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People and dances of Oceania

Identifier: Film Collection no. 159

Scope and Contents

Partly filmed during the Templeton Crocker Expedition to the Solomon Islands, 1933. The film opens with the dances of Bora Bora, Society Islands, and then goes on to Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, where a spear dance and stilt dance (imitating a wading bird) are demonstrated. In American Samoa the knife dance and the siva-siva are shown; and in British Samoa (i.e. Western Samoa) the ax dance and the mauluulu (similar to the siva-siva) are performed. The kava ceremony is enacted for Crocker: kava is a non-alcoholic euphoria-producing drink made from the root of the pepper plant; the ritual preparation and drinking of kava is shown; on Fiji another kava ceremony is filmed. On the island of Malekula, Big Nambus (i.e. Nambas) in native attire are shown, and the Zaca's physician "Swede" Larsen is filmed with the Nambas. The Zaca then sails to Kitava in the Trobriand Islands where the inhabitants in full costume participate in a dance celebration. The next stop is Bali where several dances accompanied by a gamelan orchestra are performed including a legong (a classical dance), a djanger (a folk dance), a baris (a traditional dance), and a cresses (done in a trance-like state). The island of Madura, off the coast of Java, is the set of a kerapan or bullock race and a performance by ponies. The last scene shows a Pacific islander and a crewman of the Zaca being tattooed.


  • 1931-1933

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Not available through interlibrary loan. Contact AMNH Library Special Collections for terms of access.


1 Film Reel (37 minutes) : silent, black and white ; 16 mm.

1 Videocassette (U-Matic (37 minutes)) : silent, black and white ; 3/4 in.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

3/4 in., U-Matic, viewing copy


Original format: 16 mm. print.


English subtitles.



Rene Gasse, photographer.

People and dances of Oceania, 1931-1933
Iris Lee
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
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