The Pacific Islands in the 21st Century

A DigitalNZ Story by National Library of New Zealand Topics

Climate change and global warming are two of the biggest issues facing Pacific nations. Other issues and initiatives these resources cover include aid, sustainability, cultural and economic progress, self-sufficiency, education, health, security and the retention of culture. SCIS no: 1935814

social_sciences, arts, history, health

Maintaining culture

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Pacific Islands and New Zealand: Colonisation and trade in the Pacific

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Battering Pam in Vanuatu

In this cartoon, the word Vanuatu is spelt out in black, red and green (the colours of Vanuatu’s flag) and has been battered by Cyclone Pam to indicate storm damage. Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu on 13 March 2015 with hurricane-force winds of up to 350 kilometres an hour. The wind knocked down trees and damaged 90 percent of buildings. Huge ocean swells and flash flooding added to the damage and misery on the island. President Baldwin Lonsdale believed the island nation would have to be rebuilt from scratch. Storms of this velocity and size are growing evidence of increased global warming.

Winter, Mark, 1958- :Battering Pam. 16 March 2015

Alexander Turnbull Library

"As far as climate change goes, we've discovered it's warmer..."

In 2009 New Zealand Prime Minister John Key toured Tonga, Samoa, Niue and the Cook Islands. The aim was to discuss aid, recession, climate change and to reinforce the already close links New Zealand has with its Pacific neighbours. Part of the 74 delegates who accompanied the PM included a hip-hop dance troupe, the former All Blacks Michael Jones and Va’aiga Tuigamala. The trip was heavily criticised for the size of the delegation - it was funded at the taxpayer’s expense.

"As far as climate change goes, we've discovered it's warmer..." 7 July 2009

Alexander Turnbull Library

The 'occasionally' Pacific Islands

The pun on the word ‘Pacific’ draws attention to the island nations and their peace-loving citizens, except in 2006 when Fiji and Tonga experienced civil unrest. Tension had been brewing between the Fijian government and the military over government policies when Commodore Frank Bainimarama ousted the Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase in a military coup. In the same year, riots erupted in Nuku'alofa, the capital of Tonga. Pro-democratic demonstrators wanted more powers for the democratically elected politicians as opposed to royal appointees. Eight people died and the capital was almost destroyed. Troops from Australia and New Zealand were flown in to aid the peace process.

The 'occasionally' Pacific Islands. 20 November, 2006.

Alexander Turnbull Library

The pro-whaling vote

Japan has been in the news for years in relation to accusations of bribing Pacific island nations with aid in exchange for pro-whaling votes at the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The IWC was created on 2 December 1946 to conserve whale stocks and ensure the orderly development of the whaling industry. Commercial whaling was banned under a 1986 IWC moratorium. However, Japan continued to hunt whales illegally in the Southern Ocean for ‘scientific research.’

"Keep your 'Thank you' speech as brief as possible." "Here is your pro-whaling vote." 21 June, 2006.

Alexander Turnbull Library

A floating island

Kiribati is a country made up of 33 islands or atolls in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It is a country most affected by climate change. Already it is being impacted by rising sea levels, increased soil salinity and a depleting freshwater supply. Even the seawalls being built cannot withstand storms or cyclones or ocean surges. Land is already in short supply for the 100,000 plus population living on 800 square kilometres of land. It is reported that the island will be uninhabitable by 2030. Kiribati President Anote Tong has begun exploring options, one of them being the construction of a floating island which he placed before the Pacific Island Forum in 2011.

Hawkey, Allan Charles, 1941- :Kiribati. 9 September 2013

Alexander Turnbull Library

World Tuna Day

Services to Schools

UNICEF

Services to Schools

SPREP

Services to Schools

Pacific challenges

Services to Schools

Pacific Islands Forum

Services to Schools

Desert island dump

Services to Schools

Samoa

DigitalNZ

Cook Islands

DigitalNZ

Tuvalu

DigitalNZ

Fiji

National Library of New Zealand

Fiji

DigitalNZ

Kiribati

DigitalNZ

Tokelau

DigitalNZ