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Pacific Islander (or Pacific Person, pl: Pacific People, also called Oceanic[s]), is a geographic term to describe the Austronesian , and Australiod inhabitants of any of the three major sub-regions of Oceania: Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, these three regions, together with their islands consist of:

Polynesia: The islands scattered across a triangle covering the east-central region of the Pacific Ocean. The triangle is bounded by the Hawaiian islands in the north, New Zealandmarker in the west, and Easter Islandmarker in the east. The rest of Polynesia comprises Samoan islandsmarker (American Samoamarker and Samoamarker), the Cook Islandsmarker, French Polynesiamarker (Tahitimarker and The Society Islandsmarker, Marquesas Islandsmarker, Austral Islandsmarker, and the Tuamotu Archipelagomarker), Niuemarker Island, Tokelaumarker and Tuvalumarker, Tongamarker, Wallis and Futunamarker, and Pitcairn Islandmarker.

Melanesia: The island of New Guineamarker, the Bismarck and Louisiade archipelagos, the Admiralty Islandsmarker, and Bougainville Islandmarker (which make up the independent state of Papua New Guineamarker), the Solomon Islandsmarker, the Santa Cruz Islandsmarker (part of the Solomon Islands),New Caledoniamarker and Loyalty Islandsmarker, Vanuatumarker (formerly New Hebrides), Fijimarker, Norfolk Islandmarker, and various smaller islands.

Micronesia: The islands of Kiribatimarker, Guammarker, Nauru, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianasmarker, the Republic of the Marshall Islandsmarker, Palaumarker, and the Federated States of Micronesiamarker (Yapmarker, Chuukmarker, Pohnpeimarker, and Kosraemarker, all in the Caroline Islandsmarker).

Usage of term in Australia, New Zealand and United States

In Australia the term South Sea Islander was used in the past to describe Australian descendants of people from the more than 80 islands in the Western Pacific. In 1901 legislation was enacted to restrict entry of Pacific Islanders to Australia and to facilitate their deportation: Pacific Island Labourers Act 1901. In the legislation Pacific Islanders were defined as:
“Pacific Island Labourer” includes all natives not of European extraction of any island except the islands of New Zealand situated in the Pacific Ocean beyond the Commonwealth [of Australia] as constituted at the commencement of this Act.
In 2008 a newly announced Pacific Islander guestworker scheme provides visas for workers from Kiribati, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea to work in Australia. The pilot scheme includes one country each from Melanesia (Vanuatu), Polynesia (Tonga) and Micronesia (Kiribati): countries which already send workers to New Zealand under its seasonal labour scheme. Australia’s pilot scheme also includes Papua New Guinea.

Local usage in New Zealandmarker uses the term to distinguish those who have emigrated from one of these areas in modern times from the indigenous New Zealand Māori (who are also Polynesian but arrived in New Zealand many centuries earlier), and from other ethnic groups. A stated reason for making the ethnic distinction is that the Pacific peoples suffer from socio-economic disadvantages as a group and benefit from culturally targeted social and health assistance.

In the United Statesmarker, the geographic location of "Pacific Islander" is the same, but is generally understood as a reference to indigenous natives of Hawaiimarker. Pacific Islanders are defined as a native or inhabitant of any of the Polynesian, Micronesian, or Melanesian islands of Oceania. Some examples of the ethnic groups that would be considered Pacific Islanders are the indigenous peoples of Hawaii, the Marianas, Samoans, Guamanian, Chamoru,Tahitians, Mariana Islander, and Chuukese.


Inhabitants of the following islands and regions are not considered to be Pacific Islanders: Russia's Kuril Islandsmarker, Alaska's Aleutian Islandsmarker, Taiwanmarker, Japanmarker, Philippinesmarker, Indonesiamarker, as they are not located within the three regions of Oceania (Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia).

List of Pacific peoples

See also


External links

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