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Mangaian Society

Growth of the Ngati-Manaune

Growth of the Ngati-Manaune

The term manahune was applied in Tahiti to the common people. In Hawaii, the menehune were stated to be a people of short stature, skilled in stonework, who occupied the islands before the advent of the more dominant families from Tahiti. In Mangaia, the Ngati-Manaune were a definite tribe showing descent from an eponymous ancestor, Manaune. The term does not refer to a grade of society or a distinct early wave of settlement as in Tahiti and Hawaii.

Manaune had been adopted by his cousin Mautara. His father, Rurae, was descended from Tama-keu, who belonged to the Manarangi family in Rarotonga. According to my informants, Tama-keu chanced to come to Mangaia on a canoe voyage planned to carry him to Raiatea in a canoe newly made at Kiikii.

In the evening Tama-keu and some young men decided to give the canoe a trial trip around the island of Rarotonga. They started from Avarua, but off Matavera a parapu wind sprang up that was too strong to tack against. The canoe ran before the wind and made for Mangaia. On picking up the west coast of that island, the wind veered to the tokerau and the canoe had to sail round to Ivirua in the north to make a landing. The canoe came ashore through the Ovarea channel in Karanga-nui. Women who were torching on the reef took the men inland. As they were few in number and unarmed, their lives were spared and they became associated with the Ngariki tribe.

The Tama-keu story looks like a variation of the story of Tamaeu recorded by Gill (12, pp. 240-242). The points of difference are the absence of the letter k in the name, the canoe coming from Aitutaki, the landing on the south side of the island, and the later return of Tamaea to Aitutaki. The story illustrates, at least, how new blood was infused into the population. The importance of an ancestor depends upon the status and numerical strength attained by his descendants.

I must frankly confess that I do not think the genealogy in Table 11 is correct. It is about three generations too short. Mautara and Manaune were first cousins and thus on the same genealogical stratum 6 as shown in Table 3. Tangi-Vaipo in generation 10 (Table 11) marries Vaa-kai-tamaki in generation 14 (Table 3) with the result that the child Au-metua is 13 generations on the Manaune line and 17 on the Ngati-Vara line. Further-more, Revareva, whose other name is Pangemiro, is given as a younger brother of Manaune. If it was necessary for Mautara to adopt Manaune in order to save his life, it should have been necessary for him to adopt Revareva also, yet there is no record of such an adoption. Revareva could not live page 77through the long reign of Mautara in the sixth generation and then supplant Makitaka, who lived three generations later.

The eight sons of Manaune and his wife Takina were a source of fighting strength to the new tribe and were poetically referred to as being bound together like a coconut leaf torch.

'Ua ruru a rama te 'anau a Takina, Bound together as a torch are the family of Takina,
Ko Pute ra ko Ma'aru,
Ko Vaipi'a ra ko Vaitumu, There are Pute and Maaru,
Ko Tukuta'a ra ko Vaekava, Vaipia and Vaitumu,
Ko Te-'a'aki ra ko Nau, Tukutaa and Vaekava,
I te rurunga i te Mana'une. Teaaki and Nau,
In the binding together of the Manaune.

All these sons were given shares of land in 5 of the 6 districts of Mangaia after the accession of their uncle Revareva to the supreme rulership.

There seems little doubt that Revareva, or Pangemiro, was a younger brother of Manaune and that the generations following the two brothers in Table 11 are correct. What has evidently happened is that a Manaune of a
Table 11.—The Manaune Descent

Table 11.—The Manaune Descent

page 78later period has been identified with the Manaune who was the contemporary of Mautara. Between the two Manaunes about three generations have been omitted.

The descent from Rurae and Tamakeu of the Manarangi family is referred to in song celebrating Revareva's accession to power.

Rurae metua ia ne'e, Rurae, father of old,
la 'anau ia Revareva, From whom was born Revareva,
la pua ake i Karanga. Who grew up in Karanga.
O Te Oro'una na tinainga i te vai uru. Te Orouna was the extinguisher in battles.
Ei Manarangi au e. Descended from Manarangi am I.
Ka mau Miro e te rae. Pangemiro secures the supreme power.

Some difference of opinion exists concerning the identity of Te Orouna in Table 11 with the person mentioned above. It is maintained by some that Te Orouna of the genealogy never took part in any of the battles and therefore could not be the extinguisher (tinainga) referred to in the song. Tangi-Vaipo naturally takes up the other side and holds that the song refers to his grandfather.