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Land Tenure in the Cook Islands

Glossary and Conventions

page xii

Glossary and Conventions

The explanations given below have been kept as brief as possible and do not purport to be exhaustive. In particular, while many Maori1 words have several meanings, only that which is relevant to the present study is given here. The Maori language, furthermore, does not alter the form of a noun in the plural, and this usage has been followed, while at the same time every effort has been made to avoid any confusion in the text on this account. Maori words which are used only once, and the meaning of which is explained, are not included in the glossary.

The common convention of underlining words in languages other than English has not been followed for two reasons: firstly because this is a study of a particular aspect of Maori culture, and in such a context it appears inappropriate to treat Maori words as foreign; and secondly because underlining has occasionally been used in the thesis to emphasize particular words or ideas, and the use of the same technique for two different purposes may cause confusion.

Word Brief explanation
Akonoanga oire The custom under which, when villages were formed at the instigation of the first missionaries, each family was allotted a house-site to be held in perpetuity (either unconditionally or subject to continued occupation, tribute or other conditions).
Aratiroa The obligation to provide food and services for the entertainment of distinguished visitors.page xiii
Arevananga The obligation to assist with labour, materials and food in the erection of buildings of a public nature (including the house of the ariki).
Ariki A high chief, the titular head of a tribe.
Atinga An offering, in pre-contact times usually a religious offering, but used today as a generic name for tribute.
Au A local council having limited authority in certain parochial affairs.
Kainga tangata A household.
Kiato A branch or segment of a minor lineage.
Komono The deputy of a mataiapo.
Kopu tangata The kindred, or a member or members of the kindred.
Koutu The ‘royal court’ of an ariki - for fuller definition see page 62.
Mana Power, authority, influence.
Maori The indigenous people of the Cook Islands, or things pertaining to them.
Marae A sacred ground at which ceremonies of a religious nature were carried out.
Mataiapo A chief of a major lineage. Each mataiapo was titular head of a tapere of land and the people who resided thereon.
Matakeinanga The local group occupying a tapere, and composed of the residential core of a major lineage plus affines and other permissive members.
Motu An islet within an atoll; or, an earth wall forming a boundary between taro patches.
Ngati A descent group headed by a titleholder.
Puna A nuclear family.
Rangatira A lesser chief under an ariki or mataiapo.
Ra'ui A customary prohibition on the use of resources or facilities.
Reo iku A verbal will made by a person about to depart or to die.
Tapere A sub-district, normally headed by a mataiapo or ariki, and occupied by a matakeinanga.page xiv
Taro Colocasia esculenta, a starchy root vegetable.
Tapu Sacred.
Tuika'a A slave.
Uanga An extended family, the residential core of which occupied a household.
Unga A commoner.
Vaka A tribe, or the territory occupied by a tribe.
page xv
The Cook Islands in Relation to Neighbouring Territories and New Zealand

The Cook Islands in Relation to Neighbouring Territories and New Zealand

1 Note that the term Maori is used in this thesis with the meaning ascribed to it in the Cook Island dialects, i.e. referring to the indigenous people of the Cook Islands or to things pertaining to them.