This paper considers how far past ideologies of race and of racial and cultural mixing are haunting the present in Oceania. It compares colonial histories and contemporary politics in two Pacific archipelagoes, Vanuatu, an independent state since 1980 and Hawai'i, a state of the US since 1959. In Vanuatu indigenous people are a dominant majority and land is still held primarily through customary custodianship (despite pressure for privatisation) while in Hawai'i indigenous people are a declining minority and were dispossessed of most of their land in the mid-nineteenth century. In both places Western ideologies of race have had to confront more generous conceptions of the relations between persons and places as constructed by indigenous genealogies. But the ghosts of racial ideology and past colonial obsessions with racial and cultural purity and mixing are still alive in both countries.