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LET'S EXPLORE World geography

A journey round the world: Oceania

Moai on Easter IslandMoai on Easter IslandOceania is the name given to the group of countries located in the South Pacific Ocean. It is made up of Australia—itself an island continent—New Zealand, Papua New Guinea (together known as Australasia) and thousands of islands spread out across the ocean.

A map of OceaniaA map of Oceania

Aboriginal Australian boysAboriginal Australian boys

People

People first crossed the sea from Southeast Asia to Australia between 60,000 and 50,000 years ago. Their descendants are called Aboriginal Australians. The settlement of the South Pacific islands did not begin until about 5000 years ago. The Maori first settled New Zealand about 750 years ago. Europeans arrived in Australia in the late 18th century and New Zealand in the 19th century.

On Norfolk Island, so many people share the same surname that most are listed in the phone book by their nicknames, e.g. “Lettuce Leaf”, “Tarzan” and “Pinky”.

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