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[Perspectives] A medical emergency in Pukapuka

Last year I had the good fortune to travel to the tiny island of Pukapuka—there and back in one day. My lifelong desire to visit this remote atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean stems from the ethnographic fieldwork undertaken by my father, Ernest, and mother, Pearl, who spent 7 months on Pukapuka 80 years ago. This work is described in detail in their book of 1938 Ethnology of Pukapuka, and in Islands of Danger, my father’s more personal story about their experiences written in 1935 but not published until 1944, and in my mother’s unpublished manuscript Dictionary of Pukapukan and her 1989 book String Games.

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