Pacific Ocean comprises 25,000 islands, divided into three ethnic, cultural and linguistic regions, Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia, where only a few thousand islands are inhabited. The general dramatic expression is based on the islanders’ everyday life; the sea, family relationships, cultural and social values, legends, etc. and appears as a combination of music, dance, storytelling and comic elements, performed by larger groups of highly professional artists, who, however, like many Southeast Asian artists do not have it as their way of life. Most performances are performed as part of festivals, religious ceremonies or community-oriented celebrations, where up to several hundred dancers perform in line or in races. Dance and music are such an integral part of the culture that everyone can and wants to participate, whereby the focus of the experience is the unison expression rather than the individual. The contact with the western world from the 16th century has, however, in many cases been fatal to the drama forms of the islands, which were first considered by missionaries to be pagan and attempted to be destroyed and have since been influenced by the outside pop culture. The latter half of the 20th century, however, has seen a search back to the primitive forms and an awareness of the lost cultural heritage, not least through the Pacific Festival of Arts, which since 1972 every four years brings together artists from across the region. Modern theater has to a large extent also been characterized by the desire to re-establish cultural identity. Inspired by their own not least through the Pacific Festival of Arts, which since 1972 brings together artists from across the region every four years. Modern theater has to a large extent also been characterized by the desire to re-establish cultural identity. Inspired by their own ritual theater and western theater theorists such as Augusto Boal and Jerzy Grotowski have created epic and socially realistic works on societal topics such as AIDS, education, violence, nature conservation, etc.
According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER, the indigenous peoples of the Pacific have, according to European tradition, been divided into a number of cultural areas based in part on superficial racial divisions: Australia (Aborigines), Melanesia (‘Black Islands’), Micronesia (‘Small Islands’) and Polynesia (‘the many islands’). In Oceania, the Aborigines as well as the population of New Guinea and part of the Melanesian Islands constitute the oldest population dating back over 40,000 years. A later Austronesian immigration from Southeast Asia has from approximately 3000 BC populated the rest of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. A table of Australian countries, capitals, population and area can be found on Countryaah – Countries in Oceania.
No animal groups are particularly characteristic of Oceania; however, the distribution of the butterfly group Aglossata is limited to part of this area (Fiji and Vanuatu) as well as Australia. New Guinea and other major islands NE of Australia have very rich fauna with Australian and Oriental relations, see Wallace’s line; Of particular note are the two species of anteaters (see sewer animals) found in New Guinea. See also Australia and New Zealand.
The species richness of the smaller islands in Oceania depends to a large extent on whether the islands are of continental origin or are oceanic without ever having been connected to the mainland (volcanic and coral islands). Continental islands are most often species-rich and house many endemic species or groups. Oceanic islands are generally species-poor and usually lack non-flying vertebrates; on the other hand, there may be a significant number of endemic invertebrates such as banana flies in Hawaii.
The wildlife of the islands of Oceania is an exemplary example of distribution patterns dictated by isolation and size (see island biogeography): the more isolated, the fewer species. The Solomon Islands thus have 127 species of native land birds, New Caledonia 77, the Fiji Islands 54, Samoa 33, the Society Islands of French Polynesia 17 and Henderson Island at Pitcairn 1, while Easter Island has none at all.
Oceania’s many islands are divided into three main groups according to their plate tectonic formation. The first group includes some of the largest islands such as New Zealand and New Caledonia. They are located in the collision zone between the Indo-Australian Plate and the Pacific Plate and consist of younger rocks, which are formed during the alpine folding. The islands contain fragments of continental plates and intertwined volcanic island arches. They are characterized by mountain ranges with strongly folded and metamorphosed rocks, and considerable volcanism occurs.
The second group consists of young volcanic island arches formed over active subduction zones, where one ocean floor plate is passed down below another. An example of this is the Marianas archipelago, which is formed where the Pacific plate is introduced under the Philippine plate.
The third group consists of a large number of smaller islands, especially on the inner part of the Pacific plate. These islands are primarily formed by underwater volcanism, caused by hot spots, ie. point-rising heat flows from the mantle. If the volcanism ceases, a gradual subsidence occurs. Where the ocean floor plate moves over a prolonged hot spot, the active volcanic islands will therefore have a long strip of extinct and “drowned” volcanic islands after them, such as the Hawaiian archipelago. In the subtropical and tropical parts of the Pacific Ocean, vigorous growth of corals can occur at the same rate as subsidence, and coral islands and atolls form over the drowned volcanic islands. At higher latitudes, the islands become submarine mountains and plateaus.