Guam: an Al Jazeera Series

Friend and colleague Keith Camacho, at UCLA, sent me these links for an interesting and very teachable series about Guam that was recently done by Al Jazeera.  I wanted to park them both where I, and others, could easily find them.

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Still from AJ+ Piece on Decolonizing Guam’s Diet.

How The U.S. Territory Of Guam Became An American Colony

Should U.S. Territories Like Guam Be Independent?

From SPAM To Spearfishing: Decolonizing A U.S. Territory’s Diet

What’s it Mean to Be Indigenous and From a U.S. Territory?


Remembering War

For NZ the First World War began and ended in the Pacific, with New Zealand’s invasion of Samoa (1914-1962). Let us keep this colonial legacy in mind as we enter our week of intensive remembering. A new clip has been aired in time for ANZAC day, but which I hope encourages to remember not just a few canonical–military–events, but a wider and fuller range.  It is currently on NewsHub, but will shortly be available elsewhere.

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New Zealand and Australia concentrate their remembering of war around the day that we as ‘nations’ (then Dominions) invaded Gallipoli.  Though over a hundred years has since passed it still proves a challenge to remember in a way that ethically brings to mind the fullness and consequences of our wartime acts.  In particular, New Zealand has had trouble remembering its First World War history in the Pacific.

At the opening of the exhibition “Entangled Islands: Sāmoa, New Zealand and the First World War” I offered some remarks on how we might go about new kinds of remembering, rather than restrict ourselves to just a few narrow horizons of memory.

The horrific war we now remember was fought from 1914-1918 and which led to over 16 million deaths. This legacy of death, and the warnings and weight that we carry because of those deaths, dominate both our memory, and our commemorations, of the First World War. This legacy has often meant that we have forgotten that this great Ocean of ours was also part of that terrible conflict: it was not, after all, known as the Great European War, but the First World War, and battles were fought not only in Europe, but in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the Pacific.

Still, it is battles like Gallipoli, the Somme, Passchendaele, and Mesopotamia that resonate in New Zealanders’ memories for the lives they took.

But alongside this legacy of death, stand the stories of Sāmoa and New Zealand in the First World War. This is a living legacy. Is there any legacy quite as strong, today, one hundred years after the war? Imagine a New Zealand without nearly 150,000 Sāmoans. Imagine how different this history would be. Imagine if, in 1939, a German Pacific Fleet was still sailing between China and Apia. Or imagine the Auckland Blues, or Auckland culture or the All Black backline or the Silver Ferns, or New Zealand music, or this museum if it was not enriched by generations of Sāmoa, a shared history that has tied together Sāmoa and New Zealand for a hundred years.

On August 29th 1914 New Zealand forces landed in Sāmoa, and New Zealand would not leave for nearly fifty years. The end of the war brought the horror of mass death to Sāmoa, with the outbreak of the 1918 Influenza epidemic (which killed perhaps more than one in five Sāmoans). New Zealand stayed on through the epidemic, through a massive Sāmoan rebellion, through another World War, through a part of the Cold War. By the time New Zealand left Sāmoa, thousands of Sāmoans had made New Zealand—and especially Auckland—their home. New Zealand may have left Sāmoa; but Sāmoa did not leave New Zealand.

Lest We Forget.

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New book: Island Time

My new book, Island Time (Bridget Williams Books, $14.99NZD, paper) came out on Friday.  It is available at bookstores, as well as electronically.  Check out Bridget Williams’ Books page for more information. I’ve been talking about it in the media. Paperboy ran a long conversation between Finlay MacDonald and I. Wallace Chapman had me on Radio New Zealand’s Sunday Morning to talk about it as well.

That Māori, Pacific and Asian peoples will form an increasing proportion of the population, especially in New Zealand’s largest cities, is obvious; but, having known this for two decades, it is less obvious what we have done to make our future happen. Knowing the future will be profoundly different has not led to our working differently.

In New Zealand, Pacific people and communities are now defining, rather than secondary. In education, for instance, we face the simple truth that if you can’t teach Pacific students, you can no longer effectively teach in half of Auckland, Tokoroa, and large parts of Wellington, Christchurch and Ōamaru.

In health, if you cannot care effectively for Pacific people, you are of limited use in three of New Zealand’s four largest district health boards. This is happening now, and the centrality of Pacific competency will only grow.

If you want to read some of the book, the online Maori/Pacific Sunday magazine e-Tangata is carrying a long excerpt from the conclusion.

Māori Politics meets Pacific Politics

I am fascinated by politics, especially Pacific politics both in the Pacific Islands region and in New Zealand.  One of the most interesting story lines in New Zealand’s riveting 2017 election was the alignment of the Māori Party with a group of aspiring Pacific politicians, called ‘One Pacific’.

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It turned out this was a real bust, as the Māori Party lost its seats in parliament, but the story is well worth thinking about. I wrote a short piece about it for Radio New Zealand, the day after the election.

I’ve written a little more about it in my book Island Time which is out next month.

Teaching Oceania

Last year I was involved in a textbook project out of the Centre for Pacific Island Studies at the University of Hawaii.  Over a couple of days a bunch of Pacific Studies scholars jointly authored three textbooks.  They are available free and in pdf and ibook format from the University of Hawaii site. I am one of the team of authors of volume 3, which is on Health and Environment.

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 8.05.05 pm.pngTeaching Oceania is a new publication series created with the collaboration of scholars from around the Pacific region to address the need for appropriate literature for undergraduate Pacific Islands Studies students throughout Oceania. The series is designed to take advantage of digital technology to enhance texts with embedded multimedia content, thought-provoking images, and interactive graphs. The first volumes (1-4) were drafted in a collective process at the Center for Pacific Islands Studies’ Teaching Oceania workshop, held 16-18 February 2016, and cosponsored by Kapiolani Community College and Brigham Young University Hawai`i.

Each volume is accessible as an interactive iBook (to be opened in iBooks software on Mac computer, iPad, or iPhone) and also in PDF format with free PDF reader software. In the PDF version, links to media are provided and may be accessed where Internet connectivity is available. In sites with limited Internet or computer access for individual students, we strongly recommend the materials be projected, shared, and explored in classroom settings.

For more information about the particular volumes here or future volumes, please contact Julianne Walsh ( or (808) 956-2668.

Volume 1 of Teaching Oceania Series, Militarism and Nuclear Testing in the Pacific

Volume 2 of Teaching Oceania Series, Gender in the Pacific

Volume 3 of Teaching Oceania Series, Health & Environment in the Pacific

Julie Walsh led this project, and it  involved a bunch of great colleagues, including Dr. Lisa Uperesa, who has since joined us at Auckland, and was the last thing I worked on together with my friend and colleague Teresia.


A Taste of Inequality

Screen Shot 2017-09-22 at 6.38.32 amWas reminded yesterday of this great panel, “Smart Talk at the Auckland Museum: The Taste of Inequality”, which I never got around to posting.  It was one of the great ‘Smart Talks’ at the museum, and was built around a panel with my wonderful colleague, Dr. Teuila Percival, as well as Dr Lisa Marriott, Dame Diane Robertson, and Lisa King (founder of Eat My Lunch).  It was my first time as a radio host/live show/moderator but I couldn’t say no to talking with such a great group of do-ers, thinkers and leaders.

You can listen to it here.