Stephen Levine (ed)

Pacific Ways

ISBN: 9780864736178

Paperback, 146 x 210mm
284 pages

Published 2009

Click here for the 2016 second edition.

When the South Pacific Forum held its first meeting in 1971 only seven member states participated – New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Nauru and the Cook Islands. Today this organisation, now known as the Pacific Islands Forum and no longer confined to the ‘South Pacific’, includes 16 member states as well as a handful of associate member and observer member countries and organisations. At the same time, the literature on the politics of the Pacific Islands remains much slimmer than for other regions.

This book redresses the balance by providing the kind of information for the Pacific that is readily available for nations in other parts of the globe. It provides expert chapters examining the politics of each Pacific Island state and territory, discussing its historical background and colonial experience, its constitutional framework, political institutions, political parties, elections and electoral systems, and problems and prospects. The book is comprehensive, covering all regions – Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia – and all countries, irrespective of their size or political status. The states and territories covered range in size from Australia and Papua New Guinea to the tiny islands of Tokelau, Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and Pitcairn. 

The independent countries discussed include Australia and New Zealand; Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji; Tonga, Samoa and Tuvalu; Niue and the Cook Islands, self-governing ‘in free association’ with New Zealand; Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau (Belau), independent ‘in free association’ with the United States; Kiribati and Nauru.

The book also includes chapters about three island groups associated with France – French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Wallis and Futuna – as well as territories affiliated to the United States – Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. 

Scholars teaching about the Pacific and its politics have not had the benefit of a comprehensive work encompassing all of the political entities in this diverse region, until now. This work closes the gap, providing a backdrop against which future developments in the Pacific can be understood.

There may once have been a singular ‘Pacific way’ – or at least the ideal of one. As the chapters in this book demonstrate, there are now, instead, a variety of ‘Pacific ways’, diverse approaches to the fundamental problems of power and political choice common to all societies.

Contributors: Tony Angelo, Frédéric Angleviel, Jennifer Corrin, Eni F. H. Faleomavaega, Jon Fraenkel, Alphonse Gelu, Lorenz Gonschor, Graham Hassall, Jon Tikivanotau M. Jonassen, Malakai Koloamatangi, Stephen Levine, Nic Maclellan, Samuel F. McPhetres, Robert Norton, Manahi Pakarati-Novoa, Don Paterson, Glenn Petersen, Max Quanchi, Nigel S. Roberts, Donald R. Shuster, Asofou So’o, Kristina Stege, Tauaasa Taafaki, Hima Takelesi, Howard Van Trease.

Stephen Levine is a professor of political science at Victoria University of Wellington. He is founder of VUW’s parliamentary internship programme and has written extensively about New Zealand’s politics, elections and international relations. He has co-edited (and contributed to) books about each of New Zealand’s elections under MMP – Moments of Truth is the seventh – and was director of the New Zealand Political Change Project (1995-2003), examining the impact of MMP on New Zealand’s government and politics. In 2009 he was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for ‘services to education and the Jewish community’ and appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. He served as co-editor of the New Zealand Ministry of Culture and Heritage’s theme issue, ‘Government and Nation’, launched by the Governor-General in June 2012 as part of New Zealand’s national online encyclopedia, Te Ara.


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