In an earlier post, I mentioned the connection between the


Cook Island fruits (including taro, papaya, oranges, pineapple, watermelon, and raw fish) at the Mangaian Hostel.

Pacific Island cultures. I was just thinking about how I originally started my project with the intention of focusing on Maori women’s roles of power and identity within the New Zealand community. In my first weeks at university I found myself ignoring opportunities to talk with people about the project because they were Samoan or Tongan. I was thinking this way because I was afraid of veering off course and losing focus on my interests in Maori culture. Since then, I’ve learned that many people aren’t just Maori- instead many people introduce themselves as being a beautiful mix of Tongan, Niuean, Cook Islander, Fijian, Samoan, New Caledonian or all of the above. “A Polynesian surprise”, one man identified himself as.

This project has taken a turn to include globalism and cultural identity as key parts of its focus.

What does it mean to be an American? As we are a country of historical and modern immigrants, how important is it that we know our ancestry?


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