Falling the Tree
Canoes, since they were to travel on the sacred ocean of the gods, must be consecrated by the ariki through a major ceremony at the cult house. Unless they were for the priests, canoes were never consecrated singly, but a number, sometimes as many as 20, were consecrated at one time. One canoe of each group must have been made for the priest or the assistant priests, to serve the gods of the cult house. (Emory, 1965. P.270)
Traditionally, the first cut of falling the tree held particular meaning and required the use of a sacred adze. (For more information concerning the old ceremony of canoe carving please see Appendix I, (Emory,1965. p.270-275).)
|Each of the ariki koa, or regional priests, had a sacred shell adz used to initiate the cutting down of a tree for a canoe hull. Tokirati told me that he and Kipero, with whom he was one of two ariki pahi, kept their adzes hung over the wall beam of the house sacred to Mongotohhoro. Kamure and Tuhira, the two ariki kuongo, kept their adzes at Hare Mihe. These were adzes of ordinary size and type and were not decorated. (Emory, 1965. p.223)|
The tree was close to the road on the downhill side. The plan was to drop the tree toward the road. The cutting was started with the axes. I was not sure if this was because we were filming the process or was for some other purpose; I expect the filming was the cause. After twenty to thirty minutes of cutting with the axes it seemed enough was had of traditional tree falling, the carvers were ready to use the chain saws. The rate of progress increased. A warning was sounded and the area surrounding the tree was partially cleared. Using an axe, Boaz made the final cuts that fell the tree.