The Changing Roles of the Polynesian Paramount Chief

Leadership Polynesians Samoa Tonga Fiji Cook Islands New Zealand
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This thesis looks at chiefly Polynesian leadership in the 21st century. Since 2006, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Cook Islands and Aotearoa have each experienced the loss of prominent chiefly leaders. In each of the cases, new leaders have risen to take the places of the recently departed ones. In a world that is constantly changing, the chiefly systems of each of the five island nations are also riding the same wave of change. This thesis explores and discusses these changes and endeavours to unravel how the present day chiefs and the chiefly systems, have been affected and influenced by such changes. It also looks at and discusses characteristics and features of chiefly leadership, and compares them throughout various stages of Polynesian history. The chronological structure of the thesis provides a brief history of Polynesian chiefs starting at pre-Christian time, through to post-contact and independence, right up to the present. Examples and narratives of historical events are used throughout the thesis to both illustrate and support various issues and topics being discussed Finally, the thesis is a collection of voices of present day Polynesian chiefs. Insights, experiences and personal opinions of current Polynesian leaders have been recorded and carefully woven into this thesis. The chiefly stories and narratives provide strands of firsthand knowledge which are woven together with strands of academic literature knowledge to create the kete or basket of knowledge that is this thesis.

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