Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Oceania and the South Pacific

John Marine | 9/28/2010 04:57:00 PM | | |
Last Edit: April 4, 2011 - included sections Palau and Kiribati.

The South Pacific and its people have spurred my recent geographical interest. I sometimes hear so much of the South Pacific that I wish I knew more about it. I've been watching YouTube videos and looking up Wikipedia to learn more about various nations and islands in the South Pacific. This blog entry is more like an "educate me" kind of blog entry. I know I mentioned Oceania (which also includes Australia and New Zealand- two of my most popular countries that visit my blog), but I will mostly make notion to the various South Pacific islands.

Allow me to begin with a picture and a quote.

Pacific Islands
^ from: greenrightnow.com - "The vast Pacific... each island like a distant star, each archipelago like a galaxy." -Paul Theroux

I don't know my expressions, but to all of my South Pacific folk, I say "talofa!" for Samoan folk, "hafa adai!" for Chamorro folk, ,"kia orana!" to my Cook Islands folk, or whatever "hello!" in your native speak is.





--- South Pacific: Generating Interest ---
I guess here is where I share WHY and HOW I've gotten interested into the South Pacific lately. I will set up the scene and then get to the main point.

Setting up the Main Story.

As a person who considers Geography as his strongest Social Science, I've always had an abounding interest to learn more about the world we live in. My intrigue to learn more about various other nations began when I started to meet more people from around the world. I always want to meet more people. Part of meeting new people, however, involves learning more about the places people come from and any cultures expressed. I can say that I've been blessed to meet many people from many parts of the world.

When I started making YouTube videos and going into blogging, that's when I had a vision to try to get international appeal. You see, I find greater satisfaction knowing that someone from one side of the world can appreciate my work as much as anyone here in the United States. That's why I try to make my work appeal to multiple audiences the world over. I want the world to appreciate and share my work. And unlike most American peoples' perception of "the world" as the United States, Canada, Mexico, and a few European (mostly western European) nations, I strive to be successful and gain attention from various international audiences.

I entered blogging and wanted to track the traffic I get from around the world. To help me in this (even before Blogger/Blogspot had its own stat tracker), I had installed FEEDJIT (hover over the FEEDJIT link for more information about FEEDJIT). Once I learn that I get traffic from certain nations that visit, I become happy and share it with my Facebook friends and fans. That especially holds true for nations that I get traffic from for the first time. As of this blog post, the most recent nation to visit my blog for the first time is the African nation of Malawi. Sometimes in FEEDJIT reports, I see places that don't have flags featured (locations are usually noted by flags of the nations represented. Some places don't get listed at all. These are places like Guadeloupe, the Northern Mariana Islands, and New Caledonia among others. Still, it means that my blog is getting international traffic.

Getting international traffic has actually fueled my interest to learn more about places that I've never heard of or seen before. Because of this, I started learning more about places. The most common things I do are look up pictures of certain locations and listen to national anthems of countries. When I started thinking about getting more international traffic, I began to wonder who all visits my material and from where. One time on YouTube, one of my most-viewed locations for one of my videos was Reunion Island out in the western Indian Ocean not far from Mauritius. It made me wonder just how big of a world we live in- especially considering there are some countries most people can't even find on a map. There are even countries you hear of, but can't find on a map if asked to do so. FEEDJIT has helped me to understand where certain places are in the world so I can learn more about them. I wonder if there are more places I can perhaps draw some traffic to. This led me to wonder if I could get a little more support from other nations, namely in a seldom-visited part of the world- the South Pacific.

This, then, sets up the main point of this section...


Discovering the South Pacific.

One part of the world I haven't been fortunate enough to introduce myself to or meet people from is the South Pacific. And here, I mean people in person. I once did a video expressing my thoughts and prayers to people affected from a 7.9 earthquake last year that impacted Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga among other nations. Some people who saw my video on YouTube were Samoan. I was able to learn a little Samoan from some of the YouTube commenter. I learned "talofa" from some people. I'm not sure what it meant when I first read it, but I thought it meant "thank you." But as I learned on Wikipedia, it's a salute or greeting to you.

Of the many kinds of people I've gotten to know people from, South Pacific folk have been people I've been unable to come across with or communicate with. To educate myself somewhat on the South Pacific and its people, I've started watching YouTube videos. I got to learn about many places and many Pacific Islander people. I learned about Samoan, Marshallese, Polynesian, Micronesian, Fijian, and various other peoples. I have just been educating myself on these lands and these people just to learn more about them. I once wanted to learn more about Nauru because I just simply don't know about Nauru. I then learned in YouTube videos about how much phosphate mining goes on in Nauru. Then, my education continued with various other South Pacific locales.

I became interested then in the Marshall Islands. I even got to be introduced to Marshallese people through YouTube videos. I may have even heard a song sung beautifully in Marshallese. The education continued by learning a little more about places like Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, New Caledonia, Niue, Norfolk Island, and the Pitcairn Islands among others.

As a sports fan, I even tried to find some sporting videos featuring these locales. The only Pacific Island folk I hear of are mostly either wrestlers or gridiron football players. Wrestlers Umaga, Rikishi, and Samoa Joe come to mind for me quickly. Then too, don't forget The Wild Samoans of the WWE as well as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. The only other South Pacific athlete I know of best is the outstanding Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Then too, a lot of American colleges and universities that have gridiron football programs have some Pacific Islander folk, mostly from Samoa, American Samoa, or Polynesia. Maybe the only Pacific Islander quarterback I've heard of is (and I had to search his name to spell it correctly) is a quarterback for the United States Naval Academy named Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada from Hawaii. The University of Hawaii-Manoa usually has a lot of Pacific Island folk playing football for the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors The only other sport I know best in the South Pacific is rugby, especially the Fijian rugby team. It's been so long since I've seen rugby on TV, but Fiji is quite talented in rugby football.

If Geography teaches you anything, there are lots of places people don't know about. That includes islands inhabited by humans and those not inhabited by humans.


South Pacific Nations That Visited My Blogs.

I don't usually get South Pacific or Oceania blog hits, unless they are from Australia and New Zealand (which are two of my most-visited nations). Maybe the most frequent blog hits from a South Pacific island nation come from Fiji. I even learned I got a blog hit from Vanuatu as I mentioned in my "Issues Regarding 'My Super Sweet 16,'" whereas a girl named Sierra from the popular MTV reality TV series was "exiled" to Vanuatu to learn the merits of hard work. While I don't watch "Survivor," Survivor did have a season in Vanuatu.

These are the only nations I've noted that visited either or both of my blogs (as of the date of this blog's posting):
* Fiji
* Vanuatu
* Guam
* Northern Mariana Islands
* New Caledonia
* Samoa

I do value all of my blog visitors from all over the world. Many South Pacific locales, however, are places I'd like to know more about and meet more people from. All I know about most of these places is that they are very popular tourist destinations.



--- South Pacific: Fascinations ---
It would be pointless to mention these places and not mention what has fascinated me about each locale. So this is my chance to share what places I've been fascinated with and why. Please help educate me on places I may not know about by posting comments to this blog entry. I won't mention all locations, but I'll highlight on a number of South Pacific nations. You may see "I've learned" a lot in these sections because I'm trying to educate myself on this part of the world. Maybe you can help if you enjoy this blog entry.

NOTE: Before you attack me, please understand that I am not as educated as much as I would like to in regards to the part of the world I'm mentioning. So refrain from attacking me if I mention something that's inaccurate or wrong. Part of my intrigue to make this blog entry is to learn more about this part of the world. Be considerate of this if you plan on getting angry with me by posting hateful comments. I apologize if anything is inaccurate or wrong.

If you see a heading with a hyperlink, you can click on it to visit a website (usually a tourism site) to learn [much] more on each location.


Polynesia.

I wish I knew a lot more about Polynesia (besides the beautiful ladies of Polynesia :D). I learned from Wikipedia that Polynesia includes Hawaii and New Zealand. It even includes Chile's Easter Island. So it's very safe to say that a vast majority of the locations I've mentioned are part of Polynesia. Again, I don't know all there is about Polynesia, but at least I'm trying.


Hawaii (or Hawai'i).

Honolulu Hawaii
^ from: photobucket.com - downtown Honolulu.

I am very much captivated with the beauty of Hawaii. I do wish I know more about Hawaii than "aloha" and the beautiful city of Honolulu. Maybe what got me the most exposure to Hawaii was "Test Drive Unlimited." That game took you all around the Hawaiian island of Oahu while racing some sweet machines. If I really wanted to study Hawaii, I'd want to know more about some of the history of Hawaii as well as maybe a few more Hawaiian terms and expressions. Apart from that, I mostly know of the University of Hawaii-Manoa, home of the Rainbow Warriors (or just the Warriors in football). Most of the other colleges are non-football schools and mostly NCAA Division 2 schools. The most famous of them is Chaminade University, a religious school that scored one of the most improbable upsets in college basketball history, defeating (then) #1 Virginia 77-72 in 1982. Other schools I know of are the Seasiders of BYU-Hawaii, the Sea Warriors of Hawaii Pacific University, and the Hawaii-Hilo Vulcans. I wish I knew more about the other islands, including the Big Island of Hawaii/Hawai'i.

If you're a fan of the Dragon Ball series, you know of the Kamehameha energy attack. Well... the name Kamehameha originates from the Kamehameha royal family that has ruled Hawaii in its history. The first, Kamehameha I (or Kamehameha the Great) ruled between circa 1782 up to May 8, 1819. Four more Kamehameha kings would rule Hawaii with the last one being Kamehameha V (ruled between Nov. 30, 1863 to Dec. 11, 1872).

One thing I didn't know about Hawaii is that even though it's one of the 50 United States (not to mention the youngest state), Hawaii has its own anthem called Hawai'i Pono'i (Hawaii's/Hawai'i's Own). It was the national anthem of Hawaii back when it was known as the Territory of Hawaii and is still the state song of Hawai'i today.

I prepared a blog entry regarding a side of Hawaii most people don't know about- one apart from the tropical paradise most know Hawaii as. To read my blog post from a provocative set of videos, please read "The Other Hawaii" here on John's Blog Space.


French Polynesia.

Papeete Tahiti French Polynesia
^ from: janeresture.com - Papeete, Tahiti. It is the largest island of French Polynesia.

The only nation within French Polynesia I know most of is Tahiti. The only city I know of best here is Papeete. That's really all I know about French Polynesia, though I know there is much more than just Tahiti. As a Gran Turismo gamer, it was smart that while French locales weren't included in GT2, it was smart (and also unusual) that Tahiti was included for Gran Turismo games since GT2. Papeete is a lovely city from what I've seen in pictures. And really, all I know of French Polynesia is Tahiti, and I don't know a whole lot about Tahiti to say I'm any pro on it.


Fiji.

Fiji
^ from: nomad4ever.com - Suva, Fiji- the capital of Fiji.
I've only heard of Suva (the capital) and Nadi. Nadi was one of a few cities you could access in Oceania from the game "Aerobiz Supersonic," though Nadi is spelled as "Nandi," and I think it's supposed to be "Nadi." I later learned that Nadi is where Fiji's international airport is located. I know little about Suva except that it's where the Fiji national rugby team plays their rugby football.


Palau.

Palau
^ from: cieer.org - Palau from above.

In the western South Pacific to the east of the southeastern Philippines lies the Republic of Palau. Its flag is similar to the flag of Bangladesh, only that the outside is sky blue with a yellow disc (as opposed to the dark green flag with a red disc of Bangladesh's flag). I wish I knew a lot more about Palau and its people to professionally make mention of Palau in this blog post. Supposedly, there are over 250 individual islands that make up Palau.

There is a Blogger/Blogspot blog you can visit for more insight on Palau. Check out visit-palau.blogspot.com today!


Guam.

Guam
^ from: happytellus.com - a beach view of Guam.

I've gotten blog hits from Guam before, but I know little else about Guam as far as people and as far as the landscape. I certainly know it as a territory of the United States. It is a very beautiful place.


Northern Mariana Islands.

I only know of Saipan with the Northern Mariana Islands for this United States territory. The Northern Mariana Islands are located hundreds of miles east northeast of the Philippines.


New Caledonia (or Nouvelle Calédonie).

(French-only link)
Brooding Hen New Caledonia
^ from: smh.com.au - Brooding Hen rock at Baie de Hienghene in New Caledonia.

Except for hearing of Nouméa, I know very little else about New Caledonia. In "Aerobiz Supersonic," Nouméa is one of the different cities you can link to in the Oceania region. Its emblem is a Nautilus, a living-fossil species of marine animals.


Nauru.

Nauru from the air
^ from: holidayforeveryday.com - Nauru from above.

Nauru is a very interesting island. I don't know much about it except for Nauru being huge in phosphate mining. I even heard of how Nauru once had a true Australian Rules Football team... until some of the players became too violent. It still remains the island's most popular sport, but I learned that only players with clean records could play. And I'm like... wow.


Marshall Islands.

Marshall Islands
^ from: davidavery.wordpress.com - Despite the beauty of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, many (sadly) know these islands as a site for nuclear weapon testing decades ago after World War II.

Sadly, I hate how we most remember certain places for disastrous incidents. Unfortunately, that's how most people know of the Marshall Islands and the nuclear weapon testing back in the 1940s and 1950s. Perhaps the most popular portion of the Marshall Islands is the Bikini Atoll. Of course, where do you think the name "bikini" came from? The island became popular with the atomic bomb tests there along with the swimsuit that would eventually be called the bikini back in 1946. The Bikini Atoll can be found on the northeasternmost portion of the Marshall Islands. Because of the nuclear radiation, Marshallese people have been linked to having various birth defects as well as having varying forms of cancer.

To learn more about the devastation that impacted these islands from the nuclear weapon testing, have a look at "Remembering the Marshall Islands," by Jane Goodall.


Kiribati.

Kiribati
^ from: topnews.in - Kiribati from the air.

Far to the west side of the International Date Line and along the Equator, Kiribati is a South Pacific island nation. Its flag is mostly red with a big golden sun, a golden seagull (or eagle?), and with blue with white waves. The only thing I know about Kiribati is that Tarawa is its capital. Kiribati was formerly known as the Gilbert Islands, and you hear of Gilbertese people here. Gilbertese is spoken by a vast majority of people in Kiribati.


Samoa and American Samoa.

Samoa
^ from: ilkerugur.wordpress.com - Samoa- beautiful waters, sandy beaches, and deep blue skies.

American Samoa
^ from: newspapers24.com - Ofu Island in American Samoa.

I have combined both locations for this section. I hear so much about Samoa and American Samoa, mostly in sports. But like most other locales mentioned in this blog entry, I wish I knew much more about these locations and the people. My only link to these two places is usually in American sports. I usually hear of gridiron football players from Samoa or American Samoa. It's the only other place I know of gridiron football players besides Polynesia. American Samoa is the southernmost territory of the United States in the world. Its capital is Pago Pago.

One thing I have learned is that both Samoa and American Samoa are just east of the International Date Line.


Tuvalu.

Tuvalu
^ from: solarpowerninja.com - Tuvalu is mostly atolls and reef islands.

The name I can remember. Finding it on a map, however, is challenging for me, though I know it is a South Pacific nation. I mostly know Tuvalu as a series of atolls and reef islands in the South Pacific. This island nation is very suspect to flooding as the highest point of Tuvalu is 4.5 meters above sea level. Climate change could further impact this island nation with rises in saltwater during high tide, affecting crops. Interestingly enough, Tuvalu is working with NGO e8 and the Japanese government to make Tuvalu the world's only solar-powered nation by 2020.


Cook Islands.

Cook Islands (alternate travel site)

Cook Islands
^ from: theage.com.au - The Rarotongan Beach Resort in the Rarotonga. Rarotonga can be found in the southern chain of the Cook Islands.

The Cook Islands are (as I learned in a YouTube video) a chain of 15 individual islands. This island chain is a free association with New Zealand. The pictures I've seen of the Cook Islands are nothing short of spectacular. Totally breathtaking stuff. If you think the Cook Islands are beautiful, you should see the beautiful women of the Cook Islands. Before coming up with this blog entry, I've learned of one young lady who is as beautiful as her native Cook Islands. A lovely singer named Engara Gosselin is the winner of the 2009 Miss Cook Islands competition. Here is some beautiful music from this beautiful young lady. This is "My Rarotonga" by the winner of Miss Cook Islands 2009, Engara Gosselin:



Here is another song of hers, called "Ararau Enua":


Engara Gosselin won the 2009 Miss Cook Islands Pageant. She won the 2009 competition beating out the likes of Joyana Meyer, Poutau Anthony, Uirangi Bishop, Belinda Nganu, Titifa Kae, and Josephine Turepu. Engara Gosselin is beautiful, but so are Joyana Meyer, Poutau Anthony, and Belinda Apakuranganu.


Tonga.

There used to be a student in one of my elementary school classes named Tonga. I doubt she was from the Kingdom of Tonga, however. I REALLY don't know anything about Tonga. What I've seen in pictures, however, is nothing short of incredible. The Kingdom of Tonga consists of over 176 islands. Its capital is Nuku?alofa.


Norfolk Island.

Norfolk Island
^ from: tripadvisor.com - Norfolk Island is a blend of Polynesia and Europe. Despite its beauty, it has a surreal and violent past, especially stemming from the middle and late 18th Century.

The Australian external territory of Norfolk Island is a beautiful tropical island, but is historically known as a place for being a place where convicts were locked up. Indigenous to Norfolk Island are its pine trees. A pine tree is even part of the island's flag. The island is very lovely with lovely green grass and some lovely-looking buildings. The capital city of Norfolk Island is Kingston. People speak English and Norfuk, but from what I saw in a YouTube video, English is only spoken to visitors. I even heard swearing is done in English as there are no Norfuk swearing words. I've learned that the history of Norfolk Island is usually entwined with it being a place to lock up convicts starting from in the 1770s. It is a very unique place that is a lovely blend of a tropical paradise as well as a South Pacific taste of Europe. If I wanted to study more about Norfolk island, I'd want to know more about its history as being a place for locking up convicts centuries ago as well as British involvement. The biggest holiday is Bounty Day, celebrated annually on June 8th to mark the Pitcairn Islanders' arrival to Norfolk Island in 1856. It is pretty surreal how a lovely location like Norfolk Island once served as a place for jailing vicious convicts centuries ago.


Pitcairn Islands.

Pitcairn Island
^ from: geekwithlaptop.com - Pitcairn Island, one of four different islands that comprise the Pitcairn Islands.

The British overseas territory known as the Pitcairn Islands has a very small population. I think I learned that the islands have a population of 50 people. It is VERY far away from most of the other islands and nations mentioned. The Pitcairn Islands are even more remote than most other Polynesian nations! WAY deep in the South Pacific. I read the Pitcairn Islands consist of four islands, and it used to be a port for bounty mutineers. It is one of the most remote British territories in the world other than Tristan da Cunha in the southern Atlantic.


Easter Island (or Rapa Nui).

Moai Rapa Nui Easter Island
^ from: greencraft.co.uk - Easter Island and its world-famous Moai (or mo'ai).

Finally, I will feature Easter Island. The only thing I know about the Polynesian island politically governed by Chile is that the island is home to Rapa Nui National Park, vastly known for for those massive statues called Moai (or mo'ai). I learned through Wikipedia that the flag of Easter Island features a red reimiro, (taken from Wikipedia) a decorative crescent-shaped pectoral ornament shaped like a Polynesian canoe.


Needless to say, many of these locations are quite interesting in the South Pacific. There are many more places I haven't mentioned, but those are some of the notable ones for me. I would like to learn more about places like Palau, Kiribati, Wake Island, Tokelau, Tonga, and places like that.



--- South Pacific: Paradise for Visitors, Home for Natives? ---
While it is perfectly fine to become awed and intrigued by these nations as being tourist attractions, this is home for many natives of these nations. Most of us don't really understand what living on these islands is like. Not many of us are aware of the history of these places. I guess one reason why I enjoy geography is because it makes you appreciate the finer aspects for many places we grow to accept as tourist hot spots. Part of understanding our world is in learning about what makes every country and culture unique and different. That's why we have certain cultural events (at least here in the United States) where we have natives of other nations educate us on their culture.

I've seen videos of certain Polynesian nations dancing. Some people on YouTube see it as sensual or sexy, but these are native and tribal dances of these native lands.



--- Environmental Concerns of the South Pacific ---
(ADDED: Oct. 4, 2010) While these islands mentioned are beautiful places, climate change and global warming are issues that seriously impact various island nations the world over. Some of these islands are somewhat above sea level. So in the case that very high tides or severe floods impact these locations, these locations may absolutely struggle to get everything back under control. Part of the reason why these islands are so loved is because many of these locations haven't been soiled by industrialization or Westernization. These are serene tropical paradises, and in so, I've read so much on increasing concern for these island nations to remain for some time even with a changing climate and with global warming.

More commentary on this topic can be found in my blog post called "Climate Change and the South Pacific."



--- South Pacific: Fashion ---
For those of you who have visited my blog entry called "Males Wearing Feminine Fashions," you may have read that sarongs/pareos are very acceptable for males to wear. Sarongs/Pareos are very acceptable garments for both males and females to wear. Longer sarongs make for nice dresses and even blouses. I don't know much about traditional fashions for most South Pacific men. Maybe what I love most about South Pacific fashions for women are seeing flowers in women's hair. Read more about flowers in hair by going to my blog entry called "Flowers in Hair." I don't know my flowers to judge what flowers look best in the hair of I've seen some beautiful dresses that these ladies wear. These are either sleeveless dresses or off-shoulder dresses I've seen.



--- If Any Pacific Islanders Are Reading This... ---
What would I tell my Pacific Island readers? I'd like to welcome all of you to my blog. I wish I can learn more about your native lands (if from any of the various Pacific Island nations mentioned in this blog entry). Thanks so much for reading. I hope you've enjoyed my content here. If you can, I wouldn't mind being better educated on the aforementioned places in this blog entry.

I am working in either making a blog post or adding more material to highlight more on this section. You can read more of my blog posts of and related to Pacific Islanders and of Pacific Islands by searching for .





Thanks for reading! Here are more resources for you all:

*
South Pacific Travel (mouse over for more info)
* South Pacific Tourism Organization
* Pacific Worlds
* South Pacific Paradise (FB Fan Page)
* South Pacific Experiences (FB Fan Page)
* Mariana Music Videos on YouTube
* Maps of the South Pacific Islands


Facebook Fan Pages.

Here are Facebook Fan Pages of some of the many locations featured in this blog entry. If you have Facebook, make sure to Become a Fan (or "Like") these fan pages for more...

* Hawaii FB Fan Page
* Guam FB Fan Page
* Northern Mariana Islands FB Fan Page
* Samoa FB Fan Page
* American Samoa FB Fan Page
* New Caledonia
* Cook Islands' FB Fan Page
* Are you a Cook Islands native and proud of it? If you have Facebook, Become a Fan of I'm Proud to be a Cook Islander!
* Republic of the Marshall Islands FB Fan Page
* Tonga FB Fan Page
* Norfolk Island FB Fan Page
* Pitcairn Islands FB Fan Page

(more resources could be added in future edits)

Sometimes, blog entries lead to more blog entries. I may concentrate a few more blog entries on the South Pacific or any other related topics. I may edit contents of this blog entry to allow for more content in the future (or even to change pictures in case there's a picture I'll be disallowed to use). Meanwhile... thank you for reading!

Become a Fan (or Like) my Facebook Fan Page and subscribe this blog (and my others) via FeedBurner (or any other aggregator in the sidebar)! Visit (or subscribe):
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