Why study Pacific Islands Studies?
Pacific Islands Studies is a unique, multidisciplinary programme that examines contemporary issues of importance to Pacific peoples, including New Zealanders, within their broad cultural context.
The course covers the geographical area contained within the Polynesian Triangle defined by Hawai'i, Rapa Nui, and Aotearoa as well as the islands of Melanesia and Micronesia. The focus of the programme affirms New Zealand's location within the Pacific and its acknowledged political, intellectual and diplomatic links in the area.
“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)
Whether you want to promote the interests of Pacific Island peoples locally or around the world, a major in Pacific Islands Studies will help you achieve this.
In this programme of study you will learn the value of indigenous knowledge, and how it can be preserved, transferred and adapted to suit the needs of modern indigenous communities.
These communities exist in a constantly changing environment. Being able to track the effect of these changes provides insights into how to formulate better, relevant and more inclusive policies and plans for future development.
Knowledge of Pacific Island cultures has its place in every aspect of society. No matter your interest, Pacific Islands Studies complements many courses of study:
- climate change
- environmental sustainability
- resource management
- policy development
- language revitalisation
- primary health care and preventative medicine
- economic wellbeing and independence
- community development
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.
Graduates with a background of study in Pacific Islands Studies bring to employers a wide range of skills. The multidisciplinary focus of the course provides a wide perspective giving graduates:
- An understanding of contemporary Pacific people's issues combined with an understanding of, for example, history, archaeology, cultural expression and environmental concerns.
- An awareness of ethical issues in relation to Pacific Islanders in the context of past and present colonial practices, gender relations and society and culture.
- Skills in intercultural communication in the Pacific context.