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Culture of Other Islands

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Culture of other Islands

  1. Overview

    There are approximately three dozen distinct groups of Polynesian people. The Polynesian
    Cultural Center showcases the people and island nations of Hawai’i, Samoa, Aotearoa (New
    Zealand), Fiji, Tahiti and Tonga. In addition, we have a Marquesas tohua (ceremonial
    structure) currently closed to visitors, and the Rapa Nui (Easter Island) exhibit featuring
    seven hand-carved moai or stone statues.

  2. Cook Islands

    The Cook Islands, is the largest group of Polynesian people who have yet to be represented
    at the Polynesian Cultural Center, although a number of Cook Islanders attend Brigham
    Young University Hawai’i and work at the Center. Population 17,379 in 2018. History &
    Discovery The traditions of the Cook Island Maori, as they call themselves, trace their
    ancestry on the southern islands back to Tahiti and the Marquesas over 1,000 years ago,
    with Samoan and Tongan migrations settling in the northern islands. Cook Island tradition
    also says some of the New Zealand Maori migrations originated in their islands. The
    Spaniard Mendaña spotted the northern Cook Island of Pukapuka in 1595, during his same
    journey from South America to the Philippines that he also discovered the Marquesas and
    Tuvalu. The Cook Islands are obviously named after British explorer Capt. James Cook, who
    sighted them in 1770, although the islands didn’t become a British protectorate until 1888.
    Government By 1900, Great Britain transferred administrative control over the islands to
    New Zealand. In 1965 the people chose a self-government status in free association with
    New Zealand. Consequently, a relatively large number of Rarotongans or Cook Islanders live
    in New Zealand. The majority of the population lives among the eight elevated southern
    islands, with its capital on Rarotonga. Geography There are also seven low-lying, sparsely
    populated northern islands.

  3. Niue

    Niue is the largest coral island in the world.

    Location

    It is situated in the South Pacific Ocean along the westernmost edge of the Cook Islands and is 240 miles east of Tonga. Are this island measures approximately 100 square miles, or about 1.5 times larger than Washington
    D.C.

    Population

    In 2020, Niue recorded a population of 1,626 (2020 Worldmeter) History & Discovery Research shows that Samoans settled the island around AD900. According to tradition, a war party from Tonga arrived in the 16th century. In 1774 Captain James Cook sighted Niue, but was prevented from landing three times by Niuean warriors. Cook made the effort to chart the island, naming it Savage Island in his documentation.

    Government

    Although geographically part of the Cook Islands, Niue is an admistratively separate, selfgoverning territory in free association with New Zealand.

    Languages

    Niuean and English.

  4. Tuvalu

    Location
    Tuvalu is situated in the South Pacific Ocean, about half-way between Hawai’i and Australia. Area Tuvalu consists of nine coral atolls totaling less than approximately 10 square miles (26 sq km) or about 1/10th the size of Washington, D.C.

    Population

    As of 2020, Worldmeter shows the current population of Tuvalu as 11,759. History & Discovery It has been determined that Samoans arrived sometime during the 14th century. Immigrants from Tonga, the northern Cook Islands, Rotuma, and the Gilbert Islands soon followed. The smallest and southernmost island remained uninhabited until European contact. The other eight islands were settled by the 18th century. Is was from this discovery that the name “Tuvalu” or “Cluster of Eight” was established. The Spanish explorer Alvaro de Mendana de
    Neira was the first European to discover the islands in the late 16th century.

    Government

    Under ethnic strain, the Polynesians of Ellice Islands voted for separation for from the Micronesians of the Gilbert Islands in 1974. One year later, the Ellice Islands became Tuvalu, a separate British Colony. Tuvalu declared democracy.

    Language

    Tuvaluan and English.

  5. Wallis & Futuna
    History & DiscoveryScientific evidence indicates Wallis, traditionally called Uvea, and Futuna —located between Samoa and Fiji — were historically settled over 2,000 years ago. About 500 years ago marauding Tongans captured the islands and intermarried with the Polynesian people there. British navigator Samuel Wallis discovered Uvea in 1767, but the
    islands have been under French administration since 1842.

    Population

    Today about 9,500 Polynesians live on Wallis and about 5,000 on Futuna. A relatively large number of
    Wallisians also live in New Caledonia and Vanuatu, which was previously a French territory.

    Language

    French, Wallisian (‘Uvean) and Futunian.

  6. Truant Archipelago

    Location
    The Truant Archipelago is located in French Polynesia.

    Population
    The population is approximately 15,000.

    History & Discovery

    Ferdinand Magellan sighted Pukapuka atoll as he crossed the Pacific in 1521. Iron cannons recovered on Amanu suggest that the Spanish caravel, San Lesmes, shipwrecked there in 1526. The Tuamotus were also visited by
    Portuguese explorer Pegro Fernandez de Quiros in 1606. In 1844, the islands came under French protection and were annexed in 1880 as a Tahitian dependency.

    Government

    The island is now part of the iles du Vent circonscription (“circumscription”) within the self-governing overseas territory of French Polynesia. It has been under French rule since 1842.

    Languages

    French (official), Tahitian (official) and Tuamotu

  7. Tokelau

    Location

    Half way between Hawai’i and New Zealand in the South Pacific Ocean

    Area

    Three islands totaling 3.9 square miles (10.1 kilometers).

    Population

    1,458 (July 2000 est.)

    Discovered

    Linguistic analysis indicates that Tokelau was settled from
    Samoa. British commodore John Byron was the first European visitor, and gave the smallest
    island, Atafu, the name Duke of York Island. Captain Edwards of HMS Pandora sighted the
    largest island, Nukunono, while searching for HMS Bounty mutineers in 1791. He
    subsequently named it Duke of Clarence Island.

    Government

    The Tokelau Islands became a
    British protectorate in 1889 and were transferred to New Zealand administration in
    1925.

    Languages

    Tokelauan, English and Samoan.

  8. Pitcairn

    Location

    About halfway between Peru and New Zealand in the South Pacific
    Ocean

    Area

    47 square kilometers, or about 1/3 the size of Washington, D.C. The main
    island, Pitcairn, is a rugged half crater of about 2 square miles girded by precipitous coastal
    cliffs rising 1,100 feet from the ocean.

    Population

    Less than 50. Of four relatively close
    islands — Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno Island — only Pitcairn is inhabited.
    Emigration to New Zealand has reduced the population from its peak of 233 in 1937. In
    1831 the islanders were briefly sent to Tahiti, but soon returned. A number of them were
    also sent to Norfolk Island, where some remain. Others have migrated to New
    Zealand.

    Discovered

    British naval officer Philip Carteret discovered Pitcairn Island in 1767,
    naming it after the sailor who first sighted the island. In 1790, Fletcher Christian led the
    mutineers of the British ship HMS Bounty to the island. They and their Tahitian companions
    settled there. Their descendants now populate the island. Fletcher Christian and eight other
    HMS Bounty mutineers — along with six Polynesian men, 12 women and a baby from Tahiti
    — made Pitcairn island famous in 1789 as their final home. In 1793 five of the mutineers,
    including Christian, and all the Polynesian men were killed in a revolt. Only John Adams
    survived past 1800. Outside contact was re-established with the arrival of an American ship
    in 1808. A small number of descendants remain on the island today.

    Government

    Overseas
    territory of the United Kingdom. Pitcairn was the first South Pacific island to come under
    British colonial power, and the last to remain so.

    Languages

    English (official) and Pitcairnese (a mixture of 18th century English and Tahitian)

Islands of Polynesia - Polynesian culture | Polynesian Cultural Center