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Volume 11 – Number 10

Oct 1980

S. Pacific Arts Festival in Papua New Guinea

Fiji and Micronesia

Maori Tangata

Melanesian Masks

Tahiti Maohi Drama

Artists of Guam and Hawaii

Cover. Jade (nephrite) fish-hook pendant made by Maori craftsman in the 19th century, from Taranaki, New Zealand. Photograph by Brain Brake.

The Pacific is stunning in its immensity: it comprises one-third of the Earth’s surface and exceeds the total of the globe’s combined land area. Yet only 500,000 of its 64 million square miles make up what are known as the Pacific Islands. And the giant island New Guinea represents 60% of the total, followed by New Zealand with 20%. The remaining 100,000 square miles are divided among  more than 10,000 islands. These islands and Australia, collectively known as Oceania, are the subjects of this special regional issue.

Distinctions are finer than demographics can suggest among Oceania cultures. They are broadly distinguished by ethnogeographic categories: Australia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Within this frame our special issue looks at Papua New Guinea and Fiji, both in Melanesia, and the mask art of the region as a whole. We visit Ponape and Yap in the U.S. Trust Territories of Micronesia and get close-up views of Guam through the lens of a local photographer. The Polynesian arts of dramatic dance (Tahiti), Maori carving (New Zealand) and tattooing (Samoa) are reviewed. Running through the issue is the subsidiary theme of Asians in the Pacific: Indians in Fiji, the Chinese in the goldfield days of Australia and New Zealand, and Japanese culture in Hawaii.

Fred S. Armentrout

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