Albert Wendt described the occasion of the writing of his groundbreaking and still influential 1976 essay, “Towards a New Oceania,” as the conclusion of “a return to where I was born.” It is clear that the return is from an immersion in some of the moribund elements of the postindependence Pacific, but the form of the return itself is by no means clear from a casual reading. Drawing on a variety of texts written before and after 1976, this brief investigation seeks to discover the location and, more importantly, the nature of that return. Discarding the possibility of the return being to then-Western Sāmoa or, indeed to any geographical location, or even of it being in any sense a temporal or traditional one, I turn to the possibility that the return is a metaphorical one to an Oceanic imagination originally encountered in the storytelling of Wendt’s grandmother and reemerging in the new Pacific writing of the 1970s.


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pp. 382-388
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