Indigenous People of Oceania


The native people of Oceania fit into the following people groups: Australian Aboriginals, Polynesians, Melanesians, and Micronesians.

Australian Aboriginals known also known as Indigenous Australians are found in Australia only. Indigenous Australians includes many regional groups that often identify under names from local Indigenous languages. The island of Tasmania also had aboriginals called Palawa, but they were nearly wiped out by disease and violence. No full blooded Palawa exist today.


Polynesians encompass the native people who reside in the area bounded by New Zealand, Easter Island, and Hawaii. There are many groups of Polynesians including the Maori, Moriori, Rapanui, Samoan, Tahitian, and Tongan people.

The original inhabitants of the group of islands now named Melanesia are thought to be the ancestors of people from Papua New Guinea who likely came into contact with Austronesians (Indonesian Borneo, Philippines, etc). Melanesians have little in common genetically with Polynesians and Micronesians.


The Micronesian culture was one of the last in the region to develop. Its ethnicity is a mixture of Melanesian, Polynesian, and Filipino. Read more

Maori – New Zealand

Maori photos

Kanaks – New Caledonia

Kanak photos

People – Tonga

People in Tonga photos

Polynesians – Tonga

Polynesians in Tonga photos

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