This discussion paper seeks to provide an overview of the anthropological and other relevant literature on leadership in the Pacific. It also examines the ways in which cultural understandings of leadership penetrate contemporary institutions and considers the intersections between local leadership practices and the requirements of good governance. The review is presented in four main sections. Section one examines the key concepts of culture, leadership and good governance. Section two outlines the ways in which these concepts are employed in Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia, and section three demonstrates the intersections between local practices of leadership and the requirements of good governance. In conclusion, section four suggests practical measures for the development of Pacific leadership programs. The author draws upon her first-hand knowledge of the Pacific, particularly Melanesia, in order to contextualise the literature and highlight key issues.