Tahiti - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Tahitians disapproved of marriage between close consanguineal kin, but how close was never made clear. However, marriage was not permitted between those of differing social classes. Therefore, children resulting from a sexual relationship between partners of differing classes were killed upon birth. In the eighteenth century young couples were required to obtain the permission of their parents before Marriage, and among the chiefly class early betrothal was said to be the norm and concubinage was common. Marriage Ceremonies, when present, consisted of prayers at a marae. There appeared to be no fixed residency requirement and divorce was by common consent.

Domestic Unit. The nuclear family was the dominant unit.

Inheritance. The firstborn son became the head of the family at birth and succeeded to his father's name, lands, and title, if any. The father then served as the child's regent until he became of age. In the event of the firstborn dying, the next son succeeded him. There is some indication that in the absence of male offspring, an oldest daughter might be the inheritor.

Socialization. Children were raised permissively by their parents, although those of the chiefly class were given a degree of education through teachers of that class. Men and women ate separately, and there was a variety of restrictions regarding who might prepare another's meal.

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