Land Tenure in the Cook Islands by R.G. Crocombe

By R.G. Crocombe

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JPS 16:175–88. Fletcher, in a more recent survey, puts the time of Toi over a hundred years before Smith's estimate. - JPS 39:315–21. Early records often refer to these first settlers as the ‘Mana'une’ or ‘Tangata enua’ (people of the land), but there is no evidence to indicate that they were other than Polynesians. The first of them landed at the harbour now known as Ngatangiia and established themselves in the nearby Avana valley. It is from these people that the Kainuku line of chiefs trace their descent.

Adoptees were thus almost invariably chosen from secondary members of the adopting lineage (as defined below). If, however, an unrelated person was adopted, he was formally regarded as a member of the lineage, though this membership was marginal and its retention dependent on continued acceptance by the group. While the major lineage was predominantly a residential unit living within the tapere, it also included for certain purposes all those persons who had been born into the lineage but had subsequently married out or left the tapere, provided they had not been banished or otherwise severed their social connections with their natal lineage.

2 There were several conquered tapere (like Vaimaanga which was divided among the six major lineages responsible for its conquest) which had no separate mataiapo of their own. 3 In some instances (probably those where the division had been an amicable one) the seniority of the original mataiapo continued to be recognized, and that title was referred to as mataiapo tutara (senior or paramount mataiapo). In such cases the subordinate lineages were more like minor lineages than major ones. The average major lineage in Avarua was somewhat larger, but this is to be expected as there were three ariki lineages and the number of rangatira (indicating the number of minor lineages) was considerably greater than in the other districts.

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