A collection of traditional stories from the Caroline Islands, the Chatham and Cook Islands, Fiji, Hawaiʻi, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Britain, New Guinea, New Zealand, Niue, Palau Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tonga and Vanuatu. Suggested level: primary, intermediate, junior secondary.
"Two young New Zealanders of Polynesian descent undergo DNA sampling, wrestle with the surprising results, and then embark on a journey of discovery, searching for their roots across the Pacific and into Asia." (From the film's online description.)
This book is a collection of folktales ("Stori Tumbuna") from Papua New Guinea that were originally published in Wantok Newspaper starting in 1972. These folktales have been translated into English and are published here side-by-side with the original Tok Pisin stories. This volume is number 2 in this "Folklore of Papua New Guinea Series.
The author, Jack Tobin, was an anthropologist who spent most of his life in the Marshall Islands. The stories here are those that he collected from Marshall Islanders. Also included is a very useful introduction that talks about the history of the islands, their culture and society.
Produced by the Micronesian Seminar in Pohnpei, FSM, this documentary weaves origin stories from Pohnpei together with scientific theories on Pacific migration. Film is freely downloadable from the Micronesian Seminar website (http://www.micsem.org/), but requires a downloaded program (also free) to view.
Legends from the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam, Palau, Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands are interwoven with historical interludes and beautiful woodcut illustrations.
Though it is set in modern Rotuma, the film is woven around an origin story. When you follow the link above, it will take you to the Voyager record for the film. Scroll down to the "holdings information" at the bottom of the page and click on the link for "UH Manoa Streaming VIdeo" and follow the instructions to watch online. Hint: Try searching either the name of the film or the name of the goddess, tafate'masian, in Google Scholar or in OneSearch -- you may find information on Rotuman life or history in the reviews of this film that were written in scholarly journals like The Contemporary Pacific.
Also available online: http://www.jps.auckland.ac.nz/index.php. The early issues of the Journal contain a rich repository of indigenous texts and traditions contributed by Pacific peoples, as well as by missionaries and other sojourners, often published in local languages with English translations. Among the scholars who have long contributed articles to the Journal are social/cultural anthropologists, archaeologists, historians, linguists and physical/biological anthropologists working in Micronesia and Melanesia, as well as Polynesia. More recently they have been joined by sociologists, political scientists, economists and other scholars.
Some Basic Definitions
When searching for Pacific legends and myths it is useful to keep the following definitions in mind. Librarians use these terms to categorize items in a particular even though in the every-day many people use come of these interchangeably:
Folklore: A broad term used to refer to the traditional beliefs, myths, tales, and practices of a people, which have been passed down orally (or via other non-written means such as dance, theater and etc.).
Myths / Mythology: The particular category of narrative deals with the point where the human world blends with the supernatural; the stories often feature interactions between gods and human beings. In oral cultures, these narratives often speak of the origin of things -- the creation of the world, the creation of the things in the world, the ways in which human beings came to live in specific places, the ways in which human beings came to possess technologies like fire. The main characters are often gods or demi-gods.