Oceania is a region centered on the islands of the tropical Pacific Ocean. Opinions of what constitutes Oceania range from the coral atolls and volcanic islands of the South Pacific (ethnologically divided into the sub regions of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia) to the entire insular region between Asia and the Americas, including Australasia and the Malay Archipelago. The term is sometimes used more specifically to denote a continent comprising Australia and proximate islands, or biogeographically as a synonym for either the Australasian Eco zone or the Pacific Eco zone (Melanesia, Polynesia, and Micronesia apart either from New Zealand or from mainland New Guinea).
Oceania was originally conceived as the lands of the Pacific Ocean, stretching from the Straits of Malacca to the coast of the Americas. It comprised four Polynesia, Malaysia, and Melanesia. Included are parts of three geological continents, Eurasia, Australia, and Zealandia, as well the non-continental volcanic islands of the Philippines, Wallacea, and the open Pacific. It extends to Sumatra in the west, the Bonin Islands in the northwest, the Hawaiian Islands in the northeast, Rapa Nui and Sala y Gómez Island in the east, and Macquarie Island in the south, but excludes Taiwan, the Japanese Archipelago(including the Ryukyu Islands), and Aleutian Islands of the margins of Asia.
The states that occupy Oceania that are not included in geopolitical Oceania are Indonesia, Malaysia (through Malaysian Borneo), Brunei, the Philippines, and East Timor. The islands of the geographic extremes are politically integral parts of Japan (Bonin), the United States (Hawaii), and Chile (Easter Island). A smaller geographic definition also exists, which excludes the land on the Sunda Plate, but includes Indonesian New Guinea as part of the Australia
Biogeographically, Oceania is used as a synonym for either the Australasian Eco zone (Wallacea and Australasia) or the Pacific Eco zone (Melanesia, Polynesia, and Micronesia apart either from New Zealand or from mainland New Guinea).
Oceania is one of eight terrestrial Eco zones, which constitute the major ecological regions of the planet. The Oceania Eco zone includes all of Micronesia, Fiji, and all of Polynesia except New Zealand. New Zealand, New Guinea, Melanesia apart from Fiji, and Australia constitute the separate Australasia Eco zone. The Malay Archipelago is part of the Indomalaya Eco zone. Related to these concepts are Near Oceania, that part of western Island Melanesia which has been inhabited for tens of millennia, and Remote Oceania, which is more recently settled.
In the geopolitical conception used by the United Nations, International Olympic Committee, and many atlases, Oceania includes Australia and the nations of the Pacific from Papua New Guinea east, but not the Malay Archipelago or Indonesian New Guinea.
The term Oceania is sometimes used more specifically than in the geopolitical conception, to denote a continent comprising Australia and proximate islands. New Zealand forms the south-western corner of the Polynesian Triangle. Its indigenous Māori constitute one of the major cultures of Polynesia. It is also, however, considered part of Australasia.The widest definition of Oceania includes the entire region between continental Asia and the Americas, thereby including islands in the Pacific Rim such as the Japanese Archipelago, Taiwan, and the Aleutian islands.
Ethno-cultural definition of Oceania
The predominant religion in Oceania is Christianity. Traditional religions are often animist and prevalent among traditional tribes is the belief in evil spirits (masala in Took Pepsin), which are blamed for "poisoning" people, causing calamity and death. In recent Australian and New Zealand censuses, large proportions of the population say they belong to "No religion" (which includes Humanism, Atheism, Agnosticism, and Rationalism). In Tonga, everyday life is heavily influenced by Polynesian traditions and especially by the Christian faith. The Baha’i House of Worship in Tiapapata, Samoa is one of seven designations administered in the Baha'i faith.