Veteran photographer and traveler Sheree Lipton has published a new book, A Woman in the South Pacific, and I am impressed. Lipton began her island voyages in 1967 when she signed on as crew aboard a yacht bound for the Marquesas Islands. The yacht’s captain wasn’t a good navigator and the boat ended up in American Samoa. The story of their layover on Palmyra and Fanning islands is the first – and I think the best – chapter in the book. It’s followed by Sheree’s experiences with her adopted Samoan family on Aunu’u Island, and other chapters are devoted to the Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, and Tonga.
The book’s presentation is not chronological and it’s sometimes a little hard to follow, but the cast of characters Lipton knew in the 1970s and 1980s is exceptional. In her role as a journalist, she met many legendary Pacific leaders, including Albert Henry, Tom Davis, Ratu Kamisese Mara, Francis Sanford, Michael Somare, Chief Virimbhat, and Tongan royalty, and her anecdotes are revealing. Sheree also introduces us to her island lovers, friends, and families. I like the photography which fills many pages with rare images of the islands and islanders as they were. Fortunately, the book has a good index making it easy to look up people and places. Librarians take note: You need a copy in your collection.
Sheree Lipton lives in Kailua, Hawaii, just over the mountains from Honolulu, and she is still a frequent visitor to the islands. This isn’t her first book about the South Pacific either. Fiji, I love you, full speed, published in 1972, has become a collectors item. A Woman in the South Pacific is just as much of a classic and I have no difficulty in naming it the South Pacific travel book of the year.
Sheree, I’d like to purchase a copy of ‘Fiji I love you full speed’. Can you pls help.
Please e-mail me [if you wish] ASAP. When I hear I’ll update you. Love to Levani and Hina Rapa wherever they are.
Just curious to know if you are the same Sheree that I knew in the early 1960’s.
If you recognise my name then you are,please let me know.
Sheree, I know you were trying to get in touch with me during your visit to Australia – I received the msg from Karen Davidson. Please contact me if you are still in this region. I would love to see you, Levani and Hinarapa again.