Kin Groups and Descent. Descent, like inheritance, is ambilineal. Everyone is affiliated with the descent groups (ramages) of several ancestors, although he or she is most active in a group associated with his or her own or the parents' place of residence. Before the introduction of lands registers, inactive memberships tended to lapse after a few generations, especially if the link to the group was a female ancestor. Members of a descent group who together with their spouses and children occupied a communal dwelling or hamlet on its estate constituted a residential group ( te kaainga, a term used for a descent group conceived of as a landholding corporation and also for the land itself). Each descent group has traditionally been associated with a place in the meetinghouse ( te inaki, literally "a vertical row of thatch," or te boti).
Kinship Terminology. Cousin terminology is Hawaiian-type: everyone with whom one shares an ancestor an equal number of generations removed can be referred to by the terms for "sibling of the same sex" or "sibling of the opposite sex." Other cognatic and affinal relatives are also classified by generation. Native kinship terms are not used in address.