Boys' Youth Group Uniforms: Oceanic Countries

Figure 1.--Here a New Zealand Scout where the standard uniform in 1979 is chopping down a tree for firewood during a camping expedition.

Oceania is not a well accepted regional grouping. Most woyld include the small islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Less well accepted are the larger island countries. We would tend to include Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and New Zealand for organizational simplicity. Not all geographers would agree, but this seems the most logical approach. While gepgraphically coherent, this combines the two largely European oriented countries (Australia and New Zealand) with the diverse populations of the area.


Australian youth organizations are basically the local organizations originally founded in England. Interestingly, the history of these offered by these groups primarily recounts the founding in England rather than than the history in Australia. The only two groups familiar to HBU is the Boys' Brigade and Boy Scouts.

Cook Islands

The Cook Island archepelago consists of fifteen small islands located in the South Pacific northeast of New Zealand. The different Cook Islands first was united as the Kingdom of Rarotonga (1858). Britain estanlished a protectorate and created a federal parliament (1888). A New Zealand began to become a more independent Dominion, Britain transfrred authority for the Cook Islands (1901). The Islands were beyond the area conquered by the Japanese in World War II and thus escaped the damage expeienced by other South Pacific islands. The Cook Islands today are a self-governing parliamentary democracy, freely associated with New Zealand. The only youth groups we know of are the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. As both groups are very small, they are associated with Scouting New Zealand an arrangement which developed before the Cook Islands became a self-governing dependency of New Zealand.



We have very limited information on Indonesia. The Dutch founded the Scouting movement in their Dutch East Indies (DEI) colony. The Japanese after launching the Pacifuc War invaded an occupied the DEI (February-March 1942). While the Japanese inaded the Philippines and DEI about the same time, they pursued different policies in each. They made no attempt to organize Filipino youth groups until well into the occupation. In the DEI the Japanese were active from the very beginning. The difference seems to be that in the Philippines the United States had introduced a substantial level of local self government and had even set a date for independence. This was not the case in the Dutch colony. This the Japanese sought to establish a strong relation with the nationalist groups that the Dutch had been trying to supress. They in turn cooperated with the Japanese in the almost certainly misguided judgement that the Japanese would eventually grant them independence after the War. Many of the nationalist groups could operate more freely under Japanese occupation and organized youth auxileries. After World War II and Indeopendence, the nationalists founded a national youth movement is the Gerakan Pramuka Indonesia (GPI) and banned Scouting. Some in Indonesia question the decession to ban Scouting, but as far as I know that is still the situation. The GPI in recent years has tried to present itself as the Indonesia Scouting movement.


We know of no youth groups in the Marianas during the Spanish colonial period. The Germand purchased the islands after the Spanish-American War, except Guam (1899). We have no information on youth groups during the German colonial era. Guam became an American colonial possession. Boy Scouts were orgamized for the Chomorro people. The Japanese seized the islands along with the Carolines during World War I and the League of Nations granted a mandated to Japan (Marshalls, Carolines, and Marianas). We discuss the Japanese acrivities under the Marianas as they had the largest population. Japanese teachers used the approach of organizing youth groups around popular recreational activities. Office of Strategic Servives (OSS) reports suggest that they had some sucess among the younger people. Here I think they were not talking about Guam where the Chamoros had some famililiarity with the Americans. The Youth associations formed in the Marshalls, Carolines, and Marianas were founded to develop a sence of civic and social social responsibilities as Japanese subjects, concentrating on spiritual and physical development. The Japanese used the public schools as a organizing tool. There were both young men's and young women's associations. The program was overseen by Japanese government school teachers, assisted by police and colonial officials. The Japanese expected the young people to contribute voluntary labor on community projects, I think in some cases military projects. Some of the groups had uniforms and drilled and paraded to the accompaniment of band music and school songs. [OSS] On the Marianas, especially Saipan, therewas a substantial Japanese civilian population. We are not sure what type of youth bgroups were organized with the Japanese children. After the American invasion, Scouting was organized. In the case of Guam reorganized.

New Zealand

New Zealand youth organizations are basically the local organizations originally founded in England, replecting the country's British origins. Interestingly, the history of these offered by these groups primarily recounts the founding in England rather than than the history in New Zealand. The only two groups familiar to HBU is the Boys' Brigade and Boy Scouts.


We have little information on Fhilipino youth organizations. We do have some information on Philippino Boy Scouts. The Scouts are the only youth group we know of the Philippines. Japan occupied the country during World War II (1942-45). The NAZIs promoted Fascist youth groups in many countries they occupied during the War. The Japanese banned Scouting and, but only made some limited efforts in the Philippines to organize youth groups. This was dolne late in the occupation and without a great deal of success. The Filipinos reinstituted Scouting after the liberation (1945). As far as we know, Sciuting is currently the only important youth organization in the Philippines.



Tuvalu is a Polynesian island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean, approximately midway between Hawaii and Australia. Its nearest neighbours are island nations of Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa and Fiji. The islands are atols with very limited populations and land areas. The Islands were administered by Britain as part of a protectorate (1892-1916) and as part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony (1916-74). The Ellice Islanders voted for separate British dependency status as Tuvalu (1974). The Gilbert Islands became the independent country of Kiribati. Tuvalu became fully independent within the Commonwealth (1978). We have very limited information on Tuvaly. We do have a Scouting page.


Office of Strategic Services, Research and Analysis Branch. "Japanese attempts at indoctrimation of youth in occupied areas, " R&A 2982S (March 23, 1945).


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Created: 10:59 PM 5/23/2005
Last updated: 6:34 PM 9/6/2011