Culture and Sustainable Development in the Pacific

Culture and Sustainable Development in the Pacific

Antony Hooper (editor)
Copyright Date: 2005
Published by: ANU Press
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    Culture and Sustainable Development in the Pacific
    Book Description:

    Throughout the South Pacific, notions of ‘culture’ and ‘development’ are very much alive—in political debate, the media, sermons, and endless discussions amongst villagers and the urban élites, even in policy reports. Often the terms are counterposed, and development along with ‘economic rationality’, ‘good governance’ and ‘progress’ is set against culture or ‘custom’, ‘tradition’ and ‘identity’. The decay of custom and impoverishment of culture are often seen as wrought by development, while failures of development are haunted by the notion that they are due, somehow, to the darker, irrational influences of culture. The problem is to resolve the contradictions between them so as to achieve the greater good—access to material goods, welfare and amenities, ‘modern life’—without the sacrifice of the ‘traditional’ values and institutions that provide material security and sustain diverse social identities. Resolution is sought in this book by a number of leading writers from the South Pacific including Langi Kavaliku, Epeli Hau’ofa, Marshall Sahlins, Malama Meleisea, Joeli Veitayaki, and Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka. The volume is brought together for UNESCO by Antony Hooper, Professor Emeritus at the University of Auckland. UNESCO experts include Richard Engelhardt, Langi Kavaliku, Russell Marshall, Malama Meleisea, Edna Tait and Mali Voi.

    eISBN: 978-1-920942-22-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Tables
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. vii-vii)
  5. Contributors
    (pp. viii-xi)
  6. Preface
    (pp. xii-xvi)
    Antony Hooper
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-21)
    Antony Hooper

    Throughout the South Pacific, as in many other places, notions of ‘culture’ and ‘development’ are very much alive, surfacing again and again in a wide variety of contexts—political debate, the news media, sermons and policy reports, as well as in the endless discourses of ‘ordinary life’, everywhere from outlying villages to gatherings of urban élites. Not infrequently the terms are counterposed, and development, along with ‘economic rationality’, ‘good governance’ and ‘progress’ is set against culture or ‘custom’, ‘tradition’ and ‘identity’. The decay of custom and impoverishment of culture are often seen as wrought by development, while failures of development...

  8. 1 Culture and sustainable development in the Pacific
    (pp. 22-31)
    Langi Kavaliku

    The World Decade for Cultural Development was established by the United Nations in 1988, and UNESCO was given the mandate of being the lead agency for the program. One of the major objectives of the Cultural Decade is that the ‘cultural dimension’ must be taken into account in the consideration of policies, formulation of plans and the implementation of development plans and programs—in our case, in the Pacific island countries.

    Our task is not so much to accept the call of the United Nations or UNESCO blindly, but rather to examine critically the objective to see whether there are...

  9. 2 The Ocean in us
    (pp. 32-43)
    Epeli Hau’ofa

    I have advanced the notion of a much enlarged world of Oceania that has emerged through the astounding mobility of Pacific peoples in the last fifty years (Hau’ofa 1993). Most of us are part of this mobility whether personally or through the movements of our relatives. This expanded Oceania is a world of social networks that criss-cross the ocean, all the way from Australia and New Zealand in the southwest, to the United States and Canada in the northeast. It is a world that we have created largely through our own efforts, and have kept vibrant, and independent of the...

  10. 3 On the anthropology of modernity, or, some triumphs of culture over despondency theory
    (pp. 44-61)
    Marshall Sahlins

    In the late 18th century, at the height of the European Enlightenment, the French philosophers invented the word ‘civilisation’ to refer to their own society—a usage that was quickly adopted in Britain. Among the other not too enlightening ideas that logically followed was the notion of a progressive series of evolutionary stages, beginning in ‘savagery’ and culminating in ‘civilisation,’ into which one could fit—and fix—the various non-Western peoples. The imperialism of the last two centuries has not reduced such enlightened contrasts between the West and the Rest. On the contrary the ideologies of ‘modernisation’ and ‘development’ that...

  11. 4 Gender, culture and sustainable development—the Pacific way
    (pp. 62-75)
    Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop

    Women’s work in developing countries has usually been analysed in terms of economic growth models, each of which conclude that women have been adversely affected in the change from traditional to modern economic systems. Liberal-feminist women and development theorists (Boserup 1970; Rogers 1980) identify the decline of women’s traditional roles in production, and the importation of Western concepts of women’s inferiority as the cause of an erosion of women’s status. Increased workloads in subsistence cash cropping, and informal trading, as well as the diminution of women’s traditional rights in land, education and decision-making in the national institutions and policymaking bodies...

  12. 5 Governance, development and leadership in Polynesia: a microstudy from Samoa
    (pp. 76-87)
    Malama Meleisea

    One of the reasons that governance has become a fashionable topic for research is because it is now held by agencies such as the World Bank that successful ‘development’ is contingent on a certain manner of government. I am using the word development in the sense it is used by international agencies to refer to things like economic growth and rising standards of living which can be measured by statistics for education, health, life expectancy and so on. It is now increasingly argued that the kind of government that is needed to produce such development is one that operates in...

  13. 6 Rumble in the jungle: land, culture and (un)sustainable logging in Solomon Islands
    (pp. 88-97)
    Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka

    As a landowner from Malaita gulped down the Solbrew to quench his thirst, with a sigh of relief he made it clear where the money came from to finance his favourite pastime: Lif blong akwa nomoa tok (it’s the leaf of the akwa tree that talks). In another incident, a Guadalcanal man who went on a drinking spree with his son told him: Inu ko inu dalequ, inau a lani ona (drink, drink my son, I’m a landowner). I recount these incidents not because there is any particular connection between logging in Solomon Islands and the beer company Solbrew. Rather,...

  14. 7 Knowing about culture: the handling of social issues at resource projects in Papua New Guinea
    (pp. 98-110)
    John Burton

    Ethnography is a controversial activity when applied to development issues, notably the ‘mineral policy process’ in Papua New Guinea. This chapter concerns the kind of development where huge investments are involved—the Papua New Guinea minerals sector has been worth K2.2–2.4 billion in the last few years. The minimal view presented is that investors with hundreds of millions of kina to risk should adopt the precautionary principle of doing the best social impact appraisals they can, and continue to evaluate their own performance in relation to social issues and impact for the length of the mining projects. This is...

  15. 8 Culture and sustainable marine resource development in the Pacific
    (pp. 111-115)
    Philipp Muller

    This chapter focuses on resource utilisation in the marine environment. I will draw largely from my own experiences, and my approach will be mainly anecdotal. It will also become obvious that I am not proposing any solutions. This is not because I think that there are no solutions. They are in fact fairly widely known, but if there is anything I have learned, it is that the solutions require action—and that is a different question.

    The importance of the cultural aspects of development was brought home to me quite early in my career when it appeared that national developmental...

  16. 9 Fisheries resource-use culture in Fiji and its implications
    (pp. 116-130)
    Joeli Veitayaki

    Like other Pacific Islanders, most Fijians are maritime people, with ongoing fishing traditions that are continually retold to the younger generations. Skilled fishers and seafarers are highly regarded. In coastal areas, fish provide an important component of the people’s diet, and are of considerable cultural significance. The way in which people use their fishery resources is still influenced to some degree by these cultural factors. Although they may no longer believe literally in all the supernatural aspects involved, or, indeed, slavishly observe all the traditional prohibitions, they are generally aware of them and make reference to their usefulness.

    The current...

  17. 10 Local hierarchies of authority and development
    (pp. 131-141)
    Kerry James

    This chapter focuses attention on an aspect of culture that is frequently overlooked in development plans. Among the most enduring of a people’s cultural traits are the customary patterns of authority that are upheld within families, households, and communities. The relations of authority in these basic social units are still adhered to by most village people and entail mutual responsibilities and obligations of respect, gifts and service.

    The patterns of authority at the local level may be subtle and not easily discernible to an outsider. They may alter rapidly according to material circumstances and social contexts, but this does not...

  18. 11 A paradox of tradition in a modernising society: chiefs and political development in Fiji
    (pp. 142-158)
    Robert Norton

    This chapter went to press after the most remarkable parliamentary elections in Fiji’s history gave victory to the People’s Coalition, a loose alliance between the predominantly Indian Fiji Labour Party and two Fijian parties, the Fijian Association Party and the Party of National Unity, which massively defeated a coalition of the Fijian SVT and the Indian NFP, led by Rabuka and Reddy. For the first time Fiji has an Indian prime minister, Labour’s leader Mahendra Chaudhry, who heads a cabinet with a majority of Fijian ministers. Rabuka was returned to parliament, but resigned to accept the chairmanship of the Council...

  19. 12 Development and Maori society: building from the centre or the edge?
    (pp. 159-173)
    Shane Jones

    The basic question in this chapter on Maori development is whether the rebuilding of Maori society should proceed from the rejuvenation of tribal membership rolls, or from other forms of organisation. The debate is a complex mixture of cultural nationalism, separating commerce from community, battling mainstream antagonism and discovering whether the trickle-down theory can overcome growing political dissatisfaction.

    New Zealand has a population of approximately 3.5 million people. They are predominantly pakeha, of European extraction. The next largest group are the Maori, descendants of the original Polynesian settlers, who comprise almost 12 per cent of the total population. Their ancestors...

  20. 13 Culturally and ecologically sustainable tourism development through local community management
    (pp. 174-186)
    Richard A. Engelhardt

    The question of how traditional cultures, in whole or in part, may be mobilised for economic and social development, without culture itself being destroyed in the process continues to be a major concern. After ten years of grappling with this issue during the World Decade for Culture and Development, and four successful years implementing projects to this end within the framework of the Vaka Moana program, our specific task now is to recommend to UNESCO not only how to continue the Vaka Moana program, but how to use experiences here in the Pacific to move the debate on culture and...

  21. 14 Tourism and culture: a sustainable partnership
    (pp. 187-189)
    Levani V. Tuinabua

    In the Pacific, and certainly in Fiji, tourism has been stigmatised as the industry that trivialises sacred traditions, brings us drugs and immodesty and destroys culture. In instances where these have occurred tourism cannot, and should not, be held totally responsible for these changes as it is only one of numerous influences and forces that brought them about. It was not the sole factor. Indeed, when one takes a closer look at tourism, it is actually contributing to the preservation of culture.

    Increasingly, tourists of today are shunning enclave holidays. These are holidays where they are whisked from the airport...

  22. 15 Vaka Moana—a road map for the South Pacific economy
    (pp. 190-206)
    Hana Ayala

    The long-term impact of UNESCO’s World Decade for Cultural Development 1988–97 is shaped by the timeliness of this endeavour. As an antidote to the globalisation megatrend, which is often marked by cultural homogenisation, the World Decade has encouraged interdisciplinary and inter-agency approaches that emphasise the rich contributions of cultural diversity to resource conservation and the sustainable growth of a progressively globalising economy. I believe that there exists, in the target regions of Mundo Maya, Silk Road, and Vaka Moana, an outstanding opportunity to align the Decade’s spirit and achievements with the economic aspirations that the regions’ governments increasingly entrust...

  23. 16 Vaka Moana—the ocean roads
    (pp. 207-220)
    Mali Voi

    The debates and discussions which laid the foundations for the UN’s World Decade for Cultural Development had their origins in Resolution 27 of the 1982 World Conference on Cultural Policies, Mexico City, which declared that ‘…culture constitutes a fundamental part of the life of each individual and of each community, and that, consequently, development—whose ultimate aim should be focused on man—must have a cultural dimension.’

    In 1987 the General Assembly of the United Nations resolved that the period 1988 to 1997 would be the World Decade for Cultural Development and that the responsibility for implementing the Decade would...

  24. 17 Afterword: after the World Decade
    (pp. 221-227)
    Russell Marshall

    I want to begin with a few general remarks about Aotearoa and its place in the Pacific. In many respects the New Zealand pakeha response to Maori and Pacific Islanders has come a long way in the last 20 years. There is, consciously and subconsciously, a sense that we are enriched by the relationships which have built up in that time. An ever-growing proportion of pakeha New Zealanders are now relatively closely connected with Maori or, increasingly, with Samoan and other Pacific island communities. I do not have the most recent census figures, but my educated guess is that close...