Aitutaki, Big Nambas, Carolines Isl., Fiji, Gilbert Isl., Hawai’i (US), Ifaluk, Kurtatchi, Maori, Marshall Isl., Mangaia, Marquesans, Mewun, Palauans, Ponape, Pukapukans, Ra’Ivavae, Rotuman, Samoa, Santa Cruz Isl., Shortland Isl., Siuai, Solomon Isl., Tahiti, Tanna, Tikopia, Tonga Isl., Trukese, Ulithi, Vanuatu, Yapese
“Tsk, tsk, what a shame!”
Oceanic sexual mores have been overly
discussed in the context of European explorers being serviced by women. The case
of childhood is less obvious. Schidlof (1908:p12)
offers the following second-hand account: “Geschlechtverkehr von Kinderen
untereinander wird […] von vielen Reisenden bestätigt. Ribble [?] berichted
ein Gleiches aus Rubiana [
A bibliography on contemporary adolescent sexuality was provided by Chung. An overview of Pacific adolescence, with an emphasis on sexual behaviour and identity was provided by Herdt and Leavitt. This is expanded by personal accounts from the South Pacific collected by Stewart.
Early betrothal seemed to have been a rather
common institution on
For details, one is to consult ECPAT.
As a pattern, a female AoC is not paralleled with a male equivalent.
Currently (Nov., 2002) the following entries have been made by ECPAT (f/m):
On Fiji, “[a]ny person who unlawfully and carnally knows any girl under the age of thirteen years is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for life, with or without corporal punishment.(2) Any person who attempts to have unlawful carnal knowledge of any girl under the age of thirteen years is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for five years, with or without corporal punishment; (3) It is no defence to a charge for unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl under the age of thirteen years to prove that she consented to the act” (Section 155, Amended by 11 of 1948, s. 2, and by 21 of 1950, s. 3). According to Section 154, ‘Indecent assaults on females’, “it is no defence to a charge for an indecent assault on a girl under the age of sixteen years to prove that she consented to the act of indecency”.
Pacific “homosexuality” may have been
“clearly age-identified” (Murray;
cf. Murray, 1992:xvii-xxi).
Individual cases are dealt with under their geo/ethnographic heading. The selected cases are dealt with in the
following societies: ®
Regionally specific overviews of circumcision
and initiation rites are provided by Schidlof (p17 et seq.), Jensen and Zeller. Though not as detailed as
African cases, customs of “erotic indoctrination” are encountered in
For some descriptive notes on circumcision practices, consider chapters 9 and 12 of Circumcision: an Ethnomedical Study, by A. Thomas (3rd edition, 1995).
A recent overview of adolescent sexuality studies was provided by Chung.
Aitutaki, Big Nambas, Carolines Isl., Cook Islands, Fiji, Gilbert Isl., Hawai’i (US), Ifaluk, Kurtatchi, Maori, Marshall Isl., Mangaia, Marquesans, Mewun, Palauans, Ponape, Pukapukans, Ra’Ivavae, Rotuman, Samoa, Santa Cruz Isl., Shortland Isl., Siuai, Solomon Isl., Tahiti, Tanna, Tikopia, Tonga Isl., Trukese, Ulithi, Vanuatu, Yapese
D. F., Growing Up Sexually.
Last revised: Sept 2004
Suggs (1962 [1963:p121]), cit. infra
 Schidlof, B. (1908) Das Sexualleben der Australier und Ozeanier. Leipzig: Leipziger Verlag
by M. Chung (nd) on Adolescent Sexuality
 Herdt, G. & Leavitt, S. (Eds., 1989) Adolescence in
 Stewart, R. (Ed., 1982) Pacific
Profiles: Personal Experiences of 100 South Pacific Islanders. Extension
Services, The University of the South Pacific,
 Westermarck, E. () The History of Human Marriage.
 Wilkes (V, p102)
 Ibid., III, p92
 Waitz-Gerland (VI, p127)
 Zimmerman (II, p90)
 Turner, p240
 Bollig, L. (1927) Die Bewohner der Truk-Inseln. Münster i.W.: Aschendorffsche Verlagsbuchhandlung. “When one looks at the married couples concretely it is difficult to say what points of view are decisive for a girl in the choice of her future husband. Old chaps, young girls -- young lads, decrepit women -- pretty girls, men covered with sores and ringworm, etc., in all varieties”. “A variant of the arranged marriage may take the form of a formal betrothal of children not yet of marriageable age. Although there is some disagreement in regard to how young children may be when they are betrothed, there is little question that the majority of such relationships are, and were in the past, established very shortly before the children reach puberty” (Gladwin, 1953:p125-6). “Infant betrothal also occurs” (Goodenough, 1951).
 Thompson, L. (1940b) Southern
 See also Malinowski (1927:p230);
Malinowski, B. (1926) Crime and Custom in
 Parsons, E. C. (1906) The Family.
 ECPAT International, Online Database [http://www.ecpat.net/eng/Ecpat_inter/projects/monitoring/online_database/index.asp]
 “The age of majority is 21 years of age and the age of sexual consent for females is 16. There is no age prescribed for males. The age of criminal liability is 10 years of age. The Penal Code of Fiji has general provisions prohibiting sexual contact with children. It is illegal to indecently assault girls under 16. It is no defence to this crime to show that the girl consented to sexual contact”.
 “The age of sexual consent is 15 years for girls, but there is no prescribed age of sexual consent for boys. A child under 10 years old cannot be held criminally liable for their actions. A child between the ages of 10 and 14 years can only be held criminally liable if it is proved that they had the capacity to understand that they ought not commit a criminal act. A boy under 12 years old is deemed incapable of having sexual intercourse”.
 “Children between the age of 10 and
14 are […] presumed to be incapable of committing a criminal offence except in
circumstances where they are charged with murder or rape, in which case the
presumption is rebuttable. The
 “The age of sexual consent is 15 years for girls. There is no prescribed age of sexual consent for boys”.
 “The age of sexual consent for girls is 16 years. There is no heterosexual age of consent for boys. All sexual contact between males is prohibited whether it is consensual or not. […] It is a crime to have any sexual contact with a girl under the age of 12. It is no defence for the accused to prove he had a mistaken belief that the girl was over 12 years old. It is also an offence to have sexual contact with a girl under the age of 16 but over the age of 12 whom is not married to the accused. There are two defences to this crime. If the accused perpetrator is younger than the girl victim then it is a defence to prove that the girl consented. Also, if the accused perpetrator is under 21 years of age and can prove that he had a reasonable belief that the girl was over the age of 16 it is a defence to this crime”.
 “The age of sexual consent is 15 years for girls. No age of consent is prescribed for boys. Homosexual sexual contact is illegal at any age whether the contact is consensual or not. A boy under 12 years old is deemed incapable of having sexual intercourse”.
 “The age of sexual consent for girls is 16 years and the age of sexual consent for boys is 12 years. Sodomy is illegal at any age. […] The general offences include indecent assault of girls under 16 and indecent assaults on boys and girls under 12 (''indecent assault'' would appears to include consensual sex). It is no defence to a charge of indecent assault or carnal knowledge of a child under 12 to show that the child consented. Sexual intercourse with a girl under 12 years old is also prohibited. It is no defence to show that the girl consented or that the accused had an honest belief that the girl was over 12 years old. Additionally, it is illegal to have sexual intercourse with an unmarried girl under 18 years of age”.
 “The age of sexual consent for females is 15 years. There is no age prescribed for males. Male homosexual sex is prohibited whether it is consensual or not. […] A male under the age of 12 is deemed incapable of having sexual intercourse”.
 “The age of sexual consent is 15 years for a girl to have heterosexual sexual contact and 18 years for girls and boys to have homosexual sexual contact. There appears to be no heterosexual age of consent for boys”.
 Murray, S. O. (1990) Pacific
cultures, in Dynes, W. R. (Ed.) Encyclopedia
 Jensen, A. E. (1933) Beschneidung und Reifezeremonien bei Naturvölkern. Frankfurt am Main: Strecker & Schröder, p74-114
 Zeller, M. (1923) Die Knabenweihen. Bern: Paul Haupt, p41-66
 Chung, M. (March, 2000) Summary of Research Findings on Adolescent Sexuality & Men’s Attitudes to Family Planning In Pacific Island Countries. Report prepared for the Regional Population and Reproductive Health Advocacy Project, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, p11-8