All eligible articles published in the relevant timeframe are automatically considered for prizes within The Journal of Pacific History. The biannual Gunson Essay Prize in Pacific History is open to senior students anywhere, and jointly sponsored by The Journal of Pacific History and the Pacific History Association. Winners of any prize may be asked to participate in the promotion of their work.

Prize for Best Article


JPH awards a prize of AUD 1,000 for the article from the most recent volume of the journal judged to have made the most significant contribution to histories of Oceania.

Gunson Essay Prize in Pacific History


In conjunction with the Pacific History Association at the Biennial Pacific History Association Conference, JPH awards the Gunson Prize for the best essay by a postgraduate or senior student.

I was both surprised and delighted

It seems to validate my current book project, Hymnody in the ‘Dark’ Islands: Protestant Missions, Musical Encounter and Racial-Cultural Uplift in Melanesia, 1835–1975’, he added. ‘Besides involving an extensive survey of historical source material, the book draws on my field research in Rabaul, PNG, in the early 1990s, and in the central islands of Vanuatu, 2009–12’ “

Michael Webb, Winner of the 2015 JPH Prize of Best Article

How exciting and unexpected!

‘We were delighted to see the article published with JPH, so to have it acknowledged in this way is a real honour, especially given the quality of articles published by the journal.’

Angela Wanhalla, joint-winner of the 2016–17 best article prize for Kate Stevens and Angela Wanhalla, ‘Intimate Relations: Kinship and the Economics of Shore Whaling in Southern New Zealand, 1820–1860’, Journal of Pacific History 52:2 (2017): 135–55.

It was quite a surprise again - as last year I hadn't been aware of the prize, and I certainly didn't expect to win it twice.

Kate wished to thank Judy Bennett for her support and guidance, Adrian Muckle for generously sharing his knowledge of the New Caledonian archives, as well as all the Valued Coconuts symposium participants for the rich discussions that led to the special issue.

Kate Stevens, winner of the 2018 best article prize for Kate Stevens, ‘Wasting Coconuts? Consumption Versus Commerce in Colonial Wallis and Futuna’, Journal of Pacific History 53:4 (2018): 478–501.

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