Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Oceanic imaginaries in film and development: lenses of collaboration

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posted on 2021-12-08, 07:56 authored by Puka, Tagimamao

Cultural expression and culture have informed the formulation of development outcomes and processes, with varying success. Historically, this has occurred incidentally to mainstream development priorities such as primary education and health, and food security. In recent decades have, however, international institutions have come to recognise the importance of culture to development both as an area of development as well as something which informs development planning and processes. Often, the cultural development agenda, where driven by institutions, has been largely for instrumental purposes. Thus far, there has been an emphasis in research on the relative absence of culture from development definitions and processes.  This thesis investigates the ways that film and film-making processes are contributing to a range of social and cultural outcomes in Oceania, and how these processes could be envisaged as contributing to a broader cultural development agenda. Using qualitative methods, this research examines how the regional imaginary is being practiced in different ways by film communities by drawing on several film projects across the region. This is couched in a discussion which examines the role of indigenous film as part of the global decolonisation agenda. It also highlights the importance of film as a means of decolonising identities and social practice.  This research reveals the diverse motivations for collaborative kinships in film. These in turn demonstrate how understandings of relationships between individuals and communities can be enable horizontal development. This demonstrates the tension between dominant understandings of development and regionalism. This research also highlights how film kinships, informed by regional connections, are collaborating to grow film-making in Oceania.  Using an intersectional framework drawing on scholarship from post-development theory and Pacific Studies, this research seeks to broaden the way that development is framed and practiced. While it is critical of some mainstream development tendencies – in policy formulation and practice – this research seeks to highlight how diverse and numerousapproaches are important. This research draws together an analysis of collaboration in film practice and endeavours to address inequalities in voice and representation of Oceanian peoples in film. It shows the contribution that film can make to expansive understandings of development in Oceania.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Development Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Development Studies

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Stupples, Polly