Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Pacific Islands Studies

infosheetpacificisland-226pxRediscover the Pacific - Take the Journey

Visit the Department website

Contact us

Why study Pacific Islands Studies?

New Zealand is the world’s largest Polynesian country, and the number of institutions and businesses needing employees with knowledge of Pacific cultures and societies is growing rapidly.
Excellent employment prospects await graduates who have knowledge of issues affecting Pacific peoples and skills in intercultural communication in the Pacific context.


"Growing up in Samoa I took my culture for granted, but my studies made me realize how much I still had to learn about Pacific people and their past. Culture is not a static entity, and our future depends on understanding those around us." (Malia Lameta, MA graduate, Pacific Islands Studies)

Pacific Islands Studies at Otago

Pacific Islands Studies can be studied as a major or a minor subject within the 3-year Bachelor of Arts degree. Further study in this area is available at a postgraduate level (Masters, PhD). There is also an option to undertake a jointly supervised postgraduate degree with other departments in the University.

Pacific Islands Studies combines well with other papers from a wide range of subjects, including Anthropology, Sociology, Politics, Indigenous Development, Geography, Planning, Management and History. We help you to interpret these different disciplines from a Pacific Islands point of view.

A particular strength of this subject area is its cross-disciplinary nature, readily combining indigenous knowledge with a range of other disciplines. Papers in the programme cover topics such as Pacific people’s issues, Pacific prehistory, Pacific history, Pacific religion and church history, Pacific art history, intercultural film and media studies as well as Māori culture and history.

Detailed information about Pacific Islands Studies papers.

^ Top of Page

Career opportunities

Our students are equipped with an understanding of Pacific Islands and indigenous cultural philosophies that are relevant in a myriad of employment situations.


A background in Pacific Islands Studies creates opportunities for international careers, not only in the Pacific, but also with Pacific peoples in the Americas, Asia and Australia. Knowledge gained in the course is applicable to issues affecting indigenous peoples anywhere in the world.