Pacific Islander

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Pacific Islanders originate from countries within the Oceanic regions of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. Oceania UN Geoscheme Regions with Zones and ISO3166 labels.svg
Pacific Islanders originate from countries within the Oceanic regions of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia.

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).

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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.

Pacific Islander regions

The Pacific islands consist of three main regions:

Polynesia

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.

Melanesia

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.

Micronesia

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).

Ethnolinguistics

Ethnolinguistically, those Pacific islanders who reside in Oceania are divided into two different ethnic classifications.

Austronesian language peoples
Papuan language peoples

Usage by country

The umbrella term Pacific Islands may take on several meanings. [2] Sometimes it refers to only those islands covered by the region of Oceania. [3] [4] 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. [5] 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. [6]

Australia

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, [7] 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. [8]

In 2008 a Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme was announced as a three-year pilot scheme. [9] The scheme provides visas for workers from Kiribati, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea to work in Australia. [10] 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. [11] [12]

New Zealand

Cook Island dancers at Auckland's Pasifika Festival, 2010 Cook Island dancers at Auckland's Pacifica festival.jpg
Cook Island dancers at Auckland's Pasifika Festival, 2010

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. [13] Those with a Samoan background make up the largest proportion, followed by Cook Islands Maori, Tongan, and Niuean. [13] Some smaller island populations such as Niue and Tokelau have the majority of their nationals living in New Zealand. [14]

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, [15] and Pasifika, a festival that celebrates Pacific island heritage through traditional food, music, dance, and entertainment. [16]

United States

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." [17]

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.

List of Pacific peoples

See also

Related Research Articles

History of the Pacific Islands aspect of history

History of the Pacific Islands covers the history of the islands in the Pacific Ocean.

History of Oceania past events and people of Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and other Pacific island nations

The History of Oceania includes the history of Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and other Pacific island nations.

Oceania Geopolitical region comprising Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia

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 subregion of Oceania

Melanesia is a subregion of Oceania extending from New Guinea island in the southwestern Pacific Ocean to the Arafura Sea, and eastward to Tonga.

Polynesian languages Language family

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.

Lapita culture Neolithic archeological culture

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 Broad ethnolinguistic classification

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 outlier island group

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 the culture of the indigenous people of the Polynesian islands.

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 languages Subgroup of the Austronesian language family

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.

Oceanian art

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.

Austronesian peoples Ethnic group

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.

<i>The Contemporary Pacific</i> Academic journal

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 Subregion of Oceania

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.

Domesticated plants and animals of Austronesia Ancient expansion of agriculture

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.

References

  1. "Pacific Islands on Encyclopædia Britannica".
  2. William Collins Sons & Co Ltd (1983), Collins Atlas of the World (revised 1995 ed.), London W6 8JB: HarperCollins, ISBN   0-00-448227-1 CS1 maint: location (link)
  3. D'Arcy, Paul (March 2006). The People of the Sea: Environment, Identity, and History in Oceania. University Of Hawai'i Press. ISBN   978-0-8248-3297-1. Archived from the original on 2014-10-30. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  4. Rapaport, Moshe (April 2013). The Pacific Islands: Environment and Society, Revised Edition. University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN   978-0-8248-6584-9. JSTOR   j.ctt6wqh08. 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)
  5. Wright, John K. (July 1942). "Pacific Islands". Geographical Review . 32 (3): 481–486. doi:10.2307/210391. JSTOR   210391.  via  JSTOR (subscription required)
  6. Compare: Blundell, David (January 2011). "Taiwan Austronesian Language Heritage Connecting Pacific Island Peoples: Diplomacy and Values" (PDF). International Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies. 7 (1): 75–91. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 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.
  7. "South Sea Islander Project". ABC Radio Regional Production Fund. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2004. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 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.
  8. "Pacific Island Labourers Act 1901 (Cth)" (PDF). Documenting a Democracy. National Archives of Australia. 1901. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
  9. Australian Institute of Criminology: Australia's Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme: Managing vulnerabilities to exploitation
  10. "Pacific guestworker scheme to start this year". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2008-08-17.
  11. "Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme is more proof of Australia's new Pacific focus" (Press release). The Hon Duncan Kerr SC MP; Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs. 2008-08-20.
  12. Australian classification standards code Pacific islanders, Oceanians, South Sea islanders, and Australasians all with code 1000, i.e., identically. This coding can be broken down into the finer classification of 1,100 Australian Peoples; 1,200 New Zealand peoples; 1,300 Melanesian and Papuan; 1,400 Micronesian; 1,500 Polynesian. There is no specific coding therefore for "Pacific islander". "Australian Standard Classification of Cultural and Ethnic Groups (ASCCEG) - 2nd edition" (pdf - 136 pages). Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2005-07-07. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
  13. 1 2 "Pacific peoples ethnic group", 2013 Census. Statistics New Zealand. Accessed on 18 August 2017.
  14. Smelt, and Lin, 1998
  15. "Polyfest NCEA credits / Pasifika Education Plan / Home - Pasifika". Te Kete Ipurangi (TKI). Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  16. "Thousands turn out for Pasifika Festival". Radio New Zealand . 25 March 2017. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  17. "Information on Race". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 3, 2013. Retrieved March 27, 2013.
  18. https://thediplomat.com/2010/12/are-filipinos-asian/

Further reading