people. The largest individual Oceanic languages are Eastern Fijian with over 600,000 speakers, and Samoan with an estimated 400,000 speakers. The Kiribati (Gilbertese), Tongan, Tahitian, Māori, Western Fijian and Kuanua (Tolai) languages each have over 100,000 speakers. The common ancestor which is reconstructed for this group of languages is called Proto-Oceanic.
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.
The Austronesian peoples, or more accurately Austronesian-speaking peoples, are a large group of various peoples in Taiwan, Island Southeast Asia, Micronesia, coastal New Guinea, Island Melanesia, Polynesia, and Madagascar, that speak the Austronesian languages. The nations and territories predominantly populated by Austronesian-speaking peoples are sometimes known collectively as Austronesia.
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.
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, sharing 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 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.
One of the major human migration events was the maritime settlement of the islands of the Indo-Pacific by the Austronesian peoples, believed to have started from at least 5,500 to 4,000 BP. These migrations were accompanied by a set of domesticated, semi-domesticated, and commensal plants and animals transported via outrigger ships and catamarans that enabled early Austronesians to thrive in the islands of Maritime Southeast Asia, Near Oceania (Melanesia), and Remote Oceania, Madagascar, and the Comoros Islands.
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,, 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.