…The first two parts of the project, concerning Samoa and Tahiti, are the result of a research program associating the Cross-Cultural Voyaging in the Pacific 1595-1795 Project (University of Auckland) and CREDO (www.pacific-credo.fr
), directed by Dame Professor Anne Salmond and Serge Tcherkezoff respectively. Financial support was provided by these institutions, by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Permanent Secretariat for the Pacific), through its Pacific Economic, Social and Cultural Fund, and by the French Embassy in New Zealand.
The period of first encounters between a Pacific population and Europeans begins at the moment of first contact, often at sea, even before the first landing was made. As a consequence, the notion of "first contact" should be broadened to include what the local inhabitants may have heard from their neighbours concerning Europeans, even before they themselves had the opportunity to make first direct contact with these visitors (see Jolly, Tryon & Tcherkezoff eds 2009: Prelude). The period of first encounters ends when European presence became permanent, with the installation of the first traders and missionaries.
In the case of Samoa, where the first landing was made by the French, these accounts are also presented in an English translation. In the case of Tahiti, all of the English accounts, beginning with the famous Samuel Wallis, whose journal has been inaccessible until now, are also presented in a French translation. Samoa and Tahiti have been the first archipelagos involved to this point as a result of the expertise of the directors of this first program on these islands (Salmond 2004, 2009, 2011) and Tcherkezoff (2004a, 2004b, 2008). Depending on funding obtained, other Polynesian island groups will be included, in collaboration with the same partners, together with the University of French Polynesia and other New Zealand universities.
With these and other institutional partners in the Pacific, historical accounts of other Pacific countries will be brought together. The next activities planned concern Vanuatu and New Caledonia, with the support of the VKS (http://www.vanuatuculture.org
) and research institutions in New Caledonia (CNEP-UNC, ADCK, Museum, Archaeological Institute etc), as well as the beginning of programs in Micronesia and Australia.