Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Material Culture of the Cook Islands (Aitutaki)



The style of hafting is shown in Figs. 213 and 214. The branch of a tree forms the shaft of the handle, and a portion cut from the trunk provides the foot at the angle required. The trunk portion, to which the adze is attached, is referred to by Best and Skinner as the foot. The lower end of the foot is the toe, and the upper the heel.

Figure 213.Adzes hafted to handles (Auckland Museum).

Figure 213.
Adzes hafted to handles (Auckland Museum).

A—Aitutaki. B—Rarotonga.

The foot was shaped with a groove to fit the posterior part of the butt of the adze. The groove ended in a shoulder which supported the poll of the adze and assisted in preventing the adze from slipping up under the lashings when blows were struck. The butt having a posterior longitudinal page 243edge in the middle line, the grooving of the foot was absolutely necessary to keep the cutting edge in a transverse direction.

Cocoanut sinnet braid was used for lashing. It was usual to place a piece of material, generally shark skin, over the anterior surface of the butt before applying the lashing. In the Rarotongan adze, Fig. 213B, a strip of the fibrous kaka niu from the base of the cocoanut leaf has been so used. It may be seen projecting downwards for some distance which is the normal position when the adze is not in use. When the adze is used, the free part of the material is doubled up over the lashing, and thus protects it. The adze shown in Fig. 215 had a piece of bark cloth wrapped round the butt.

In the large adze, Fig. 213B, the sinnet lashing is wound round the toe of the handle, crosses obliquely to pass round the heel with a half turn, descends round the shaft, crosses the heel from the other side, and crosses the previous oblique turn in front to descend round the toe. By following such an order, the butt is firmly lashed in position. The turns are taken in definite order to work certain lashing patterns.

The sinnet is kaha braid. The lashing on of the adzes is now known as tapaki, or taviri, but the old word is hahau. To interlace the sinnet braid so as to form a pattern is raranga. This use of raranga, which normally means the plaiting of mats or baskets, must not be confounded with the plaited bands used by Melanesians in their hafting. The diagonal crossings forming a horizontal line in Fig. 213A are known as hahau pahiko.

The heel of the handle is usually pointed, as in Fig. 215. In Fig. 213A the anterior part of the heel has broken off from where the shoulder abutted against the poll.

The large adze, Fig. 213B, is peculiar in that what we have described as the anterior surface has been reversed and hafted against the handle. The adze was of the usual common triangular type described, with the base anterior. The median longitudinal edge and the triangular bevel surface are thus anterior. The adze was specially hafted for the author, and the aged craftsman maintained that this was the correct position. The slot or groove in the handle was stepped to fit against the butt shoulder of the adze, as well as against the poll, Fig. 214.

page 244
Figure 214.Reverse Hafting of Rarotongan Adze, B in Fig. 213.

Figure 214.
Reverse Hafting of Rarotongan Adze, B in Fig. 213.

The butt shoulder does not accurately separate the butt from the blade in this case, as a small part of the surface below it is hafted to the handle. Some adzes were probably hafted in this manner for special purposes. Many of the Aitutaki old men maintained that they were. The matter requires further investigation.

The length of the handle and foot is 795mm., and the foot, from heel to toe, 161mm.

Figure 215.Aitutaki Hafted Adze (Auckland Museum).

Figure 215.
Aitutaki Hafted Adze (Auckland Museum).

The adze hafted in Fig. 215 is that shown in Fig. 193A. The handle is ornamented with a number of sharp-edged ridges near the foot. The edges of these are nicked, as is also the heel. The measurement from the foot to the end of the shaft is 530mm., whilst the foot from heel to toe is 212mm.

Of the hafting of chisels no information was gathered.