The first settlers of Australia, New Guinea, and the large islands just to the east arrived more than 60,000 years ago.
Oceania was first explored by Europeans
from the 16th century onward. Portuguese navigators
, between 1512 and 1526, reached the Tanimbar Islands
, some of the Caroline Islands
and west Papua New Guinea
. On his first voyage in the 18th century, James Cook
, who later arrived at the highly developed Hawaiian Islands
, went to Tahiti
and followed the east coast of Australia
for the first time.
The Pacific front
saw major action during the Second World War
, mainly between Allied powers
the United States
, and Axis power Japan
Definitions and extent
Regions of Oceania
Definitions of Oceania vary; however, the islands at the geographic extremes of Oceania are generally considered to be the Bonin Islands
, a politically integral part of Japan
, a state of the United States
; Clipperton Island
, a possession of France
; the Juan Fernández Islands
, belonging to Chile
; and Macquarie Island
, belonging to Australia
(The United Nations
has its own geopolitical definition of Oceania, but this consists of discrete political entities, and so excludes the Bonin Islands, Hawaii, Clipperton Island, and the Juan Fernández Islands
, along with Easter Island.)
In some countries, such as Brazil, Oceania is regarded as a continent in the sense of "one of the parts of the world", and the concept of Australia as a continent does not exist.
Some geographers group the Australian continental plate
with other islands in the Pacific into one "quasi-continent" called Oceania.
A 19th-century engraving of an Aboriginal Australian encampment
are the original inhabitants of the Australian continent and nearby islands who migrated from Africa
around 70,000 years ago
and arrived in Australia around 50,000 years ago.
They are believed to be among the earliest human migrations out of Africa
Although they likely migrated to Australia through Southeast Asia they are not demonstrably related to any known Asian or Polynesian population.
There is evidence of genetic and linguistic interchange between Australians in the far north and the Austronesian peoples of modern-day New Guinea
and the islands, but this may be the result of recent trade and intermarriage
The original inhabitants of the group of islands now named Melanesia were likely the ancestors of the present-day Papuan
-speaking people. Migrating from South-East Asia, they appear to have occupied these islands as far east as the main islands in the Solomon Islands archipelago
, including Makira
and possibly the smaller islands farther to the east.
Particularly along the north coast of New Guinea and in the islands north and east of New Guinea, the Austronesian people
, who had migrated into the area somewhat more than 3,000 years ago, came into contact with these pre-existing populations of Papuan-speaking peoples. In the late 20th century, some scholars theorized a long period of interaction, which resulted in many complex changes in genetics, languages, and culture among the peoples.
Stone money transport to Yap Island
in Micronesia (1880)
Chronological dispersal of Austronesian people
across the Pacific (per Bellwood in Chambers, 2008)
Micronesia began to be settled several millennia ago, although there are competing theories about the origin and arrival of the first settlers. There are numerous difficulties with conducting archaeological excavations in the islands, due to their size, settlement patterns and storm damage. As a result, much evidence is based on linguistic analysis.
The earliest archaeological traces of civilization have been found on the island of Saipan
, dated to 1500 BC or slightly before. The ancestors of the Micronesians settled there over 4,000 years ago. A decentralized chieftain-based system eventually evolved into a more centralized economic and religious culture centered on Yap
The prehistories of many Micronesian islands such as Yap are not known very well.
The first people of the Northern Mariana Islands navigated to the islands and discovered it at some period between 4000 BC to 2000 BC from South-East Asia
. They became known as the Chamorros
. Their language
was named after them. The ancient Chamorro left a number of megalithic ruins, including Latte stone
. The Refaluwasch, or Carolinian, people came to the Marianas in the 1800s from the Caroline Islands
. Micronesian colonists gradually settled the Marshall Islands during the 2nd millennium BC
, with inter-island navigation made possible using traditional stick charts
In the archaeological record there are well-defined traces of this expansion which allow the path it took to be followed and dated with some certainty. It is thought that by roughly 1400 BC,
Peoples", so-named after their pottery tradition, appeared in the Bismarck Archipelago
of north-west Melanesia.
Easter Islanders claimed that a chief Hotu Matu'a
discovered the island in one or two large canoes with his wife and extended family.
They are believed to have been Polynesian
. Around 1200, Tahitian
explorers discovered and began settling the area. This date range is based on glottochronological
calculations and on three radiocarbon dates
from charcoal that appears to have been produced during forest clearance activities.
Moreover, a recent study which included radiocarbon dates from what is thought to be very early material suggests that the island was discovered and settled as recently as 1200.
1852 map of Oceania by J.G. Barbie du Bocage. Includes regions of Polynesia, Micronesia, Melanesia and Malaysia.
Oceania was first explored by Europeans from the 16th century onwards. Portuguese navigators, between 1512 and 1526, reached the Moluccas
(by António de Abreu
and Francisco Serrão
in 1512), Timor
, the Aru Islands
(Martim A. Melo Coutinho), the Tanimbar Islands
, some of the Caroline Islands
(by Gomes de Sequeira
in 1525), and west Papua New Guinea
(by Jorge de Menezes
in 1526). In 1519, a Spanish
expedition led by Ferdinand Magellan
sailed down the east coast of South America, found and sailed through the strait that bears his name
and on 28 November 1520 entered the ocean which he named "Pacific". The three remaining ships, led by Magellan and his captains Duarte Barbosa
and João Serrão
, then sailed north and caught the trade winds
which carried them across the Pacific to the Philippines where Magellan was killed. One surviving ship led by Juan Sebastián Elcano
returned west across the Indian Ocean and the other
went north in the hope of finding the westerlies
and reaching Mexico. Unable to find the right winds, it was forced to return to the East Indies. The Magellan-Elcano
expedition achieved the first circumnavigation
of the world and reached the Philippines
, the Mariana Islands
and other islands of Oceania.
On 23 April 1770 British explorer James Cook
made his first recorded direct observation of indigenous Australians
at Brush Island
near Bawley Point
On 29 April, Cook and crew made their first landfall on the mainland of the continent at a place now known as the Kurnell Peninsula
. It is here that James Cook made first contact with an aboriginal tribe known as the Gweagal
. His expedition became the first recorded Europeans to have encountered its eastern coastline of Australia.
European settlement and colonisation
New Guinea from 1884 to 1919. The Netherlands controlled the western half of New Guinea, Germany
the north-eastern part, and Britain the south-eastern part.
French Catholic missionaries arrived on Tahiti in 1834; their expulsion in 1836 caused France to send a gunboat in 1838. In 1842, Tahiti and Tahuata
were declared a French protectorate
, to allow Catholic missionaries to work undisturbed. The capital of Papeetē
was founded in 1843.
On 24 September 1853, under orders from Napoleon III
, Admiral Febvrier Despointes
took formal possession of New Caledonia and Port-de-France
(Nouméa) was founded 25 June 1854.
One of the first land offensives in Oceania was the Occupation of German Samoa
in August 1914 by New Zealand forces
. The campaign to take Samoa ended without bloodshed after over 1,000 New Zealanders landed on the German colony. Australian forces attacked German New Guinea
in September 1914. A company of Australians and a British warship besieged the Germans and their colonial subjects, ending with a German surrender.
The attack on Pearl Harbor
by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters
was a surprise military strike
conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy
against the United States naval base
at Pearl Harbor
, on the morning of 7 December 1941. The attack led to the United States' entry into World War II
. The Japanese subsequently invaded New Guinea, Solomon Islands and other Pacific islands. The Japanese were turned back at the Battle of the Coral Sea
and the Kokoda Track campaign
before they were finally defeated in 1945. Some of the most prominent Oceanic battlegrounds were the Battle of Bita Paka
, the Solomon Islands campaign
, the Air raids on Darwin
, the Kokada Track
, and the Borneo campaign
The United States fought the Battle of Guam
from July 21 to August 10, 1944, to recapture the island from Japanese military
/ Carstensz Pyramid
, highest summit in Oceania
Oceania was originally conceived as the lands of the Pacific Ocean, stretching from the Strait of Malacca
to the coast of the Americas. It comprised four regions: Polynesia
(now called the Malay Archipelago
), and Melanesia
Today, parts of three geological continents are included in the term "Oceania": Eurasia, Australia, and Zealandia
, as well the non-continental volcanic islands of the Philippines
, and the open Pacific.
Oceania extends to New Guinea in the west, the Bonin Islands
in the northwest, the Hawaiian Islands
in the northeast, Rapa Nui
and Sala y Gómez Island
in the east, and Macquarie Island
in the south. Not included are the Pacific islands of Taiwan
, the Ryukyu Islands
, and the Japanese archipelago
, all on the margins of Asia, and the Aleutian Islands
of North America. In its periphery, Oceania sprawls 28 degrees north
to the Bonin Islands in the northern hemisphere
, and 55 degrees south
to Macquarie Island in the southern hemisphere
Oceania is one of eight terrestrial biogeographic realms
, which constitute the major ecological regions of the planet. Related to these concepts are Near Oceania
, that part of western Island Melanesia
which has been inhabited for tens of millennia, and Remote Oceania
which is more recently settled. Although the majority of the Oceanian islands lie in the South Pacific, a few of them are not restricted to the Pacific Ocean – Kangaroo Island
and Ashmore and Cartier Islands
, for instance, are situated in the Southern Ocean
and Indian Ocean
, respectively, and Tasmania's west coast
faces the Southern Ocean.
The coral reefs of the South Pacific are low-lying structures that have built up on basaltic lava flows under the ocean's surface. One of the most dramatic is the Great Barrier Reef
off northeastern Australia with chains of reef patches. A second island type formed of coral is the uplifted coral platform, which is usually slightly larger than the low coral islands. Examples include Banaba
(formerly Ocean Island) and Makatea
in the Tuamotu group of French Polynesia
A map of Oceania from the CIA World Factbook
, stretching from Hawaii in the north to New Zealand in the south, also encompasses Tuvalu
and the Kermadec Islands
to the west, the Cook Islands
, Society Islands
and Austral Islands
in the center, and the Marquesas Islands
, Mangareva Islands
, and Easter Island
to the east.
comprises Australia, New Zealand, the island of New Guinea
, and neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean. Along with India most of Australasia lies on the Indo-Australian Plate
with the latter occupying the Southern area. It is flanked by the Indian Ocean to the west and the Southern Ocean
to the south.
Australia, being part of the Indo-Australian plate
, is the lowest, flattest, and oldest landmass on Earth
and it has had a relatively stable geological history. Geological forces such as tectonic uplift
of mountain ranges or clashes between tectonic plates occurred mainly in Australia's early history, when it was still a part of Gondwana
. Australia is situated in the middle of the tectonic plate, and therefore currently has no active volcanism.
of New Zealand is noted for its volcanic
and geothermal areas
because of its position on the boundary of the Australian Plate
and Pacific Plates. Much of the basement rock of New Zealand was once part of the super-continent of Gondwana, along with South America, Africa, Madagascar
, India, Antarctica and Australia. The rocks that now form the continent of Zealandia
were nestled between Eastern Australia and Western Antarctica
The Australia-New Zealand continental fragment of Gondwana split from the rest of Gondwana in the late Cretaceous
time (95–90 Ma). By 75 Ma, Zealandia was essentially separate from Australia and Antarctica, although only shallow seas might have separated Zealandia and Australia in the north. The Tasman Sea
, and part of Zealandia then locked together with Australia to form the Australian Plate
(40 Ma), and a new plate boundary was created between the Australian Plate and Pacific Plate.
New Zealand countryside
New Zealand's landscape ranges from the fjord
-like sounds of the southwest to the tropical beaches of the far north. South Island is dominated by the Southern Alps
. There are 18 peaks of more than 3000 metres (9800 ft) in the South Island. All summits over 2,900 m are within the Southern Alps, a chain that forms the backbone of the South Island; the highest peak of which is Aoraki / Mount Cook
, at 3,754 metres (12,316 ft). Earthquakes are common, though usually not severe, averaging 3,000 per year.
There is a wide variety of native trees, adapted to all the various micro-climates in New Zealand.
In Hawaii, one endemic plant, Brighamia
, now requires hand-pollination because its natural pollinator is presumed to be extinct.
The two species of Brighamia
– B. rockii
and B. insignis
– are represented in the wild by around 120 individual plants. To ensure these plants set seed, biologists rappel down 910-metre (3,000 ft) cliffs to brush pollen onto their stigmas.
A unique feature of Australia's fauna is the relative scarcity of native placental
mammals, and dominance of the marsupials
– a group of mammals that raise their young in a pouch
, including the macropods
. The passerines
of Australia, also known as songbirds or perching birds, include wrens
, the magpie group
Predominant bird species in the country include the Australian magpie
, Australian raven
, the pied currawong
, crested pigeons
and the laughing kookaburra
are national animals
and the Tasmanian devil
is also one of the well-known animals in the country.
is a predatory
lizard native to the Australian mainland
The birds of New Zealand evolved into an avifauna that included a large number of endemic
species. As an island archipelago New Zealand accumulated bird diversity and when Captain James Cook arrived in the 1770s he noted that the bird song
was deafening. The mix includes species with unusual biology such as the kakapo
which is the world's only flightless, nocturnal, lek breeding
parrot, but also many species that are similar to neighboring land areas. Some of the more well known and distinctive bird species in New Zealand are the kiwi
, kakapo, mohua
and the bellbird
is a notable reptile
endemic to New Zealand.
Hawaii, although being in the tropics
, experiences many different climates, depending on latitude and its geography. The island of Hawaii
for example hosts 4 (out of 5 in total) climate groups on a surface as small as 10,430 km2
(4,028 sq mi) according to the Köppen climate types: tropical, arid, temperate and polar. The Hawaiian Islands receive most of their precipitation during the winter months (October to April).
A few islands in the northwest, such as Guam
, are susceptible to typhoons
in the wet season.
The highest recorded temperature in Oceania occurred in Oodnadatta
, South Australia (2 January 1960), where the temperature reached 50.7 °C (123.3 °F).
The lowest temperature ever recorded in Oceania was −25.6 °C (−14.1 °F), at Ranfurly
in Otago in 1903, with a more recent temperature of −21.6 °C (−6.9 °F) recorded in 1995 in nearby Ophir
of the Senyavin Islands
is the wettest settlement in Oceania, and one of the wettest places on earth, with annual recorded rainfall exceeding 7,600 mm (300 in) each year in certain mountainous locations. The Big Bog
on the island of Maui is the wettest place, receiving an average 10,271 mm (404.4 in) each year.
Köppen climate classification of selected regions in Oceania
The linked map below shows the exclusive economic zones
(EEZs) of the islands of Oceania and neighbouring areas, as a guide to the following table (there are few land boundaries that can be drawn on a map of the Pacific at this scale).
The demographic table below shows the subregions and countries of geopolitical Oceania. The countries and territories in this table are categorised according to the scheme for geographic subregions used by the United Nations. The information shown follows sources in cross-referenced articles; where sources differ, provisos have been clearly indicated. These territories and regions are subject to various additional categorisations, depending on the source and purpose of each description.
Largest city for regions
The predominant religion in Oceania is Christianity
A 2011 survey found that 92% in Melanesia
93% in Micronesia
and 96% in Polynesia
described themselves as Christians
Traditional religions are often animist
, and prevalent among traditional tribes is the belief in spirits (masalai
in Tok Pisin
) representing natural forces.
In the 2018 census, 37% of New Zealanders affiliated themselves with Christianity and 48% declared no religion.
In the 2016 Census, 52% of the Australian population declared some variety of Christianity and 30% stated "no religion".
Native languages of Oceania fall into three major geographic groups:
Colonial languages include English
in Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, and many other territories; French
in New Caledonia
, French Polynesia
, Wallis and Futuna
, and Vanuatu
, Japanese in the Bonin Islands
on Galápagos Islands
and Easter Island
. There are also Creoles
formed from the interaction of Malay or the colonial languages with indigenous languages, such as Tok Pisin
, various Malay trade and creole languages
, Hawaiian Pidgin
, and Pitkern
. Contact between Austronesian and Papuan resulted in several instances in mixed languages such as Maisin
Immigrants brought their own languages to the region, such as Mandarin
, Hindi, Italian, Arabic, Portuguese, Polish, German, Spanish, Russian, Korean, Cantonese
, among many others, namely in Australia and New Zealand,
or Fiji Hindi
immigrants arriving in Australia (1954)
The most multicultural areas in Oceania, which have a high degree
, are Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii. Since 1945, more than 7 million people have settled in Australia. From the late 1970s, there was a significant increase in immigration from Asian and other non-European countries, making Australia a multicultural country
European migration to New Zealand provided a major influx following the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi
in 1840. Subsequent immigration has been chiefly from the British Isles, but also from continental Europe, the Pacific, The Americas and Asia. Auckland
is home to over half (51.6 percent) of New Zealand's overseas born population, including 72 percent of the country's Pacific Island-born population, 64 percent of its Asian
-born population, and 56 percent of its Middle Eastern
and African born population.
Hawaii is a majority-minority state
workers on Western trading ships settled in Hawaii starting in 1789. In 1820, the first American missionaries arrived to preach Christianity and teach the Hawaiians Western ways.
As of 2015, a large proportion of Hawaii's population have Asian ancestry – especially Filipino
, Japanese, Korean
and Chinese. Many are descendants of immigrants brought to work on the sugarcane plantations in the mid-to-late 19th century. Almost 13,000 Portuguese
immigrants had arrived by 1899; they also worked on the sugarcane
plantations.Puerto Rican immigration to Hawaii
began in 1899 when Puerto Rico's sugar industry was devastated by two hurricanes, causing a worldwide shortage of sugar and a huge demand for sugar from Hawaii.
(mtDNA) studies quantify the magnitude of the Austronesian expansion
and demonstrate the homogenising effect of this expansion. With regards to Papuan influence, autochthonous haplogroups
support the hypothesis of a long history in Near Oceania, with some lineages suggesting a time depth of 60 thousand years. Santa Cruz
, a population located in Remote Oceania, is an anomaly with extreme frequencies of autochthonous haplogroups of Near Oceanian origin.
Australia and New Zealand
Australia and New Zealand are the only highly developed
nations in the region, although the economy of Australia
is by far the largest and most dominant economy in the region and one of the largest in the world. Australia's per-capita GDP is higher
than that of the UK, Canada, Germany, and France in terms of purchasing power parity
New Zealand is also one of the most globalised economies and depends greatly on international trade.
The majority of people living in Australia and to a lesser extent, New Zealand work in mining
, electrical and manufacturing
sectors also.
Australia boasts the largest amount of manufacturing in the region, producing cars
, electrical equipment, machinery and clothes
The overwhelming majority of people living in the Pacific islands work in the service industry which includes tourism, education and financial services. Oceania's largest export markets include Japan, China, the United States and South Korea. The smallest Pacific nations rely on trade with Australia, New Zealand and the United States for exporting goods and for accessing other products. Australia and New Zealand's trading arrangements are known as Closer Economic Relations
. Australia and New Zealand, along with other countries, are members of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
(APEC) and the East Asia Summit
(EAS), which may become trade blocs in the future particularly EAS.
The main produce from the Pacific is copra
, but timber
, palm oil
are also commonly grown across the tropics
of the Pacific. Fishing
provides a major industry
for many of the smaller nations in the Pacific, although many fishing
areas are exploited by other larger countries, namely Japan. Natural Resources
, such as lead
, are mined in Australia and Solomon Islands
. Oceania's largest export markets include Japan, China, the United States, India, South Korea and the European Union
Endowed with forest, mineral, and fish resources, Fiji
is one of the most developed of the Pacific island economies
, though it remains a developing country
with a large subsistence agriculture
Agriculture accounts for 18% of gross domestic product
, although it employed some 70% of the workforce as of 2001. Sugar
exports and the growing tourist industry are the major sources of foreign exchange. Sugar cane processing makes up one-third of industrial activity. Coconuts
, and copra
are also significant.
The history of Hawaii's economy can be traced through a succession of dominant industries; sandalwood
, the military, tourism and education.
Hawaiian exports include food and clothing. These industries play a small role in the Hawaiian economy, due to the shipping distance to viable markets, such as the West Coast of the contiguous U.S. The state's food exports include coffee, macadamia nuts, pineapple, livestock, sugarcane and honey.
As of 2015, Honolulu was ranked high on world livability rankings, and was also ranked as the 2nd safest city in the U.S.
Tourists mostly come from Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Fiji
currently attracts almost half a million tourists each year, more than a quarter of whom come from Australia. This has contributed $1 billion or more to Fiji's economy since 1995, but the Government of Fiji likely underestimates these figures due to the invisible economy inside the tourism industry.
Vanuatu is widely recognised as one of the premier vacation destinations for scuba divers
wishing to explore coral reefs
of the South Pacific region. Tourism has been promoted, in part, by Vanuatu being the site of several reality-TV shows. The ninth season of the reality TV series Survivor
was filmed on Vanuatu, entitled Survivor: Vanuatu – Islands of Fire
. Two years later, Australia's Celebrity Survivor
was filmed at the same location used by the US version.
Tourism in Australia
is an important component of the Australian economy. In the financial year 2014/15, tourism
represented 3% of Australia
contributing A$47.5 billion to the national economy.
In 2015, there were 7.4 million visitor arrivals.
Popular Australian destinations include the Sydney Harbour
(Sydney Opera House
, Sydney Harbour Bridge
, Royal Botanic Garden
, etc.), Gold Coast
such as Warner Bros. Movie World
and Sea World
), Walls of Jerusalem National Park
and Mount Field National Park
, Royal Exhibition Building
, the Great Barrier Reef
, The Twelve Apostles
(Ayers Rock) and the Australian outback
Tourism in New Zealand
7.3 billion (or 4%) of the country's GDP
in 2013, as well as directly supporting 110,800 full-time equivalent jobs (nearly 6% of New Zealand's workforce). International tourist spending accounted for 16% of New Zealand's export earnings (nearly NZ$10 billion). International and domestic tourism contributes, in total, NZ$24 billion to New Zealand's economy every year. Tourism New Zealand
, the country's official tourism agency, is actively promoting the country as a destination worldwide. Milford Sound
in South Island is acclaimed as New Zealand's most famous tourist destination.
In 2003 alone, according to state government data, there were over 6.4 million visitors to the Hawaiian Islands
with expenditures of over $10.6 billion.
Due to the mild year-round weather, tourist travel is popular throughout the year. In 2011, Hawaii saw increasing arrivals and share of foreign tourists from Canada, Australia and China increasing 13%, 24% and 21% respectively from 2010.
This section needs expansion
. You can help by adding to it
. (October 2018)
Government building in the Samoan capital Apia
housing administrative ministerial offices.
The ʻIolani Palace
, formerly the residence of the Hawaiian monarch, was restored and opened to the public as a museum in 1978.
The music of Hawaii includes traditional and popular styles, ranging from native Hawaiian folk music to modern rock
and hip hop
. Hawaii's musical contributions to the music of the United States
are out of proportion to the state's small size. Styles such as slack-key guitar
are well known worldwide, while Hawaiian-tinged music is a frequent part of Hollywood
soundtracks. Hawaii also made a major contribution to country music
with the introduction of the steel guitar
The Hawaiian religion is polytheistic
, with a belief in many deities and spirits, including the belief that spirits are found in non-human beings and objects such as animals, the waves, and the sky.
New Zealand as a culture is a Western culture, which is influenced by the cultural input of the indigenous Māori
and the various waves of multi-ethnic migration which followed the British colonisation of New Zealand
. The Māori people constitute one of the major cultures of Polynesia. The country has been broadened by globalisation and immigration specifically from Oceania, Europe, and Asia.
New Zealand marks two national days of remembrance, Waitangi Day
and ANZAC Day
, and also celebrates many holidays such as the Queen's Birthday, Labour Day, and Christmas Day, as well as public anniversaries of the founding dates of most regions.
The New Zealand recording industry began to develop from 1940 onwards and many New Zealand musicians have obtained success in Britain and the United States.
Some artists release Māori language songs and the Māori tradition-based art of kapa haka
(song and dance) has made a resurgence.
The country's diverse scenery and compact size, plus government incentives,
have encouraged some producers
to film big budget movies in New Zealand, including Avatar
, The Lord of the Rings
, The Hobbit
, The Chronicles of Narnia
, King Kong
and The Last Samurai
The fa'a Samoa
, or traditional Samoan way, remains a strong force in Samoan life and politics. Despite centuries of European influence, Samoa maintains its historical customs, social and political systems, and language
. Cultural customs such as the Samoa 'ava ceremony
are significant and solemn rituals at important occasions including the bestowal of matai
chiefly titles. Items of great cultural value include the finely woven 'ie toga
The Samoan word for dance is siva
, which consists of unique gentle movements of the body in time to music and which tell a story. Samoan male dances can be more snappy.
is also a traditional dance where rows of dancers perform rapid synchronised
movements in time to the rhythm of wooden drums (pate)
or rolled mats. Another dance performed by males is called the fa'ataupati
or the slap dance, creating rhythmic sounds by slapping different parts of the body. As with other Polynesian cultures (Hawaiian
) with significant and unique tattoos, Samoans have two gender specific and culturally significant tattoos.
The artistic creations of native Oceanians varies greatly throughout the cultures and regions. The subject matter typically carries themes of fertility or the supernatural. Petroglyphs
, painting, wood carving, stone carving and textile work are other common art forms.
Art of Oceania properly encompasses the artistic traditions of the people indigenous to Australia and the Pacific Islands.
These early peoples lacked a writing system
, and made works on perishable materials, so few records of them exist from this time.
Indigenous Australian rock art
is the oldest and richest unbroken tradition of art in the world, dating as far back as 60,000 years and spread across hundreds of thousands of sites.
These rock paintings served several functions. Some were used in magic, others to increase animal populations for hunting, while some were simply for amusement.
Sculpture in Oceania first appears on New Guinea as a series of stone figures found throughout the island, but mostly in mountainous highlands. Establishing a chronological timeframe for these pieces in most cases is difficult, but one has been dated to 1500 BC.
By 1500 BC the Lapita
culture, descendants of the second wave, would begin to expand and spread into the more remote islands. At around the same time, art began to appear in New Guinea, including the earliest examples of sculpture in Oceania. Starting around 1100 AD, the people of Easter Island would begin construction of nearly 900 moai
(large stone statues). At about 1200 AD, the people of Pohnpei, a Micronesian island, would embark on another megalithic construction, building Nan Madol
, a city of artificial islands and a system of canals.
Hawaiian art includes wood carvings
, feather work, petroglyphs, bark cloth (called kapa
in Hawaiian and tapa
elsewhere in the Pacific) and tattoos. Native Hawaiians had neither metal nor woven cloth.
is one of the region's most prominent sports,
and is the national sport of New Zealand, Samoa, Fiji and Tonga. The most popular sport in Australia is cricket
, the most popular sport among Australian women is netball
, while Australian rules football
is the most popular sport in terms of spectatorship and television ratings.
Rugby is the most popular sport among New Zealanders.
In Papua New Guinea, the most popular sport is Rugby league
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