Samoan Material Culture
The canoe shed (afolau) provided shelter from the sun for the large canoes. With the disappearance of the large canoes, such sheds are used to page 12house the large fautasi boats made on European lines. The structure was built sufficiently wide to accommodate the vessel with a little clearance on either side. The problem was to support a roof without impeding the entrance and exit of the canoe and leaving the ends of the shed open. It was solved by doing without supporting posts. Two afolau that retained the old characteristics were examined and explained at Asau and Tufutafoe, Savaii.
In the shed at Tufutafoe (fig. 2) the ridgepole was supported by pairs of curved poles or rafters that were lashed to a wall plate and continued downwards into the ground so as to prevent the outward displacement of the lower ends of the rafters by the downward pressure of the ridgepole and the weight of the roof. Some rafters though lashed to the wall plate did not reach the ground. Ordinary poles were used throughout. The wall posts were thicker than the main rafters and the thatch rafters much thinner. The purlins were stout poles—small intermediate poles were absent and the lowest purlin so placed as to throw the thatch clear of the wall plate. The thatch sheets of plaited coconut leaves were overlapped from below upwards and tied to the thatch rafters in the usual manner. The coconut leaf ridge sheets were pinned through below the upper ridge pole. (See p. 64.) Hau (fau) bark was used for the lashing.
Figure 2.—Cross section and side view of canoe shed at Tufutafoe, Savaii:
a, front; b, side: 1, side posts (pou lalo) 2 feet 6 inches high, in 2 lines 10 feet apart; 2, wall plates extending the length of the shed; 3, curved rafters (iviivi) arranged in pairs spaced 4.5 to 5 feet apart—the crossed upper ends lashed together in a middle line about 10 feet above ground, the lower ends sunk into the ground and lashed to the wall plates; 4, principal ridgepole ('au'au) lashed to the crossed rafters on the under side; 5, upper ridge pole ('au'au lunga); 6, purlins (fatafata-a-fale) stout poles equally spaced, the lowest just above the wall plate; 7, thatch rafters ('aso) 16 inches apart, crossed under the upper ridgepole and extended slightly below the lowest purlin; 8, thatch of plaited coconut leaves; 9, ridge sheets of coconut leaves; 10, ridge sheet pin.
The method of supporting the ridgepole with curved rafters alone without any intermediate supporting post or king post is termed fa'fasoata. A building so constructed is termed to fa'asoata (to, to build, and fa'asoata, with curved rafters, no supporting post). The word afolau (canoe shed) is widely spread in Polynesia. In Tahiti, farau, is a shed for a canoe, and in the Tuamotus, horau is a shed. In Hawaii, halau is a long house with the end in front, used mostly for canoes. In Maori, wharau has come to mean a particular kind of long house, but also means a rough shed which included that built over a canoe. In the Moriori dialect of the Chatham Islands, wharau is a ship.