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Samoan Material Culture



Set snare. The usual slip knot snares with single thick threads of coconut fibre are set on the flowers (funga) of the coconut, usually by children. The iao is caught merely for fun and also the Samoan parrakeet. The parrakeet becomes very fat in season and is eaten. Its feathers are of no use for mats, being green with only the slightest touch of red on the head. It is, however, kept as a pet and tamed. A perch is made for the pet and the flesh of young coconuts (niu aleale) is the proper diet. Coconut fibres knotted together to form a long line were tied to the leg and the birds flown (fa'alele senga). The sport was not indulged in particularly by chiefs, but by boys and common people.

A parrakeet is often caught accidentally by the sticky fluid oozing from pu'a berries. The feathers become so sticky at times that the bird cannot fly.

Manipulated snares (sele). A slip knot snare made of strips of alava from the coconut leaf butt and tied to a long bamboo pole was used to catch the young of a seabird (fuao). The fuao breeds amongst the steep cliffs near Sanata in Savaii. A man armed with a snare is lowered over the cliffs on a rope. The snare handle is needed to reach the young as they sat on the nests in the cliff recesses; the stiff alava strips insure the noose being kept open until it is placed over the heads of the young birds. The cliffs were alluded to as being five coconut trees high. The birds were eaten and the feathers used for pa ala hook hackles.