The Geographic location of the Island States in the South Pacific gives them a political and economic importance transcending their small size. Regional tranquility was disturbed in the late 1980s by pockets of instabilities, posing difficult policy challenges to near and distant observers. "Wall of Death" driftnet fishing tugs at the heart strings; subsistence economies pull at purse strings; events divide heart (defence of indigenous rights) from mind (unacceptability of overthrow of democratic government, imposition of racist constitution, denial of human rights); nuclear testing seems to defy all reason; and rising sea levels caused by global warming capture the imagination but threaten to drown island nations of the South Pacific. As New Zealanders come to terms in 1990 with their identity as a Pacific people, it is appropriate that the Twenty-fifth Otago Foreign Policy School should have focused on the South Pacific. Publication of the proceedings of the School aims to contribute to a clearer understanding of the region, and to a better appreciation of challenges and opportunities for foreign policy for all countries interacting with the South Pacific.
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