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Pacific Islands portraits

CollectionsANU Press (1965- Present)
Title: Pacific Islands portraits
Author(s): Davidson, J. W.
Date published: 1973
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Australian National University Press
Till the beginning of the nineteenth century the Pacific Islands had known Europeans mainly as transient visitors. Before it ended they had been drawn within the frontiers of the Western world. The changing way of life of the Pacific is shown through this series of portraits of men and women who lived in the islands between the early years of the nineteenth century and the outbreak of the First World War. Five of the portraits are studies of islanders: King George Tupou I, of Tonga; Cakobau and Ma{u2019}afu, of Fiji, Baiteke and Binoka, of Abemama, in the Gilbert Islands; Kwaisulia, of the Solomon Islands; and Lauaki of Samoa. Two are of missionaries - Bishop Patteson and Father Montrouzier - and one of a missionary family, the Henrys of Tahiti. One is of a trader and adventurer, Peter Dillon. And three are portraits of groups of people: settlers in the {u2018}beach communities{u2019}; planters in Fiji; and labour recruiters and the islanders they recruited. Together they constitute a gallery of great interest, revealing the colour and texture of life in the Pacific. Only one of the writers is himself a Pacific islander; but all have lived in the islands and responded to their spell. They have thus been able to present their subjects with sensitivity, against an intimate knowledge of the local background, as well as with scholarly accuracy, derived from thorough study of the documentary sources.


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