a large group of islands in the south Pacific including Melanesia and Micronesia and Polynesia (and sometimes Australasia and the Malay Archipelago)
Melanesia is one of Oceania’s three main groups of islands. It means “black islands” in Greek. Melanesia extends from the western end of the Pacific Ocean to the Arafura Sea and eastward to Fiji. The following islands and groups of islands are considered to be a part of Melanesia: Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji & New Caledonia.
Micronesia is the name for one of the 3 main island groups that make up Oceania. It means “small islands” in Greek. Micronesia is comprised of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. The following islands and groups of islands are considered part of Micronesia: Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands, Palau, Nauru, Kiribati & the Federated States of Micronesia (Four states are Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, & Yap)
Polynesia is one of Oceania’s three main groups of islands. Its name means “many islands” in Greek. Polynesia is generally defined as the islands within the Polynesian Triangle. Geographically, the Polynesian Triangle is drawn by connecting the points of Hawai`i, Aotearoa & Rapa Nui. Other main island groups located within the Polynesian Triangle are Sāmoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands, Tuvalu, Tokelau, Niue, Wallis & Futuna, and French Polynesia. Polynesia is made up of over 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. Polynesians share many similar traits including language, culture and beliefs.
Located within Polynesia is the archipelago of Hawai`i. It spreads across 1,500 miles in the Northeast Pacific Ocean from Kure Atoll to Hawai`i Island. The main islands are Ni`ihau, Kaua`i, O`ahu, Moloka`i, Lāna`i, Maui, Kaho`olawe & Hawai`i. All are inhabited except for Kaho`olawe.
Due to its mid-Pacific location and because it is a part of the United States, many see Hawai`i as the center of the Pacific. It has many North American & Asian influences along with its own vibrant native culture. Although there are some similarities in Hawaiian culture to other Polynesian cultures, the Hawaiian culture is unique in its point of view in relation to origins, language, religion, land, art, history and modern issues.
Intro to hi and the larger pacific
TO HAWAI`I &
• Oceania is a region
centered on the islands of
the Pacific Ocean that
includes Australia, New
Zealand, Papua New
Guinea and the islands
that comprise Polynesia,
Melanesia & Micronesia