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R. Gerard Ward: quintessential Pacific geographer

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In December 1998 Professor R. Gerard Ward retired after 27 years as Professor of Geography in the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at the Australian National University. Ward’s contributions to his discipline, the social sciences, and the discourses about development in the Pacific region have been very considerable. This paper reviews some of the achievements of one of the twentieth century’s eminent Pacific geographers. After establishing his academic roots in the Department of Geography at the University of Auckland in the 1950s, we outline the major clusters of his writing on land use and land tenure, population dynamics and urbanisation, Pacific history and prehistory, Pacific development issues, informal markets, transport systems and tele-cost worlds. The paper concludes with an assessment of three unusual features of Ward’s writing: the breadth of his interests, the range of scales he felt comfortable working at, and the innovative nature of ideas introduced into debates about Pacific development. A comprehensive list of Ward’s publications is attached to this paper.
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Keywords: Land tenure; Population movement; agriculture; communications systems; development; urbanisation

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Cultural and Environmental Studies, Facultu of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Waikato, P.B. 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand, 2: School of Global Studies, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Publication date: 1999-08-01

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