Districts and Subdistricts
Districts and Subdistricts
According to a myth quoted by Gill (6, p. 128), the god Te-manava-roa lies buried face downward on Mount Rangimotia with his head toward the east. The half-mile crest of the mountain forms his backbone. This story forms another example of the inconsistency of the Mangaian myth-makers, for Te-manava-roa is also described as one of the primary spirits who dwelt in a region far below Avaiki. Owing, however, to the disposal of the body of Te-manava-roa, the south of the island is referred to as the right (katau) and the north side as the left (kaui). In Pangemiro's time the island had become definitely divided into 6 districts, 3 on the right and 3 on the left. The island is referred to in ceremonial speeches as "the fish of Rongo" (te ika o Rongo). Following the Te-manava-roa myth, the head of the fish lies to the east. The fish is divided longitudinally to represent the three land districts on the right and left. The right and left land districts on the east represent the head (pauru) of the fish, the right and left districts on the west represent the tail ('iku), and the two middle districts represent the body (pori) of the fish. It has now become customary to omit the word "fish" in speeches. Thus Tamarua, which is the eastern district on the right is referred to as te pauru o Rongo i katau (the head [of the fish] of Rongo on the right). The other districts are referred to similarly according to the part and "the side" they represent.
In addition to these honorific names, the districts have their ordinary names which are now different from those originally applied to them:
|Present Name||Old Name||Honorific Name|
|Tamarua||Mangonui||Te pauru o Rongo i katau (head on right)|
|Veitatei||Patiki-enua-o-Rangi||Te pori o Rongo i katau (body on right)|
|Keia (Keir'a)||Te-apunavai||Te 'iku o Rongo i katau (tail on right)|
|Ivirua||Ivirua||Te pauru o Rongo i kaui (head on left)|
|Karanga||Karanga||Te pori o Rongo i kaui (body on left)|
|Tavaenga (Tava'enga)||Te-kura||Te 'iku o Rongo i kaui (tail on left)|
As shown in figure 1, the six districts (puna) form segments which radiate from a common center on the summit of Rangi-motia. The side boundaries follow leading ridges, cross the makatea, and extend to the reef.
Some of the subdistricts (tapere) did not reach the makatea wall, as their boundaries were influenced by the nature and direction of the streams and ridges within the district. Each subdistrict, however, had a portion of makatea and reef awarded to it so that all subdistricts should have a share in the rau-tuitui and the lagoon and reef.
After Pangemiro secured the temporal power, the districts and subdistricts were distributed among the Manaune and Ngati-Tane tribes. The distribution on the right (tu'a a katau) was supposed to favor Ngati-Tane, and the distribution on the left (tu'a a kaui) to favor the Manaune. In actual fact, the Manaune received a greater number of subdistricts than the Ngati-Tane.
In the manuscript of Mamae, the following lists of subdistricts with the awards of district and subdistrict chiefs were written under the heading, "Te tu'anga ia A'ua'u, i te tara a te aronga pakari" (The distribution of Mangaia, according to the story of the old people):
|5.||Te-vai-kao||Pekai||Given by the Manaune to Numangatini Ariki as a present.|
|6.||Angauru (Autaki)||Arakauvae||Afterwards given to Tereavai (Ngati-Vara) Ua tutukuia ia Tereavai).|
Note: The first three tapere in List 1 were awarded to Ngati-Tane, and the remaining six to Manaune. The Ngati-Tane gave one and the Manaune gave two to members of other tribes. Parima, the district chief, had no subdistrict.
Note: Three subdistricts in List 2 went to Ngati-Tane, of which Arokapiti was the leader, and three to Manaune, of which Pangemiro was the leader. Motuanga was district chief and held a subdistrict.
|1.||Akaoro||Muraai and Tangataroa|
|6.||Rupetau-i-uta||Te-ao, the deposed high priest|
Note: Mamae states, "Eia tu'anga e ono nei, tei a Pangemiro te 'aka'aere; kareka o te tutara i runga i'o tei Arokapiti." (These six shares, the distribution was with Pangamiro; but the title above them was with Arokapiti). This seems to mean that Pangemiro appointed the subdistrict chiefs, but Arokapiti selected the district chief.
Note: Mamae gave no details and omitted the sixth subdistrict of Avarari. Local informants stated that Te-pauru-o-Rongo went to the Ngariki tribe, the Ara-nui-o-Toi went to Ngati-Tane, and the remaining four subdistricts went to the Manaune. As Mauri, the subdistrict chief of Te-pauru-o-Rongo, was a son of Pangemiro, it would appear that, though he ruled over the subdistrict, the land was for division among the Ngariki tribe. Tuarau and Vairota of the Karanga district and the two subdistricts of Te-uturei and Te-ii-maru, to which these men belonged, are coupled together under the name of Nga-toki (the adzes) to commemorate the use they made of their adzes.
Note: In another manuscript the word Teia in the third, fourth, and fifth subdistricts is spelled Te-i'i-a and is followed by the same endings. Pangemiro, the Temporal Lord, lived in Karanga, and all the subdistricts went to the Manaune. Though there are only five tapere, the Manaune say there are six with the wood (e ono i te rakau). The story is that Vairoto, who belonged to Karanga, was indicated as a human sacrifice to Rongo. It was evidently left to the Manaune to bring the sacrifice to the marae in Keia. Thereupon Tuarau and Tumutoa of Ivirua carved a figure to represent Vairoto, and Pangemiro sent it in to the marae. The Manaune were strong enough to carry off this disobedience to the high priest, and they commemorated the event by making a wooden effigy of Vairoto a metaphorical sixth tapere.
Note: The six subdistricts in List 6 were shared equally between Ngati-Tane and the Manaune. In a list given to me by the district chiefs of Veitatei, Keia, and Tavaenga, only Taiti and Maro coincide with the above, and Te-ivi-o-Ru, Rangatira, Te-tua-roa, and Tiroango are given as the names of the other four subdistricts.