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An Introduction to Polynesian Anthropology

Outside Expeditions

Outside Expeditions

In accordance with its program for the anthropological survey of Polynesia, the Museum was prepared to cooperate with field workers from other institutions. Where arrangements for the field work had already been made, the Museum gave financial assistance by publishing the ethnological reports on islands within the Polynesian area. Such outside expeditions are listed as follows:

Chatham Islands (1919)

H. D. Skinner, Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Otago, New Zealand, made a field trip to the Chatham Islands in 1919. He had already examined the Moriori (Chatham Islanders) material in the New Zealand museums when the outbreak of World War I took him to Gallipoli with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. Before returning to New Zealand, he had the opportunity of taking a course in anthropology at Cambridge and studying the Moriori material in the British Museum, the Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford, and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. The museums visited contained more old material than could possibly be found in the Chatham Islands, but the field trip gave the geographical background in which the material objects were page 54made. Skinner's manuscript on "The Morioris of Chatham Islands" was published by Bishop Museum (Memoirs, IX, 1, 1923).

A second visit to the Chatham Islands was made by Skinner in 1924 with a party of scientists from the Otago Institute and the Canterbury Museum. His new material and information obtained from William Baucke, an old resident of the Chatham Islands living at the time in New Zealand, resulted in a combined manuscript on "The Morioris", which was published by Bishop Museum (Memoirs, IX, 5, 1928).

Niue (1923-1924)

Edwin R. Loeb of the University of California, and his wife, arrived in Niue on August 25, 1923, and left on March 24, 1924. Loeb completed a manuscript on the "History and traditions of Niue", much of it based on accounts written in native text by the natives themselves. The Museum provided some financial assistance, and part of the artifacts collected on the island were deposited with Bishop Museum. The Museum published Loeb's manuscript as Bulletin 32 (1926).

Manua, Samoa (1925-1926)

Margaret Mead, as a Fellow in the Biological Sciences of the National Research Council, spent nine months in American Samoa making a study of the adolescent girl among a primitive people. Before going to Samoa, she was made an Associate in Ethnology of Bishop Museum, where she spent several weeks preparing for her field work. As a result of her field studies, she also prepared a manuscript on the "Social organization of Manua", which was published by Bishop Museum as Bulletin 76 (1930).

Easter Island (1934-1935)

Alfred Métraux visited Easter Island as a member of the Franco-Belgian Expedition. The first plans for the expedition were conceived by the Institut d'Ethnologie de l'Université de Paris and by the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle in Paris. The Belgian Government and scientific institutions gave their support to the enterprise, which became a joint undertaking by the two countries. The expedition was originally composed of Charles Louis Watelin, French archaeologist; Henry Lavachery, Conservator of the Royal Museum of art and history, Brussels; Israel Drapkin, Chilian physician; and Alfred Métraux, Ethnologist. The French Navy conveyed the members of the expedition to Easter Island aboard the Rigault-de-Genouilly, but Mr. Watelin died on the way, in the Patagonian channels. The Belgian training ship Mercator returned the members of the expedition to France when their work was finished.

As I have stated, the Museum awarded Métraux a Bishop Museum Fellowship to enable him to write up his Ethnology of Easter Island at the Museum. The Museum published it (Bulletin 160, 1940) as well as a demographic study by Drapkin (Occasional Papers, XI, 12, 1935).

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First Zaca Expedition (1933)

An expedition to the Solomon Islands was organized by Templeton Crocker in 1933, and through his courtesy the Museum was represented on the Crocker yacht, Zaca, by Gordon Macgregor, Bishop Museum Fellow for 1931. The islands visited in Polynesia were Pukapuka, where Macgregor obtained information which was published by the Museum (Occasional Papers, XI, 6, 1935), and Hull and Sydney Islands in the Phoenix group, where 31 archaeological sites were studied. In addition to the Solomon Islands, a number of Melanesian islands, which are usually regarded as Polynesian outliers, were visited. These were Nupaki and Naloko in the Santa Cruz Islands, Sikiana, Rennell, Bellona, Matema, in the Reef Islands, and Anuda. Observations were made, and Mr. Crocker gave the Museum a fine set of photographs.

Second Zaca Expedition (1934-1935)

The second expedition organized by Templeton Crocker was accompanied by H. L. Shapiro. The Zaca visited the Society Islands, Tatakoto and Hao in the Tuamotus, the Austral Islands, Rapa, Mangareva, Pitcairn, and Easter Island. Shapiro was able to procure additional physical measurements to round off the material for Polynesia.