Oceania Chase is created….

So having slept on it overnight and thought about it a while longer I have decided on my pen name.

So today Oceania Chase was created. Interesting timing given that it’s my birthday tomorrow!

Right now Oceania exists in the form of a Facebook Page, two website domains that need to be built: www.oceaniachase.com and www.oceaniachase.ca and an email address: oceaniachase@gmail.com

Why Oceania Chase?

Well, the first name is a gender neutral derivation of Oceana which is the personification of the ocean. I’ve always felt a great affinity for the ocean and rarely feel happier than when I’m by the sea or an an ocean.

It’s also pretty distinctive, there aren’t many people with the name when you run a quick Google or Facebook search, and it is also spelled like it sounds so that people wanting to follow my work should be able to find me pretty quickly.

The second reason for the choice of Oceania for the first name, is that it reminds me of an anecdote. Shortly after I adopted my daughter, in 2008, I learned that North American school text books often present quite different information to those which I grew up with in England. My daughter came home from school, in Grade 3, needing to learn the continents of the world. “Simple” I thought. So it was, until we got to Australia; because that’s where her text book and notes from school stopped, or that’s what I thought initially. They said that the continent was Australia.

Well, to my knowledge, Australia is a country, not a continent. So I asked her which continent her teacher had said that New Zealand was in? Australia was the answer. Hmmm… I wasn’t quite sure how one island could be inside another one!

To cut a long story short, several meetings later, and it turned out that all text books used by the Alberta School Board labelled the continent that contains Australia, just Australia, and simply ignore New Zealand and the islands of Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia.

Unfortunately for my daughter, I’m an academic, a scientist as well as a social scientist, and believe that we should teach students facts wherever possible.

So I negotiated with the school.

Having demonstrated to them that the correct name for that specific continent is in fact “Australasia and Oceania” we agreed that my daughter would not be penalized on her tests if she wrote this rather than Australia. It is one continent that she has never forgotten!

My family, who immigrated to Australia in 1999 and became Australian Citizens subsequently, also appreciate the fact that their continent didn’t just decrease or disappear overnight.

However, to this day, this has been an ongoing inside joke with my daughter. Every time she gets a new geography text book the first thing that she checks is how they’ve labelled the continents!

So that’s why the name Oceania has meaning for me.

As for Chase. Well, Chase is in recognition of all the significant men in my life! I’m sure that I’ll talk in other posts about why they were significant.

My last name at birth was Hayes, my father’s name.

My parents divorced and my mother remarried. My last name was then legally changed to match that of my step-father – Abraham,

At just 22, I married for the first time and my last name was changed to Ellis. We divorced in early 2000.

Later in 2000 I was publishing my first academic book and realized that I didn’t want either my ex-husband’s name on my book, or that of my father or step-father as I had no relationship with either man at that time.

Consequently, I changed my name by legal deed poll to Shaw.

Shaw was my mother’s maiden name and as my grandfather had died while I was in my teens I chose his name in memory of him.

In 2004 I remarried and, while I didn’t change my name legally this time, I was often known by my husband’s name of Cook. We divorced in 2007.

In 2014 my daughter and I lived together with my partner and his son. We planned marriage and had discussed my retaining Shaw professionally but changing my name to his, which is Craig, for my personal life. Unfortunately that relationship came to an end in 2015.

However, despite that Craig remains significant in my life as I maintain a relationship with his son, to the extent possible.

So if you rearrange all of those last names you get…

  • Cook/Craig
  • Hayes
  • Abraham
  • Shaw
  • Ellis

So that’s where Chase comes from.

So in order to be both open, and also to be able to use the name Oceania Chase to protect the ‘innocent’, this will be the only place where the relationship between my identity as the academic author, Dr. Nicola (Nikki) Shaw and that of Oceania Chase will be stated.

So there you have it – you were present at the creation of Oceania Chase. Welcome to the party!


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