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The Material Culture of the Cook Islands (Aitutaki)


Weapons of wood were generally made of the heart of iron-wood, which was called taikura. The genealogy of iron-wood, toa, is as follows:—

A black and white diagram showing the genealogy of iron-wood from Atea and Papa down to Te Toa.

Weapons were also made of miro, of the gnarled, twisted tree known as mingimingi. From this came the saying applied to weapons,

"E aha ra? E miro takamingimingi no Vairota."
"Oh, what is it? A twisted miro from Vairota."

Vairota is near the hare karioi that stood in the old village of Vaitupa. The twisted, tough kind of miro was much sought after for weapons.

The usual names of the longer weapons were ko, paheru, tokotoko, and taitea. These names are synonymous. The act of thrusting or stabbing was ko, and the cutting stroke with an edge was tipu.