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Oceania & Australasia[edit]

So, I'm really confused by Oceania, Australia, and Australasia. Can we work out some kind of reasonable geographical hierarchy, starting from this page? Or are there some areas here that don't belong in Oceania?

New Zealand shows up in Polynesia and Australasia... there are a couple of other overlapping areas. Can we map out the "real" ones, and put in advisory ones as notes? --(WT-en) Evan 12:51, 8 Dec 2005 (EST)

Unnecessary Hierarchy[edit]

Following up on the observations above, and now that Australasia has been removed from the main page in favour of Oceania, I think the whole Oceania/Australasia, Oceania/Polynesia etc is now unnecessary hierarchy. I propose the hierarchy go from Main Page -> Oceania -> Country (or other Destination).

The reasons for this are..

  • There are few enough destinations to be covered comfortably is an expanded Oceania article.
  • The regions are unfamiliar and obscure even to the seasoned traveller. I have been to many of the destinations in Oceania, but I really could not tell you which were in Melanesia (for example). Hierarchies should categories information into familiar groupings, but nearly all the countries listed in the grouping are more familiar than the grouping itself.
  • Redundant hierarchies and meaningless groupings lead inevitably to bad articles, and bad articles so high in the project hierarchy reflect badly on the project. We should avoid these where possible.
  • The fact that these articles have been around so long, and have such poor content would indicate that they are probably redundant.

And - even if anyone considers it desirable to keep Melanesia, Polynesia or Micronesia, I would argue that Australasia is still redundant, as a grouping for only Australia, New Zealand and possibly Papua New Guinea. These major regional countries would expected to be listed at the Oceania level anyway, and Australasia really is a nothingness.

--(WT-en) Inas 23:17, 9 November 2008 (EST)

I think you're pretty much dead on with this. We already list all the countries and territories on this page anyway, and we're clearly not developing anything very worthwhile on the subregion pages. I agree that Australasia is not a useful grouping at all—there's really very little in common between New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Much of the little that has been written in these subregional articles could simply be deleted at little cost, and what's important could be merged into this article. A shame, though, to make that nice map redundant! Anyway, you have my support in this, but it might be best to wait a while and see what a certain Cacahuate thinks. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 18:07, 10 November 2008 (EST)
I agree. Keep smiling, (WT-en) ee talk 18:09, 10 November 2008 (EST).
yeah, ditch em... that map was a bitch, but I'll revise it and then upload the SVG soon, if you'll take care of making the article changes and isin changes – (WT-en) cacahuate talk 17:40, 14 November 2008 (EST)
Alright, I got rid of the region drawings on the map... I left the titles though, is that at all helpful, or just confusing? I can ditch them too... are we going to get rid of the various 'nesias in our hierarachy? I don't see a real need for them here, I agree we can just go Oceania -> Country. Any naysayers? – (WT-en) cacahuate talk 01:19, 18 November 2008 (EST)
Get rid of the 'nesias? Just when I was thinking to add more! What are we going to do about Polymelanesia, Austropolesia, Indo-australesia, Australopolesia and Indopolesia?? (WT-en) Texugo 01:43, 18 November 2008 (EST)
Not to mention Amnesia. (WT-en) Texugo 02:14, 18 November 2008 (EST)
Polynesia and Australasia are gone. Micronesia - all the places that are on article page are already on the Oceania page, however there are quite a few other little islands and US dependencies that are isin Micronesia, but not on the article page. I've had a go at tidying up the Line Islands page, I think disambig works best there, because I don't think a region split between two countries works well. Like New Guinea I guess. Anyway, I'm just proceeding slowly on Micronesia - pausing for thought, trying not to clutter too much. If anyone wants to jump in with ideas, I'm open as always.. --(WT-en) Inas 17:18, 19 November 2008 (EST)
Good job working through this Inas! Keep smiling, (WT-en) edmontonenthusiast [ee] .T.A.L.K. 17:26, 19 November 2008 (EST).
Done a survey around the office. Of about 30 people, 23 didn't know where Micronesia was, or could name any country in it. The other 7, after some additional questioning, it turned out they were thinking about the FSM. My inclination is now to redirect Micronesia to the Federated States of Micronesia, put a link to a disambig page at the top of that page, indicating that some other regional countries are also sometimes considered as part of a region called Micronesia, and create an appropriate disambig page. All the countries themselves will then be isIn Oceania. Will proceed soon, barring objections, and wrap this up. --(WT-en) Inas 18:48, 23 November 2008 (EST)
Good Idea Inas, but it's sad you're office workers didn't know that. I know where Micronesia is placed (not exactly) and I live on a totally diff continent! Keep Smiling, (WT-en) edmontonenthusiast [ee] .T.A.L.K. 19:05, 24 November 2008 (EST).
Okay, all done. Micronesia has joined the other nesias in the big skynesia. It felt good getting rid of Australasia, confusing and unnecessary. Polynesia also felt right, with everything from Hawaii to New Zealand claiming membership - no clarity to the region at all. Micronesia less so. It does seem to be a much more well defined cultural region, with much less significant populations.. --(WT-en) Inas 19:30, 24 November 2008 (EST)
Looks good to me. It makes a lot more sense this way. Thanks for your efforts. (WT-en) Texugo 19:59, 24 November 2008 (EST)

East Timor[edit]

Surely not in Oceania? And if it is then you have to include all the Indonesian islands that surround it, plus West Timor and if you include them you might as well include the Philippines. Yes, definition is difficult but I do feel that East Timor is pushing the boundaries of Oceania a bit too much, even if it is only a stone's throw from Australia.(WT-en) Shep 07:20, 27 August 2009 (EDT)

I don't know, geographically you are probably right, but I've always thought culturally the European (Portuguese) influence moves it closer to Oz, NZ and French Polynesia, than Indonesia - and yeah, I know Indonesia was Dutch and the Philippines Spanish/American - but the influence seems much less pronounced in these modern countries, than in East Timor, and was to great extend to underlying reason to the armed conflict. Although Wikipedia does put in Southeast asia. --(WT-en) Stefan (sertmann) Talk 08:37, 27 August 2009 (EDT)
I have to agree with Roundtheworld, East Timor should be in Asia. It is a future member of ASEAN, and all the Indonesian islands around it are considered part of Asia as well. And indeed, even Philippines and Taiwan could be considered Oceania, but I think travelers would recognize it better as being Asian. (WT-en) Globe-trotter 17:21, 31 August 2009 (EDT)
I made a few additions to Oceania and deleted East Timor.(WT-en) Shep 05:08, 1 September 2009 (EDT)

Cities and Other Destinations[edit]

It's the hype of the moment, adding cities and other destinations to continents, so why not here. I gave it a shot, but I'm pretty sure it can be improved as I'm only well-known in Australia, not so much in the other countries... This is what I got now:


Other Destinations:

Please some advice on which to ditch or add :) (WT-en) Globe-trotter 17:13, 24 December 2009 (EST)

I don't know the region so well, either, but I think you did a good job of avoiding the temptation to list only Australian and New Zealand cities. I thought of the Bikini Atoll as an other destination, but we have no page for it. Papua New Guinea is one of the most biodiverse nations on the planet, with many areas still unexplored. Perhaps there is something there that should be an "Other destionation", but I don't know much about it. It seems that we don't have articles for them, if a park or something even exists... (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 20:26, 24 December 2009 (EST)
I recognise that this is the same procedure as for other articles, e.g. Europe, South America, but I am still not convinced of the need for such lists for Oceania. Reasons:
  • From a layout point of view I find long lists with no accompanying text to be very unattractive and offputting. If we are going to have lists then lets at least provide a couple of lines about each place on the list to give people a reason to follow the link;
  • It seems strange to have a list of cities consisting of some with several million inhabitants and others with 30,000. Surely the smaller ones are well covered by the country articles and there is no need for a separate listing of the capitals? You do not usually visit the islands to visit the capital but to visit the whole country, whereas you may well visit Sydney and nowehere else in Oz.
  • Actually, I'd like to get rid of Australia and New Zealand altogether and just concentrate on the islands. Perhaps a page for Oceania, with links to Oz, NZ and a new page called the Pacific Islands?

(WT-en) Shep 05:15, 25 December 2009 (EST)

It was never my intention not to include descriptions — obviously I'll include them once we have consensus on the list. I don't think it's strange that we have cities with millions and others with 30.000 - this is a diverse continent and the list should reflect it. We could create a separate Australasia and Pacific Islands continent scheme, though I wouldn't support that - it would create a region of just two countries which I think is too small for a continent. (WT-en) globe-trotter 14:26, 4 January 2010 (EST)
I now added descriptions to the lists. (WT-en) globe-trotter 15:10, 4 January 2010 (EST)
I really think Milford Sound (in Fiordland National Park) should be added to the list. I was thinking about replacing Coral Coast with Milford Sound, but then New Zealand would have 3 other destinations and Australia just 2, which would be odd. Maybe we could replace Moorea with one from Australia? --(WT-en) Globe-trotter 23:10, 13 November 2011 (EST)
I agree Milford Sound deserves inclusion. Abel Tasman is mentioned elsewhere in the article, and (although a lovely place) seems like just another pretty beach in the context of the whole list. I'll replace it with Milford if no one objects. --Avenue (talk) 01:52, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
I hate to do this to you, Avenue, since the journey to or a cruise on Milford Sound (rather than visiting the sandfly plagued township itself) is such a worthwhile thing to do (and I used to live in Te Anau), but I wouldn't agree to swap Milford Sound for "Abel Tasman National Park — enjoy one of New Zealand's "Great Walks" by the clear waters of Tasman Bay" - especially as the current entry makes clear that this is not necessarily just a beach destination.
The problem here is the arbitrary limit of 9 other destinations. However, because of our status quo bias, I see no reason to change the current 9 - except possibly to choose between "Bora Bora — the most beautiful lagoon of French Polynesia, but incredibly pricey" and "Moorea — budget alternative to Bora Bora with beautiful scenery" -- 02:53, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

overseas territories[edit]

Do we need the distinction between countries and overseas territories? Why not just one list? (WT-en) Shep 04:00, 2 January 2010 (EST)

I conquer that the Oceania list is too long. We have a list of which islands are considered to be Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. Then we have a list of countries. And then yet another list of overseas territories (followed by the city and other destination lists).
If it is important for us to identify Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia then could we just separate all the islands into those categories to begin with and then cut the other 2 lists? If it's not important, then we could make Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia into disambiguation pages and get rid of that list on the page. (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 04:13, 2 January 2010 (EST)
I agree. The addition of cities and attractions was not my idea and I don't think it was needed. That is why I am beginning to put photos in to fill up the blank spaces. I'll try to move the country descriptions into the three categories Mel, Poly and Micro, plus others for Oz and NZ. (WT-en) Shep 06:19, 2 January 2010 (EST)
I think before there was consensus that the categories Mel, Poly and Micro are confusing, especially Polynesia. Many countries claim membership to many of these regions and they are not clear to most travellers. As a grouping I think it's OK, but making region articles from them will be hard.
I agree that the differences between "countries" and "dependencies" is rather useless, as travellers dont see differences between these political decisions.
I do think that Australia and New Zealand should be listed at the top of the countries list, instead of all the way down. (WT-en) globe-trotter 14:28, 4 January 2010 (EST)
I would definately oppose a move back to an extra level of geo hierarchy here. More region articles, when this one is sparse enough. The only thing that makes the list seem a bit long is really tiny or unpopulated islands. Not enough reason for a regional split again. When you start down the Poly & Micro trail, you have to contend with lots of oddities. New Zealand claims poly membership for example. Micro is a country as well as a region. Do a pop quiz in your vicinity, and see how many people can name is a country is mel, micro, or poly. --(WT-en) inas 15:07, 4 January 2010 (EST)
I grouped them into Melanesia etc. for purposes of presentation, not with the idea that they should form sub-regional articles. As to putting Australia and New Zealand last, well that was just to annoy Aussies and Kiwis. You are welcome to change it!(WT-en) Shep 16:03, 4 January 2010 (EST)
I think Oz & NZ being last is fine - people are more likely to jump directly to those article, and people exploring Oceania region are more likely searching for a nice pacific island option. Personally, I'd like to get rid of the the non-destinations that don't accept general categories of visitors. I know some people see them as detailed coverage of obscure places, but I just see them as self-indulgent, and of very little practical use to someone browsing through a region. If they want info, they can go direct to the articles. --(WT-en) inas 17:12, 4 January 2010 (EST)
The page was redone in the same way I was thinking when I made the above proposal, in case it was unclear. I agree that there is no need to create an article for Melanesia, Polynesia, and Micronesia, but I like having them organized under these categories on the page, because they are well-known (and it's better than deleting the divisions and making them disambiguation pages, in my opinion).(WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 03:43, 5 January 2010 (EST)
The names may be familiar - but I don't really accept that they are well known, especially if well known means most people actually know what they contain. --(WT-en) inas 06:27, 5 January 2010 (EST)
I'll toss in a voice for the old version, actually. I think the difference between territories and countries is meaningful enough, widespread enough in our continental section guides, and is possibly the best way of breaking up the big list here, of various poor options. The nesia categories, as Ian says, are a little too ambiguous for my liking. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 16:42, 5 January 2010 (EST)

I don't like this way of organization, it's actually quite a mess. Europe has the exact same problem, with many tiny nations basically ruining a good view of a continent. In Europe, I tried to solve it by adding a

See also: European Microstates, Dependencies and Disputed Territories

link under the countries, but I'm not sure whether that catched on or what others think of it. I think this is a good way to get a well-organized continent list and still have these small nations listed somewhere. --(WT-en) globe-trotter 22:30, 13 January 2010 (EST)

I reorganised it following Globetrotter's changes on 24 December in which he introduced two new lists, one of cities and one of places of interest. We then had lots of long lists with no text, which I did not find aesthetically very pleasing. Despite the criticisms I hope you all agree that it looks better now.
Peter's preference for going back to a division into countries and territories seems rather colonial in its approach. Several of the territories are actually much more important than some of the countries.
My preference would be to remove the city list. The cities in Oz and NZ are covered in the country articles. The others are not really major tourist destinations in themselves.
Finally, on the one hand I would like to delete Wake Island because it cannot be visited, but on the other I would like to retain it because it is a good article with much more info than many of the others. I think there would be a good case for removing Hawaii because it also falls under the USA. If not, then we have to list Honolulu, and a couple of attractions in Hawaii.

(WT-en) Shep 08:12, 14 January 2010 (EST)

The cities and OD list are part of the continent template. All continents have them and Oceania was actually the last one that also got a list like that. I really don't see why Oceania should be an exception to the other continents.
Oceania proposal.png
It's true though that the list of countries and dependencies is rather long. In Europe there are many small, not really interesting states, but here some dependencies are very important (such as French Polynesia). Maybe we could use a setting such as North America? Then we could make groups of Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, North Pacific and South Pacific? (see map) These are two groups of culturally and geographically similar states, and it would make the page a lot easier to navigate. Also, they are a lot more recognizable than all the nesias as it is simply "north" and "south". --(WT-en) globe-trotter 17:14, 14 January 2010 (EST)
Sorry, but North Pacific won't do. It is not a commonly used concept, unlike South Pacific. The North Pacific Ocean, strictly speaking, goes up to Alaska so I don't find using it here very relevant. I also don't accept that your division separates the islands into two culturally similar areas. There is a world of difference between Melanesia and Polynesia, which you have now lumped into South Pacific. The original map has the esias and on that basis I reorganised the country presentation. I still don't understand why this causes problems.(WT-en) Shep 07:26, 19 January 2010 (EST)

We are a travel guide, and while it is important to deal with cultural differences in our guides, it isn't necessarily the case we need to regionalise along those lines. A traveller can see many different cultures in a trip, or a region, and other groupings can make more sense. That is why I preferred the previous layout. If you are looking for a destination in Oceania - Fiji, Samoa, The Cooks, Vanuatu, Tahiti, and even Tonga offer a similar traveller experience. Developed tourism, regular flights, and a local culture (yes, diverse cultures) to explore. From a cultural perspective to say they are similar is heretical, yet truly from a traveller perspective they have much in common. However, listing Wake Island, Tokelau, etc next to these, is just truly very unhelpful to the traveller. It makes it harder to find what they are looking for. --(WT-en) inas 18:11, 19 January 2010 (EST)

The reason I used "North Pacific" is to make it different from "South Pacific". We could also just call this region "Micronesia". The problem, mostly with Polynesia, is that it is not an easy to define region as many countries claim to be Polynesian (from New Zealand to Hawaii).
But again, we could also just use the countries as top-level regions, which would be fine as well. I totally agree with inas -- the main purpose of a regional hierarchy is to make digestible regions so travellers can easily find what they are looking for. There can be a vast amount of cultural differences in these hierarchies. But there has to be a way to separate these really tiny islands from the main tourist destinations. --(WT-en) globe-trotter 07:25, 20 January 2010 (EST)

2011 discussion[edit]

There's still an enormous list of countries/territories now, which still makes this article hard to navigate. Why don't we just do the following regional division:

Any important cities of other destinations travellers could be looking for would be in those respective lists. --(WT-en) globe-trotter 09:22, 21 June 2011 (EDT)

Since we have clearly defined lists on the "disambiguation pages" for Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia, I wouldn't have a problem with this proposal. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 13:29, 21 June 2011 (EDT)
To plug this idea some more, I think having separate Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia articles would create some very good opportunities to showcase some helpful (potential) maps. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 15:35, 26 July 2011 (EDT)
I agree with those regions to be set up. Hope to get some input from other users. --(WT-en) globe-trotter 23:31, 30 July 2011 (EDT)
We could quibble forever about these separations (most notably that Papua New Guinea is definitely a part of Melanesia; but so is a lump of Indonesia, so let's not go there). I would happily support the six region division proposed above.--(WT-en) Burmesedays 23:54, 30 July 2011 (EDT)

I understand Inas' point about recognizability (raised long ago), but I'm not sure that quizzing Westerners on the countries of Melanesia is a good metric. How many Fijians could name the states in the American Great Plains? I completely agree that we need to divide things up somehow, and the proposed six regions are as good as any. Disagreements about one island or another's membership in Polynesia should not be an impediment to actually implementing a division, any more than some Marylanders' claims to be Southern should prevent us from calling the South "the South". (WT-en) LtPowers 10:50, 31 July 2011 (EDT)

Whew, this was a big task. But I have created new maps and sorted all the lists into the appropriate subregion articles. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 20:26, 11 August 2011 (EDT)
Okay, so now lets start on the arbitary regioning discussions that this division will obviously bring. I can't see any possible division that puts Norfolk Island in Melanesia. Wikipedia disagrees with that division, and there are no Melanesian cultural background. Shall I just remove it, or is there some basis to this? --(WT-en) inas 23:07, 19 October 2011 (EDT)
Just remove it, Norfolk has already been dealt with under Australia#Islands. --(WT-en) globe-trotter 02:59, 20 October 2011 (EDT)


I assume that as Hawaii is considered part of the region, the biggest and most visited city in Hawaii, Honolulu, should go on the Cities section. There are cities in that section less visited than Honolulu, after all, so one city should be removed. -- 15:51, 9 August 2010 (EDT)

EDIT: Apia, Noumea, and Papeete are good candidates for moving from Oceania page to their respective country's pages. -- 15:54, 9 August 2010 (EDT)

Map position[edit]

Can it be moved to the right? Jjtkk (talk) 07:44, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

Region maps in Polynesia, Micronesia etc. are on the right, can't we make it so here? Jjtkk (talk) 14:05, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
I would not recommend it. On wide screens it would look fine, but at smaller (or even medium-sized) resolutions, maps over 600px get crammed against the text, making the regions/districts section difficult to read. --Peter Talk 17:01, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

Page banner[edit]

A page banner for Oceania with no ocean? Seems odd. LtPowers (talk) 13:28, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

Lead photo is fairly typical "paradise island", so I wanted to try something else. But feel free to change. Jjtkk (talk) 14:15, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Powers on this one. I also agree that the lead image and the banner shouldn't be duplicates, but the lead image can/should be moved down the page or even removed if needbe. James Atalk 14:20, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
I also find it jarring. The pagebanner would be great for a relevant Australia guide, though. I would envision either a tropical paradise banner or a Great Barrier Reef underwater shot. --Peter Talk 19:32, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
Titikaveka, Rarotonga, Cook Islands banner.jpg
Flynn Reef banner.jpg

Something like this? Jjtkk (talk) 07:15, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Great work! Both look fantastic, so I find it hard to choose. Probably a slight preference for the coral one as it's a little more vibrant and colourful. James Atalk 08:31, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
I vote for the exotic and exciting coral reef! Ypsilon (talk) 08:48, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
I like the first one; it's more evocative of the South Seas and works better as a page banner (with plenty of cloudy skies for the page title). LtPowers (talk) 13:31, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
I prefer the underwater banner. It's more playful ("Oceania"), and allows us to keep the good lead image we already have in the article without being redundant. --Peter Talk 05:38, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

I prefer the coral one too and there's enough place left in the corner for the title, I'll show you. Jjtkk (talk) 06:23, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

Fair enough, but I still vastly prefer the aesthetics of the island scene. It has an implied motion and progression to it, almost like a mini-movie captured in a single still. The coral reef shot is just a blob with no flow and no story, implied or otherwise. LtPowers (talk) 13:53, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

Page banner 2[edit]

The current banner is used also for Great Barrier Reef, and effectively is more appropriate there. An alternative could be the one used by other language versions (it:voy, el:voy & fr:voy):

Swifts creek banner.jpg

--Andyrom75 (talk) 14:40, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

I think it fits better at GBR. I still like File:Titikaveka, Rarotonga, Cook Islands banner.jpg for this article, though we'd have to find a replacement for Rarotonga. Powers (talk) 20:05, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
I think I agree with Powers on this. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:31, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

Main language in Vanuatu[edit]

@SHB2000: Is French really the main language in Vanuatu? I'm surprised to hear that, because I thought the main language was Bislama. I'm curious to hear about your experience or sources about this. —Granger (talk · contribs) 14:46, 8 July 2021 (UTC)

Yes, French is the main language. Then English and Bislama is only the third (a simple google search will provide you this). But in speaking that, French has become a minority these days, but was a major language back when it was a French colony. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 22:36, 8 July 2021 (UTC)
I have done a google search, and it seems to confirm what I thought – that Bislama is the most commonly used language and French is spoken only by a minority. Could you please explain your basis for saying that French is the country's main language? —Granger (talk · contribs) 06:25, 9 July 2021 (UTC)
French is the first coming up, then Bislama. But it seems you're right, but French is still well-spoken in many parts of Vanuatu, but in specific Francophone/Catholic areas or villages. I'll make sure to add that in the article. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 06:32, 9 July 2021 (UTC)
Thanks. Since French is not the main language of the country, I'll remove the claim from this article. —Granger (talk · contribs) 06:36, 9 July 2021 (UTC)
Thanks. Fun fact, Vanuatu is also the only country in western Oceania to drive on the right side of the road, due to French influence. New cal also drives on the right, but they're not independent yet. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 06:39, 9 July 2021 (UTC)