Pacific Island Books

[Previous Page] [Next Page] [Up] [Home Page] [Mail] [Contents]


Cultural Crafts of Niue; Pandanus Weaving by Shari Cole & Vitolia Kulatea. ISBN 9823460019. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies. Recommended retail price $39.

For many years the authors have been concerned at the swift loss of culture and traditional skills in island societies due to the inroads of modern lifestyles and manufactured goods. This project was intended to record in photographs, diagrams, and bilingual text as many indigenous technical skills and their artistic extensions as possible, and to present them in easy-to-follow detail. Additionally, they sought to encourage the community to add to this file of knowledge before skilled elders die or emigrate.

The elders’ lessons were recorded between 16 July and 22 September 1990 in Niue. This first volume is drawn from that file. The teachers are women and men strong with skill and knowledge. Their identities are in the land that gives them a place to stand and the materials with which they work. Probably they are the last generation of their kind. It is hoped that they have been assisted in building a bridge to future generations of Niuean descendants, school children, artists, scholars, and others who will gain strength from their knowledge. Soft cover, 100 pages.


Have We Offended? by Mark Cross. Published by Cross Publishing. ISBN 0958238219. Recommended retail price $24.95

This is a stunning book. The paintings are unique. Mark Cross paints in a style that is purely his own. I've been lucky enough to see his work during a visit to Niue and am delighted that we are able to offer his book on our website. At a moment in history when the most powerful nation on Earth has decided to carry out pre-emptive war, some of Mark's paintings become more relevant than ever. Take a look at the front cover (above) which shows a detail from his painting Terra Sarcoma. It could easily be Baghdad in March 2003 although this was not the artist's intention.

Mark Cross was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1955 and grew up in the west of that city. After leaving school he trained as a precision engineer while painting during available spare time. Meeting his future wife Ahi in the mid '70s they traveled with a young family in 1978 to her homeland of Niue where they stayed for four years during which time he painted and studied art history through the meager resources available to him. In the early '80s he started devoting his whole time to painting, exhibiting regularly in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch while returning intermittently to Niue. After the death of their eldest daughter from cancer the Cross family returned to Niue in 1995 where Mark and Ahi are based while still maintaining a home in West Auckland.

Soft cover, 60 pages. Published in 2002. See below for paintings from the book and the artist's comments on each painting.

It is difficult to match colors precisely after scanning paintings or photographs. After all there are only a limited number of websafe colors. However I have tried to match the colors for these superb paintings. Your monitor may show them differently from mine. I have posted them at high resolutions to preserve as much of the exquisite detail as possible.

Moral Rite (354k)

Oppenheimer (318k)

Gift (305k)
Conquest of Optimism (390k)
Global Enema (334k)
Dark Reef (258k)

MORAL RITE, 2001, oil on canvas

Here is a woman performing a small personal ceremony. A ceremony that celebrates the cleansing fluidity of the water and the sensuality of her own body there within. A celebration of the freedom from the muddy swamp of distorted scial constructs that moral and political correctness inevitably become, obscuring the putrid societal coagulation beneath their muddy surface. Her rite celebrates the transparency of truthful morality and life-giving water.

OPPENHEIMER, 1986, oil on board

Observing a blinding flash from outside the frame the figures in this painting stand naive and complacent against the brutal potential of nuclear war. I have used as the title, the main player in the development of the first atom bomb Dr Robert Oppenheimer, perhaps unfairly in light of his eventual denunciation of the weaponry.

GIFT, 1992, oil on board

A genre that I raely indulge in, this is a portrait of my daughter Mischa at the age of 15 acting out the sentiment of the pricelessness of the gift of children. Using the indefinite title "Gift" the object depicted could be the simple and seemingly worthless palm-frond or the priceless child herself. The potential sentimentality of the idea is tempered by the threatening mouth-like undercut in the two cliffs, which suggests the vulnerability of youth and therefore the thought that the gift of children should not be taken for granted.

CONQUEST OF OPTIMISM, 1985, oil on board

At this time the world was in a depressing state of anxiety over the fragility of East/West relations and the senselessness of the arms race. We were bombarded with pessimistic media images and it seemed to me that this pessimism was more than a sympton of the potentiality for nuclear war but a major contributing factor in the possible cause. My protagonist in the painting became my pillar of strength and the exaggerated glow from the fish the source of optimism that she carried. The two energy-charged sets of power-lines are a symbol of the potential for constructive dialogue and commnication. It was the first time I was confident enough to use a variety of non place-specific elements within a painting and thus break out of the subjectivity of the place/identity restrictions that realism almost ievitably finds itself.

GLOBAL ENEMA (Noah's Extinction Event), 2001, oil on canvas

For some years I wanted to do an image inspired by the heavy rock band Tool's song entitled "Aenema" which contained lyrics such as "I'm praying for rain, I'm praying for tidal waves ... I want to see the ground give way, I want to watch it all go down ... Flush it all away" layered over a continuous chanting of "learn to swim! Learn to swim! Learn to swim! ..."

I compare this contemporary expression of Armageddon with that of the Biblical story of Noah and wiated for several years to find a good and willing model. I met such a person in Niue in 2000 and he liked the idea. It turned out that Brad Matsen was an American author of some standing and when he returned to the US he sent me a copy of an illustrated book of his entitled "Planet Ocean". This was an entertaining book on paleontology designed for the layman, which laid out the origins and evolution of Man over the background of the various extinction events that Earth has gonethrough since the beginnings of life on Earth. After reading the book, the use of Brad as the model for the painting became more significant and appropriate and even more so that the anti-anthropocentric notion of evolution was in contreast to my use of a biblical and therefore humna-centered account of human origin.

DARK REEF, 1989, oil on board

In 1988 we went to Niue for four months during which time the French were giving conditionally, large aid packages to the Pacific Islands against the background of New Zealand's antagonism toward nuclear weapons testing. I saw this as an insidious infiltration, manipulation and exploitation of the naivety of the various island states. The children in their vast lagoon become the islands and weaker countries of the world and the usually harmless but actually deadly, banded sea krait makes a most appropriate metaphor for the nuclear powers and the eight or so industrialised countries that continue to manipulate anmd maneuver the rest of the world.

Click here to access Mark's website.


Haviliviliaga Manatu (Reflections) by Tohitohi Nukutuluea - the Niue Writers Group. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies. IPS166. Recommended retail price $18.

This inaugural edition of Havilivilianga Nanatu or Reflections is a great achievement for Tohitohi Nukutuluea, formerly known as the Niue Writers Group.

Our goal is to write stories and poetry about our own land… as summarized by Fiji writer and USP lecturer Larry Thomas in Musings on Niue. He wrote: "They want to be heard and to be known in their own words not in the words and description about them coming from the outside world."

These writings are reflections and experiences of those living on Niue today. The subjects are many and varied. The birth of the group in December 1995 furnished the passion of perspective writers to bring forth a means of self-expression. The timing was right as the following year, 1996, several specialists in this area from the region visited the island, namely Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop from Samoa and Linda Crowl from the Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific, Suva. The members of Tohitohi Nukutuluea are most grateful for their valuable advice and encouragement, which gave assurance and enlightenment to the group.

Larry Thomas came later in the year and it was his painstaking guidance, with tact and firmness, that culminated into Musings on Niue. Oue tulou to you all! Soft cover, 68 pages. Published in 1999.


Musings on Niue edited by Larry Thomas. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies. ISBN 9823660018. Recommended retail price $15.

This is the first anthology of creative writing in English to come out of Niue, the smallest member country of the University of the South Pacific (USP), the regional University which serves twelve South Pacific island countries through campus and distance education. Since USP's establishment in 1968, Laucala campus staff have also worked in various capacities in the USP Extension centers in the region, as Larry Thomas did on Niue in 1996; this book is one of the outcomes of his work there. Soft cover, 65 pages. Published in 1997.


Niue: A History of the Island by Maihetoe Hekaua et al. Recommended retail price $15, our price $14.

This is the story of Niue, the world's smallest self-governing nation, written by leading citizens of the country itself. The book outlines the origins and early history of a vigorous Polynesian people, and the changes which have come about as the result of contact with Christianity, commerce and colonial government.

The authors then describe the move towards independence, the situation in Niue today and the prospects for the future. Soft cover, 152 pp.


Tagi Tote E Loto Haaku - My Heart is Crying a Little by Margaret Pointer and Kalaisi Folau. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies. ISBN 9820201578. Recommended retail price $19.

In October 1915, 150 young men sailed from the island of Niue in the Pacific Ocean, to take part in the Great War. None had ever left their tiny island before. Most spoke no English. They were unaccustomed to Palagi food and clothing. They were unprepared for a cold climate.

Their isolation in the Pacific for generations meant they had no immunity to Palagi diseases. Yet they sailed on this, the greatest voyage ever undertaken by Niue Islanders.

As members of the New Zealand Maori Contingent, the Niueans served in Egypt then France before being withdrawn to England in the face of mounting sickness rates.

Now, for the first time, the details of this journey have been pieced together and the story told of the Niuean contribution to World War I. Soft cover, 196 pages. Published in 2000.

Click on links below for these books.

South Pacific Phrasebook by Hadrien Dhont et al

Tonga~Samoa Handbook by David Stanley (Includes section on Niue)

[Previous] New Zealand (Aotearoa)
[Next] Pacific Region
[Up] Country or Place
[Home] Home Page
[Mail] Send E-Mail to Pacific Island Books
[Contents] Pacific Island Books Contents

Thanks for visiting Pacific Island Books

Last modified on Tuesday, Jauary 02, 2007