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Ethnology of Tongareva


page 202


The introduction of foreign fishing lines has led to the abandoning of purely native material and a lack of clarity as regards technical details has resulted.

The material for fishing lines was restricted to coconut husk fiber, owing to the absence of the more suitable plants used in other parts of Polynesia. The lines were twisted (miro) on the bare thigh into two-ply twisted cords, but fairly thick three-ply braid was used to form attachment cords for the large shark hooks. Gudger (7, p. 230), in describing two shark hooks obtained by the Wilkes expedition, states that a long fibrous material was used in addition to sennit in the lashings. My informants did not mention anything but sennit. Wilkes (31, vol. 4, p. 287), in figuring some hooks from Tongareva, shows one attached to a long line which is wound in longitudinal lengths and then with transverse turns, leaving the longitudinal turns projecting at either end. The point of the attached hook is then evidently stuck in under one of the transverse turns at one end. This corresponds to the Samoan method of winding the pa ala line and hook (29, pl. 47, B), except that the middle part is not covered by the transverse turns. In the figure by Wilkes the transverse turns are continuous over the middle of the hank. The method of winding thus weighs against affinity with the Samoan line, but the method depicted is used in Tahiti, from which island the hook probably came.