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Pacific Islands Newspapers : Newspapers in Polynesia

Newspapers in Polynesia: an Introduction

The region known as Polynesia convers some of the largest surface area in the Pacific Ocean.

In terms of language, there are more commonalities between different Polynesian languages than other parts of the Pacific.

In terms of newspapers, many publications began in the late nineteenth century, or early 20th century, in either the Indigenous language or a colonial language. Exceptions include Hawaiʻi, which began newspaper production in the 1820s and, Aotearoa and Samoa, in the 1840s. The publishing activity in all three island groups was a result of missionary activity and presses.


Weakness of holdings:

Not enough papers are in the Indigenous language in the islands. This reflects not only the different publishing histories in Polynesia, but also the influence of (often competing) churches, colonial spheres of influence, and when/if a language was reduced to an alphabetic form.

As with other newspapers, inclusion or exclusion in the Pacific collection must take into account the resources of the library and librarians who go on collecting trips.


Strength of holdings:

The Pacific collection holds a wide range of newspapers in both print and microfilm. In terms of coverage, the time period with the most in-depth coverage is the twentieth century, in particular from 1950 onwards.

Since the collection strives to obtain materials in as many formats and languages as possible, effort has been made to fulfil this mission. Those papers which not only publish in print, but also via the internet, have this fact reflected in the online library catalog.

Lastly, an important strength of the Pacific collection holdings is the inclusion of small papers published by either government or missionary presses. Such materials will no doubt be of interest to students and scholars.