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from On Water

from On Water T H O M A S F A R B E R Years ago, when I was first traveling in the Pacific, Hawai`i seemed to me the westernmost point of the United States. A colony, yes, but American. Avis, McDonald's, Hertz, Hilton, United. A further California. But then one day, jogging in Kapi`olani Park in Honolulu, in the shadow of Diamond Head, I stopped to watch an incredibly violent rugby game, one team Samoans, the other Tongans. And, suddenly, it came clear: Hawai`i was the northeastern corner of Polynesia, Easter Island the southeastern corner, the Marquesas, Tahiti, Tonga, Samoa, and New Zealand thus Polynesian points west and south. Honolulu, in this view, a kind of Rome of the Pacific, various islanders making their way north and east to the imperial city. Imagine the exploration and colonization of the Pacific--"a third of the Earth," as Kenneth Brower calls it--by Polynesians and Melanesians, "out on the monotonous blue, when the horizon had come back around to meet itself and obliterate land behind them." Their "canoes" often seventy to one hundred feet long, "longer and faster than the ... European vessels that first came among them." When Captain Cook arrived at http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Manoa University of Hawai'I Press

from On Water

Manoa , Volume 23 (2) – Mar 16, 2011

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-943x
Publisher site
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Abstract

T H O M A S F A R B E R Years ago, when I was first traveling in the Pacific, Hawai`i seemed to me the westernmost point of the United States. A colony, yes, but American. Avis, McDonald's, Hertz, Hilton, United. A further California. But then one day, jogging in Kapi`olani Park in Honolulu, in the shadow of Diamond Head, I stopped to watch an incredibly violent rugby game, one team Samoans, the other Tongans. And, suddenly, it came clear: Hawai`i was the northeastern corner of Polynesia, Easter Island the southeastern corner, the Marquesas, Tahiti, Tonga, Samoa, and New Zealand thus Polynesian points west and south. Honolulu, in this view, a kind of Rome of the Pacific, various islanders making their way north and east to the imperial city. Imagine the exploration and colonization of the Pacific--"a third of the Earth," as Kenneth Brower calls it--by Polynesians and Melanesians, "out on the monotonous blue, when the horizon had come back around to meet itself and obliterate land behind them." Their "canoes" often seventy to one hundred feet long, "longer and faster than the ... European vessels that first came among them." When Captain Cook arrived at

Journal

ManoaUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Mar 16, 2011

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