Pacific Island Books
Culture and Society

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Culture and Society

Baudrillard West of the Dateline edited by Victoria Grace, Heather Worth and Laurence Simmons. ISBN 0864694377. Published by Dunmore Press. Recommended retail price $29.95.

This book emerges from the first visit to New Zealand, in March 2001, of Jean Baudrillard, one of the most provocative and insightful philosophers and social critics of our age. Baudrillard never fails to push the limits of current debates, ideas and theories within academia and beyond.

The title Baudrillard West of the Dateline is a provocation to orient our thinking towards the significance of this
part of the world as a critical location from which Baudrillard scholars might propose a different view on the 'West' - the 'West' as suggestive of possible vectors of sociocultural transformations of importance to us now; the 'West' as Baudrillard goes 'East'. Soft cover, 271 pages. Published in 2003.

Cultural Identity and Ethnicity in the Pacific ed. by Jocelyn Linnekin; Lin Poyer. Published by The University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 0824818911. Recommended retail price $19.00

"[T]he rich historical and ethnographic material contained in this book show that most Oceanic societies were involved in complex exchange networks and inter-island political arrangements long before the arrival of the Europeans.... The book raises very large questions about the conceptualization and organization of cultural differences, both in the Pacific and elsewhere." --Journal of the Polynesian Society. Soft cover, 323 pages. Published 1990.

Culture, Kastom and Tradition: Cultural Policy in Melanesia edited by Lamont Lindstrom and Geoffrey M. White. Recommended retail price $16.

This book looks broadly at cultural development programmes and policies in three Melanesian countries: Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. With more than a thousand distinct linguistic-cultural groups, Melanesia is the most culturally diverse area in the world. Local and national attempts to protect and promote this rich concentration of cultural traditions have produced some novel experiments in cultural development.

The authors survey these efforts from several different perspectives, including rural and urban, local and national, men's and women's, indigenous and foreign. The essays open a window onto the dilemmas of change that face Melanesian and Pacific communities today and offer insight into some of the ways that peoples and governments of the region have sought to deal with them.

Included here are discussions of national approaches to cultural policies, of programmes sponsored by local provinces and communities, and of the role and responsibilities of researchers working in the region. Also included are appendices with examples of cultural policies developed by national and provincial governments. Soft cover, 296 pp.

Language In Common, A by Marion Molteno.  ISBN 0958218609. Published by Addenda. Recommended retail price $9.98.

A Language in Common is a vivid collection of stories based on the author’s nine years as an adult education worker, mainly among women from India and Pakistan. These women have come as adults to live in Britain. They have, as yet, no common language; and the society in which they find themselves is alien, often hostile. Yet as they discover more about each other friendships develop across the boundaries of language and culture. “Teacher” is no longer teacher, “students” are no longer students…

These stories explore community and relationship and their unique perception has the ability to unite us all.

Marion Molteno won the 1999 Commonwealth Writers Prize Best Book for Africa for her novel If You Can Walk, You Can Dance. Soft cover, 148 pages. Published in 2000.

Native Cultures of the Pacific Islands by Douglas L. Oliver. Published by University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 0824811828. Recommended retail price $17.00.

This abridgment of Oliver's Oceania: The Native Cultures of Australia and the Pacific Islands is intended for college-level courses on precontact anthropology, history, economy, and politics of the Pacific, excluding Australia. Soft cover, 172 pages. Published in 1989.

Pacific: Icons from Te Papa. ISBN 1-877385-25-5. Published by Te Papa Press. Recommended retail price $15.99.

A selection of treasure items from Te Papa's Pacific collection. Here are rare artifacts from the diverse island cultures of the Pacific - including Samoa, Fiji and Hawaii - as well as contemporary art, craft and photography from the many Pacific people who call Aotearoa New Zealand home.

These objects give an insight into the Pacific: its peoples, their art forms and traditions, and their complex colonial histories.

From a headdress worn by Captain to a contemporary tapa cloth woven in Upper Hutt, every item is photographed in full colour and accompanied by a lively, informative description. Softcover, 108 pages. Published in 2006.

Pacific Profiles: Personal Experiences of 100 South Pacific Islanders edited by Robert A. C. Stewart. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies. ISBN 9820200113. Recommended retail price $20.

Pacific Profiles is a treasury of unique personal experiences written by Pacific Islanders, all of them students, at some time or another, with the University of the South Pacific. They were asked by Bob Stewart, then Reader in Educational Psychology at the USP, to write about themselves and events they felt had been of major significance in their lives.

The results are vivid, poignant and frank; ranging across a wide spectrum of human emotions. The profiles reflect the cultural settings of various countries and races, while at the same time revealing many universal concerns that affect all of humanity.

The book is arranged in five sections that cover Infancy, Childhood, Adolescence, Maturity and Old Age. Because of the personal nature of the Profiles, some authors requested complete anonymity. The others however are credited in the Foreword. Soft cover, 259 pages. Published in 1995.

Pacific Tapa by Roger Neich; Mick Pendergrast with photos by Krzysztof Pfeiffer. Published by the University of Hawai'i Press. Recommended retail price $29.00.

Auckland Museum's collection of tapa cloth from around the Pacific is one of the most extensive in the world and it forms the basis of this comprehensive survey.
For sale only in the U.S., its dependencies, Canada, and Mexico

Roger Neich is curator of ethnology at the Auckland Museum and professor of anthropology at the University of Auckland. Mick Pendergrast is an ethnology assistant at Auckland Museum. Krzysztof Pfeiffer is an Auckland-based photographer with more than twenty books published in New Zealand and around the world. Soft cover, 160 pages. Pubished in 1997.

Silent Legacy by Paul Henderson and John Fox. Published by the Maxim Institute. ISBN 9780958265294. Recommended retail price $19.95.
Silent Legacy invites you into conversation with some of the great minds that have formed history; those who have thought and dreamed great things, shaping and moulding the culture and the civilisation we have inherited. It invites you to think about truth, reality, knowledge, beauty and community and to look deeper into contemporary culture and see the imprint and impact of ideas. Silent Legacy is the story of philosophy: from ancient Greece to the contemporary West; a primer, an introduction to digging a little deeper.
Silent Legacy encourages you to take time to think and to engage with ideas, to show that the thoughts that have shaped our history are accessible—that they originate in flesh and blood and that they are up for debate. In our age, as in perhaps no other, philosophical ideas and thoughts about the nature of reality and human life are more accessible to a wider audience. But engagement with those ideas is ironically rare. The legacy of philosophy is fast becoming silent; We live in an age of distractions, in which thought on “the big questions” is becoming more and philosophy is all-too-often latent and assumed underneath culture and human life instead of being a debated and accessible part of it.
As we lose sight of the ideas which have shaped our world, and the people who formed them, we lose the tools for understanding who we are, and the culture we live in. In an age of sound-bites and platitudes, this book encourages you to do more than inherit dead and finished conversations. Ideas do not die. Make them live!

Paul Henderson is the director of Maxim Institute’s research and internship programs.  He was born in the United Kingdom, educated at Ampleforthe College, Aberdeen University and Sidney Sussex College at Cambridge University.  He holds an MA in English.  He has significant experience in education having worked for the British Council and governments around the world.  He is the author of Kids Adrift: values confusion in New Zealand School and Vying for Our Children.  Paul also has a background in business with a focus on strategic planning.  He is a New Zealand citizen and is married with three daughters. 

John Fox joined Maxim Institute in September 2005 as a writer and has a particular interest in language, history and political theory.  He is now working part-time while studying for a Masters in English at the University of Auckland.  He graduated in 2005 from the University of Canterbury with a conjoint Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in English, History and Biological Sciences, and in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in English. 

Soft cover, 246 pages. Published in 2008.



Smile cover

Smile by Anders Blomqvist and Gerar ToyeISBN 0958360928.  Recommended retail price $17.

Smile is a collection of spontaneous smiles from the combined 45 years of traveling by Anders Blomqvist and Gerar Toye.

It is hardback and has 160 pages (155mm square) and everyone who sees it Smiles. There are twenty quotes to complement the images.

Two photographers, two styles, one passion: To journey into the realm of the human kindness. Smile explores in pictures the beauty of individuals around the world and the simple, limitless value in a smile. The people in this book are truly generous people.  They have freely shared their joy for life and the most valuable gift they can offer, a glimpse into their heart.  They serve as a reminder that all people are born good: it is easy to forget, it is just as easy to remember.

Anders Blomqvist from Sweden has traveled the world for over twenty-five years in pursuit of good fun and great photos.  He has worked on a luxury liner, as a carpenter and for over ten years as a white water rafting and trekking guide in Nepal, Tibet, Norway and Australia.

His photography is widely published in National Geographic Guidebooks, Lonely Planet, Globetrotter Guides and numerous other magazines and books around the world.  He now divides his time between a small coastal village in southern Sweden and Asia.

Gerar Toye is a Kiwi who has roamed the planet for over twenty years.  With his unique style of shooting from the hip, he loves playing with spontaneous imagery.

He is well known for his Imagist range of gift cards with life philosophy.  Having lived in various countries in a house bus he travels as the “global gypsy.”

He now lives in bliss with Amla and their twins somewhere in a warm paradise, still traveling on…

“not all who wander are lost.”

Hard cover, 160 pages. Published in 2004.  


The Works of Ta’unga: Records of a Polynesian Traveller in the South Seas 1833-1896 by Ron & Marjorie Crocombe. Recommended retail price $10.

Almost all published work about the history of the Pacific to date has been written either by, or using the files of, foreign governments, missionaries, businesses, and travelers. This book results from a meticulous search over a number of years for all the material written by Ta’unga, about his home island of Rarotonga, and more particularly about his experiences in New Caledonia, the Loyalty Islands, and Samoa. The first of the writings is dated 1833 and the last 1896, and between them evidence has been found of at least thirty manuscripts (though not all of them have been located) and it is almost certain that he wrote many more. Ta’unga lived in New Caledonia before any European had lived there and gives us the first record by a resident of the indigenous cultures of the south-eastern portion of New Caledonia at the time of first contact with foreign commerce and religion. It is also the first published book to contain the writings of a Pacific islander writing about any country other than his own.

It is an important book because it gives us an insight into the central and western Pacific at a time of tremendous cultural change resulting from the army of missions moving westward across the Pacific from Tahiti and the vanguards of commerce moving eastward from Sydney. As Ta’unga’s narrative shows in somewhat gruesome detail, the advance parties of both groups were apt to be expendable. Soft cover, 164 pages.

Click on links below for these books.

Aboriginal Australians: Spirit of Arnhem Land by Penny Tweedie

Akekeia! Traditional Dance in Kiribati by Tony & Joan Whincup

Aloha Solomons by Gwen Cross

Atiu ... an Island Community by Kautai et al.

At the End of the Day: Ten New Zealanders in Their 80s edited by Joan Maclean

Blind Impress, The by Michael Jackson

Carved Pare, The: A Maori Mirror of the Universe by David Simmons

Cikobia-I-Ra: Archaeology of a Fijian Island by Christophe Sand et al

Cook Islands Custom by William Wyatt Gill

Crew Culture: New Zealand seafarers under sail and steam by Neill Atkinson

Culture and Democracy in the South Pacific by Aiono et al.

Deuba: A Study of a Fijian Village by William R. Geddes

Doing Our Best: New Zealand mothers speak from the heart edited by Leanne McKenzie & Gail Thomas

Education & Society in Aotearoa New Zealand: An Introduction to the Social and Policy Contexts of Schooling and Education by Paul Adams et al.

Erosion of Marriage, The: the effect of law on New Zealand’s foundational institution by Angela Burgess

Essential Pocket Kiwi, The by Nicholas Tarling

Exploring Maori Values by John Patterson

Fiji and the Fijians Volume I: The Islands and their Inhabitants by Thomas Williams

Fiji Journals of Baron Von Hugel, The : 1875 - 1877 edited by Jane Roth and Steven Hooper

Fijian Ethos, The by Asesela D. Ravuvu

Fiji Masi: An Ancient Art in the new Millennium by Catherine Spicer and Rondo B B Me

Fiji's Past on Picture Postcards by Elsie Stephenson

Fire Has Jumped, The : Eyewitness Accounts of the Eruption and Evacuation of Niuafo'ou, Tonga edited by Garth Rogers

Fire In Your Belly, A; Maori Leaders Speak by Paul Diamond

Five Holocausts by Derek J. Wilson

Futuna: Mo Ona Puleaga Sau, Aux Deux Royaumes, the Two Kingdoms edited by Elise Huffer and Petelo Leleivai

Greenstone Trails: The Maori and Pounamu by Barry Brailsford

Hawaiian Dictionary by Mark Kawena Pukui and  Samuel H. Ebert

Hawaiian Dictionary, Illustrated by Kahikahealani Wight, illustrated by Robin Yoko Racoma

He Waiata Onaata: Songs from the Past

Icons Nga Taonga: From the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

In Other Words!: A dictionary of expressions used in New Zealand compiled by Lynn E. Grant and Gaylene A. Devlin

In Search of a Home edited by Leonard Mason and Pat Hereniko

Interactive Identities: Jewish Women in New Zealand by Livia Käthe Wittmann

In The Public Good?: Censorship in New Zealand by Chris Watson and Roy Shuker

Joseph’s coat: An anthology of multicultural writing edited by Peter Skrzynecki

Kula: Myth and Magic in the Trobriand Islands by Jutta Malnic with John Kasaipwalova

Living On The Fringe: Melanesians of Fiji by Winston Halapua

Lust to Kill: Notorious New Zealand murders by Fred McLean

Manu Tukutuku, Te: The Maori Kite by Bob Maysmor

Maori Agriculture by Elsdon Best

Masculinities in Aotearoa/New Zealand edited by Robin Law, Hugh Campbell and John Dolan

Material Culture of Kiribati, The by Gerd Koch

McGill's Dictionary of Kiwi Slang, Catchphrases, Characters and Kiwiosities by David McGill

Nation and Destination: Creating Cook Islands Identity by Jeffrey Sissons.

New Zealand Society 2nd Edition edited by Paul Spoonley, David Pearson and Ian Shirley

Nga Patai Racism & Ethnic Relations in Aotearoa/New Zealand edited by Paul Spoonley, Cluny Macpherson, David Pearson

Nga Waka Maori: Maori canoes by Anne Nelson

Pacific Islands,The : Environment & Society edited by Moshe Rapaport

Pacific Women. Roles and Status of women in Pacific Societies, edited by Taiamoni Tongamoa

Plants in Samoan Culture: The Ethnobotany of Samoa by Art Whistler

Political Correctness and the Theoretical Struggle by Frank Ellis

Race Apart, A : Parliament and Race Separatism, The Story by Walter Christie

Ruahine: Mythic Women by Ngahuia Te Awekotuku

Samoans, The: A Global Family by Frederic Koehler Sutter

Samoan Herbal Medicine by Dr. W. Arthur Whistler

Samoa: One hundred years ago and long before by George Turner

Silent Migration, The; stories of urban migration as told to Patricia Grace, Irihapeti Ramsden and Jonathan Dennis

South Pacific, The by Ron Crocombe

Sport in New Zealand Society edited by Chris Collins

Tahiti: The Other Side edited by Ron Crocombe and Pat Hereniko.

Tattooed Land, The by Barry Brailsford

Tangata O Te Moana Nui: The Evolving Identities of Pacific Peoples in Aotearoa/New Zealand edited by Cluny Macpherson, Paul Spoonley, Melani Anae

Taonga Maori: A Spiritual Journey Expressed Through Maori Art

Taonga Maori: Icons from Te Papa

Traditional handicrafts of Fiji by Mereisi Sekinabou Tabualevu, Josefa Uluinaceva and Sereima Raimua

Traditional Sailing Canoes in Lau by Robert Gillett, James Ianelli, Tevita Waqavakatoqa and Matai Qica

Treaty Issues by Walter Christie

Vaka i Taukei: The Fijian Way of Life by Asesela Ravuvu.

Wild Life among the Pacific Islanders by E.H. Lamont

Will to Kill: The Barlow trial and other notable New Zealand murders by Fred McLean

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Last modified on Monday, March 08, 2010