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Life and loves

I enjoy travelling and, of all the places I have been, Australia, Hawai'i and the Cook Islands are the places where I feel most at home.

My aim is to use these pages to share something about the places and people that I care about. I have lived about six years on islands in the Pacific, dividing my time between Fiji, Vanuatu and Hawai’i. I teach and research psychology at the University of Worcester in England having returned from a few years in Darwin, in the Top End of Australia in 2011.

In my spare time I teach Scuba Diving and have kept up an interest in the psychology of diving.

Shortly before I left Suva, I was honoured and pleased to be invited to Cliff Benson's 60th birthday party and family gathering. Randy Thaman was the Master of Ceremonies and he spoke about what is important in life. He put it well when he spoke about the 'Three Fs' of Family, Friendship and Fitness.

In addition to the kind of psychology that I do, I think the most promising attempts at understanding the outer reaches of the mind and its potential are being spearheaded by those brave few who research parapsychology (brave because they usually ruin their reputations as scientists). The most accessible summary I know of, is Dean Radin's 'The Conscious Universe;' an interesting account of human potential, free from mystical and superstitious trappings. Recent research into the benefits of mindfulness practices, including that by Jon Kabat-Zinn, shows great promise too.

There is a cultural renaissance going on through Polynesia, from Hawai'i in the north to New Zealand or Aotearoa in the south. There is a revival going on in such things as indigenous languages, music, dance, tattooing and more. This is leading to some exciting developments.

One of the most dynamic is music. Some of the finest contemporary Hawaiian musicians include Keali'i Reichel, Hapa (recently reformed), Na Leo, Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu and Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. I count myself privileged to have been considered part of Iz's cyber ohana when the big man was alive.

The marine art movement, inspired by the undersea world, also began in Hawai'i with Robert Lynn Nelson in Maui. If you are ever fortunate enough to get to Maui and you too fall in love with the land, the sea and the wildlife, I recommend that you visit the Lodge in Kula, home to a gallery devoted to the work of Curtis Wilson Cost. His work is brilliantly vibrant and he finds his inspiration in scenes around Hawai'i. I also really like the work of Marshall White, who works in Kona. BTW, these are both really nice guys.

There is also a revival in tattooing, inspired by traditional designs, or as much as we know of them anyway. Tricia Allen in Hawai'i is a tattoo artist in the forefront of this revival.

Although I have separated these art forms here, Polynesian art and culture is more intertwined than in the West. For example, Keali'i Reichel is a master of dance and song, has some impressive tattoos, about which he writes very profoundly and he is also a major figure in the revival of the Hawaiian language, which he speaks fluently.

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