In this thesis I examine processes of economic and social change and the ways in which they have transformed the small island community of Tubetube in Milne Bay Province, P.N.G. since contact. The study is based on anthropological fieldwork and historical research and proceeds from an analysis of modern economy.
Prior to European intervention in the region, Tubetube people were sea-faring traders who were able to support a large population on imported goods. They were participants in the network of inter-island exchange called kune (kula) and my study of the economic changes which affected trading relationships entails an assessment of Tubetube kune over the last hundred years. I argue that pacification, the introduction of European goods, and the Christian conversion of the Tubetube people effected profound changes in their trading economy and the system of alliances between separate communities. I explore the nature of these changes and the conservative ideologies of exchange which have sustained and adapted to new political relationships and economic strategies.