World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Pacific Islander

The three major sub-regions of Oceania.

Pacific Islander is a term used to refer to the people of the Pacific Islands.


  • Pacific Islander regions 1
    • Polynesia 1.1
    • Melanesia 1.2
    • Micronesia 1.3
  • Ethnolinguistics 2
  • Usage of phrase by country 3
    • Australia 3.1
    • New Zealand 3.2
    • United States 3.3
  • List of Pacific peoples 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Pacific Islander regions

According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, the Pacific Islander three regions, together with their islands, consist of:


The islands scattered across a triangle covering the east-central region of the Pacific Ocean. The triangle is bound by the Hawaiian islands in the north, New Zealand in the west, and Easter Island in the east. The rest of Polynesia comprises Samoan islands (American Samoa and Samoa), the Cook Islands, French Polynesia (Tahiti and The Society Islands, Marquesas Islands, Austral Islands, and the Tuamotu Archipelago), Niue Island, Tokelau and Tuvalu, Tonga, Wallis and Futuna, and Pitcairn Island.


The island of New Guinea, the Bismarck and Louisiade archipelagos, the Admiralty Islands, Bougainville Island, Maluku Islands, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the Santa Cruz Islands (part of the Solomon Islands), New Caledonia and Loyalty Islands, Vanuatu (formerly New Hebrides), Fiji, Norfolk Island, and various smaller islands.


The islands of Kiribati, Nauru, the Marianas (Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands), the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia (Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae, all in the Caroline Islands).

The Pacific Islands may also refer to any of the other islands in the Pacific Ocean.


Ethnolinguistically, those Pacific Islanders who reside in Oceania are divided into two different ethnic classifications.

Austronesian languages peoples
Papuan languages peoples
  • Papuan peoples, those who speak the Papuan languages, who number about 7 million, and reside on the island of New Guinea and a few of the smaller islands of Melanesia located off the northeast coast of New Guinea.[1]

Usage of phrase by country


In Australia the term South Sea Islander was used in the past to describe Australian descendants of people from the more than 80 islands in the Western Pacific.[2] In 1901 legislation was enacted to restrict entry of Pacific Islanders to Australia and to facilitate their deportation: Pacific Island Labourers Act 1901. In the legislation Pacific Islanders were defined as:

"Pacific Island Labourer" includes all natives not of European extraction of any island except the islands of New Zealand situated in the Pacific Ocean beyond the Commonwealth [of Australia] as constituted at the commencement of this Act.[3]

In 2008 a newly announced Pacific Islander guestworker scheme provides visas for workers from Kiribati, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea to work in Australia.[4] The pilot scheme includes one country each from Melanesia (Vanuatu), Polynesia (Tonga) and Micronesia (Kiribati): countries which already send workers to New Zealand under its seasonal labour scheme. Australia's pilot scheme also includes Papua New Guinea.[5][6]

New Zealand

Local usage in New Zealand uses "Pacific Islander" (or "Pasifika") to distinguish those who have emigrated from one of these areas in modern times from the indigenous New Zealand Māori - who are also Polynesian but arrived in New Zealand centuries earlier.

In 2013 7.4% of the New Zealand population identified with one or more Pacific ethnic groups, although 62.3% of these were born in New Zealand. Those with a Samoan background make up up the largest proportion, followed by Cook Islands Maori, Tongan and Niuean.[7]

Some smaller Island populations such as Niue and Tokelau, have the majority of their nationals living in New Zealand (Smelt, and Lin, 1998).

To celebrate the diverse Pacific Island cultures, the Auckland region hosts several Pacific Island festivals. Two of the major ones are Polyfest; which showcases performances of the secondary school cultural groups in the Auckland region, and Pasifika; a festival that celebrates Pacific Island heritage through traditional food, music, dance, and entertainment.

United States

According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, Population Estimates Program (PEP), a "Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander" is "a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands. It includes people who indicate their race as 'Native Hawaiian', 'Guamanian or Chamorro', 'Samoan', and 'Other Pacific Islander' or provide other detailed Pacific Islander responses.".[8]

According to the Office of Management and Budget, "Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander" refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands

The term Pacific Islands American is used for ethnic Pacific Islander residents in U.S. states, and in the territories of the United States in the region.

List of Pacific peoples

See also


  1. ^ "Pacific Islands on Encyclopedia Britannica". 
  2. ^ "South Sea Islander Project". ABC Radio Regional Production Fund. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2004. Retrieved 2008-08-27. Recognition for Australian South Sea Islanders (ASSI) has been a long time coming - it was not until 1994 that the Federal Government recognized them as a distinct ethnic group with their own history and culture and not until September 2000 that the Queensland government made a formal statement of recognition. 
  3. ^ "Pacific Island Labourers Act 1901 (Cth)" (PDF). Documenting a Democracy. National Archives of Australia. 1901. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  4. ^ "Pacific guestworker scheme to start this year". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2008-08-17. 
  5. ^ "Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme is more proof of Australia's new Pacific focus" (Press release). The Hon Duncan Kerr SC MP; Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs. 2008-08-20. 
  6. ^ Note that Australian classification standards code Pacific Islander, Oceanian, South Sea islander and Australasian all with code 1000 - ie identically. This coding can be broken down into the finer classification of 1100 Australian Peoples ; 1200 New Zealand Peoples ; 1300 Melanesian and Papuan ; 1400 Micronesian ; 1500 Polynesian. Note that there is no specific coding therefore for "Pacific islander". See: "Australian Standard Classification of Cultural and Ethnic Groups (ASCCEG) - 2nd edition" (pdf - 136 pages).  
  7. ^ "Pacific peoples ethnic group", 2013 Census, Statistics New Zealand
  8. ^
  • Lal, B., & Fortune, K. (Eds.). (2000). The Pacific Islands: An encyclopedia. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press.
  • Smelt, R., & Lin, Y. (1998). Cultures of the world: New Zealand. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark
  • Statistics New Zealand . Retrieved March 21, 2013.
  • Thomas, Nicholas, Islanders: The Pacific in the Age of Empire, Yale University Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-300-12438-5

External links

  • Asian Pacific Americans in the U.S. Army
  • Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Association
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.