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Liaisons and Legacies
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-23, 01:23 authored by Kristyn HarmanKristyn Harman
The poignant cover image of Mothers' Darlings of the South Pacific depicts a young indigenous woman seated between two uniformed servicemen from the United States. Their likenesses have been captured against a backdrop that implies a South Pacific setting. The young woman's expression shows some trepidation as she holds an infant whose biological makeup is clearly drawn from both cultures. The baby gazes towards one of the American sailors, both of whom are smiling broadly. In this case, the setting is Tongatapu in September 1942 when the USS Enterprise and some destroyers visited the island. Yet this historical image symbolises innumerable encounters between indigenous women and American service personnel throughout the war in the Pacific, liaisons that often resulted in women literally being left 'holding the baby', and many of these children later searching at length for their American fathers.
Department/SchoolSchool of Humanities
PublisherUniv Otago Press
Place of publicationPo Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand