This Tagata Tangata episode looks at the effects of colonisation across Polynesia, and the separation of Polynesian people from their lands. Strong-arm tactics such as threats to the family of a Tahitian princess, gunboat diplomacy over sandalwood debts in Hawai’i and the effects of unsanctioned nuclear testing are all told. There are also stories of people separated from their land, including Hawaii's Great Māhale in 1848, mass arrests at Bastion Point, and loss of land ownership across Polynesia. There are many tales of greed, but also tales of hope for native peoples working to undo the adverse effects of the past.
Māori are descendant from the gods, the ancestors, right down to the present day; and that connection connects them to the natural world, and the connection is held together and mediated by the forces of tapu and pono, the sanctity of the ancestors who won the land, who sanctified it with their blood, with their bones that were buried in the urupā.– Māori academic and writer Ranginui Walker
Pasifika Knowhow Productions
Made with funding from NZ On Air
Article on France concealing the impact of its nuclear testing in the Pacific, BBC, March 2021
Article on loss of Hawaiian land after the 1848 Great Māhale, Hawai'i Public Radio website, October 2017
Article on the rebirth of sandalwood in Hawaii, Pacific Edge magazine, January 2017