Pacific Identities

One of Hau’ofa’s main considerations regarding Pacific identity is the need for a regional identity. Hau’ofa states that previous and current regional identity has often been determined by external influences, resulting in an inability for peoples of the Pacific to define themselves and the world in which they live (Hau’ofa 397). Considering the diversity of peoples within the Pacific region, this is no easy feat. Rather than working towards cultural homogeneity, a process rooted in globalization and colonialism, proposed is the need for a regional identity resolved by those of the Pacific region.

In the search for a regional identity, Hau’ofa states that, though being important elements, historical and cultural traditions are not sufficient in sustaining an identity for people that identify as Pacific but are estranged from such traditional environments.

Wendt, therefore, asserts that our “quest” should be driven by the process of decolonization in creating new cultures, informed by the past, as opposed to simply reviving the old, stating “No culture is ever static and can be preserved” (Wendt 12). Regarding the vast array of cultures within New Zealand, the hybridity and conglomeration of diversity builds a rich regional identity more resilient in the struggle against globalization and the ongoing effects of colonization.

 

Works Cited:

Hauofa, Epeli. “The ocean in us”. The Contemporary Pacific, Volume 10, Number 2, Fall, University of Hawaii Press, 1998, pp. 391-410.

Wendt, Albert. “Towards a new Oceania”. “Readings in Pacific Literature”,  Ed. Paul Sharrad, New Literatures Research Centre University of Wollongong, 1993, pp. 9-19.

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