Category Archives: Oceanic Cultures

HAWAII

#20 The Secrecy of the Bones of a Chief
     (Laura C. Green and Martha Warren Beckwith, 1926)

In case of [the death of] very high chiefs, called “puholoholo,” or of hairless chiefs, called “olohe.” When it was certain that the spirit had entirely left the body and would not return, a shallow pit was dug, large enough … Continue reading

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NEW ZEALAND

#19 The Dying Maori Chief and his Old and Young Wives
     (Frederick Edward Maning, 1922)

My old rangatira at last began to show signs that his time to leave this world of care was approaching. He had arrived at a great age, and a rapid and general breaking up of his strength became plainly observable. … Continue reading

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NEW ZEALAND

#18 The Spirit
     (Frederick Edward Maning, 1922)

These priests or tohunga would, and do to this hour, undertake to call up the spirit of any dead person, if paid for the same. I have seen many of these exhibitions, but one instance will suffice as an example. A … Continue reading

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NEW ZEALAND

#17 Maori: Tupu and Mate
     (J. Prtyz Johansen, 1954)

There is a word which by its applications can teach us a great deal of what life is to the Maori. It is the word tupu, “to unfold one’s nature.” When the world is used about diseases, war and peace, thoughts and feelings, the … Continue reading

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NEW ZEALAND

#16 The Maori Myth of Tane The Myth of Rakuru
     

  SONG OF THE MYTHOLOGY OF TANE Tane took Hine-ti-tama to wife. Then night and day first began; Then was asked, “Who is the father by whom I am?” The post of the house was asked, but its mouth did … Continue reading

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MANGAREVA, GAMBIER ISLANDS

#15 Cliff Suicide: The Privilege of Women
     (Te Rangi Hiroa [Sir Peter H. Buck], 1938)

Suicide took place among both sexes through jealousy, anger, and sometimes loss of power and prestige. Men took their own lives in preference to being killed by the enemy. In the coral atolls of the Tuamotus, both men and women … Continue reading

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MARQUESAS

#14 The Native Culture in the Marquesas

Coconut Rites for Suicide
Marquesan Legends: Tahia-noho-uu
     (E.S. Craighill Handy, 1920-21, 1923, 1930)

Coconut Rites for Suicide The most approved of all marriages was between cross cousins, though this was not a fixed rule of marriage. For a man to marry his deceased brother’s wife or a woman her deceased sister’s husband was … Continue reading

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PUKAPUKA, COOK ISLANDS

#13 After Defeat in Fighting: Burying Oneself Alive
     (Ernest Beaglehole and Pearl Beaglehole, 1938)

There is no record in Pukapuka of pitched battles between opposing groups, or of warfare existing within the social structure of a definite institution. The atoll was too small, the total population too few, and the amount of available land … Continue reading

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NIUE ISLAND

#12 Traditions of Niue
     (Edwin M. Loeb, 1926)

A very proud race, the Niueans were prone to commit suicide upon slight provocation. It was customary for the party defeated in war to jump off the cliffs, and not uncommon for the nearest relatives of a deceased person to … Continue reading

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TONGA

#11 The Love-Sick of Vavau
     (Basil Thomson, 1886-91, 1894)

Another, Tuabaji, after resisting for years the teachings of the missionaries, brought about that dramatic conversion of the whole island to Christianity that seemed to the missionaries so striking an instance of divine interposition. The line was not extinct. Though … Continue reading

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