Oceania: Early encounters
Oceania – the sea of islands in the vast Pacific. The peopling of this watery world goes back thousands of years, but only in the last 500 have Pacific and European peoples met here. Journey through time to explore their early encounters – some of them marked by curiosity and cooperation, others by confusion and conflict.
In this exhibition
People of the sea
The original peoples of the Pacific shared a voyaging history and maintained strong cultural ties.
The first contact between European explorers and Pacific peoples prompted a range of responses.
Increasing interaction between Pacific peoples and newcomers brought great change, including in the arts.
Spirituality was a fundamental part of life in pre-European Oceania – and then came missionaries and Christianity.
Cultures in conflict
From warrior times to colonisation – European settlement of the Pacific sometimes sparked armed conflict.