Ethnology of Manihiki and Rakahanga
Tops of the general sharp-pointed cone type are made of ngangie wood. They are spun by having pieces of two-ply twisted sennit cord wound around them for a number of turns and being either thrown down or jerked sideways.
Stilts (rore) are made as in Cook Islands (27, p. 329) with steps lashed to straight poles. They are used in a fighting game (tamaki) in which opponents try to knock each other over by striking stilt against stilt. Stilts are also said to be used in stealing, to prevent footprints from being seen.
Darts (to) are made of lengths of coconut leaf midrib (whani) about 6 feet long, trimmed to a width of about 1.5 inches, with the fore end blunt- page 197 pointed and the other end square to give purchase to the right forefinger. The dart, which is long and heavier than the darts of Cook Islands (27, p. 335), is held by two hands. The left hand supports the weight, and the right hand gives the propulsive force. The act of throwing is termed toto and the dart itself, to, which is a departure from the eastern Polynesian term, teka. There are two methods of throwing darts:
1. The whakapa method of throwing consists of taking a run and then casting the dart forward with a low trajectory so that it strikes the ground some short distance away and then runs along the ground. The dart does not rise like the light darts which are ricocheted off the ground close to the player and make long flights in the air.
2. The hehe method consists of casting the dart with a higher trajectory so that it goes as far in the air as possible and finishes up with a short course on the ground.
The dart-throwing competition is for distance. The site is the village road, and any number of competitors, children, youths, and adults, join in the play. The players cast in turn from a mark on the road, and the farthest dart scores a point. The players then walk up to the other end, pick up their own darts, and throw back again. Organized games between sides, in the demonstrations I saw, were not indulged in. The players simply threw darts back and forth for exercise and enjoyment, and the victor of each throw acclaimed himself. The throws did not go so far as the light darts of other areas, but the general average for distance was more certain.
The common Polynesian term teka has been applied to a game of jumping over coconut leaves laid on the ground. Hence, anyone stepping over another person is likened to a person playing teka. To step over another person is regarded as bad manners in many parts of Polynesia, and in Rakahanga disapproval is expressed in the phrase, “E aha koe, teka mai ai?” (Why have you come in teka fashion?)
String figures (whai) were known, but none were recorded by me. K. P. Emory saw a Manihikan in Tahiti set up a figure to the chant used by Maui on fishing up Rakahanga, “Tokomiti, tokomiti, tokoheta, tokoheta.”