Ethnology of Manihiki and Rakahanga
Three types of old-time canoes were made, the one-piece dugout, the five-piece larger canoe, and the double sailing canoe. A fourth type is the modern plank canoe. The double sailing canoe survives in the form of numerous models in museums. These models were made by old men for sale, and the stern pieces, bow pieces, and gunwales are richly inlaid with pearl shell. The tendency in making models is to exaggerate the size of the decorative parts. In New Zealand model war canoes, most carved bow pieces and tail pieces are exaggerated out of proportion to the size of the hull in order that the craftsman may have enough space upon which to display the carving. Similarly, it appears to me that the bow and stern pieces in the model double canoes of Manihiki have been exaggerated in depth in order that the craftsman may have space for more rows of pearl shell inlay and thus, to his mind, improve the selling qualities of the model. Unfortunately, the canoe modelers have died and I was unable to get a demonstration of the actual model. Under the circumstances, it can only be surmised that the models have followed the old-time sailing canoes in general principles but that the proportions of the parts and some details have departed from the original working technique.
One-Piece Dugout Canoe
The one-piece dugout (puni) was evidently not considered worthy of being called waka, a term used to specify the five-piece canoe. The hull was hollowed out of a single section of tree trunk, with the bow pointed and the stern blunt. (See fig. 58.) The coconut wood hull seen at Raka- page 149 hanga complied with the puni type. Such canoes, fitted with outriggers, were used within the calm waters of the lagoon for fishing, obtaining Tri-dacna, and transport between the islands of the same atoll.
The five-piece canoe (waka) was evidently built on the same lines as the individual hulls of the double sailing canoes. From the meager accounts of native informants, the waka do not seem to have been made of so many pieces as the canoes of Tongareva. It was stated that they were restricted to five pieces, the hull, bow, and stern pieces, and a gunwale on either side. Some general idea of the waka may be formed from the discussion of the double sailing canoe models.
Double Sailing Canoe
The double sailing canoe (waka taurua) is described from the model canoe in plate 7, C, which is typical of the models produced. (See figs. 59–68.)
The two canoes are of equal size, and a striking characteristic is the setting of the two bows in opposite directions to avoid bringing the canoe around in tacking. Each canoe consists of five pieces, as in the waka, but in addition, bulwarks (paruru) of lauhala were added above the true gunwales to raise the level to the height of the deep bow and stern pieces.
The hull (tino waka) was formed of solid timber, dubbed out to form the bottom of the hold, square at the stern, pointed at the bow, and with an angular projection on the under part toward the bow. The general shape is shown in figure 59.
Figure 59. Double canoe, hull: a, right side; b, top view. 1, long convex curve on under side, brought to sharp edge in middle line to form the takere; 2, thin upper edges dubbed out to form long concave curve; 3, sharp, pointed bow piece; 4, stern, cut down at approximately right angles with upper edge; 5, angular projection under bow; 6, hold (ri).
The stern piece (velo) is a solid aft projection with the wider fore end hollowed out to fit over the hull below and junction with the gunwale and paruru wall in front. The stern end projects backward beyond the hull and ends in a slightly raised part ornamented by four knobs. The forward upper end widens out into a triangular seat with a raised square knob on each side of its forward base. (See fig. 60.)page 150
Figure 60. Double canoe, stern piece: a, right side; b, top view. 1, section which fits over hull; 2 shoulder, base fits against stern end of hull; 3, forward projection, fits against aft end of gunwale; 4, section which fits against lauhala bulwark (paruru); 5, square-cut stern end, somewhat oblique downward and backward; 6, upward stern projection cut with three square gaps on upper edge; 7, knobs formed by cutting away of gaps; 8, sharp upper edge; 9, raised triangular seat cut out of the solid; 10, two square knobs at base of seat.
The bow piece (ihu) is wider aft to fit over the hull and has two back projections to fit against the gunwales. (See fig. 61.) The gunwale projections are of the same depth as the gunwales, and above them the lauhala bulwark fits against the remaining part of the aft end of the piece. Above, a four-sided seat is provided out of the solid with two square knobs at its aft angles. Forward, the solid piece comes to a pointed bow.
Figure 61. Double canoe, bow piece: a, right side; b, top view. 1, section which fits over keel; 2, sloping, narrowed forward end; 3, pointed bow end; 4, gunwale projections cleared by hollowing of aft part; 5, sections which fit against bulwark; 6, four-sided seat, level with top edge, sides appear raised owing to downward slope of sides of bow piece; 7, squared knobs at angles of wider aft end of seat; 8, sides, slope to mesial edge which meets sharp point of bow.
The gunwale (awa) is a plank, convex below to fit against the upper edge of the hull and with a corresponding concave upper edge which supports the bulwark. (See fig. 62.) The plank fills the space between the gunwale projections of the stern and bow pieces, and its ends are cut to fit them. On the inner side, a raised flange is formed near the lower edge through which holes are bored for the lashings with the hull.
Figure 62. Double canoe, gunwale plank: a, right outer side; b, right inner side; c, cross-section. 1, lower convex edge; 2, upper concave edge; 3, aft end to fit against stern piece; 4, fore end to fit against bow piece; 5, internal flange, holes drilled vertically through base of flange at intervals to correspond with holes bored horizontally through hull a little below upper edge; 6, space below flange, rests against outer side of hull; 7, lower edge, rounded on outside.
Figure 63. Double canoe, hull elements assembled: 1, hull (tino waka); 2, stern piece (velo); 3, bow piece (ihu); 4, gunwale (awa); 5, space to be occupied by lauhala bulwark (paruru).
Figure 64. Double canoe, gunwale and hull lashing: a, sections of gunwale and hull ready to be fitted together; b, sections fitted and lashed; c, outside view; d, inside view. 1, gunwale; 2, inner flange; 3, hull; 4, upper edge of hull; 5, spaced flange hole; 6, spaced hull hole; 7, inside batten over seam, width slightly less than distance from upper edge of flange and hull hole; 8, lashing braid, passes inward down through flange hole and through hull hole from without, after two or more turns are made, goes diagonally upward on inside to next flange hole, when lashing turns made with that pair of holes— though lashing turns through gunwale flange hole confined to inner side, turns appear on outer side of hull, but, owing to downward projection of lower edge of gunwale, are concealed from outside; 9, lower edge of gunwale, overlaps and conceals lashings from outside; 10, braid ascending to flange hole to make two lashing turns (d, 8); 11, braid passing on to flange hole of next pair.
The use of a raised flange in lashing canoes raises the inquiry as to whether it was used in the full-sized canoes. The projecting lower edge of the gunwale renders it awkward to thread the braid through from the outside of the hull edge. In the models, all the paired holes must have been threaded first by everting the lower edge of the page 152 gunwale. After the two pieces had been fitted closely together, the lashings could be tightened out progressively from one end. In a full-sized canoe this technique seems too awkward to be of practical use. If the lower projecting edge of the gunwale were cut off below the flange and a similar flange made on the inner side of the upper hull edge, the Samoan double flange joins (28, p. 387, fig. 230) would have been arrived at; but the lashing technique still remains different. On the whole, the Manihiki flange does not seem to have been influenced by diffusion from the west, but to have been formed to widen the hull by overlapping with a thick gunwale piece.
The cross booms (kiato) in the larger models are three, but in the full-sized canoes it was said that there were several. They served the double purpose of lashing the two canoes together and of providing joists upon which a platform was made in the space between the two canoes. In the models the end booms rest on the upper edges of the gunwale projections of the bow and stern pieces. Thus the boom on one canoe rests on the two projections of the stern piece and on the other canoe on the two projections of the bow piece; the positions are reversed at the other send. The middle boom rests on the middle of the upper edge of both gunwales of both canoes. This position of the end booms on the gunwale projections of the bow end stern pieces is sound, as some of the strain is taken off the intermediate gunwale. In some models, however, all three booms are attached to the gunwale. The booms are rounded spars with their ends cut off flush with the outer sides of the two canoes.
Each boom is lashed to the four edges on which it rests. Each lashing is made through two holes bored a little below each edge. The holes are spaced to the diameter of the boom. The lashing turns cross the boom transversely on either side of the canoe piece edge after passing through the holes, diagonal turns are crossed over the boom to form a simple lozenge pattern, and finally circumferential turns are made horizontally around the lashing between the boom and the piece edge. The lashing differs in no particular from the Samoan technique described by Hiroa (28, p. 394, fig. 239, a-f).
Figure 65. Double canoe, bulwark (paruru): a, bulwark; b, fitting of bulwark to stern, gunwale, and bow pieces. a, strips of lauhala (1) doubled over round spar (2) and piece of dyed papa material (3) stitched along top to fold over for depth of spar; doubled-over parts stitched to spar by series of half-hitches (4) made with two-ply twisted sennit (whauhoto). b, bulwark placed above gunwale (5) and spar (2) stretched between stern and bow pieces; aft end of spar fitted just below aft seat (6) and secured with lashing (7) passing through holes in stern piece; fore end fitted just below fore seat (8) and secured with lashing (9) passing through holes in bow piece; lower spar (10), wrapped also with papa material dyed red, laid over lower ends of lauhala and jams them against sides of gunwale and gunwale projections; lower spar secured by series of turns passing around spar and through holes in upper edges of woodwork in much the same way as seam batten, but lashing turns more widely spaced; any extra length of lauhala cut off below lower spar.
The bulwarks (paruru) in the models are made of sections of lauhala doubled over a long spar stretching between the bow and stern pieces and slightly overlapping them at about the level of the two seats. For decorative purposes a strip of papa material page 153 (see p. 134), dyed red, is folded over the top and the papa and lauhala are stitched to the upper spar with continuous half-hitches. The leaf sections are sufficiently long to overlap the upper edges of the gunwale and gunwale projections of the bow and stern pieces, to which they are fixed by a long batten laid over them and lashed at intervals to the upper edges of the gunwale and gunwale projections. (See figure 65.) The bulwarks fill in the space above the gunwale quite effectively. Compare figure 65 with figure 63. In the full-sized canoes, it was stated, the bulwarks were about 2 feet high. I am not sure whether or not lauhala was used. It seems quite probable, however, that the canoe with the wooden hull and gunwales was quite deep enough and that lauhala may have been used for protection against wind and spray as an alternative to timber, which was not plentiful.
Cross braces (manu) were used to give additional support to the gunwales and bulwarks. These consisted of two vertical limbs with an arched connection cut out of one piece of timber. The structure and methods of lashing to the top of the gunwales and the inner sides of the bulwarks are shown in figure 66.
Figure 66. Double canoe, cross brace (manu) and lashings: a, brace; b-c, lashings. a, brace, fore or aft view: 1, vertical brace limbs, rectangular in cross-section, feet slightly thicker than heels but width equal throughout (see b); 2, arch, four edges may be slightly rounded and upper surfaces may meet in mesial transverse edge above; 3, limb feet, same thickness as gunwales on which they rest; 4, upper projecting heels; 5, acute heel angle; 6, gunwales; 7, holes bored through gunwales below middle of limb feet. b, lashing, outer side: foot of brace rests on gunwale with hole below middle of foot; brace lashed to gunwale on either side by turns passing through gunwale hole and around heel angle; end of braid passed through hole (7), slip knot made around standing part, and loop (1′) drawn taut on left with knot to inner side at back of foot; loop (c, 2′) made on inside over heel angle, braid brought down and pushed through hole from inside; from outside, loop (3′) made over heel angle at back and braid brought down and pushed through hole from outside; second loop (c, 4′) made over heel angle from inside and braid pushed out through hole; from outside, second loop (5′) made over heel angle and braid pushed through hole from outside; transverse turn (6′) made around lashings at base of foot and end tied with overhand knot to one limb of loop on back. c, view from behind: inside loops (2′, 4′) and outside loops (3′, 5′) pass over heel angle (5′) above and through gunwale hole (7) below; circumferential transverse loop (6′) passes around base of foot (3); lashing secures brace to gunwale. d, outside view with bulwark in position, braces likely lashed to gunwales before bulwark (8) added; upper spar (9) of bulwark lashed to heel (4) of brace by diagonal turns (7′) which cross on outside and are pushed through lauhala below spar; lower batten (10) belongs to technique of fixing lower ends of bulwark; turns (11) belong to technique of bulwark. e, view from behind with section through bulwark (8), upper spar (9), lower bulwark batten (10), and gunwale (6): lashing turns from front (7′) pass behind heel (4) where they form loops (8′), each succeeding loop from above or below spar (9) crossing arch of preceding one to prevent their slipping up on back of heel.
In the model double canoes the lower ends of the braces are lashed to the top edge of the gunwales and the full depth of the vertical limbs rests against the inner sides of the bulwarks. Braces were also used in the single waka canoes, and it was stated that the vertical limbs rested against the inner side of the gunwales. Supporting this were the further statements that the curve of the brace formed a back rest for the seats which rested on the upper edge of the hull. If this is correct, it is probable that extra wide flanges were left at appropriate places on the inner side of the upper edge of the hull to support the seats and the feet of the cross braces. If the seats were lashed to the top edges of the gunwales, the feet of the cross braces could still be lashed to the inner side of the gunwales and leave enough of the arch projecting above the gunwale to furnish a back rest. In the Tongarevan canoe pictured by Choris (29, p. 189) braces similar to the Manihiki manu are shown with the arches well above the level of the gunwales. The Hawaiians use a brace, but with the convexity downward. The Maoris used straight thwarts as both seat and gunwale brace, and the Manihikian term, manu, for a cross brace is represented by the Maori term, taumanu.
The platform (horiki) in the models is made of a single piece of timber cut to fit the space between the canoes and resting on the cross booms (kiato). In the full-sized canoes, the platform probably consisted of a series of planks or poles lashed to the cross booms.
Horizontal spars (tautara) were laid transversely over the bulwarks and lashed to the top spar on each side. In the large models there is one close to the bow piece, another close to the stern piece, and two evenly spaced between. The spars are even with the bulwarks on the platform side but project well out on the other side. They were used for the stays supporting the masts. In a single canoe made on the same model as the double canoe, the spars projected equally on both sides.
The Manihiki mast somewhat resembles the Samoan mast with the expanded top end shaped like a netting needle and open at the top. The curve of the expanded portion, however, more nearly approaches a circle. The lower end of the mast has a curved notch. (See fig. 67.)
The sail is made of lauhala plaited in check and is triangular in shape with the base turned upward. The two sides are lashed to spars at intervals, the shorter straight side to a thicker spar (yard) which lies fairly vertically against the mast, and the longer side, somewhat curved, to a long flexible spar (boom) which follows the page 155 curve of the edge. The free upper base is ornamented with a fringe of dyed tou bast. If the model sails are true to type, the Manihiki sail is intermediate between the Maori and Hawaiian sails. The Maori type, as represented by an old sail in British Museum (25, p. 353, pl. 40), is narrower at the base, which is ornamented with tufts of feathers. Both sides had loops, one side for the mast and the other for a sprit. A Hawaiian sail in a Paris museum, as observed from a photograph in the possession of Mr. Houston of Honolulu, is wider than the Manihiki sail at the base, which is unornamented. One side of the sail is lashed to the mast and the other side has a greater curved sprit than the Manihiki sail. In all three, the principle of keeping the apex down at the foot of the mast is similar. In the Samoan triangular sail the apex is carried forward, which sets the sail obliquely instead of vertically.
In all the models the lower end of the mast had a curved notch, evidently for fitting over some transverse support, but it was not always clear what the support was. In some canoes, the notch fitted over the cross boom connecting the two canoes, and in others they were simply stuck against the gunwale. The mast was kept in position by four side stays (shrouds) which were tied at the upper ends to the mast a little below the upper expansion; the lower ends were tied to the outer ends of four horizontal spars (tautara). The length of the stays indicates that the masts were set up in one of the canoes and not on the platform between the canoes.
The sail (fig. 68) had a rope (halyard) tied to the straight spar at about the junction of the upper and middle thirds. In the models, the rope was run through the hole in the mast below the upper expansion. The sail was hauled up so that the shorter spar became vertical with the tie at the level of the mast hole, and the lower end of the rope was tied either to a wooden peg let into the mast or to an adjacent horizontal spar. A rope (sheet) was also tied to the curved spar at about a quarter of its length from the upper end, and the lower end was tied to a horizontal spar to the set required.
Figure 68. Double canoe, setting of mast and sail: the two canoes (1, 2) joined with bows in opposite directions; mast (3) stepped on inner gunwale of near canoe (1) and stayed by four ropes (4) tied to outer ends of four transverse booms (5); sail (6) with shorter straight spar (7), longer curved spar (8), and fringe (9) at base drawn up with halyard rope (10) passing through small hole in mast in model but probably through larger upper opening in full-sized canoe; sheet rope (11) tied to longer spar (8) and to end of one of horizontal spars.
Pearl shell inlay was used on the bow and stern pieces and on the arches, in the large canoes, of the cross braces that formed back rests for the seats. In the models, the gunwale, wooden platform, and horizontal spars (tautara) were also inlaid. The pearl shell pieces (tiwha) were cut in circles, triangles, squares, and lozenges, with one shorter than the other, and in pentagons. The process of inlaying (tatai) took the form of horizontal rows of circles or pentagons on the stern and bow pieces, single page 156 rows of large squares or rectangles on either side of the wooden platform, and single or double rows of triangles on the gunwale. On the gunwale the triangles in a single row had the bases alternating so that the wood between showed as a zigzag space; in the double rows the bases were continuous and opposed in the two rows so that the apices of opposite triangles met and formed a row of lozenge-shaped wooden spaces between the two rows. The pearl shell pieces were set in level with the surface of the wood. The lozenge-shaped pieces were each pierced with a pair of holes and threaded on a cord along the horizontal junction of stern and bow pieces with the hull, the cord, in the models, having been laid on the outer seam batten and included with it under the lashings of the join. Circular pieces were also threaded to terminate the ends of the rows of lozenges. (See pl. 7, C.) Pearl shell inlay is characteristic of Manihiki and Rakahanga. Brigham (3, p. 97) made a curious mistake in attributing the canoe models of Manihiki to Manihi of the Paumotu (Tuamotu) Archipelago. In describing Manihi, he stated, “Inhabitants make curiously elaborate canoes.” The inlaid double canoes in Bernice P. Bishop Museum labeled by him “Manihi, Paumotu” are without the slightest doubt from Manihiki.
The waka taurua was used for transport in the annual migrations between the two atolls.
Modern Plank Canoes
The modern canoes (pl. 7, A, B) are made of imported sawn planks. The planks forming the sides are bent around and nailed to slanting bow and stern posts so that the canoe is pointed fore and aft. The bottom is formed of transverse pieces of board nailed on and is thus flat. A low gunwale is added on either side, and a portion of the bow and stern is covered over with pieces of plank nailed to the gunwales. Two straight outrigger booms are used which are indirectly connected with the float by two pieces of board driven into the float and lashed to the booms. (See figure 69.)
Figure 69. Modern canoe, indirect connections between boom and float: a, aft view; b, view from outboard; c, top view. Outrigger boom (1) attached to float (2) by outer connecting stave (3) and inner connecting stave (4); stave width same as boom diamater, upper ends slightly concave to accommodate round boom, lower ends sharpened to longitudinal edge driven into boom in slanting position; hole (5) in middle line a little below upper edge of staves; slip noose (6) passed around boom, sennit (7) passed through stave hole to form loop (8) over boom; sennit passed back through hole to make second loop over boom on inner side of stave and then repeated on outer side; one or two circumferential turns (9) made transversely around vertical lashing turns between stave and boom, end tied to set of vertical lashing turns between stave and boom, end tied to set of vertical turns with overhand knot; sennit braid carried across to second stave and lashing of two inner and outer turns around boom with two circumferential turns repeated.