Ethnology of Tokelau Islands
Atafu Village Divisions
Atafu Village Divisions
The first settlement was made at the site of the present village at the southern end of Atafu Islet, where there was a canoe passage from the lagoon to the open sea (fig. 5). The houses were erected along the lagoon shore 8 or 9 feet above water level to receive the cooling trade winds which blow across the atoll. They were protected from devastation by high tides and storm waves by breakwaters built in front of parts of the village and backed by a fill of coral rubble.
Figure 5.—Map of part of Atafu Islet showing the village of Fale established by Tonuia, site of the ancient settlement, and Atakei, Alato, and Pokulu, the men's houses: a, breakwaters (pa); b, paved hole for soaking coconut husks; c, piers; d, canoe houses; e, god house, with two erect slabs before it and sacred repository (sai) for discarded paraphernalia; g, cook houses; houses of first settlers belonging to: h, Laua; i, Laufali; j, Kaufala; l, Te Pasu; m, Pio; n, Tongia; o, Levao; p, Fekei; q, Tonuia; r, Fuati; s, Ngaluava; t, Malokie; u, Vaovela; v, Lou; w, Kiao; x, Kapa.
The first houses were those of the five sons of Tonuia: Vaovela, Pio, Malokie, Laua, and Laufali; his two daughters, Lovao and Fekei; and Ngaluava and Tuati, the sons of Folasanga who accompanied Tonuia. Their homes were built surrounding the house of Tonuia which served for a time as the god house of the community. Later Laua built two more houses; his son, Tongia, built a house for himself and his wife; Pio built a second house for his second wife; and five men, who had brought their families to Atafu after Tonuia, built houses at each end of the village. Of these five men, Kafa, Kiso, and Lou built close to the shore at the north end; Kaufala and Tepasu built their houses beside that of Laufali. There were three men's houses—Pokulu, Afekai, and Alato—built along the eastern shore and a god house at the northern end of the malae away from the houses. Several canoe sheds were built along the lagoon beach north of the southern breakwater and pier. The cook houses were all across the lagoon passage away from the trade wind. There was no systematic arrangement of the village; houses page 56 were built close together and connected by narrow paths through uncleared scrub and trees; and pigs were allowed to wander about the village.
The first breakwater was constructed by three men who came to Atafu shortly after Tonuia and built their houses at the northern end of the village. Later another section was built near the southern end of the islet. Between these two sea walls three stone piers were built into the lagoon from the village shore. They were 10 feet long, 5 feet wide, and 2 or 3 feet above sea level. At the end of each was a small house for a toilet that rested partly on the end of the pier and partly on piles in the water (pl. 16, A).
Figure 6.—Map of present village of Atafu showing lagoon, canoe passage, reef and village sections: Asanga and new land deposited by sea in 1914; Afekei and extension of original village along lagoon shore; Lomaloma, hospital grounds; malae on which have been built village garden, church, and cricket ground; b, schoolhouse and boys' dormitory; c, cook house; d, dwelling; e, steps in breakwater to lagoon; f, council house (fale loa); g, pig pens; h, hospital; k, women's work house; l, basketball ground; m, missionary's house; o, ancient graves marked by coral slabs; p, breakwater; r, reservoir; s, storage house; t, combined toilet and storage shed; v, canoe beach; y, copra shed; z, cricket crease. Broken lines show boundaries of village land divisions. Parallel lines show paths with low slab curbing.
The modern village was laid out when the island was under the administration of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony (fig. 6). The paths, the arrangement of the modern, cooler types of houses, the segregation of the pigs from the village, and the clearance of all undergrowth were planned and accomplished under governmental supervision. However, the ownership of plots of land within the village and the two early divisions of the village, Afekei and Asanga, were not disturbed. Their division is marked by the page 57 crosspath running from the council house and is indicated on the map (fig. 6) by a broken line. The land that was built up in the hurricane of 1914 is now part of Asanga division. The two sections which were given to the men of the village and the church are divided by the end of the main walk which runs through the village. The present missionary has had built on the church or communal land a round-ended Samoan house for himself and family and two large Tokelau houses for his school. The older boys of the school sleep in one, which has supplanted to a degree the old men's house. Beyond the schoolhouse is a basketball ground. The upper portion of the new land is used mainly for cook houses.
Afekei, the northern district, includes the newer part of the village. Lomaloma is the hospital group at the extreme northern end of the village. The name has been adopted from the name of a town, Lomaloma, in the Fiji group by the present native medical practitioner, Longolongo.
The old malae in the center of the village is unoccupied and has only a few shade trees. The church and reservoir have been built in the middle of it. The lower end is used for cricket matches and drying copra; the northern end has been turned into a communal garden, planted with an introduced taro (taamu), bananas, and papayas.
The entire village, from Lomaloma to the end of the eastern shore, is now protected by a breakwater, except for the intervals left for canoe beaches. At several points in the wall steps have been made to allow the people to descend to the water to bathe. The height of the breakwater above the water varies in different sections constructed at different times; the newer parts have an average height of 5 feet; the older walls are slightly lower. The last parts of the breakwater to be completed were the end sections. The Lomaloma end at the edge of the hospital grounds district was built under the direction of the present native medical practitioner; the southern end, which turns and runs inland 10 or 15 feet to a higher level, was built under the direction of the present missionary.
The outlet of the lagoon, which serves as a canoe passage, has changed its position three times during human habitation on the island. In the period of the early or pre-Fakaofu settlement the passage ran from the present mouth across the modern village parallel to the crosswalk ending at the council house. When the first settlement was made from Fakaofu, the outlet had moved to the boundary of the new land; in 1914 it changed to its present position.