Volume 81 1972 > Volume 81, No. 1 > Notes and news, p 3-4
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Unesco Meeting of Experts on the Study of Oceanic Cultures, Suva, Fiji, September 13-17, 1971

This meeting, which marked the beginning of a 5-year study of Oceanic cultures to be undertaken by Unesco, was attended by 21 invited experts and observers representing six international organisations. Amongst those who participated in the meeting were the present editor of the Journal of the Polynesian Society and four former editors, Professor Bruce Biggs (University of Auckland), Professor Ralph Bulmer (University of Papua and New Guinea), Professor Jack Golson (Australian National University), and Mr J. B. Palmer (Fiji Museum).

The first recommendation made by the meeting was that as a fundamental principle the project should first serve the Oceanic peoples by providing opportunities for the active participation of Pacific Islanders in the process of interpretation of their own cultures. They should no longer appear as passive objects of research but as research collaborators and guardians and promoters of those aspects of their culture which they consider necessary for their present and their future. They would thus confirm their cultural identity and promote cultural exchange with their neighbours. To these ends the project should:

  • (i) aim at the conservation of the cultural heritage by the setting up or improvement of appropriate institutions in the area;
  • (ii) facilitate research on the cultures of the Oceanic peoples appropriately adapted to local needs and resources; and
  • (iii) seek out and make use of the most effective means of making Oceanic cultures better known within and outside Oceania.

The recommended order of priority of research topics was:

  • (i) the study and fostering of oral traditions, language and creative and performing arts in their traditional and developing forms;
  • (ii) the promotion of all aspects of work connected with material culture and technology including documentation, conservation and repatriation of artefacts;
  • (iii) salvage archaeology and work on conservation of archaeological sites.

Other recommendations concerned institutional requirements, study of oral tradition, language study and promotion, study of music and dance, promotion of creative and performing arts, film making, material culture and documentary resources, dissemination, international co-operation and co-ordination of the Unesco Oceanic and Malay cultural study projects.

Retirement of Professor Piddington

Professor Ralph Piddington has retired from the headship of the Anthropology Department at the University of Auckland. The new Head of Department is Professor Bruce Biggs.

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Professor Theodore B. Graves, of the University of California at Los Angeles will be Visiting Professor of Social Anthropology for the next two years pending the arrival of Professor Ralph Bulmer who will take over as Professor of Social Anthropology in 1974.

Professor Piddington founded the University of Auckland Anthropology Department 21 years ago. Born in Sydney, he took his M.A. at the University of Sydney and his Ph.D. in London. In 1937, he was appointed Lecturer in Anthropology at Aberdeen. After war service in the course of which he was Second-in-Command of the Australian Army School of Civil Affairs, he became Reader in Social Anthropology in the University of Edinburgh. He held this post until he came to Auckland. He was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 1964.


The following corrections should be made to Judith Huntsman's article in the September, 1971 issue (Vol. 80, No. 3).

  • p 320, fnt. 5 (contin.), para. 4, line 3. For “deLauuaa” read “deLaguna”.
  • p 321, para. 5, line 6. For “Fakaofa” read “Fakaofo”.
  • p 323, table, line 6. For “Nuafine” read “Nuaafine”.
  • p 333, para. 2, line 2. For “with” read “within”.
  • p 333, last line. After “divisions” insert “of his parents”.
  • p 335, para. 3, lines 1-2 should read:
  • 2. Ko ki maua e i loto o X “we are both inside X”, or ko ki maua e tau kia X
  • p 336, para. 1, line 8. For “primary a” read “a primary”.
  • p 342, 5 lines from bottom. For “nad” read “and”.
  • p 343, para. 2, line 12. For “fotautaina” read “fetautaina”.
Contributors of articles in this issue

John Lynch is Lecturer in Oceanic Linguistics at the University of Papua and New Guinea and is also a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Hawaii. He is writing his dissertation on the Lenakel language of Tanna, New Hebrides.

A note about Saul H. Riesenberg appeared in the June, 1971 “Notes and News”.

Kenneth P. Emory is Chairman of the Department of Anthropology at the Bernice P. Bishop Museum. His article in this issue is a revision of a paper first presented at a testimonial dinner for Edward S. C. Handy on the occasion of his 75th birthday in 1967. Dr Emory is publishing it in the Journal on the understanding that it is his tribute to Edward S. C. Handy for help in initiating him into Polynesian research.