Food and the home front: New Guinea Villagers’ survival during the Pacific War

Christine Winter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In histories of the Pacific War, and its impact on Papua and New Guinea,
war histories reconstruct and analyze battles and troop movements in great details. In contrast this chapter focuses on the actions and plights of villagers, using rare documents w1itten by senior New Guinean men during and shortly after the war.
During the Pacific War, the strategically important yet confined area, the Huon
Peninsula in New Guinea, was a contested space. A former German protectorate,
administered by Australia as a C Mandate of the League of Nations, it was occupied by the Japanese in early 1942 and regained by the Allies in late 1943, early 1944. Members of all three nations that had claimed formal colonial control were present throughout these eventful 2 years- occupying Japanese, Australian coastwatchers operating behind enemy lines, and German missionaries- imposing on New Guineans for assistance and cooperation.
By bringing New Guinean experiences to the fore, this chapter is narrating localized histories that are more than simply small, local micro-histories. They are a fundamental change in outlook. The influential late Tongan intellectual, historian, and theorist Epeli Hau'ofa reconceptualized the Pacific as a "sea of islands," in which local identity is not dissolved but embedded in a shared Ocean. He argues a strategic and moral concept of Pacific-Oceanic identity and history as a process. Focusing on New Guinea villagers, this article intends to create grounded and localized histories as a first step in a bigger process of creating shared histories.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMixed-Methods and Cross Disciplinary Research
Subtitle of host publicationTowards Cultivating Eco-Systemic Living
EditorsJanet McIntyre-Mills, Norma R.A. Romm
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-04993-5
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-04992-8
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2019

Publication series

NameContemporary Systems Thinking
PublisherSpringer Nature
ISSN (Print)1568-2846


  • New Guinean
  • Huon Peninsula
  • Japanese
  • Allies
  • war narratives


Dive into the research topics of 'Food and the home front: New Guinea Villagers’ survival during the Pacific War'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this