In this introduction, I shall commence with an outline of the scope of my thesis. The parameters of this study shall then be explored by explaining how the different chapters arose. I then address the different meanings attributed to housing. This will be followed by an explanation of what I hoped to achieve on undertaking this study and what my preconceptions were. The theoretical framework within which I conducted my research is then expounded, through an examination of how the approach and the methods I sought to apply originated in the field of development theory. My actual experience in the field pertaining to data collection will then be given with a brief exploration of the research methods involved. This thesis explores the issue of housing in the South Pacific, through focusing on the housing of Upolo in Samoa and Manihiki in the Cook Islands and the measures of cyclone resistance incorporated in the housing. It was thought that Upolo and Manihiki, having both suffered devastating cyclones in which over 90% of their housing was destroyed, would offer an interesting comparison. And with Samoa having suffered her cyclone some ten years before Manihiki, a reasonable assessment of subsequent progress in rehousing in Samoa could be made. A point of difference between the two was that Samoa only received direct assistance from the New Zealand government in the rebuilding of schools, and none in the rebuilding of housing. However, Manihiki was being funded into structures, albeit officially termed 'shelters', by the government of New Zealand, that are being utilised as housing. Through this thesis I hoped to evaluate the extent of the success of the scheme in Manihiki and the extent of the success of the Samoan people in rehousing themselves.