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Cook islanders in town : a study of Cook Island urbanisation.


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Curson, Peter Hayden 1972 , 'Cook islanders in town : a study of Cook Island urbanisation.', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Cook Islanders have a very long history of population
movement within their Island group and to other parts of the
Pacific. Today migration has almost become a part of the social
structure. Movement to the town of Avarua began as early as the
1840s and soon came to represent one of the dominant forces in
the Island scene. By the late 1940s Cook Islanders had added a
further dimension to the migration process in that an ever
increasing number were moving to New Zealand many to settle in the
urban areas of Auckland and Wellington. Although many emigrated
in response to economic stimuli by the mid-1950s one of the main
dislodging factors was undoubtedly the activity of the large number
of Islanders resident in New Zealand. The movement of Islanders
to Avarua and to Auckland is seen as being functionally interrelated.
Growing urbanisation on Rarotonga can therefore be seen
as a preliminary stage of an urbanisation process which will reach
its culmination in the urban centres of New Zealand. Avarua as
the centre of European colonisation, administration and economic
activity is very much a town 'in transition' from traditional to
modern, an arena of socio-economic change where modern influences
co-exist and conflict with the traditional. Within the town
ethnicity remains an important differentiating characteristic of
urban life,as does migration which has produced a continual
sifting and sorting of the population as Islanders arrive from the
Outer Islands and depart for New Zealand.
Within Auckland, Islanders have occupied some of the
city's oldest and most deteriorated housing in areas of generally
low social grade. While prejudice and discrimination have played
a part in ensuring this settlement pattern also important has been
the desire by migrants to preserve traditional cultural values,
kinship ties and preferred modes on interaction. Overall the kinship
network remains of considerable significance in both attracting
migrants to particular parts of the city and in providing
important lines of communication and exchange between migrants in
New Zealand and their kinsfolk in the Islands. Such linkages
play a major role in shaping social relationships and interaction
within the city as well as serving to bind together rural
village, urban Avarua and the New Zealand urban community into a
complex interlocking network of obligations, rights and exchanges.
To this extent it is possible to visualise the Auckland community
as being an extension of the Cook Island social system. The
transition to urban life has not been without its problems.
Traditional village life has often ill-prepared migrants for the
highly differentiated and complieated life of town and city.
Stresses resulting from urban living and the pressure for social
and economic change have in many cases been productive of frustration,
anxiety, social deviancy and medical problems.
In the final analysis Cook Islanders continue to live
in a number of worlds and to act within a number of frames of
reference. At least three worlds seem relevant to the urban
Islander: traditional village, urban Avarua and urban Auckland.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Curson, Peter Hayden
Keywords: Urbanization
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1972 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tasmania, 1972. Bibliography: p. 488-500

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