KANAKA, a Polynesian word meaning " man," used by Polynesians to describe themselves. Its ethnical value, never great, has been entirely destroyed by its indiscriminate use by the French to describe all South Sea islanders, whether black or brown. The corrupt French form canaque has been used by some English writers. The term came into prominence in 1884- 1885 in connexion with the scandals arising over the kidnapping of South Sea islanders for enforced labour on the sugar plantations of north Queensland.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)