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Polynesian Leaders Group 2024

The Polynesian Leaders Group is a group of independent countries and territories in Polynesia, forming an international governmental cooperation group. The Polynesian Leaders Group was something that was reviewed throughout the years in response to many economic alliances, most notably the Melanesia Spearhead Group, which is a similar cooperative organization that unites the interests of many territories and provinces in Melanesia.

How was the Polynesian Leaders Group Formed?

While the idea was discussed for many years, there was a formal initiated meeting in 2011 between the leaders of Tonga, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands, and Niue. The preliminary talks were successful and eventually led to a second meeting 2 months later, which finally ended with a memorandum of understanding. This finally formed the formal coalition called the Polynesian Leaders Group (PLG).

The representation for PLG does not currently have a fixed Secretariat, despite many talks regarding this issue. The first official meeting of the PLG took place in Rarotonga in the Cook Islands in August 2012. It was created to address social and economic issues that are inherent to the Pacific region, which was first talked about in 1870 between King Kamehameha, King Pomare V, King Malietoa, and King George Tupou, who had agreed to formally create a confederation of 4 Polynesian states, which never came to fruition.

What is the Main Goal of the Polynesian Leaders Group?

During the memorandum of understanding in 2011, the member countries would go forth and work together to seek a future for the Polynesian people. This meant that combining cultures, traditions, and values through a mutually understood alliance would help preserve the identity of the region. Sustainable economic prosperity and democratic values are also first and foremost at the head of forming the coalition, and the rule of law will be observed throughout all member nations. It is also announced that the formation would focus on education, culture, language, transportation, environmental conservation, and climate change impact.

The fourth section of the Memorandum of Understanding encouraged sharing of technology and acknowledged experiences throughout member nations in mutual support for developmental efforts in many sectors of the socio-economic landscape. In 2013, PLG ended their 2nd annual meeting which pressured Australia and New Zealand to increase the quotas for Pacific islander nations for workers to gain seasonal contracts within these developed countries.

In 2018, the group voted to add New Zealand, Hawaii, and Easter island - which was a large addition to the furthering of the organization. Hawaii is a formally recognized state in the US, which receives its full support on some issues. New Zealand is also a developed country that shares its culture with the people of the Pacific. When the new members were announced, they were welcomed with open arms and stressed the importance for all member nations to tackle the issues surrounding the preservation of the pacific islander culture, as well as the inherent social and economic issues that surround the remote regions.

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Year Joined
Additional Info
United States2018US state Hawaii is PLG member
Chile2018Chilean territory Easter Island (Rapa Nui) is a PLG member
New Zealand2018
French Polynesia2011Founding Member
Samoa2011Founding Member
Tonga2011Founding Member
American Samoa2011Founding Member
Cook Islands2011Founding Member
Tuvalu2011Founding Member
Wallis and Futuna2017
Niue2011Founding Member
Tokelau2011Founding Member