ANTHY202-19A (HAM)

The Polynesians: Tangata o Te Moana

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences


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Paper Description

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This course is concerned with the indigenous cultures and societies of the vast ‘Polynesian Triangle’, from their ancient explorations and settlements, through their engagements with Western colonialism, christianity and capitalism, to their contemporary nations and diasporas. The course aims to provide students with an up-to-date overview of scholarly knowledge on Polynesia and its peoples, mainly from the perspective of the discipline of anthropology.
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Paper Structure

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This course is organised as a pair of two-hour blocks each week. The first hour in a block will be comprised of a lecture; students are expected to attend both of the lectures every week. The second hours are set aside for tutorials, with each student being required to attend one tutorial per week.
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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of and appreciation for the diverse cultures, societies, histories, and ecologies of Polynesia, both ancient and modern;
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • demonstrate a familiarity with contemporary anthropological knowledge, especially ethnological and ethnographic discussions of Polynesia as a distinctive culture-area;
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  • demonstrate a capacity to pursue original research on a Polynesia-related topic which may be relevant to them on a personal level, and to present it in a critical academic format;
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  • demonstrate confidence in interacting with Polynesian people and contexts, and with the issues they confront either in their home communities or as migrants to Aotearoa.
    Linked to the following assessments:
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Student performance in this course is assessed through a mix of methods, notably tutorial attendance and participation, two in-class tests, and one essay.
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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Tutorials
2. Test One
4 Apr 2019
1:00 PM
3. Test Two
30 May 2019
1:00 PM
4. Essay
12 Jun 2019
4:30 PM
  • Email: Convenor
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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As a general background for the course, a useful resource is the Te Ara-Encyclopedia of New Zealand website. The following is a list of reading for ANTH202-19A The Polynesians: Tangata o Te Moana. The readings are located under the designated week, and are downloadable from Moodle. Students are encouraged to read the reading prior to the commencement of the lecture.

Week 1

Polynesian Triangle maps

Howe, K. R. (2006). Ideas of Maori Origins in. In Te Ara & J. Phillips (Eds.), Maori Peoples of New Zealand: Nga Iwi o Aotearoa, Te Ara-The Encyclopedia of New Zealand (pp. 25-31). Auckland: David Bateman/Ministry of Culture & Heritage.

Week 2

Irwin, G. (2006). Voyaging and settlement. In K. R. Howe (Ed.), Vaka moana: Voyagers of the ancestors (pp. 55-91). Auckland: David Bateman/Auckland Museum

Kun, H. C. (2006). On the origins of the Taiwan Austronesians. In K. R. Howe (Ed.),Vaka moana: Voyagers of the ancestors (pp. 92-93). Auckland: David Bateman/Auckland Museum.

Matthews, P. J. (2008). Plant trials in Oceania. In K. R. Howe (Ed.), Vaka Moana: Voyages of the ancestors (pp. 94-97). Auckland: David Bateman.

Week 3

Polynesian languages reading: To be posted.

Buck, P. (1938) Vikings of the Sunrise: Chapters to be posted

Week 4

Diamond, J. (1995). Easter Island’s end. Discover Magazine, August, 1-7. Retrieved from

Salesa, D. (2012). Epilogue: Tangata, moana, whenua. In S. Mellon, K. Mahina-Tuai, & D. Salesa (Eds.), Tangata o le moana: New Zealand and the people of the Pacific (pp. 334-338). Wellington: Te Papa Press. Setting the margins reading: To be posted.

Week 5

Penny, D., & Meyer, V. (2006). DNA & the settlement of Polynesia. In K. R. Howe (Ed.), Vaka moana: Voyagers of the ancestors (pp. 98-99). Auckland: David Bateman/Auckland Museum

Adds, P. (2012). E kore au e Ngaro: Ancestral connections to the Pacific. In S. Mellon, K. Mahina-Tuai, & D. Salesa (Eds.), Tangata o le moana: New Zealand and the people of the Pacific (pp. 17-35). Wellington: Te Papa Press..

Week 6

Climate change: Reading to be posted

Week 7

Kane, H. K. (1991). ‘Moment of contact’ in Voyagers: Words and images. Washington: WhaleSong.

Howe, K. R. (1984). Taufa’ahau of Tonga. In K. R. Howe (Ed.), Where the waves fall: A new South Sea Islands history from first settlement to colonial rule (pp. 177-197). Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

Week 10

Ryan, T. (2016) Hiapo, A Genealogy of Barkcloth on Niue. To be posted.

Horan, J. (2017). Cook Islands tivaivai and the haircutting ceremony in Auckland: Ritual action, money and the parameters of value. In A.-K. Hermkens & K. Lepani (Eds.), Sinuous objects: Revaluing women’s wealth in the contemporary Pacific (pp. 235-255). Canberra: ANU E-Press.

Kuchler, S., & Eimke, A. (2010). 'A short history of patchwork in the South Pacific' in Tivaivai: The social fabric of the Cook Islands

Week 11

Margaret Mead in Samoa. To be posted.

Macdonald, J. (1997). The body of the land - The bodies of the people: Gender in Tikopia. In M. de Ras & V. Grace (Eds.), Bodily boundaries, sexualised genders and medical discourses (pp. 39-51). Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.

Week 12

Ryan, T, Maori Anthropologists. To be posted.

George, L. Anthro in Aotearoa. To be posted

Week 13

Chambers, A. & K. (1990) Community of the Heart. Chapters to be posted

Aporosa, S. (2015). Yaqona (kava) as a symbol of cultural identity.Locale: The Australasian-Pacific Journal of Regional Food Studies, 4, 79-101.

Week 14

Anae, Polynesian Panthers: Chapter to be posted.

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Online Support

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You should plan on three hours per week - two hours for lectures and one hour for a tutorial - plus at least four hours per week for the prescribed course readings, as well as time for test preparation and researching and writing the essay. This averages out to around ten hours per week, or 150 hours in total for the course, over the semester.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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Other papers in the Anthropology Programme that are particularly related to this course are:
ANTH102 New Zealand & the Pacific
ANTH300 Culture & Power in the Pacific.
It also is cross-listed in several other academic programmes at this University, notably: Pacific Studies, Maori & Indigenous Studies, and Pacific and Indigenous Studies.
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