The canoe is used for fishing and other trips from island to island within the atoll. In former times they are said to have gone over the high seas to foreign islands, too. [Building canoes is more important for these people than building houses for while the completion of a house takes place without any ceremony--save the repair or the erection of a cult house--the building of a canoe is celebrated.]
The canoes are neat, slender vessels of varying size; they are made of a single trunk, have a plank super structure, and are fitted with outriggers; most of them have sails, too.
Little is known about the species of wood used for canoe building. The canoe in the Hamburg Museum is said to be of ti nolu, said to be the same as ti nonu, i.e., Morinda. The other parts of the boat are made of breadfruit tree wood, coconut palm wood, and pandanus palm wood.
[p.91] Structure: the body of the canoe is a little higher than wide; the trunk is worked into a keel shape. The planks on each side are perforated and tied to the body with coconut cord. In the same way, a small thwart is fixed above the planks, supported by a crosspiece astern. The outrigger beams rest on 7 booms which are fastened beneath the gunwale of the opposite side. Each of these booms has a special name. The three middle ones are very long and sustain the platform and float. The former consists of 7 to 8 beams tied to one another. Between those three long booms there are two more as props which reach only as far as the long stringer, which likewise rests on the 7 booms. The float is a longish beam pointed at its ends, rhomboidal in cross-section. Wooden stringers set in its surface connect it with the 3 booms. Parallel to the platform there lies, approximately above the middle of the float, on the third and fifth boom one further stringer which is connected with the float by two posts of wrapt-up coconut fibre rope.
The thwarts (seats for the rowers) are formed by the outrigger booms and seven additional beams of canoe width (each of them parallel to and belonging to one of the booms); the seventh one ends in a fureation, is short and near to the stern. As a rule, a frame of branches is tied to the platform in which the drinking nuts are kept; it is called ti koru mang, and lends its name to the third outrigger beam.
In order to protect it from the rays of the sun, the body of the canoe is painted white (with coral lime). This coating shows a meshlike pattern which is called nia gumu (in pidgin English: 'belong look good'). According to Hamburch, the paint-coating is nia rehu which means coral lime. The sail is a triangular mat. Its longest side is fastened to a horisontal topmast, running almost parallel to the body of the canoe. The forked lower end clasps round the likewise forked lower end of the perpendicular topmast to which the other side of the sail is fastened. The fork of this second topmast grasps the thwart and extends from there to the mast. The third and shortest side of the sail is completely free. The sail itself is the result of about a dosen mat stripes (made of pandanus leaves) having carefully been sewn together. The seams run parallel; towards the tip of the sail the stripes grow shorter and shorter.
[p.92] (Illustrations only)
[p.93] As canoe- accessories are to be mentioned bail, canoe-stake, fisherman's stand and paddle. As stakes beams at least 10 ft. long are used; they are made of coconut palm and hibiscus.
The fisherman's stand consists of two smoothed planks, which are pointed at the one end , and connected with each other by a perpendicular board, a wooden stick and two wrapt-up coconut cords. It is fastened to the stern of the canoe. The fisherman puts his feet into the big opening and leans against the crosspiece for fishing with net or line, especially for flying fish.
The paddles are simple, plain work. Loom and blade (ti raurau, the leaf) are carved all of one piece. The upper part of the handle is round; downwards it grows gradually thicker, its cross-section nearing an oval. Then it tapers off again, with the oval becoming flatter. The blade is flat and widens up to the middle of its whole length. Its tip is a little drawn-out and has an obtuse end of finger length and width. Usually a knob (matariri perhaps eye?) is attached to the handle.
[p.94] the canoes are kept in canoe-houses and sheds. As props, strong (tree) roots serve. A total of thirty canoe housed and 43 canoes (among them three big ones with sails and a "European" cutter) could be counted.
All sorts of fishing- tackle and maritime appurtenances are kept in these houses. In front of the bigger ones, the men like to gather for discussions and conversations. Partly they squat on trunks ad mats, partly they sit on rocking or deck chairs brought along. Naturally the older boys hang around here too.
Sailing canoe ti vaka hetongala Body ti vaka Middle part of body tuo vak Interior of the bottom loto tuo vak Keel ti vi Plank ti momo (He.) ti va momo (Ha.) Stern (wale ti matangaru Stern (bow ti matau hit ti momo (He.) ti pui rorore (He.)