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An Introduction to Polynesian Anthropology

Cook Islands (1929-1930)

page 51

Cook Islands (1929-1930)

I was deputed by the Museum to make a survey of the Cook Islands. Accompanied by Mrs. Buck, I reached Rarotonga early in 1929 after a month in Tahiti. Gerrit P. Wilder, Associate in Botany to Bishop Museum, assisted me in Rarotonga by taking photographs of ethnological material.

Visits by trading schooner were made to the northern atolls of Manihiki, Rakahanga, and Tongareva (Penrhyn). Complete sets of the genealogies of the inhabitants were obtained and, at Tongareva, a detailed survey was made of the religious marae structures on all the islets, many on the uninhabited islets being in fair preservation. The return to Rarotonga was made by way of Raiatea and Tahiti.

The high islands in the lower Cook group were visited in turn. Short stays were made on Aitutaki and Mitiaro, a month each on Atiu and Mauke, and a longer stay, over part of the hurricane season, at Mangaia. Anthropometrical measurements were made, and Mrs. Buck helped with the recordings as well as in entertaining informants with the necessary hospitality. Great assistance was rendered by Judge Ayson, Resident Commissioner of the Cook Islands, and the government agents throughout the group. The return was made by way of New Zealand, where public lectures were given. We reached Honolulu in April, 1930.