Volume 77 1968 > Volume 77, No. 1 > Notes and news, p 1 - 5
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Vahry-Sindall Photography Ltd., Frontispiece: Wooden Image from Nukuoro, in Auckland Museum.
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A “Pacific Manuscripts Bureau” has been established to promote the preservation of unpublished manuscripts relating to the Pacific Islands. It is a non-profit making organization sponsored by a group of libraries specializing in Pacific research—The Mitchell Library, Sydney; The National Library of Australia, Canberra; The National Library of New Zealand, Wellington, and The Library of the University of Hawaii, Honolulu. The Bureau is operated on the libraries' behalf by the Research School of Pacific Studies of the Australian National University.

The aim of the Bureau is to locate manuscripts which may be of value, either now or in the future, to research workers engaged in any branch of Pacific studies, whether historical, literary or scientific. Its area of interest comprises all the Pacific Islands, including Hawaii and New Guinea.

While the main concern of the Bureau is to copy manuscripts by photography or other means and then return them to their owners, it will be glad to arrange, should the owner so desire, for their deposit in any library or archives, with or without restrictions on access. Written acknowledgement will be made to the owner for all manuscripts either loaned for copying or forwarded for deposit.

The material sought for by the Bureau is of all kinds: letters to and from island residents; diaries and note books; missionary, trading and shipping records (including account books and ships' log books); plantation diaries, accounts and journals; grammars, dictionaries and vocabularies; local family documents and notes; letters, stories, genealogies and other manuscripts written by islanders in their own languages. Nothing is likely to be unimportant. Even a brief letter or note may help future generations to understand how people lived and thought in the islands.

The Executive Officer of the Pacific Manuscripts Bureau is Mr. Robert Langdon, formerly assistant editor of the Pacific Islands Monthly and author of numerous works on the South Seas. He would be grateful for information from anyone who knows of, or possesses, any manuscript relating to the Pacific Islands, and asks that they write to him at: Pacific Manuscripts Bureau, Research School of Pacific Studies, The Australian National University, Box 4, P.O., Canberra, A.C.T., 2600 Australia.

The first Newsletter of the Bureau reports the acquisition of microfilm copies of:

  • A diary kept by an Australian planter in the New Hebrides in 1905.
  • A miscellaneous collection of documents concerning the Roman Catholic Church in the Northern Solomon Islands. These documents comprised
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  • letters, reports, diaries and histories written between 1900 and 1936, mainly by missionaries stationed in the Solomons.
  • Notes on Tongan history and Tongan legends by a noted Methodist missionary in Tonga, the Rev. G. E. Moulton.
  • Three volumes of genealogies, beginning in 1904, of the people at the Roman Catholic mission station at Weipa, Mekeo District, Papua.
  • Three documents on pre-World War II Nauru—an account of the island by the late Commander Rupert C. Garsia, the Australian Administrator from 1933 to 1938; a diary kept on the island from 1934 to 1938 by Commander Garsia's wife; and an account of medical work on the island by the government medical officer of that era, Dr. Clouston.

Professor Alexander Spoehr of the University of Pittsburgh wishes to draw attention to a modifying clause, agreed to by all participants of a conference, that was inadvertently omitted from the recently published Behavioral Science Research in New Guinea (National Research Council Publication 1493, Washington, D.C., 1967). The first sentence in the paragraph beginning on page 6 should be corrected to read as follows: “Although we recognize that the planning and initiation of behavioral science research is primarily a matter for behavioral scientists, we also recognize that the indigenes of New Guinea are no longer willing to be merely the objects of research.” The conference participants are pleased to have an opportunity to make this correction.

Due to publication delays these notes are being written in July 1968, and we are pleased to be able to report that a number of contributions to the Te Rangi Hiroa Fund for the study of Pacific History were received during the Waigani Seminar on the History of Melanesia, held at Port Moresby in early June of this year.

The fund has been established to award prizes for essays on Pacific History by students at Universities and Training Colleges throughout the Pacific, and is named after the historian of New Zealand Maori ancestry known also as Sir Peter Buck. The first awards are to be made in 1969 and will be of four types:

(1) An annual prize for the best essay (not normally exceeding 5,000 words) on any aspect of Pacific history by an undergraduate student at any university in the South Pacific Islands (i.e. the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, the College of Guam in Micronesia, the University of Papua and New Guinea, the University of Hawaii, Tjenderawasch University in Sukarnopura, and, if established, the New Caledonia University). The award will be given once annually, in November, beginning in 1969. There will be a prize of $20 worth of historical books to the best contribution from within each university, as judged by the history faculty of that university. The winning essay from each university will then be assessed by external examiners appointed by the trustee and a further $20 prize will be awarded to the best of these.

(2) An annual award for the best essay on any aspect of Pacific history by a student at any teachers' training college, or other institution of tertiary education within the South Pacific Commission area. The award would be given - 5 once annually, in November, beginning in 1969. A prize of $5 worth of historical books will be awarded to the best entrant from each eollege as judged by the staff of that college. The winning essay from each college will then be assessed by external examiners appointed by the trustees and a prize of $20 worth of books awarded to the best of these.

(3) An annual prize for the best essay (not normally exceeding 5,000 words) on any aspect of the history of the Pacific Islands by an undergraduate student of any university outside the Pacific Islands (including the Australian School of Pacific Administration). Only the best contribution from any one university, as judged by the faculty of that university, would be judged by the trustees, and a single prize of $20 worth of historical books awarded to the best contribution from all sources. This award will be given once annually, in November beginning in 1969 or as soon thereafter as funds permit.

All essays would be presented in English or French.

(4) Subject to the volume of funds received from this appeal, small scholarships will be available to assist Pacific Islanders with outstanding aptitude for historical work, to pursue post-graduate studies in Pacific history.

The Fund is located at the University of Papua and New Guinea and is administered by a board of four trustees: Professor K. S. Inglis (chairman) and Dr. Sione Latukefu, Department of History, U.P.N.G., Professor Gerard Ward, Department of Geography, U.P.N.G., and Dr. R. G. Crocombe, New Guinea Research Unit, The Australian National University.

Enquiries, suggestions and donations would be welcomed by Professor K. S. Inglis, Department of History, University of Papua and New Guinea, P.O. Box 1144, Port Moresby, New Guinea.