The typical Polynesian family contained three or more generations. Polynesian kinship ax distinguishes in between generations, as might be meant in a culture so strong oriented toward tradition and genealogy. There are sets the terms for the grandparents’ generation, separating by sex only; because that the parents’ generation, in which parental are differentiated from miscellaneous categories of aunts and uncles; for members that a person’s very own generation, in which the terms allow identification through sex, family member age, and sometimes marital potential (marriage of details cousin categories is preferred in part Polynesian societies); and, finally, for the children generation, in i m sorry age and also sex are again distinguished.

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Kin teams were also the basis because that Polynesian society hierarchies. In general, civilization traced their ancestry through the masculine line, a device in which kids belong to their father’s family tree (patrilineality). After marriage most couples resided v the husband’s household (patrilocality). Thus, a usual family included a an elderly male, his sons and grandsons, your spouses, and the group’s unmarried children.


funeral of King Taufa"ahau Tupou IV
Funeral the King Taufa"ahau Tupou IV in Nuku"alofa, Tonga, 2006.
Ross Setford—NZPA/AP Images

Production and also technology


The sea noted most the the protein in the timeless Polynesian diet. Fishing was done by individuals, v spear, line, or net, and likewise by groups. In the latter case, huge numbers of guys sometimes spread and also hauled in large nets in bays or lagoons and at various other times drive fish towards shore, where they could be recorded in nets organized in shallow water. In some Polynesian cultures (the Marquesas and also Samoa, because that example), specialists directed the fixed fishing efforts and also the elaborate religious rituals that went in addition to them. Sea mammals such together porpoises and also whales were also taken.

Polynesians did no confine your fishing exploits to seaside waters, because that they to be equally at residence on the high seas and explored for miles in every directions. The civilization of Easter Island, for example, were known to fish in ~ Sala y Gómez reef, a journey of some 300 mile (500 km). Great fishing waters were situated by visual recommendation to land body or by dead reckoning. Line fishing to depths of 90 feet (27 metres) was not uncommon. Institution tuna to be taken in huge quantities ~ above the high seas by method of shiny pearl-shell lures with bone points. The meat of sharks and rays was a delicacy.

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Mollusks and crustaceans were crucial as food, and also mollusk shells to be made into a wide range of tools and also ornaments. Clams, cowries, and also various snails and also conches to be collected, normally by women and also children, follow me the reefs or shorelines and in shallow waters. Shrimps were recorded with well nets, when lobsters were gathered by men who dived come pry your spiny prey loosened from underwater crannies. The octopus to be enticed from its hiding place by an ingenious entice made the leopard cowrie shells. Various varieties of seaweeds and also algae to be also gathered and were very prized for their salty taste. There was, in short, nothing edible in the sea that was not food for the Polynesians.