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Ethnology of Manihiki and Rakahanga

Terms and Technique

Terms and Technique

The general term for canoe is waka. The hull is the tino waka (tino, body); the hold is the ri, a contraction of the general Polynesian term riu; and the outer under part of the canoe that corresponds to the keel is the takere. The bow is the ihu and the stern, velo, but in the built-up canoes the terms ihu and velo include the complete bow and stern pieces which are separately attached to the hull. The separate top side or gunwale to raise the depth of the canoe is the awa.. Seats (nohoanga) were lashed to the top edges of the hull, and curved wooden braces (manu) were attached to the gunwales on either side. It was stated that the braces were attached just behind the seats so that the curved horizontal parts served as back rests. Two straight outrigger booms (kiato) were used and were attached indirectly to the float (ama) by four straight pegs (tiatia).

The process of hollowing out the hull was haro, or hauhau. A join was pahu, the fitting of the two pieces together, tuita, and the lashing of the join, wharo. The lashing of booms and pegs was distinguished as whawhau. Pieces were joined together by boring holes near the edge right through the piece and making them in opposite pairs on the two pieces. Before lashing, the husk calking was laid on the upper edge of the lower piece and narrow battens were laid along on both sides to cover the seams. It was stated that the batten on the inside of the hull was composed of split pieces of aërial hala roots (kawhara), and that the outer batten consisted of strips of turtle shell (una honu). The width of the battens was adjusted to the space between the paired holes. The lashing with sennit braid was continuous, the braid, after making the requisite number of turns through the pair of holes and around the seam battens, being carried on to the next pair of holes. The carrying forward was always on the inside of the hull and was oblique page 148 to the hole on the other piece of timber. In plugging the lashing holes, the ngahiu bark was warmed at the fire and scraped into fine pieces with a kahi shell. The material was then plugged (momono or mono) into the holes with an implement made of pearl shell tied to a handle. By means of the handle, the material could be well pushed in and hammered. No forked wooden implement was used as in Cook Islands in tightening the lashings.