Ethnology of Manihiki and Rakahanga
Seats (nohoanga). Though the people usually sat on mats on the ground, a wooden seat (fig. 18) was made of tou timber. The seat was rectangular with the slightest curve from side to side and was supported by four legs all cut out of the solid timber with the seat. It was maintained that these were made in Rakahanga in olden times.
The seats are much less curved than those of the Cook Islands (27, p. 43), and the lower ends of the legs are plain and without the heart-shaped feet characteristic of the islands to the south.
Figure 18. Wooden seat (nohoanga) : a, side view; b, end view. 1, rectangular seat, 24.25 inches long, 9.25 inches wide, and 1 inch thick, upper surface 7 inches from ground at either end and 6.5 inches at middle; 2, legs; 3, elliptical cross section of leg at junction with seat, 3.4 inches in transverse axis of seat and 1.9 inches in longitudinal axis of seat; 4, round cross-section of leg base, diameter 1.5 inches.
A round wooden box (puiha) 10 inches in diameter at the bottom, 8 inches at the top, and 9 inches high, was seen. It had ten short legs 0.25 inch high and 0.5 inch by 0.4 inch in cross section. The upper edge had an inner raised rim which fitted against an outer raised rim on the edge of a wooden lid, which was provided with a perforated knob in the center of its upper surface. A perforated lug at the opposite ends of a diameter had been cut out of the solid on the outer surface of the box. A cord passed through the lugs and the lid knob to fasten the lid in position. As turuma was an alternative name given to the box, I pointed out that the term tuluma and the details of the box construction existed in the Tokelau Islands. At first it was stoutly maintained that the box was native to Rakahanga, but later an old man conversant with its history was found who stated that it was brought from Tokelau by Tuteru-utua, who acquired it during his wanderings after being deposed from the position of Whakaheo. The wooden box, therefore, does not belong to the local culture, but the box and the incident are described here to clarify the position and prevent its being accepted when no further historical check may be available.
Brooms (ruruku tu nikau) were made of coconut leaflet midribs (tu nikau) which were bound together (ruruku). The midribs, as they were detached, were torn off with a jerk which brought away a thin strip of the main leaf midrib. Then the thin ends were plaited together in a three-ply braid until a sufficient quantity was thus provided. The braided end was then rolled to form the midribs into a bundle, which was bound below the braided ends. With such brooms the houses were swept clean. The same form of broom is common in the Cook Islands and other islands, and exists in Samoa.