'Regional cooperation, alive and well and living in Wellington' : New Zealand at the South Pacific Forum 1976-1983 ; a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in History at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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This thesis examines the issues that shaped New Zealand's relations with the South Pacific Forum in the period 1976-1983. It seeks to explain New Zealand's attitude towards those issues, and considers the factors involved in influencing that attitude. It is not an examination of the policies of other Forum members and their motivations, except in as much as perceptions of those policies and motivations influenced New Zealand. The Forum was established in 1971 under a National government as an annual meeting of the heads of government of the independent states of the South Pacific. It was the prime regional body in the period 1976 to 1983 and as an instrument of regional decision-making it dealt with both economic and political issues. McKinnon regards the South Pacific Forum as very important, 'both in registering the reality of an independent Pacific and also in providing a diplomatic means of fostering stability in the region'.¹ Some commentators have regarded initial Forums, concerned with the economic development of the region, as having achieved few tangible initiatives.² Nineteen Seventy-Six marked a turning point and corresponded with the attendance of Muldoon as New Zealand's newly elected National Prime Minister. The following eight years saw a dramatic transformation in the nature of the Forum and the issues with which it dealt.[FROM INTRODUCTION]
Pacific Area cooperation, New Zealand, Pacific Area -- Foreign relations, South Pacific Forum