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Ethnology of Manihiki and Rakahanga


page 61


After the 11th generation, when the four tribes were established in name, a further subdivision took place within each of the tribes. These smaller groups were termed tukuwhare, which is again a local term coined to meet the local development. In the term tukuwhare, whare means a house, and the idea is conveyed of the kinsmen of the one inatakeinanga being grouped together in separate houses. The two Whainga-aitu tribes were divided into seven and four subtribes respectively (Table 10).

Table 10. The Whainga-aitu Tribes and Subtribes
Matakeinanga Tukuwhare
Heahiro 1. Te-whare-ariki
2. Kai-wai-pa-honu
3. Po-te-noa
4. Mau-kino
5. Whare-nui
6. Whati-akau
7. Te-ure-roto
Mokopuwai 1. Hihahuke
2. Nga-whare-ririki
3. Taupo
4. Tutonga

The origin of five of the seven subtribes of the Heahiro were demonstrated by Haumatatua (Table 11).

Table 11. Origin of Subtribes

Table 11. Origin of Subtribes

Temu-matua and Tianewa are the first two dual ariki. The Heahiro and Mokopuwai tribes clustered around the family of Heitutae. By her, Tautape had five sons. The eldest son, Temu-matua, was raised by the two tribes to the position of ariki, and he became the first Whainga-aitu. Haumata-tua stated that the other sons were made heads of tukuwhare. Thus it is evident that minor subdivisions had already been following a natural process, but the five sons were made heads of five subdivisions in the Heahiro tribe. Succession to leading rank in those subtribes would subsequently be traced through the brothers. The group associated with page 62 Temu-matua was named Te-whare-ariki (the house of the ariki) because the ariki title would descend in it from Temu-matua. The group associated with the second son, Pa-honu, was named after him and became Kai-wai-pa-honu, in which kai-wai, for some reason not explained, was prefixed to the ancestral name. Similarly, the Po-te-noa took its name from the third son by the prefix Po before the personal name of Te-noa. The Mau-kino subtribe took the name of the fourth son without any prefix. The fifth subtribe took the fifth son, Te-patiti, as their head but adopted the term of Te-whare-nui (the big house) for a reason not explained. Unfortunately, no clear pedigrees were furnished from these original heads of subtribes except the one from Te-patiti, shown in Table 12.

Table 12. Te-whare-nui Subtribe

Table 12. Te-whare-nui Subtribe

The line is short. Pukerua in the 17th generation is still alive. As Te Patiti in the 11th generation was a fifth brother, the line may be expected to be shorter than those from senior sources. The line shows three females in it, and I do not know the status of the last issue in the subtribe.

The sixth subtribe of Whatiakau, according to Tupou-rahi, comes from an important ancestor named Whatiakau, from whom Tupou-rahi gave his descent (Table 13).

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Table 13. Whatiakau Subtribe

Table 13. Whatiakau Subtribe

Tupou-rahi could not link up the beginning of his pedigree with the main lines of descent from Toa. However, in the 14th generation Pupuke-papake married Te-atua-a-Tupou, who traced back to Tautape, the last of the single ariki. This places Te-papa-i-wairaro in the 7th generation. According to Tupou-rahi, Te-papa-i-wairaro was a very important man. He had four sons to whom he distributed land and authority. To the eldest son he gave the authority over his lands (tuku te whenua kia Whatiakau), to the second son he delegated authority over his group of people (whaka-tere te matakeinanga kia Tangihoro), to the third son he gave the care of the family gods (te whare urunga kia Ura), and to the fourth son he gave the position of herald (te horohoro kia Ngaropuruhi). If this is correct, Te-papa-i-wairaro must have belonged to the Matangaro group, for the Hukutahu group had already divided the authority over the people and the land between Kaitapu and Huku-potiki in the 6th generation. That the Whatiakau subtribe belongs to one of the Whainga-aitu tribes is a further substantiation. It will be noted that at this period there were evidently group gods which are referred to as the “whare-urunga.” Evidently Ura page 64 performed the duties subsequently delegated to the whakamaru who had charge of the tribal gods and kept them in a house. No details were obtained of the functions of the herald (horohoro) beyond that he was the official messenger between the chiefs and the people, calling people together or promulgating decisions arrived at concerning group policy and action. Tangihoro was stated to have made voyages to foreign lands and to have come back among the people. Such voyages may have been made to the neighboring atoll of Manihiki and thus paved the way for the planting of that atoll and the subsequent regular visits to alternate the food supplies. Tupou-rahi in the 17th generation is an old man, and two generations may be added to the line to bring it to about 1900. A line of 19 generations makes it coincide in length with the Wharenui line in Table 12. In Tupou-rahi's descent, his male line from Te-atua-a-Tupou (14th generation) comes from the Whare-ariki subtribe through Temu-matua (11th generation), but he claims Whatiakau descent through the female line of Pupuke-papake (14th generation). He attaches great importance to her, as she was the first-born of her family. The leading line in the subtribe should come down through one of the elder brothers of Te-atua-maheanga in the 12th generation. It will be noted that the name of the mother of Temu-matua (11th generation) is given as Kanohi, whereas in Table 6 it is given as Hei-tutae. This is another instance of the confusion that exists.

The seventh subtribe, Te-ure-roto, completes the Heahiro tribe. I am unable to give the circumstances which led to the adoption of the name.

Of the four Mokopuwai subtribes, Tupou-rahi gave a descent to himself which placed Tutonga in the 11th generation. Tutonga was thus an ancestor who lived at the period when the subtribes were formed, and his name was adopted for one of them. Of the others, Nga-whare-ririki means “the small houses” and was probably so named from the linking of a number of small families to form a subtribe. The remaining two, Hihahuke and Taupo, sound like proper names but do not occur in the pedigrees submitted to the Land Court.

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The two Whakaheo tribes have seven subtribes (Table 14).

Table 14. The Whakaheo Tribes and Subtribes
Matakeinanga Tukuwhare
Nu-matua 1. Te-pu-tauhunu
2. Purenga
3. Kaupapa
4. Hitiki
5. Popo-iti
6. Nga-hoe-e-wha
7. Whati-kaua
Tia-ngaro-tonga 1. Wai-a-Matua
2. Ngaro-Tapaha
3. Nga-whare-ririki
4. Tuteru-matua
5. Tianewa-matua
6. Tihauma
7. Hua-tane

No details of definite pedigrees of these subtribes were obtained. It will be noted that some, such as Tuteru-matua, Tianewa-matua, and Tihauma, are definitely the names of ancestors. The Tia-ngaro-tonga tribe resembles the Mokopuwai tribe in having a subtribe called Nga-whare-ririki (the small houses). The Nu-matua tribe has a subtribe called Te-pu-tauhunu, in which tauhunu is a plant and pu, a bush. Another subtribe name, Nga-hoe-e-wha, means “the four paddles.” It is thus evident that some subtribes were named after ancestors and others from incidents or things that are not clear to the present generation.

Our stay on Rakahanga was too short for us to gather all the fragments of information that might throw more light on the details of subtribal evolution. It was clear to the Native Land Court that the witnesses were hazy about linking up their pedigrees with leading lines that would connect with descent from Toa. Most started with ancestors from 6 to 8 generations back who formed independent units and were left floating in the air. Certain families supplied the leaders for the subtribes, but no connected list of tribal or subtribal leaders could be conjured up out of the mass of family pedigrees adduced before the Court. It is probable that when the Court goes into the question of land ownership on the various islands, subtribes will be associated with definite islands, and the present family pedigrees may then be more clearly arranged to show the structure of subtribes.