Arts and Crafts of the Cook Islands
The use of native weapons in warfare was abandoned when the people accepted the sanctions of Christianity. They continued to be used, however, in dances and dramatic representations of events in traditional history. In the course of time, practically all the old clubs that had been made with stone tools were given away or sold to European visitors. For their dances the people replaced the old clubs with new ones of softer wood and made with steel tools and, though the older generations may have copied the original patterns, craftsmanship degenerated so that some of the modern dance weapons cannot be matched with the old specimens that found their way into museums. The people in various islands can still enumerate the names of the old weapons, and many of the names occur in their traditional history. However, as there are no originals and as their descriptions lack detail, I am unable to identify many of the museum specimens I have seen. Atiu is an exception, for the clubs now used in dances conform to an old pattern. The native lists will be given here with each island and the museum specimens described.
Weapons may be divided into clubs, spears, and slings. The spears and slings follow a general pattern, but the clubs in each island vary so much that they are best described separately. Old Museum specimens have been preserved for Atiu and Mauke, Rarotonga, and Mangaia; but I have never seen any original specimens from Aitutaki.page 276
The old clubs were made from heart of ironwood which is extremely hard and tough. It takes such a beautiful dark polish that some of the well-made Rarotongan clubs look as if they were made of metal. The heart of ironwood has the specific name of taiki, the term which applies to warriors who used weapons made of taiki. A similar usage exists in the Society Islands, where the heart of ironwood used for weapons is termed aito and the same term applies to warriors. The general name for ironwood is toa, and this is also a general term for warriors and bravery. The fact that in New Zealand, where there is no ironwood, the Maoris also use the term toa for warrior argues that the association between the ironwood and the warrior had taken place in central Polynesia before the Maoris left. The close association of the ironwood tree with war weapons was recognized to such an extent that if people were seen cutting down such trees it was generally recognized that they were preparing for war and other tribes assumed the alert.
A Mangaian legend states that the first ironwood tree was introduced by the Tonga'iti people, who planted it in the deep valley of Angaruaau in the Tamarua district (28, pp. 84, 85).
A man named Oangi and four friends cut the ironwood tree down with great difficulty. Two of the woodsmen died, so Oangi left and returned with two others to find the tree restored to its standing position, its trunk dyed red with its blood (sap) from the cuts it received when it was felled. Oangi returned home where his two companions died. Oangi, nothing daunted, returned with another party, but Vaotere, the spirit guardian of the tree, afflicted him with blindness so that he could not find the tree.
A man named Ono took up the quest, armed with an ironwood spade. (The legend does not say where he obtained the ironwood for his spade.) He dug down and severed the roots through which the tree had restored itself. As he cut through the tap root, Vaotere, the spirit of the tree, sprang at him with bared teeth, but Ono split his head with the spade. The name of the spade was Rua-i-paku and with it, the tree trunk was split into portions. Thus Rua-i-paku performed the functions of spade, club, and adz. [All ironwood trees are the progeny of the chip from the first tree.]
Atiu and Mauke
The Mauke people enumerated the following names of weapons: momore (with plain blade), momore 'akatara (serrated momore), aro'a (four-sided), tokotoko (short, with blunt end), maka (sling), and toki (stone adz). To these may be added the long and short spears. Atiuans recognized the momore, momore 'akatara, maka, and two spears, but made no mention of the others.
The momore with a narrow two-edged blade was the pattern copied by the Atiuans for their dances, and two old specimens confirm the type (fig. 172, c, d). In some clubs, the blade is so narrow that they look like spears, but the Atiuans distinguish this momore type from spears (tokotoko and tao) which are round in section. The two-edged blade rounds off into the shaft without any distinct shoulder and the lower end is pointed. The lower point is plain page 277or flanged, the flange is single or double, and the base of the flange is usually notched in V-shape on the sides corresponding with the surfaces of the blade. The Atiuan flanged point is similar to that in the Rarotongan serrated clubs.
The momore 'akatara is illustrated by a specimen I obtained in Atiu. The donor stated that it had been used in the invasion of Mitiaro by the Atiuans (about 1819 A.D.) and had been in his family since then. It has a long, narrow, two-edged pointed blade which has median edges front and back. The lower end of the blade narrows considerably and then widens into a shoulder flange that is notched to form four points (tara), and a similar four-point flange is formed a few inches lower down. The shaft continues the four edges of the blade for a short distance and then rounds off. The lower end widens out slightly and then diminishes to a blunt point (fig. 172, e).
Another momore 'akatara seen in Atiu was longer than the type described. It was said that similar weapons under seven feet in length were made for women. The Mauke people stated that the momore 'akatara in their list had points below the blade and this description corresponds with the Atiu club.
Figure 172.—Atiu and Mauke clubs: a-e, Atiu; f, Mauke. a, narrow blade with blunt unflanged point (Fuller coll., 318). b, very narrow blade, with straight flanged point (Fuller coll., ?). c, shortest club with widest part of blade near tip; blunt point with faintly incised double chevron (Fuller coll., L.M.S.). d, long point with fairly wide blade; double flanged chevron point (Fuller coll., L.M.S.). e, narrow blade with triple chevron motif (1); two sets of four barbs (2, 2); slight enlargement (3) of shaft near proximal end (Bishop Mus., C2918). f, wide paddle-shaped blade; unflanged point accidentally split (Bishop Mus., C2922). Measurements in millimeters.
|Length||Blade width and thickness||Shaft|
|a||2,395||46 × 19||32 × 32|
|b||2,575||40 × 19||33 × 27|
|c||1,500||56 × 19||36 × 30|
|d||2,895||59 × 18||39 × 33|
|e||2,305||52 × 23||26 × 25|
|f||1,947||99 × 31||32 × 32|
A momore club given to me in Mauke was dug up out of a local taro swamp, and hence its locality and age are unquestionable. As compared with the Atiu type, it is shorter, has a wider, paddle-shaped blade, and the lower point is not flanged (fig. 172, f).
No further information is available about the aro'a and the tokotoko mentioned in Mauke, but Cook (20, vol. 1, p. 196), in referring to other clubs in Atiu, says: "Others of them were narrower at the point, much shorter, and plain; and some were even so small, as to be used with one hand." The first ones referred to are evidently the plain edged momore, and the small ones may be the short clubs termed tokotoko in Mauke but carrying some other name in Atiu where the term tokotoko means a staff or long spear.
Cook (20, p. 196) indicates that laterally serrated clubs were seen in Atiu when he visited there. He states, "The clubs were generally about six feet long, made of a hard black wood, lance shaped at the end, but much broader, with the edge nicely scalloped, and the whole neatly polished." This description, except for the length, accurately describes the serrated clubs of Rarotonga, which are made of black heart of ironwood and neatly polished. As Cook never touched at Rarotonga, it must be accepted that clubs with "scalloped" edges were made in Atiu. Though a fairly large number of serrated clubs from Rarotonga have been preserved, I have seen none that have been ascribed to Atiu. None are to be found on the island now, but some may have been preserved in collections. The unlocalized club shown in figure 186, d may be from Atiu, but the serrations are not "scalloped" and it is not neatly polished. The laterally serrated clubs would constitute another form of momore 'akatara.
The earliest reference in Rarotongan traditions to the varieties of their clubs occurs in the story of Tu-tarangi, an ancestor who lived 33 generations before the ancestor Tangiia (65, vol. 28, pp. 85, 94). Tu-tarangi became involved in a quarrel with another chief, so he sent his son to fell a tree named Te Ii-matoa-i-avaiki from which to make weapons. His son was then ordered to take the wood to Tane. Tane asked that an expert craftsman (ta'unga) be sent to him. Tu-tarangi accordingly sent Rauru-maoa with an offering of food. Tane directed his work, first reciting an incantation to facilitate the splitting of the wood and to give the weapons power (mana). The wood was made into eight weapons of different types and each weapon was given a proper name, as follows:page 279
Type Proper Name 1. tokotoko Ni'oni'o-roroa 2. aro Te Aroaro-rangi 3. kounga Te Pivai-rangi 4. mata-tupa Te Mata-tua-vere 5. rupo Te Po'opo'o-rangi 6. korare Te Iti-rarerare 7. tao Rau-tiare 8. 'akatara-kuri Puapua-inano
When the weapons were finally smoothed off, they were placed in a house named Oro-kete which stood by the side of Tane's house and contained an altar platform to the god Rongo-ma-Tane. After the weapons had been placed in order on the platform, the expert craftsman returned to Tu-tarangi and informed him that the weapons were finished. In answer to the query as to whether they were good, he replied that there was one in particular named Ni'oni'o-roroa that Tu-tavake had placed on the altar. Ni'oni'o-roroa (long teeth) was so named after the teeth of Tu-tavake. Tu-tarangi sent for his leading warrior Kuru and told him to go and take possession of the weapons that were with Rongo-ma-Tane. Kuru was invited to enter the house and when he did so all the weapons quivered and shook. After examining them all, he selected the weapon Ni'oni'o-roroa, in spite of Tane's warning that it was a weapon of ill omen that would destroy the land. As he left the house, he poised the weapon in his hands and chanted: "Whose is the weapon that will succeed in war ? It belongs to Rongo, to Tane, to Rua-nuku, to Tu, to Tanga-roa." Having dedicated his weapon to the major gods to give it power, he struck and killed two children of Tu-tavake to remove the tapu of newness. He went on and slew the two sisters of the first victims saying, "Women are food for this weapon." He then fought with Tane-au-vaka, the enemy of Tu-tarangi, and slew him. He next fought with Maru-mamao, but Maru-mamao maneuvered so that the sun shone in Kuru's eyes. Maru-mamao then struck Kuru in the face with an adz (toki), and the weapon Ni'oni'o-roroa fell into his hands. A native manuscript belonging to the ariki Kainuku stated that in the religious processions during the takurua festival, the weapon of the god Maru-mamao (or his followers) was a tokotoko. (In the preceding list, the weapon Ni'oni'o-roroa was also stated to be a tokotoko).
In the story of Apakura (65, vol. 30, pp. 241, 249), a war party of 500 men made the following weapons (rakau tamaki) in preparation for a campaign:
1. maka e tona toka: slings with their stones 2. toro e te 'ana: arrow and the bow 3. ka'a ei marei: sennit for slip nooses 4. tokotoko 5. rupo 6. aro 7. 'akatara (serrated) 8. po'orapa, "and many others" (not named)
Deferring consideration of slings, bows, and nooses, we recognize the tokotoko, rupo, aro, and 'akatara from the previous list. The native text states that the rupo was one arm span long (okota'i maro te roa) and the po'orapa was one yard long, rounded at one end, and with a flattened blade at the other end, like an adz (toki). Percy Smith, who translated the native text, adds in brackets that the aro was usually translated as a wooden sword and that the 'akatara was a two-edged barbed spear.
Another weapon mentioned in tradition is the koke (65, vol. 29, p. 132). In a manuscript book, it is stated that the weapon of the god 'Etu-rere was a pare'iti.
In 1896, eleven drawings of Rarotongan weapons were made by Samuel Terei, a learned elder; and copies kindly supplied by Stephen Savage are reproduced in figure 173. None of the figures correspond accurately with the genuine clubs in existence, so it is evident that Terei had a memory of some of them but filled in details from his imagination.
Figure 173.—Problematical drawings of Rarotongan club by Samuel Terei: a, ni'o-roroa; b, 'akatara; c, 'akatara; d, taringa varu (eight ears), belonged to Iro-nui; e, ni'o-roroa, belonged to Kuru'eke; f, orokete, belonged to Tu-tapu; g, rupo, belonged to Tangiia-nui; h, momore; i, aro; j, mata-tupu-rere-te-rangi; k, taiki (e aro 'a, four surfaces).
figure 173, a-d shows variations of the common serrated club (fig. 174), but none follow the evenly scalloped blades of the real article. Two of them (fig. 173, b, c) are called 'akatara (serrated). This name is in the previous lists and is probably the correct term applied to the Rarotongan type of serrated club. The first club (fig. 173, a) has concave curves of different sizes, but in all the real clubs, the concave curves are even. The fourth club (fig. 173, d) has convex curves, a feature not present in the large number of clubs examined by me. The name taringa-varu (eight-ears) refers to the eight ser-page 281rations on either side. Three clubs (fig. 173, e-g) are variations of a plain-bladed type (fig. 173, g) represented by real clubs (fig. 178, a), which, how-ever, have a blunt butt point. The names rupo and aro (fig. 173, g, i) occur in previous lists and mata-tupu-rere-te-rangi (fig. 173, j) is evidently a long form of mata-tupa, one of the original eight weapons made in the time of Tu-tarangi. The term momore (fig. 173, h) is the same as the Atiuan term for this form of club and taiki (fig. 173, k) is the term elsewhere used for heart of ironwood.
The name ni'oni'o-roroa which is the proper name for a tokotoko in the original eight weapons is here applied to two different types of clubs (fig. 173, a, e) and one of them (e) is said to have belonged to the ancestor Kuru'eke. Another club (fig. 173, f), said to have belonged to Tu-tapu, the half-brother and enemy of Tangiia, is given the name of orokete which is the same as that of the house in which the original eight clubs were laid on the altar of Rongo-ma-Tane. The taringa-varu and the rupo (fig. 173, d, g) are given to the ancestors 'Iro-nui and Tangiia-nui respectively. 'Iro-nui, Tangiia-nui, and Tu-tapu were contemporaries who lived over six and a half centuries ago, and, though the names of clubs may be associated historically with certain ancestors, it is only by a stretch of imagination that the actual forms of the clubs can be recalled after such a length of time.
The old weapons definitely identified as Rarotongan are serrated clubs and a short implement that may have been used as a hand club. The identification of both types is supported by carving motifs which are peculiar to Rarotonga.
Serrated clubs have lanceolate blades with the sides carved with sharp-edged concave serrations. Raised flanges run parallel with the curves of the serrations, and this feature is characteristic of the Rarotongan clubs. The flanges are mostly single, but some clubs may have two, three, or four flanges running parallel with each other. The junction of the blade and the shaft forms a shoulder, because the lowest serration is wider than the shaft. Just below the shoulder, a raised shoulder ornament encircles the shaft. It varies considerably, though the most common motif is some form of the flanged eye that is typical of the wooden images representing the gods (fig. 179). The shaft is long and below the shoulder it has a greater diameter from side to side, corresponding with the blade width, than from front to back. The two diameters gradually approximate, though the shaft rarely becomes quite circular; thus the lateral edges that commence at the shoulder may continue throughout the length of the shaft. The butt end usually terminates in a point and the treatment of the point varies (fig. 177). The neat workmanship and the fine dark polish make the clubs the most attractive in Polynesia.page 282
Figure 174.—Rarotongan narrow-bladed serrated clubs (all in Fuller coll.): a, typical narrow blade (1) with sharp point (2) and concave serrations with, their flanges meeting in middle line, and lowest serration (3) forming shoulder with shaft (4); shoulder ornamentation (5) short interval below lowest serration. b, c, slightly wider blades show interval between flanges in middle line. d, blade with double flange not meeting in middle line. e, single flanges with increased separation toward tip. f, double flange with wider blade. The variety of shoulder ornament is shown and the butt ends of the shaft, which are not shown, are sharp in a, b, c, e and blunt in d, f. In the following table, narrowest blade width is taken at lowest serration, and collection number given. Measurements in millimeters.
|Museum no.||Length||Blade width||Shaft|
|a (258)||820||2,450||53||43||38 × 33|
|b (319)||870||2,308||69||53||39 × 31|
|c (320)||1,073||2,390||74||49||39 × 32|
|d (323)||915||2,005||74||58||37 × 27|
|e (L.M.S.)||930||2,212||91||55||35 × 32|
|f (16/6/32)||1,095||2,283||98||64||46 × 33|
The club blades are narrow, medium, or wide. In the narrow blade variety, the flanges of the concave serrations from either side meet in the middle line. There is, however, a widening of the blade at about the junction of the upper and middle thirds where the flanges may not meet (fig. 174). In the medium-bladed and wide-bladed clubs, the flanges which run parallel with the concave serrations are widely separated on either side. In the series shown in figure 175, a has plain edges and the shaft is enlarged just below the shoulder evidently for the shoulder ornament. The club is probably an unfinished speci-page 283men of the serrated type. The second club (fig. 175, b) illustrates the medium variety and the other two (fig. 175, c, d) the wide-bladed variety. Practically all the wide-bladed clubs have single flanged serrations, but one in the Peabody Museum, Salem, has triple flanged serrations. The club in figure 175, c has a long, fine blade point which probably was present in most clubs but was broken off in transport or in museums.
Figure 175.—Rarotongan medium and wide serrated clubs. a, Unfinished club: unserrated blade (1) and shoulder enlargement (2) for ornament; has enlargement at butt end of shaft for butt flanges of point. b, medium width blade with single flanged serrations, showing widening space between serrated flanges in upper part of blade. c, wide blade with long thin point. d, wide blade with four small carved panels in middle line of blade; lower part of blade not shown in figure; no shoulder ornament, but six carved panels similar to those on blade encircle shaft 18 inches from butt; sharp butt point with five four-pointed flanges (fig. 177, m). e, wide blade with triple-flange serration in upper half of blade and double-flange serration in lower half. Measurements in millimeters.
|a Fuller coll. (325)||2,100||154||75|
|b Fuller coll. (322)||1,800||2,350||104||54||40 × 32|
|c Cambridge Univ. Mus. (1907-64)||2,898|
|d Oldman coll. (445-b)||1,074||2,517||196|
|e Peabody Mus., Salem (E.20643)||1,256||2,704||231||68||39 × 32|
Another series of narrow-bladed clubs is shown in figure 176, a-c. The first is so narrow that it almost approaches the form of a spear. The second is wider toward the distal end which is divided into two points. The third widens page 284out still more to provide three points. Each club in this series differs from the other serrated clubs in having widely spaced, raised zigzag bands stretching horizontally between the innermost flanges of the two serrated edges of the blade.
Figure 176.—Rarotongan serrated clubs with one to three points. a, long narrow blade with single point and double flanges; four transverse notched bands (1) spaced along blade in space between innermost flanges; no shoulder ornament; blunt butt end (Peabody Mus., Salem E.4988). b, two-pointed blade with triple flanges on blade and double flanges on points; five notched bands (1); two double-eye ornaments (2) (Oldman coll., 443). c, three-pointed blade with triple flanges on blade, single flanges on points; four notched bands (1); double-eye shoulder ornaments; blunt butt end (Dresden Mus., 15743). d, enlargement of transverse notched band. Measurements in millimeters.
|c||no measurements taken|
The butt ends of the shafts of the clubs hitherto figured are usually trimmed to flanged points which are not particularly sharp. A few have a blunt end squared off and some have a blunt point without a flange. The flange which forms the beginning of the point is wider and thicker than the part of the shaft immediately above it. In some clubs, the base of the flange is straight transversely, but the usual technique was to cut the base into a V-shaped notch with the point directed downward in the middle line, front and back. This page 285results in a two-pointed flange with the points directed upward at the sides, and this form of flange may be repeated to form double, triple, or even more flanges. A form occurs in which the V-shaped notch was cut on the sides so that the points of the flange were on the median line front and back instead of at the sides. The two-pointed flange with repetitions was the most common technique.
Figure 177.—Butt ends of Rarotongan serrated clubs: a, butt end squared off; b, blunt point without flange; c, simple flange, transverse base without mesial notch; d, single two-pointed flange, sharp point; e, double two-pointed flanges with short point; f, double two-pointed flanges with long point; g, double flanges with lateral curves instead of points; h, triple two-pointed flange; i, triple two-pointed flanges but with points in mesial line instead of sides; j, four two-pointed flanges; k, triple four-pointed flanges with sharp point; l, four four-pointed flanges with two curved serrations on each side; m, five four-pointed flanges.
A distinct subtype is formed by nine (24 percent) of the 37 clubs examined. In all nine clubs, the blade point is blunt as compared with those already described and the butt ends are square. They all have exactly the same design on the shoulder ornament. The butt ends of three clubs are enclosed in a woven cover of bast material, and immediately above it an ornamental sennit binding extends upward on the shaft for a short distance. The binding is worked in the simple lozenge technique in two colors which was used on Rarotongan fan handles. It is possible that the ornamental cover and binding was the correct finish for these clubs. At all events, it stresses the fact that, unlike the other clubs, the butt end was not used for stabbing. These clubs may be divided into two varieties, unserrated and serrated.
Figure 178.—Rarotongan blunt pointed clubs: a, unserrated blade with shoulder ornament (1) (Manchester Mus., 897). b, common type with triple flanges on blade (Fuller coll., 324). c, double-flanged blade (Liverpool Mus., 7-12-57-79). d, four flanged blade; lower textile cuff (1) covers bottom and extends upward on shaft for 54 mm. and sennit binding (2) extends upward for further 82 mm. (Manchester Mus., 126). e, enlargement of serrations of b. f, enlargement of c. g, enlargement of d. Measurements in millimeters.
|blade||total||greatest blade||shoulder ornament|
|a||831||2,190||82||65||33 × 28|
|b||985||2,409||150||92||49 × 28|
|c||2,175||89||86||43 × 26|
|d||1,968||103||45 × 27|
The unserrated clubs were represented by two clubs in the series of nine. On seeing the first in the Manchester Museum (897), I thought it was an unfinished club to which the blade serrations had not been added, though the club was well formed and the blade edges appeared too thin to form flanged serrations. Later I saw another well-finished club of the same form in the American Museum of Natural History (S/5107). Both clubs have a medium sharp blade rounded off and squared butt ends, and the shoulder ornaments are identical with those on the serrated form. They may represent the prototype from which the serrated form was derived. Except for the blunt end, they may be the form that Samuel Terei had in mind when he drew the form of rupo shown in figure 173, g. The Manchester club is taken as the type specimen (fig. 178, a).
Figure 179.—Shoulder ornament of Rarotongan serrated clubs: a, uncarved; b, single eye, eyeball, and two lids; c, double eye, two eyes with eyeball and lids; d, two eyes with mesial band instead of eyeballs; e, two eyelid curves with double band; f, three eyelid curves with single band; g, three eyelid curves with double band; h, four eyes with sharp lid curves; i, five sharp eyelid curves with single band; j, two eyes with eyeball, lids, and brow curve below; characteristic of blunt pointed clubs (fig. 178); k, two eyes with brow curves above and below; l, double set of two eyes; m, two eyes, with eyeballs, upper lid, two brow curves, and no lower lid; n, wide zigzag band; o, narrow zigzag band; p, serrated band with vertical projection; q, back view of p, with no serrations; r, panel motif with three panels on each visible surface, six panels in all; s, four panels showing, eight in all.
Serrated clubs are characterized by a comparatively wide blade with a rounded point, and the concave serrations have more than one flange. In the seven serrated clubs, five have three flanges, one has two, and one has four. The lowest blade serration meets the shoulder ornament directly without a shaft space between. For details of the shoulder ornament, which is present in all the clubs, see figure 179, j. Three clubs with varying numbers of flanges are shown in figure 178, b-d, and the general appearance of the cuff and binding is shown in figure 178, d.
The shoulder ornament characteristic of the Rarotongan clubs is based in most forms on the eye motif with flanged lids and brow which forms such a marked feature of the wooden images of gods. The eyeball itself is represented by an elliptical figure with curved flanges above and below that represent the eyelids. In some clubs, an additional curved flange represents an eyebrow. On the wider surface of the shaft corresponding to the wide surface of the blade, the eye motif may be repeated up to five. The commonest form is two eyes with two lids. In some ornaments, the eyeball is replaced by a single or a double transverse bar. Less common motifs consist of zigzag bands and oval panels. (fig. 179).
Two short clubs shaped something like a butcher's cleaver were identified as Rarotongan from the double heads carved on the butt end of the shaft in a manner characteristic of that island. The blade and shaft are also carved. The type specimen selected is in the British Museum (fig. 180, a, b). A second club in Cambridge University Museum resembles the type in every detail but is smaller (fig. 180, c).
In the list of clubs on page 279, the native description of a po'orapa states that it was short with a rounded handle and a flattened blade like an adz (toki). Though the native historian used the term toki, he may have had in mind an ax, to which the same term applies. In giving the length, he used the term iada, the native form of the English word yard; and though the type specimen figured above is only 13.75 inches in length, it is possible that the use of the word iada was meant to convey the idea of shortness instead of actual measurement. It is possible, therefore, that the name of the short clubs figured was po'orapa.
It is likely that the distal holes in the blades of the short clubs were like the holes in the ears of Rarotongan images, made for the attachment of bunches of feathers. Except for the short handle, the club resembles the New Zealand tewhatewha weapon to the blade of which bunches of feathers were attached through a hole on the proximal side of the blade. To avoid breaking the blade of the New Zealand weapon, the blow was struck with the straight edge or back of the blade; and it is possible that the Rarotongan weapon was used in a similar manner.page 289
Figure 180.—Hand clubs, Rarotonga: a, total length, 350 mm.: blade (1) covered with zigzag incised lines, edges notched, and two holes near distal edge; transverse width, 115 mm.; right edge (2) width, 80 mm.; shaft (3) also incised with zigzag lines parallel with those of blade; shaft width in middle, 38 mm.; thickness, 21 mm.; raised flange (4) bounding butt ornament (5) of which main motif is two heads in profile (British Mus., 1905, 11-14-2). b, enlarged butt ornament of a: raised bar (4) cut on each edge in alternating angular notches to form raised zigzag bar; butt ornament with two heads (5, 5) in profile with eyes formed by four curved lines and mouth by angular notch, typical of Rarotongan technique; two lateral holes pierced in ear positions with mesial hole between; between holes two raised flanges (6, 6), transversely notched extend to free edge between chins; unnotched flange (7) extends from mesial hole to free edge; greatest width of butt ornament, 60 mm.; thickness, 26 mm. c, similar in all respects to a, butt smaller and with one head of butt ornament broken off through lateral hole; total length, 310 mm.; blade transverse width, 110 mm.; right edge (2) width, 90 mm.; shaft width, 35 mm. (Cambridge Univ. Mus., Z.6073).
The expert use of weapons in Mangaia was attributed to the Tonga-'iti tribe. These warlike people were so obstinate in their quarrels that they would not listen to argument. Hence the saying, "E kuru ta'i va'a ko'atu ei tara ia Tonga'iti" (Beat a stone as a mouth to talk to the Tonga'iti). They are credited with introducing the first ironwood tree into Mangaia (28, pp. 8.4, 85), and the various types of weapons made from ironwood are also attributed to them. From three portions of the trunk of the first ironwood tree, long spears, skull cleavers (ara'a), and wooden swords (aro) were made. A list of weapons was written by the father of my informant, Aituna, on a blank page of the family Bible. The list was headed with the words, "Te 'ata taua na Tonga'iti" (The weapon rack of the Tonga'iti). Eight weapons with accompanying brief remarks were enumerated as follows:page 290
1. Tauokura: e taiki roroa, e ono maro, e rima maro, e 'a maro (long iron-wood weapon, six, five, or four arm spans). 2. Tarai-matakura-mea: e ara'a (an ara'a). It had two cutting edges. 3. Tarai-arorangi: e 'aro (a 'aro). 4. Upoko-motu: e rapa (broad or paddle bladed); with sharpened edges but differing from an ara'a (no. 2). 5. Tao-rangi: e 'a manga (with four branches or points). 6. 'Iti-pa'aka: e rua manga (with two points). 7. 'Ui-pua: e potakataka, mei te kurukuru te tu (rounded, like a kurukuru). Aiteina stated that it was a short club up to 3 feet in length with a rounded head like a sling stone (kurukuru). 8. Kaika'a.
In addition to these, the popo described as an ironwood staff (tokotoko taiki) was used as a club on occasion.
Of the weapons enumerated, only the kaika'a can be definitely identified with existing weapons. This is possible because it was figured by Gill (29, p. 320) with its name. (See figure 183.) Of genuine Mangaian clubs preserved in museums, six types are recognized: spade, serrated, pointed paddle, narrow bladed, triple serrated (kaika'a), and short hand club.
The type specimen of the spade club, which is in the British Museum, was figured by Stolpe (64, p. 148, cut 56) and Edge-Partington (24, l-5-6). A label pasted on the implement reads as follows: "The ancient spade of the Mangaians always used in a squatting posture also used (and intended to be used) as a club. This one has cleft many a skull"—A. W. Franks Esq. 18-11-76 (Gill). It is made of heavy wood, probably ironwood. The blade has a broad convex distal end, a wide blade which narrows gradually to the shoulder junction with the shaft. The rather blunt side edges are carried along on the sides of the shaft. The blade itself thickens in the median line toward the shoulders in order to provide sufficient thickness for the shaft. The shaft ends in a four-pointed flanged point which, however, is very short as compared with the four-pointed flanged points of the Rarotongan clubs. Except for the lack of serrations on the blade edges, shoulder ornament, and carving on the blade, the implement is exactly the same shape as the Mangaian serrated clubs and is probably their prototype. Blows could be made with the blade and thrusts with the pointed butt which would be of no use in a spade. Though it may have been used as a spade by warriors, it was more of a weapon than a garden implement (fig. 181, a).
Since the preceding paragraph was written, I have received a photograph of a club in the Peabody Museum, Salem, which definitely links the spade implement with the serrated clubs. It has a plain blade with unserrated edges and a four-pointed butt flange exactly like those of the spade implement and the weapons. In addition, it has a shoulder ornament identical with a form on the serrated and the paddle-shaped clubs (fig. 182, d). The shaft is decorated with sennit, which is now loosened and disarranged, but the markings on the page 291shaft show that originally the sennit was arranged in spaced bands with a continuous braid as in the paddle-shaped club (fig. 181, d). This weapon (fig. 181, b) confirms the contention that the British Museum specimen (fig. 181, a) is more a weapon than a spade.
Figure 181.—Mangaian clubs, a, spade club (British Mus., 9943 c, c): total length, 1,755 mm.; blade length, 900 mm.; blade width at distal end, 166 mm.; shoulder width (l), 93 mm. and thickness, 43 mm.; shaft upper end, 45 mm. by 43 mm.; shaft lower end above four-pointed flange (2), 38 mm. by 37 mm. Blade is longer than shaft, b, spade club (Peabody Mus., Salem, E4883): total length, 1,384 mm.; blade width at distal end, 117 mm.; shoulder ornament (1) in transverse lines of small chevrons; four-pointed butt flange (2); loosened sennit decorative lashing (3) on shaft, c, serrated club (Oldman coll., 401): total length, 1,487 mm.; blade length, 600 mm.; shoulder ornament length (1), 70 mm.; blade distal width, 125 mm.; blade lower width, 50 mm.; length of flanged butt point (2), 40 mm. d, paddle club (Oldman coll., 402): total length, 1,680 mm.; blade length, 712 mm. of which 270 mm. is formed by long narrow point; shoulder ornament (1) length, 62 mm.; blade greatest width, 150 mm.; shaft ornamented by sennit binding, four-pointed flange (2). e, paddle club (British Mus., 44/7-25/9): total length, 1,340 mm.; blade length, 475 mm. of which 240 mm. is formed by point; shoulder ornament (1) length, 55 mm.; greatest blade width, 75 mm. and median thickness, 9 mm.; shaft diameters above flanged point, 21 by 20 mm.; base of flanged point (2), 26 mm. by 26 mm. f, staff club (British Mus.): length, 1,447 mm.; greatest blade width, 82 mm.; two protuberances (1) at lower end of blade.
Specimens of serrated clubs were studied in the Fuller collection (L.M.S. gift), Oldman collection (401), and Peabody Museum, Salem (16,614 and 16,988). The blade has the same shape as the spade club, but the side edges are carved with convex serrations which are not flanged and which offer a marked contrast to the concave serrations of the Rarotongan clubs. The blade is also carved with a mesial row of small sunken lozenges from which incised chevrons diverge outward on either side (fig. 182, a ). At the blade and shaft junction is a raised shoulder ornament with notched mesial and lateral edges and carved like the blade (fig. 182, b) or with chevrons alone (fig. 182. d). The shaft ends in a four-pointed flanged point identical with that in the spade club. A serrated club in the Norwich Museum was figured by Edge-Partington (24, II-9-1) and another in the Douay Museum by Stolpe (64, p. 48, fig. 54). (See figure 181, c.)
Figure 182.—Carved patterns on Mangaian serrated and paddle clubs. a, blade end of serrated club: mesial row of sunken lozenges with incised lines forming two to three enclosing lozenges followed by chevrons opening outward; margins that slope down to form an edge to serrations are not carved. b, shoulder ornament of serrated club: 1, mesial notched edge; 2, 2, lateral notched edges; 3, mesial row of sunken lozenges with chevrons on either side. c, shoulder ornament on paddle club: similar to b. d, variation of shoulder ornament on serrated club: 1, mesial notched edge; 2, 2, lateral notched edges; surfaces carved with rows of chevrons without mesial lozenges.
The pointed paddle clubs have an elliptical paddle-shaped blade with a long, thin point which gives the clubs a unique appearance. I have seen specimens in the British Museum and in the Oldman collection. One in the Leyden Museum is figured by Stolpe (64, p. 47, fig. 52). The blade is thinner in the middle than at the two ends and the sides are brought to a plain edge. At the junction of blade and shaft, a four-sided enlargement with median and lateral edges is carved with the chevron motif in a manner similar to that in the serrated clubs (fig. 182, c). The median edges may be continued down the shaft for some distance, but the lateral edges are present throughout the length, of the shaft. The shaft ends in a blunt point with a four-pointed flange similar to that in the spade and serrated clubs. The shaft of the Oldman club is ornamented with transverse bands of sennit, each band consisting of five turns, and the Leyden club is similarly ornamented. (See figure 181, d, e.)
In the Mangaian list of clubs, the upoko motu was described as rapa and as the blade of a canoe paddle is termed the rapa in distinction to the shaft (kakau), it may be that the pointed paddle clubs bore the name of upoko motu.page 293
A plain edged club with a narrow blade and pointed distal end in the British Museum is attributed to Mangaia by Edge-Partington (24, 11-10-10). It has two rounded protuberances at the lower end of the blade which would correspond to the site for a shoulder ornament, but they are not carved. The butt end of the shaft ends in a plain blunt point without a flange (fig. 181, f).
A carved shoulder ornament is constant in the serrated and paddle clubs. The lower end of the blade in these clubs narrows and thickens to provide a quadrangular section between blade and shaft, 55 to 70 mm. long. It is marked by sharp lateral and median edges which are regularly notched throughout their length. There are thus two antero-lateral and two postero-lateral surfaces which are completely carved with similar patterns. Two patterns are seen: one with a vertical row of lozenges in the middle line of each surface with chevrons filling in the surface on either side (fig. 182, b, c), the other with horizontal rows of chevrons without any mesial lozenges (fig. 182, d). The first form is a repetition of the pattern on the blades of the serrated clubs on a smaller scale. This form of shoulder ornament is peculiar to Mangaia and differs greatly from the Rarotongan form of shoulder ornament (fig. 179).
The triple serrated club (kaika'a) is peculiar for Polynesia, in that it has a median row of serrations in addition to the side rows and that the distal end of the blade bends forward at right angles. The lateral serrations are continued on the bent portion but the middle series ends in three long spikes. The shaft is somewhat triangular in section with edges corresponding to the two side edges and mesial edge of the blade. The proximal end has an expanded point with a simple transverse flange that departs from the four-pointed flanges of the preceding weapons. The club figured by Gill (29, p. 320) is shown with a bunch of feathers tied to the shaft. The picture bears the inscription: "Kaikaa, or Mangaian curved club. Ornamented with feathers, in shape like an Australian boomerang." A specimen in the Hull Literary and Philosophical Museum, figured by Edge-Partington (24, II-17-13), has the shaft ornamented with transverse bands of fine sennit and is 736 mm. long. The club shown in figure 183 is in the Fuller collection.
A roughly made, serrated club, without the bent part or the dorsal row of serrations, but with both surfaces ribbed, is in the University of Pennsylvania Museum (2151). It has a quadrangular section at the lower end of the blade and is evidently a modern hybrid between the serrated club and the triple serrated club.
A short, hand club in the Peabody Museum, Cambridge, with a rounded shaft and a squared end, is carved with the typical K-motif and thus belongs to Mangaia. This may be a specimen of number 7 in Aiteina's list (p. 290), referred to as a 'ui-pua with a rounded head like a sling stone. Though the Peabody club ends in a square, there are a number of rounded or ribbed flanges which. by a stretch of the imagination, might suggest sling stones (fig. 184).page 294
Figure 183.—Mangaian triple serrated club (Fuller coll., 273). a, left side view: total length, 745 mm.; length of bent limb (1), 190 mm.; lateral row of serrations (2) extends on to bent part; dorsal median row of serrations (3); three spikes at end, longest (4) 150 mm. and lowest (5) broken off; width between lateral serrations at shoulder (6), 60 mm.; and depth in middle line, 44 mm.; shaft ends in a flanged point (7) without notch. b, dorsal view, showing lateral serrations (2, 2) and median row (3). c, ventral or under view, showing lateral serrations (2) and under surface with angular grooving between serrations giving ribbed appearance.
Figure 184.—Mangaian short hand club (Peabody Mus., Cambridge, 53512): length, 418 mm.; width at square end, 63 mm.; square end (1) carved with two rows of K-motif with stems fused; part of blade (2) carved with rounded flanges and piece of red cloth tied around middle part; also red cloth (3) tied around grip; proximal end flared. (Club obtained from Boston Marine Museum in 1899.)
Figure 185.—Flanged butt points of Mangaian clubs, a, triple serrated club (fig. 183): straight based flange; diameters of base, 21 mm. by 16 mm. b, spade club (fig. 181, a): four-pointed flange; base, 37 by 37 mm.; length of point, 39 mm. c, paddle club (fig. 181, d): length of point, 45 mm. d, serrated club (fig. 181, c): length of point, 40 mm. e, serrated club (Fuller coll., L.M.S.): base diameters, 42 by 35 mm.; four sets of incised lines following form of flange.
Modern clubs used in dances in Mangaia have roughly serrated blades with three points at the end and an uncarved quadrangular protuberance at the shoulder, but no old clubs with two or more points have been located.
Neither on the island itself nor in museums have I seen any old weapons from Aitutaki. Oral descriptions were given by informants (70, pp. 349-351) and pictures drawn, but I cannot vouch for the accuracy of these details drawn from memory. Unlike the people of islands where weapons were practically all made from ironwood, the Aitutakians stressed the use of gnarled, twisted miiro termed miro mingimingi that grew at Vairota.page 296
The long weapons were termed generally ko, pa'eru, tokotoko, and tadtea, but variations in form received specific names. Of five weapons described, two appear to have been used as clubs for thrusting and striking, whereas the other three may be classified as spears.
The 'iku tuna is about two arm spans long with one end pointed (ko'eko'e) and the other end expanded into a blade with sharpened edges (70, p. 350, fig. 295). The blade was likened to an eel's tail, hence the name of 'iku tuna ('iku, tail; tuna, eel). The weapon was used for thrusting with the point and striking with the blade. It was also thrown.
The no'o mou is about three arm spans in length with a four-sided point (70, p. 350, fig. 297) and a paddle-shaped blade with sharp edges. The weapon was not thrown; the warrior held his ground, hence the name no'o mou (no'o, to remain; mou, fast).
The other three clubs are included under spears.
Portlock (46, p. 228) states that he got "one weapon about eight feet long made of toa tree and shaped like an officer's spontoon." A spontoon is a kind of halberd formerly used by British infantry officers as a distinguishing arm.
Five clubs in the British Museum, which are attributed to the Hervey Islands, are difficult to place in any particular island. Two of these (fig. 186, a, b) I tentatively attributed to Mangareva as chiefs' staves (77,fig. 4, d, e), but authentic Mangarevan staves in the British Museum (E.P. 42) and in the Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh (U.C. 356) have no butt flanges, whereas the two under discussion have well-marked butt flanges. We have no authority for attributing butt flanges to Mangareva, but, they are a marked feature of Cook Islands clubs. The Mangarevan staves have short blades with rounded ends whereas the two doubtful clubs have long blades with the ends square. The evidence is thus against a Mangarevan origin; and, though the narrow bladed clubs so far identified as Cook Islands have sharp points, I prefer to revise my opinion and place them in the Cook Islands without designating any particular island.
A third club (fig. 186, c), made of light wood, has a narrow blade with mesial edges and a shoulder ornament consisting of a raised oval protuberance on each of the four edges. The carving on the panels is similar to that of the shoulder ornaments on some of the Rarotongan serrated clubs (fig. 179, r, s). The lower end of the shaft has been cut off so we have no information as to the form of the butt end. However, the carved shoulder ornament is argument in favor of Rarotonga.
The other two clubs are made of ironwood and have flanged serrated blades. One (fig. 186, d) has a square end to the blade with a narrower page 297squared point projecting beyond. The butt end has a blunt flanged point. The other, which I missed, is figured by Edge-Partington (24, 1-6-6). The blade has a bifurcated end and a short flanged point in which the flange appears to be four-pointed. It is much longer than its companion, being 11 feet 7 inches as against 6 feet 9 inches. Edge-Partington, who also figures the shorter club (24, 1-6-5), attributes them both to Mangaia; but, as he also attributes to Mangaia three unquestionably Rarotongan' serrated clubs on the same plate, his identification is open to doubt. The flanged serrations indicate Rarotonga, but they are not neatly concave as in the Rarotongan technique, and the blade ends differ. Neither club has shoulder ornaments, but the short four-pointed butt flange in the longer club indicates Mangaia.
Figure 186.—Unlocalized clubs in British Museum attributed to Hervey Islands. a (no. 4510): length, 2,314 mm.; blade approximately 780 mm. long, 38 mm. wide and 9 mm. thick at end, 49 mm. wide and 18 mm. thick at widest part; with lateral edges; shaft at lower end 22 by 24 mm. in diameter; base of flange 27 mm. in diameter and blunt point 28 mm. long; dark, well polished wood; acquired in 1867. b (no. 5315): length, 2,052 mm.; blade length approximately 910 mm., with concavo-convex edges, 52 mm. wide and 11 mm. thick at end, 57 mm. by 22 mm. at widest part; shaft 33 by mm. in middle, 28 by 28 mm. above flanged point; flange base diameter, 33 mm.; point length, 72 mm.; reddish, well polished wood; acquired in 1869. c (no. 7811): length, 2,062 mm. but end of shaft cut off; blade length, 1,012 mm. with widest part 43 mm. and thickness 36 mm.; median edge from tip to shoulder ornament (1) which consists of four raised, carved panels (2-2) 35 mm. high, d (number not recorded): length, 1,965 mm.; end projection (1), 40 mm. long, 25 mm. wide, 12 mm. thick; blade length, 910 mm.; blade end (2) width, 70 mm. and thickness, 21 mm.; distinct shoulder (3), mid shaft, 34 by 27 mm.; shaft above butt flange, 28 by 26 mm.; butt flange base, by 32 mm.
Old spears, like clubs, are scarce in the Cook Islands. Cook (20, vol. 1, p. 196), speaking of Atiu, states: "The spears were made of the same wood [as the clubs], simply pointed; and in general, about twelve feet long; though some so short, that they seemed intended to be thrown as darts."
Figure 187.—Cook Islands spears, a, Atiu spear (Fuller coll., 3120): four-edged point; remaining length, 1,720 mm.; greatest width of blade point, 41 mm. and thick ness, 21 mm.; lower end of shaft, 33 by 31 mm. b, Atiu vero (in field): length, 12 feet, 4 inches; leaf point (1), 4.7 inches long, greatest width, 1.5 inches and thickness, 0.65 inch; middle shaft diameter, 1.6 inches; lower leaf point (2), 4.3 inches long, greatest width, 0.8 inch, thickness, 0.5 inch. c, Atiu vero (in field): length, 11 feet 7 inches; rounded point (1) to flange, 7 inches long; middle shaft diameter, 1.4 inches; lower rounded point (2), 28.25 inches to flange. d, Rarotongan tao (Vakatini family): length, 9 feet 9 inches; point (1) with seven serrations on one side, length from tip to first serration 4.25 inches, from first to last serration 13.75 inches; diameter beyond last serration nearly 1 inch; blunt lower end (2) diameter not quite 0.5 inch. e, Rarotongan tao termed ni'o pongaponga (Vakatini family): length, 9 feet 2 inches; point, 18 inches long; point four sided and notched in middle of each surface to form series of short four-pointed barbs, most directed toward shaft but some reversed; order of barbs from tip, two normal, space, one reverse, six normal, space, one reverse, seven normal, space, one reverse; point bounded by transverse flange (1); flange and adjacent shaft (2) carved with small triangles and zigzag lines. f, flange (e,1) and shaft (e,2) showing carving motifs. g, cross-section of four-pointed barb. h, Mangaia (Auckland Mus., 9615): spear pointed at each end, decorated with bands of flat sennit; length, 1,750 mm.; middle diameter, 25 mm. i, band technique of h; commencement band of 23 turns; following bands four turns; continuous sennit, same technique as figure 116, a.
Atiuan informants said that spears were divided into two forms, tao and vero. The tao was a long spear about three arm spans in length (18 feet). It had a round point and was not thrown. On occasion, it was rested on the shoulder of an assistant for more accurate thrusting.
The vero was a span shorter (11 to 12 feet) and was thrown or thrust. A vero shown me was 12 feet 4 inches long and had both ends pointed in leaf fashion (fig. 187, b). Another vero was 11 feet 7 inches long and had a round point with a straight flange (fig. 187, c). It was said to have been a tao originally, but about 6 feet had broken off one end. The broken end had been trimmed to a round point with a flange. Both spears were made of ironwood which corroborates Cook's statement that the spears were made of the same wood as the clubs.
In Mauke, probably through some confusion in memory, the spear names were reversed. The tao was said to be a short throwing spear with a rounded point and the vero, a long spear.
In Mangaia, the spear was termed okiri but no details were obtained.
For Rarotonga, Savage (57) states that a tao was an ancient short throwing spear, a tao-rangi an ancient spear pointed at both ends, and a tao-rua an ancient spear approximately 18 feet long. He gives Vero as a dart or thrusting spear and tokotoko as a staff or walking stick.
In Rarotonga, I saw two old ironwood spears in the possession of the Vakatini family. Both were just over nine feet long and thus come under the term of tao. One had the point barbed on one side (fig. 187, d) and the other had an elaborate point furnished with a series of four-pointed barbs termed ni'o pongaponga (fig. 187, e).
A spear in the Auckland Museum, New Zealand (fig. 187, h) is pointed at each end and ornamented with spaced bands of sennit lashing, after the manner of Mangaia from whence the spear undoubtedly came.
In Aitutaki, a spear about one arm span in length made in one piece was termed a tara ta'i (one point). It was thrust or thrown. A more elaborate spear with a series of barbs in sets of four was termed puapua inano (male page 300pandanus flower) because the barbs resembled the pointed leaflets of that flower (70, p. 350, fig. 296). The four-pointed barbs have affinity with the ni'o pongaponga barbs of Rarotonga (fig. 187, e). In this form, the barbs all point toward the shaft, but in a variation some of the barbs are directed toward the point, probably in a manner similar to some barbs in the Rarotongan spear. Sometimes the barbed point was made separately and then lashed to a shaft. The weapon was used in hand-to-hand fighting or thrown. The puapua inano barb with four points is supported by the statement of Portlock (46, p. 227), who writes of Aitutaki as follows:
Their spears are about twelve feet and thick in proportion, some of them of hard toa, very much barbed near the point, others of bamboo pointed with toa wood, and one I got pointed with pieces of the sun-ray's tail, and must be a very dangerous weapon.
A picture by Tobin (46, p. 134) shows a man holding a many-barbed spear which illustrates the first type referred to by Portlock. The reference to the second type with a bamboo shaft and a separate point of toa wood also supports the native claim that some spears had a separate barbed point lashed to a shaft. The third type with points of sun ray's [sting ray] tail, though not mentioned by my native informants, has a very wide distribution in Polynesia; and Portlock's acquisition of a specimen proves its presence in Aitutaki.
Another spear, termed tu-a-rupe, was localized to the old village of Taravao on the site occupied by the present village of Tautu. It resembled the puapua inano as regards the four-pointed barbs but was much shorter. It also had a separate point joined to the shaft (70, pp. 350, 351).
Figure 188.—Cook Islands slings. a, Atiu technique of pouch: 1, sennit, forming margin; 2, coir cords in pairs caught in close rows of two-pair interlocking weft (4); 3, coir cords separated and caught simply in two-pair interlocking weft (5). b, Rarotongan sling (Bishop Mus., C8861): pouch (1) formed of nine lengths of sennit, plaited in check from middle toward either end; length, 145 mm.; middle width, 50 mm.; at ends, braid plaited into round plait (2) 70 mm. and bound with two-ply coir cord (3); sennit lengths cut off except three which are plaited in a three-ply braid (4) to form strings 12 mm. wide and 4 mm. thick; length of strings, 790 mm. and 1,000 mm.; string ends lashed with coir fiber. c, Rarotongan sling (Bishop Mus., C8862); pouch (1) shown in part with 11 lengths of sennit plaited in check: at each end the 11 lengths are gathered together and bound with coir two-ply cord (2) for a distance of 30 to 40 mm.: braids cut off except three which are plaited in three-ply braid (3) to form strings and ends lashed with coir fiber: pouch length, 210 mm. and width, 66 mm.; length of strings, 820 mm. and 975 mm.; strings 12 mm. wide and 5 mm. thick.
The deterioration in technique is shown in two modern slings from Rarotonga acquired by the Bishop Museum. The pouches are formed of lengths of sennit plaited in check in the same way as the coconut-oil strainers. In one, the sennit lengths at the ends of the pouch are plaited in a round plait for a short length and then three are continued as a three-ply braid to form the strings (fig. 188, b). In the other, the sennit lengths are simply brought together, tied with coir two-ply cord, and three lengths continued as a braid to form the strings (fig. 188, c). Neither sling has a wrist loop, but each has one string longer than the other for tying to the wrist.
Sling stones (po'atu maka or toka maka) have been picked up, recognized, and identified by the older people. The Bishop Museum has 12 from the islands of Rarotonga, Atiu, Mauke, and Mangaia. Of these, nine are of basalt, two of hard coral, and one of stalagmite. All, except those of coral, have been trimmed into spherical shape. They offer a contrast to the sling stones of Hawaii, which are spindle-shaped with a distinct point at each end. The basaltic stones are small or large. The Rarotongan series of six has a small one weighing 6.75 ounces and five larger ones ranging from 15.5 to 28 ounces. Three Atiu stones are small, ranging from 4 to 6.25 ounces in weight. The stalagmite stone from Mauke is large. The two coral stones from Mangaia are small and not carefully trimmed. The stones shown in figure 189 stress the spherical shape of the Cook Islands sling stones.
e was picked up from an old battlefield; f is more cylindrical than round.
Figure 189.—Cook Islands sling stones (Bishop Mus.): Measurements in millimeters.
|Locality||Museum no.||Material||Diameters (mm.)||Weight (oz.)|
|a||Rarotonga||C521||basalt||63 × 63||15.5|
|b||Rarotonga||C8857||basalt||84 × 84||28.0|
|c||Atiu||C515||basalt||48 × 48||6.25|
|d||Mauke||C2720||stalagmite||82 × 88||26.5|
|e||Mangaia||C2775||coral||50 × 50||5.75|
|f||Mangaia||C2774||coral||52 × 64||8.0|
Basalt in volcanic islands was the natural material for sling stones. Though water-worn pebbles from streams may have been used, the fact remains that stone was trimmed to a spherical shape because the slingers recognized that they were more effective in that form. From the worldwide distribution of the spindle-shaped form, it would seem that other areas including Hawaii recognized that particular form as being the most effective as regards flight.
Mangaia was rich in basalt and undoubtedly must have used basalt, but the only sling stones that were available for study were of coral. One of them was picked up on an ancient battlefield, so it is evident that coral was used as an alternative material.
Stalactites and stalagmites are present in caves in Atiu, Mauke, Mitiaro, and Mangaia. The Atiu and Mauke people held that the stalagmite material formed excellent sling stones because they burst into fragments on striking a rock and inflicted injury. While Atiu people held that stalagmite was preferable, basalt was also used.
Sling Stone Carriers
Meshed bags of sennit were used to carry supplies of sling stones into action. Bishop Museum has two from Rarotonga which are of fairly recent make, but the technique is so specialized that it appears old rather than a modern attempt to satisfy collectors.
The meshed appearance of the bags conveys the impression that they were made with the netting technique used in the larger meshed bags which were for carrying provisions (pl. 12, B, D). In netting, however, a single continuous cord is used and the margin or rim of the bag must end in mesh loops as do fishing nets, whereas the sling-stone carriers end in a marginal rim of three-ply braid that involves the use of a number of cords or braids. The carriers were commenced with a number of lengths of sennit looped over a bottom ring of sennit. Adjacent lengths were tied with an overhand knot to form meshes and, after the depth was obtained, the ends of the braid were plaited in a three-ply braid to define the opening of the bag. Two lengths of sennit, threaded through the meshes below the rim from opposite ends, served to close the bag and could be tied around the waist or slung over the shoulder. (See plate 12, C and, for technique, figure 190.)
Use of Slings
The usual throw was overhand, but an underhand throw was used if the enemy was at a higher elevation than the slinger. With one string looped around the right wrist, the slinger held both strings at an even distance from the loaded pouch. When the pouch reached the desired forward momentum, the slinger opened his hand, and the stone was discharged with great velocity. page 304The attachment of one string to the wrist prevented the sling from going forward with the stone and so retarding its flight.
Figure 190.—Sling-stone carrier (Bishop Mus., C8860). a, bottom commencement: lengths of sennit doubled, loops passed over suspensory sennit (1) and two limbs passed through loop (2); nine doubled lengths in all. b, suspensory sennit (1) carrying looped lengths (2) brought round in ring and ends tied together with a double hitch (3); in figure, ring shown opened out for details but in practice, the loops are close together and the ring accordingly closed to diameter of 34 mm.; the nine looped lengths give 18 individual braids which, with two ends of suspensory braid, give 20 altogether which radiate from central ring which forms bottom of carrier; adjoining lengths from adjacent pairs are brought together and one, usually the left, is knotted (4) to other with an overhand knot to form meshes; first row of knots (4, 4) is completed for 20 lengths; a second row of knots (5, 5) is made to form convenient sized meshes and so this technique is continued for 10 rows of knots which brings carrier to required depth; diagram b is on the flat so it would appear that meshes would continue to increasing widths, but as carrier is cylindrical, meshes do not differ in size after first rows have spread out. c, overhand knot made with a left braid (1) around a right element (2). d, sometimes overhand knot is made with right element (2) over left (1); it will be seen that knot is exactly same as netting knot except that it is made around a single element instead of the two elements comprised in lower loop of a mesh. e, rim finish: the 20 lengths of sennit are plaited in a three-ply braid; in figure, plaiting is shown proceeding from right to left, but in practice it is toward plaiter; braiding commences with distal braid (1) which is crossed over next (2) which in turn is crossed over first (1); next braid (3) is crossed over nearest braid (2) to it and we have three elements for a braid; braiding continues and each subsequent braid (4, 5, 6, etc.) is included in each second twist on near side; to prevent braid becoming too thick and uneven, elements are successively dropped out and cut off later; after rim braid (8) takes in last mesh braid (20), second near twist (9) is passed around first braid (1) and rim braid continues on as a free tail (10) for a short distance, when it is brought down to overlap commencement of rim braid and lashed to it with coir fiber.
Women and children brought up extra supplies of sling stones to the rear ranks of their own troops engaged in action.
The best native account of the use of slings in battle has been described by me elsewhere (15, pp. 107-109). In the battle, the Atiuan attackers slowly crawling over their clubs laid down over the sharp points of makatea coral surrounding a Mitiaro fort, were subjected to a continuous hail of sling stones by the Mitiaro defenders. A stalagmite sling stone struck a rock near the Atiuan leader and a bursting fragment, struck him in the eye. The attack was held up until Takere, a son of the Atiu ariki Rongo-ma-Tane, stood up in the rear rank with the family sling Tu-kai-pakora. He fitted a sling stone that he called Ruru-roro and before throwing he recited an incantation termed an upoko-rakau to give power and direction to his throw. The incantation preserved by the Rongo-ma-tane family is as follows:
Incantation of Takere Ko au teia ko, Takere, This is I, Takere, Mapi'i tuauruuru e taka, A fish firmly established in the reef, ana i te rua i te moake, unmoved by the northeast wind, E 'ua tapotupotu no runga Restless seed nourished i te tua o Rangiatea. on the back of Rangiatea.
'Uria e rapa 'enua, Overturn the buttress of the land, E 'enua kua 'uri i Te The land that was overturned Tumu-o-'Avaiki, e taku atua. by the Foundation-of-'Avaiki, O my deity.
E po'aki ko Ruru-roro, A sling stone is Ruru-roro, E maka ko Tu-kai-pakora. A sling is Tu-kai-pakora. Oioi e, tikitiki ki te atea. O Oioi, bring them out into the open. E manga koe na taku po'aki! You are food for my sling stone!
In the chant, Rangiatea was the name of Rongo-ma-tane's house where Takere was brought up. Informants stated that Te Tumu-o-'Avaiki was the honorific name for Rongo-ma-tane who overturned the land by conquest. Oioi was one of the gods of Atiu. On ending his incantation, Takere aimed his sling stone with the last line addressed to the Mitiaro god, Te Pare, whose material symbol was suspended from a pole near the wall of the fort. The stone struck the god and brought it tumbling to the ground. On seeing this ill omen for the defenders, the Atiuan warriors rose in a body, poured over the defenses, and the fort was captured.page 306
Slip nooses made of sennit (ka'a) plaited into a rope were used as an accessory means of disabling an enemy and rendering his final disposal with a club easier.
In the Rarotongan version of the story of Apakura (65, vol. 30, p. 249), mention is made in the native text of "te kaa ei marei" (the sennit for snaring) among the weapons prepared for attack. In the campaign which followed (65, vol. 30, p. 251), the invading chief Vaka-tau-ii fought in single combat against the enemy leader Orokeva-uru. They fought from stationary footholds which were deepened into holes (erunga) by the movement of their feet. When evening fell without victory to either, the warriors retired with the intention of resuming the combat next day. In the night, a supporter of Vaka-tau-ii laid a rope snare (ereere) around the hole made by Orokeva-uru and covered it with sand. He took the end of the rope on board his canoe which was anchored off the beach. The next day after the two warriors recommenced the combat from their own holes, the rope was pulled from the canoe, the noose tripped Orokeva-uru, and Vaka-tau-ii killed him.
In the Rarotongan story of the battle against the tyrant Apopo by invading Marquesans (65, vol. 29, p. 136), Apopo put up a strong resistance on the side of a tree-covered hill. Three Marquesan brothers advanced to the attack. The eldest brother Parau-rikau advanced up the hill from the shore while the others, Pukuru and Atoto, made a detour to get behind Apopo. They camouflaged themselves with leafy branches and headdresses of coconut leaves and crept up behind Apopo, who disregarded his daughter's warning that there was death behind him. The native text, in which I have inserted glottals, states:
Kua 'akapu'era ake ra a Pu-kuru ma Atoto i te ka'a, ka titiri ki runga i te kaki o Apopo, kua mou te koke a Parau-rikau ki te pakuivi, kua piri te ka'a ki te kaki… kua topa a Apopo ki raro. Pu-kuru and Atoto opened up the sennit (noose), threw it over the neck of Apopo, the the weapon of Parau-rikau struck him on the shoulder, the sennit (noose) closed tight around the neck… Apopo fell down.
The slaying of Apopo resulted in victory for the Marquesans.
In Mangaia, the sennit noose received the special name of puao'uru whereas in Rarotonga it was referred to under the general term of ka'a though the actual noose is termed marei and ereere ('ere'ere). The following quotation (76, p. 64) illustrates the Mangaian use of the noose:
Moerangi, a son of Tokoau, seeing Raumea descending one of the paths from Vaitatei on his way to Ivirua, arranged his own rate of progress so as to meet him near the summit of Rangimotia. As Raumea passed, Moerangi threw a sennit rope noose (puao'uru) over his head so as to imprison his arms. Raumea was rendered helpless and was killed.
The three stories show the use of the noose on three parts of the body, the legs, arms, and neck; but in all of them the element of trickery is present.
Bow and Arrow
Among the weapons enumerated in the Rarotongan version of the Apakura story (p. 279), occur "toro e te ana" (arrow and the bow). A Mauke informant stated that the bow (ana) was used in war, but outside the Rarotongan reference, there is no definite mention of its use in native historical narratives. If it was actually used in war, it is reasonable to suppose that it would have been employed in the more recent wars in Rarotonga and Mangaia and that people engaged in those struggles who lived in the post-missionary period would have surely supplied first hand information. The lack of such information is negative evidence that they were not used in warfare. The Rarotongan historian may have included post-European information in his list of weapons to make the story more complete.
Children in modern times use the bow and arrow in play. The bow is usually made of the introduced orange or guava wood and the arrow of cane (teka). It is possible that the natives learned the sport from the children of Europeans.
The term ana is given by Savage (57) for bow but as ana also means an arch it could have been applied to the bow in post-European times, in spite of the fact that the name occurs in the legendary story quoted above. In Aitutaki (70, p. 351), the bow was called tokini which is evidently a modern local term that does not necessarily carry age. The term toro means a point and as a term for arrow could have been applied descriptively in modern times.
Various informants have stated that stone adzes (toki), hafted to short handles, were used as weapons in war. Every craftsman had a short handled adz and could use it as a weapon if it was handy when he was attacked. It could also be used to cut off the head of a slain enemy. As so many types of weapons were made for the specific purpose of fighting, it is doubtful whether the stone adz was other than a makeshift weapon.
An Aitutaki tradition (70, p. 351) states that an ironwood thatching needle (antui), concealed in a fan formed of a bunch of ti leaves, was used as a dagger to kill the giant Ta'iri-te-rangi, who had tyrannized over the island. This again was a makeshift weapon used treacherously on a single occasion. The dagger as a special weapon was not known.