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Mangaian Society

Peace Drum

Peace Drum

The drum (pa'u) sounded to announce the end of war was made of a section of hollowed-out tree trunk with a wide section of shark skin stretched over one end. It resembled the temple drums used in the other Cook Islands, the Society Islands, and Hawaii. The official drum beater held a hereditary office which was recognized by awarding him a share of the nose of the human sacrifice, and a reward of land went with it. He was assisted by members of his family, who, in the peace ceremonials, beat smaller drums. The sound was evoked by beating with the hands. The sounds were supposed to convey to the fugitives words offering freedom for cramped limbs:

Ti-o, ti-o; nanue, nanue; (Rhythm)
Tareki ta, tareki ta, Stretch out, stretch out,
Tareki ta'i vaevae, Stretch out a leg,
Tareki ta. Stretch out.

When the procession around the island ended, a spear was thrust through the shark skin cover of the big drum and it was hidden away in a cave. A new drum had to be made for the installation of each Temporal Lord.