Culture and sustainable development in the Pacific by Antony Hooper

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By Antony Hooper

During the South Pacific, notions of ‘culture’ and ‘development’ are greatly alive—in political debate, the media, sermons, and unending discussions among villagers and the city élites, even in coverage studies. frequently the phrases are counterposed, and improvement besides ‘economic rationality’, ‘good governance’ and ‘progress’ is decided opposed to tradition or ‘custom’, ‘tradition’ and ‘identity’. The decay of customized and impoverishment of tradition are usually noticeable as wrought through improvement, whereas mess ups of improvement are haunted through the proposal that they're due, in some way, to the darker, irrational affects of tradition. the matter is to solve the contradictions among them in an effort to in attaining the higher good—access to fabric items, welfare and facilities, ‘modern life’—without the sacrifice of the ‘traditional’ values and associations that offer fabric protection and maintain varied social identities. answer is sought during this booklet through a few top writers from the South Pacific together with Langi Kavaliku, Epeli Hau’ofa, Marshall Sahlins, Malama Meleisea, Joeli Veitayaki, and Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka. the amount is introduced jointly for UNESCO via Antony Hooper, Professor Emeritus on the collage of Auckland. UNESCO specialists comprise Richard Engelhardt, Langi Kavaliku, Russell Marshall, Malama Meleisea, Edna Tait and Mali Voi.

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As individual, tiny countries created by colonial powers and acting alone, we could indeed ‘fall off the map’ or disappear into the black hole of a gigantic Pan-Pacific doughnut. Acting together as a region, for the interests of the region as a whole, and above those of our individual countries, we would enhance our chances of survival in the century that is already dawning upon us. Acting in unison for larger purposes and for the benefit of the wider community could help us to become more open-minded, idealistic, altruistic and generous, less self-absorbed and corrupt, in the conduct of our public affairs than we are today.

This prolonged period of isolation allowed for the emergence of distinctive oceanic cultures with the only non-oceanic influences being the original cultures that the earliest settlers brought with them when they entered the vast, uninhabited region. Scholars of antiquity may raise the issue of continental cultural influences on the western and northwestern border islands of Oceania, but these are exceptions, and the Asian mainland influences were largely absent until the modern era. On the eastern extremity of the region there were some influences from the Americas, but these were minimal.

As an example, let us take the case of women, and women and development. There are different interpretations of the position, status and role of women in Pacific island societies. Nevertheless, I believe there is one issue that we must agree Culture and sustainable development in the Pacific 27 upon and that is the equality of each and every human being. The issue facing us then, is the interpretation of what equality means. When the Secretary-General of the Tonga Women’s Association came back from a conference on women in South Korea, one of her first comments was, ‘Why do western women insist that we should be like them?

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