DOMAINS

www.janeresture.com
 
www.janesoceania.com
 
www.ourpacificocean.com
 
www.pacificislandsradio.com
 

         

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Thank you so much for visiting the above four Domains. I am very pleased to be able to share with you that further limited advertising on these Domains is available. Potential advertisers are cordially invited to choose from several thousand Web sites available for placement of your important advertisements. It is very pleasing to also share that so many of our visitors are accessing  our Web sites utilizing their iPhones and hence giving us a much greater visitation and more effective advertising.  Many thanks with best wishes to all. For further information, please contact me at:

jane@janeresture.com and/or jane@pacificislandsradio.com

 

The Pacific Islands

The islands of the Pacific, with their beauty and romance, have always gripped man's imagination. Raised above the sea, in wondrous and spectacular splendour, they shimmer like an oasis. For those of us in need of solitude and adventure, these idyllic, exotic and beautiful tropical islands also offer a dream escape - a place of refuge, serenity and excitement. In their greenness and freshness, the islands conjure up visions of unending youth and a heavenly paradise - crystal clear waters, sparkling white sand and surf, golden yellow rays of sunshine with a dawn to night sky of a kaleidoscope of dazzling and impressive array of superb colours - from sapphire blue to topaz and turquoise, garnet and ruby to amethyst, citrine, peridot and emerald to the unique mystique of a theatrical curtain of exquisite Tahitian black pearls and onyx, gloriously adorned by a galaxy and constellations of brilliant starlight diamonds, illuminated and moonlit by a silvery majestic mother-of-pearl - encapsulated by the jubilant embrace of delightfully cool prevailing trade winds. Of these wonderful dream-worlds, it is Oceania that offers the most beautiful, enchanting and magnificent chains of pure and natural multicoloured gem-clustered islands.

  

Pacific Islands Report
Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center For Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawaii

  Tuvalu (Nukufetau) Dancers
Picture above, courtesy Hermina Hotesi (and Aunty)

Welcome everybody to Our Pacific Ocean Home Page! This Page exists to make available and to share all things Pacific, in particular, the prehistoric origins and contemporary history of our Pacific Island people, along with their complex and beautiful culture including, among other things, their distinctive tribal art, historic architecture, history, customs and lifestyle. The realm of the Pacific encapsulates a people who are at one with the sea and have practised a lifestyle that is ancient and beautiful. This is depicted in the rare, historical, vintage and contemporary postcards including vivid images associated with Web sites within this Domain. Our Pacific Ocean Home Page is also dedicated to the many friends of the Pacific/Oceania region who are always most welcome to visit and to find out more about our unique, exotic and enchanting Pacific Ocean.

 
 
Tuvalu, Nukulaelae Dancers
Picture above, courtesy Louisa Butcher
For further information about Oceania/Pacific Islands,
you are all invited to pay a visit to the following:
 
Jane's Oceania Home Page Newsletters
Jane's Pacific Islands Radio Newsletters
 
Tropical Sounds: Pacific Islands Radio
Soak in the enchanting sounds of the sun-drenched Pacific Islands 24/7 in 64kbps FM Stereo!

It is certainly my great pleasure to be able to introduce to everybody our fourth Domain: www.ourpacificocean.com 

The name of our fourth Domain - Our Pacific Ocean - has been selected to reflect our close affinity with, and our love of, our vast and most beautiful Ocean. This Domain effectively sits across our other three Domains:

www.janeresture.com , www.janesoceania.com and www.pacificislandsradio.com  and, in doing so, provides updated information as well as ease of navigation via the alphabetical index provided for you, our very important and most welcome visitors - on the Menu to the left.

In conjunction with this Domain, I have also taken the liberty of establishing and making available our Blog to which you are all invited to visit and comment on a number of issues relevant to Our Pacific Ocean.

The URL for the Blog is: http://janeresturesblog.blogspot.com/

Following are two Blog items -
the first of which discusses the problems of too much rubbish in our Pacific Ocean. This Blog item is followed by one of the concerned comments received from one of our readers. I was very taken by his comments as he truly encapsulated the very core and soul of my concerns and, no doubt, the concerns of so many of us.

Monday, November 24, 2008
Our Pacific Ocean - About Rubbish

"Welcome everybody to Jane's Blog where you are invited to share your thoughts and experiences about our beautiful Pacific Ocean. I do not want to start out on a negative note, however, I would like to thank those people who have written in expressing concern about the amount of litter that they have encountered in various parts of the Pacific. These comments are of particular concern in the light of recent reports describing the Pacific Ocean as the world's largest rubbish dump - a vast area of floating plastic debris and other flotsam drifting in the northern Pacific Ocean, held there by swirling ocean currents.

Often referred to as the great Pacific garbage patch, it is now alarming some with its ever-growing size and possible impact on human health. The "patch" is, in fact, two huge linked areas of circulating rubbish, stretching from about 500 nautical miles off the coast of California, across the northern Pacific to near the coast of Japan. Almost twice the size as continental United States, the islands of Hawaii are placed almost in the middle, so piles of plastic are regularly washed up on some beaches there.

The concentration of floating plastic debris just beneath the Pacific Ocean's surface is the product of underwater currents which conspire to bring together all the junk - an estimated 100 million tonnes of plastic - that accumulates in the Pacific Ocean.

Studies have indicated that about 20 per cent of the junk is thought to come from marine craft, while the rest originates from countries around the Pacific like Mexico, Australia and China. The waste forms in what are called tropical gyres - areas where the oceans slowly circulate due to extreme high pressure systems and where there is little wind. Historically, flotsam in the gyres has biodegraded. But modern plastics do not break down like other oceanic debris, meaning objects half a century old have been found in the North Pacific Gyre. Rather the plastic slowly photodegrades, becoming brittle and disintegrating into smaller and smaller pieces which enter the food chain and end up in the stomachs of birds and other animals.

This is certainly a very sorry state of affairs as the small plastic particles acted like a sponge to trap many dangerous man-made chemicals that found their way into the ocean, like hydrocarbons and DDT. Eventually, what goes into the ocean goes into the animals and eventually enters the human food chain exposing people worldwide to possible serious longer term health problems. Indeed, syringes, cigarette lighters and tooth brushes from the "patch" have been found inside the carcases of sea birds.

The health of our planet depends upon many factors including the health of our vast Pacific Ocean. Certainly, the health of this beautiful Ocean cannot be improved if it continues to be used as a nothing more than a convenient garbage dump."

Below is one of the relevant and most important comments:

"I have always regarded the sea (Pacific Ocean) as my refrigerator and playground where I can get fresh food for my family and friends and enjoy its fresh pristine clear waters. I feel disgusted with these people that treat our Pacific Ocean as their dumping ground. I wonder how these people would feel if I start dumping my rubbish in their refrigerator. You're dead right Jane, our Pacific Ocean needs protection now. I'm with you on this one. Good on you."

My second Blog item - February 2009 - discusses the following:

Overfishing of our Oceans

"It is rather disturbing to read that thirteen years after the world rallied to curb overfishing, most nations are failing to abide by the United Nations "code of conduct" for managing fisheries. Australia, Norway, the United States, Canada, Iceland and Namibia were the only nations that scored above a 60 per cent compliance rate, the equivalent of a barely passing "D" grade, according to a marine scientist's research.

The global fisheries standards were developed in 1995 by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome. Though voluntary, the 12-part code is based on rules of international law and some of it has been made into legally binding agreements. It was crafted to include all aspects of the fishing business, including processing and trade in fish products, aquaculture, marine research and coastal management, reducing pollution and harmful fishing practices. The code also has been translated into 100 languages to try to encourage people to follow it.

Sadly, a survey published in the Journal 'Nature' raises troubling questions about how the world's marine fisheries can continue to supply the main source of protein for many on the Planet with the oceans being severely overfished.

A spokesman for the United Nations Environment Program said that overfishing shows nations' failure to address "fundamental links" between ecology and the daily needs of tens of millions of people. The spokesman went on to say that "It's absolutely clear that one of the great market failures of modern times is the management of the world's fisheries, and there are examples from almost every fishery across the globe where the fishing effort exceeds the available catch".

Indeed, it was two years ago, that a team of ecologists and economists warned in the Journal 'Science' that just about all seafood sources face collapse by 2048 if current trends of overfishing and pollution continue.

There is no doubt that these findings present a serious problem for people worldwide and, in particular, for our Pacific Island people for whom fish stocks are an essential and only source of protein. Certainly, declining fish stocks may well make it impossible for our traditional island way of life to survive for much longer."

Oceania - Amelia Earhart And Her Last Flight

 
MELANESIA
 
Present research indicates that human occupation of our Pacific Ocean - encompassing Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia - began on New Guinea (Papua and Papua New Guinea). The first settlers brought with them a language that was fundamentally African. They then moved along the Melanesian Archipelago from Papua and Papua New Guinea, Bougainville, to the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, and eventually to Fiji. During this time, the language evolved and became fragmented until it developed into the present day languages of Melanesia.
 

Fiji traditional kava ceremony

Completed in May 1998, the Tjibaou Cultural Centre is a
spectacular edifice rising on the Tina peninsula in Noumea.
It is named in recognition of the Kanak leader, Jean-Marie Tjibaou
and his contribution to the nation's cultural developments.
 
Papua New Guinea chief in traditional costume
Click here for more Papua New Guinea images

Other recent studies, which included DNA analysis of almost 700 samples from Australia Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islanders and Melanesians, has confirmed the view that they all are descended from the same small group of people who left Africa about 70,000 years ago. After arriving in Australia and New Guinea about 50,000 years ago, the settlers evolved in relative isolation, developing unique genetic characteristics and technology.

 
Traditional Aboriginal ceremonial tribal art
 
 
Waterfall on Matanikau River, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
 
 
Soak in the enchanting sounds of the sun-drenched Oceania/Pacific Islands
coming to you 24/7 in 64kbps FM Stereo!
 
The Map (below) provides an indication of most of the countries/islands of Oceania.
Details of these countries/islands can be obtained using the alphabetical list on the Menu to the left.
POLYNESIA
 
The migration, thousands of years later, of the ancestors of the present day Polynesian out of Asia, brought with it languages and dialects that were essentially Asian in origin and which developed into the present day languages of Polynesia. Until recently, archaeologists had believed that Polynesian people came from Taiwan.  Interestingly, recent studies of DNA in Taiwan has provided some interesting conclusions about the origins of the Polynesian and Melanesian people.  
 
 
 
Tahitian dancers
Click here for more Tahiti images

Certainly, linguistic studies have pointed to the fact that the Polynesians, undoubtedly the greatest seafarers in history, have their origins in Taiwan. Of the 23 million people in Taiwan, only 400,000 are descendants from the original inhabitants. These people originally spoke a language belonging to the Austronesian group which is unrelated to Chinese but includes the Polynesian tongues.

Funafuti lagoon, Tuvalu

DNA studies of the original group found three mutations shared by Taiwanese, Polynesians and Melanesians, who also speak Austronesian. These mutations are not found in other Asians and hence suggest that the Polynesians and Melanesians have their origins in the original inhabitants of Taiwan. Indeed, genetic studies have now suggested that the ancestors of the sailors of the great canoes started out further along the trail in eastern Indonesia.

 
A Samoan rugby player wearing traditional tattoos
Click here for more Samoan images

These seafarers moved eastward in small groups around the top of the Melanesian archipelago until they reached Fiji. Using Fiji as a staging area, some eventually sailed on to uninhabited Tonga and Samoa. To have developed the physical types, language and culture that the Polynesians share in common, these Polynesian forebears must have been isolated for a time in a home group of islands. A chain of archaeological discoveries leads us to believe that this isolation started in the islands of Tonga and Samoa roughly 3,000 years ago. Stay at a Fiji resort and experience the culture yourself.
 

Cook Islands dancers
Click here for more images from the Cook Islands
Beginning in 1909 in New Britain, archaeologists have found a type of pre-historic decorated pottery at various Melanesian sites. In 1947, samples were also excavated in Fiji, Melanesia's easternmost extension. Five years later the same pottery was uncovered at Lapita in New Caledonia. Now called Lapita-style pottery, these artifacts clearly trace the visits and attempted settlements of a maritime people moving along a Melanesian route towards Polynesia.

Lapita pottery was excavated in Tonga in 1963, and has recently been found in Samoa as well - both in western Polynesia. Tonga is the longest inhabited island group in Polynesia, with radiocarbon dates as early as 1140 B.C. Thus we conclude that Tonga's first settlers, the people who made Lapita ware, were the first true Polynesians. Language ties indicate that this migration continued via Samoa eastward to the Marquesas where the oldest sites in Eastern Polynesia have been found.

 
Hawaiian hula dancers
Click here for more Hawaii images and hula dancers

Far to the southeast of the Marquesas lies evidence of a truly remarkable feat - a voyage to Easter Island (Rapa Nui), some 2,400 miles away, in the face of prevailing winds and currents. Polynesia's easternmost outpost, Easter Island is not only the most isolated inhabited island in the Pacific, but it is also only 15 miles long. Assessing its chances of being discovered by early Polynesians, we can conclude only that their sailing canoes were already capable of traversing the breadth of the Pacific, and that on one such voyage, Easter Island was fortuitously sighted.  Radiocarbon dating in 1955-56 indicates its discovery and settlement as early as A.D. 400.

Samoan fire dancer. Click here for more Samoan images.

The sites on Easter Island show clear evidence, when considered in conjunction with the archaeology and languages of the Society and Marquesas Islands, indicate strongly that the pre-historic culture of Easter Island could have evolved from a single landing of Polynesians from a Marquesan Island. These Polynesians would have been fully equipped to colonize an uninhabited volcanic island. Their success in making this windswept sixty-four square miles, without an edible native plant, not only habitable but also the seat of remarkable cultural achievements, is testimony to the genius of these Polynesian settlers.

A study of excavated adzes, fishhooks, ornaments and other artifacts indicates that Tahiti and the other Society Islands must have been settled soon after the Marquesas. Present information indicates that Hawaii and New Zealand were settled after A.D. 500. Radiocarbon techniques permit us to assign tentative dates to this entire Pacific migration: entry into West Polynesia about 1000 B.C., reaching East Polynesia about the time of Christ, completing the occupation by A.D. 1000.

Samoan Queen in traditional costume, 1920

Having reached the Pacific's farthest outpost, the early Polynesians possessed the skills to return. It is doubtful that one-way voyages could account for the early presence in the Hawaiian Islands, for example, of twenty odd cultivated plants of Tahiti and the Marquesas. Thus we conclude that the early Hawaiians repeatedly negotiated the longest sea route in Polynesia returning to Tahiti and then again to Hawaii, known as "Child of Tahiti".

Maori salutation, 1905. Click here for more Maori images.

The Polynesians in the Pacific generally occupy an area referred to as the Polynesian Triangle. The Polynesian Triangle has Hawaii in the north, New Zealand in the south, and Easter Island in the east. The lines drawn from Hawaii to New Zealand bends westward to include the Ellice Islands (Tuvalu) and passing between Fiji and Tonga.

Maori Haka. Click here for more images from New Zealand.

The north to south line forms the base with its apex on the path of the rising sun, located 4000 miles to the east. The Marquesas lie almost to the center of the eastern line, from Easter in the south to Hawaii in the north, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti and Cook Islands are surrounded by the triangle. New Zealand, the farthest south group of Polynesian islands is home to the Maori people.

 
Almost lost in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean are the tiny islands, the remarkable people and the ancient architecture of Micronesia. Across a distance of nearly 2000 miles, the archipelago of Micronesia encompasses a land area of only 271 square miles. It is believed that the original inhabitants of Micronesia came from the Philippines and Indonesia about 1500 years before Christ. The islands of Micronesia (and Polynesia) collectively comprise the last major region of the globe to be settled by humans. Both of these groups of islands were colonized within the last 5,000 years by Austronesian-speaking agriculturists. In the past, linguistic studies have been a major factor in suggesting the origins of both the Micronesian and Polynesian people who, in the main, are of medium stature with straight hair and brown skin.

A young Palau dancer. Click here for more Palau images.

Micronesia means 'small islands' and is derived from the Greek words mikros which means small and nesos which means island. This is a perfect way to describe these over two thousand tropical islands scattered across the heart of the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the Philippines. They are spread over a great distance, yet each has its own culture, history, customs, rituals, myths and legends, lifestyle and topographical personality. The islands of Micronesia include the Federated States of Micronesia (Pohnpei, Kosrae, Chuuk and Yap), Guam, Palau, Saipan, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Kiribati.

Click here for more images from the Republic of Kiribati.

In a DNA study undertaken in 1994, head hair in Micronesia was used to obtain DNA samples. The study was undertaken in order to compare the genetic relationships of various Micronesian groups to other Pacific Islanders and Asians and their languages. The study examined DNA that is found within mitochondria (mtDNA), small cellular bodies that function as the energy factories and storehouses of our cells. Mitochondria are inherited from the body of the mother's fertilized egg, and are transmitted maternally to the next generation. Consequently, this analysis ignores inheritance from a father.

Marshallese singers on the cover of their CD - 'Jino'

In general, this study found that the majority of mtDNA sequences from Micronesian and Polynesian populations are derived from Asia, whereas others are inferred to have originated in New Guinea. The data supported the concept of an Island Southeast Asian origin and a colonization route along the north coast of New Guinea.

The Marianas and the main island of Yap appear to have been independently settled directly from Island Southeast Asia, and both have received migrants from Central-Eastern Micronesia since then. Palau clearly demonstrates a complex prehistory including a significant influx of lineages from New Guinea. In addition, Chamorro mtDNA is very distinctive when compared to other Micronesians and Polynesians.

Fort Soledad vista point overlooks the village of Umatac
and a panoramic Guam coastline. This guard house is a part
of an early Spanish fort overlooking the bay where Magellan first
made contact with the Chamorros. Spanish galleons trading between
 Mexico and the Philippines would wait out the typhoon season here.
Click here for more modern and historical images from Guam.

This suggests that the Marianas have a different settlement history than the rest of Micronesia. Thus genetic similarities among Micronesian and Polynesian populations result, in some cases, from a common origin and, in others, from extensive gene flow. As well as showing that Micronesians and Polynesians have a southeast Asian homeland, studies based on DNA contributed by both females and males to their offspring generally indicate a greater degree of Melanesian heritage for Polynesians and Micronesians. 

 
Haus Tambaran, Sepik, Papua New Guinea (Melanesia)

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Papua New Guinea dancer in colourful costume

Our Pacific Ocean

The Pacific Ocean is huge. From the west coast of North America, one can travel outward for 9,000 miles across the water without seeing land until one reaches Asia. Alternatively, one can sail from the North Pole to the South Pole for 8,000 miles and that also would be in the Pacific Ocean. The sheer size of the Pacific Ocean is hard to grasp for it covers almost one-third of the world's surface and contains almost one-half of its water; it is wide and deep enough for all the continents to be immersed under its waves. ( Central Pacific Islands )

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