These activities are designed so students can reflect on what they have learnt throught the Polynesian Expansion across the Pacific (c.700-1756) depth study and prompt further questioning and enquiry. These concluding activities can be used as a starting point or as inspiration for other questions.

  • Many towns and cities around Australia have Pacific Islander community groups who run outreach activities. Research your local area and make contact with a local group. They may have people who are able to come and share their knowledge of the history and tradition of their country’s and/or Polynesian culture with your students.
  • Polynesian societies are featured frequently in film and literature, however the depiction is not always accurate.
    • Choose a reference work and ask students to evaluate the work for accuracy. Ask the students to consider why artistic licence may have been taken.  Ask them to suggest ways the work could be remade with more accuracy.

      Note: Older representations of Pacific and Polynesian societies may be offensive by today’s standards. Ensure all material is appropriate for use.

  • As discussed in The First Polynesians and their Environments: Adaptability, innovations and horticulture, many Polynesia languages share similarities, some almost identical. Similar cultural practices are also seen across many different societies, as explored in Religious and social significance of marae in Polynesian cheifdoms.
    • What impact do these commonalities have in a region comprised of so many individual nations? Is it important to find common ground with others? Is it important to have differences? How do nations with similar cultures and histories forge national identities?
    • Have students conduct a survey in the class or among friends. Pose questions about different things they do or ways they do things. This could be as simple as asking "how do you celebrate a birthday in your family?" Have students collate the results and identify commonalities and any differences. For instance, many people will have a cake on their birthday, but some people may dine out ont heir birthday while others will cook (or have cooked) a special meal at home, others may not celebrate birthdays at all. Ask students to think about the things they do with their family that might be unique.

      Note: This exercise is a prompt to enhance inter-cultural understanding and celebrate the difference and similarities in our communities.However, some students may feel uncomfortable if they are the only point of difference. Ensure questions and topics are appropriate and sensitive to the class.

  • After 1756, European explorers began arriving with increasing frequency in the Pacific, charting lands previously unknown to European societies. What impact did the arrival of these explorers have on the societies already established in Polynesia? How did the way of life change? What connection to pre-European contact remain in the present?