16 Feb 2009

New Zealand academic produces book looking back at 50 years observation of the Pacific

8:23 pm on 16 February 2009

A new book tells the story of one scholar's over fifty years of studies of the Pacific region.

Ray Watter's book "Journeys Towards Progress" is a compilation of essays drawing from his vast experience as a researcher in Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati and Polynesian microstates.

Mr Watters, who tought at Wellington's Victoria University, says although there's been much development since the 1950s, most people in these countries still face the same challenges.

"The old problems hadn't gone away. Many of the problems are exactly the same as they used to be or are in fact still there and worse. For example, the difference between Fijians and Indians in growing cane. Back in 1958-59 Indians grew about 4.3 or 4.2 tonnes per acre difference, in favour of the Indians. In 2000, the gap was almost identical."

Ray Watters says the book tries to put the history of these countries into a broader context.