The development of commercial agriculture on Mangaia: social and economic change in a Polynesian community: a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts at Massey University
The problems confronting the so called 'underdeveloped nations' of the world are pressing more urgently upon mankind every year. In response there is a rapidly expanding body of knowledge associated with the technical, social and economic changes which must be brought about within such countries if progress is to be assured. Because so much of the change must occur at a village level, studies of small groups have become increasingly important. This thesis is the result of such a study based on the island of Mangaia, a small and isolated Polynesian community in the Cook Islands. The aim of the study was to trace the development of commercialisation of the agricultural system from European contact to the present day, to relate the major changes to their causative factors and to assess the present degree of commercialisation and the prospects for the future. The research thus fell into two parts, historical and contemporary. The historical data was derived from three main sources, missionary reports and letters, administration records and New Zealand Government records, with a valuable ethnological study by Hiroa providing the basis of the pre-historical material. Contemporary data was collected firstly by the administration of a questionnaire to a sample population. The instrument included a battery of schedules dealing with details of the household, the head of the household, and the agricultural plantations maintained by the household. Secondly, a land use survey was carried out which concentrated upon a classification of land into that used for food crops, commercial crops and fallow land. (see Appendix I).