Tongareva - Kinship

Kin Groups and Descent. The principal kin group and basic economic and residential unit was a first-order ramage known as the haanau, a patrilineal extended family of up to four generations of agnates. The chief's haanau into which Lamont was adopted comprised about fifteen people and occupied a single settlement of three sleeping houses and a common cook house. Recruitment to the haanau was by birth or adoption, the latter being a very common practice, possibly a consequence of the extreme resource pressure. Sets of haanau tracing descent from a common ancestor and inhabiting part or all of an islet were united into a second-order ramage that may have been called the huaanga.

Kinship Terminology. The Tongarevan kin terminology was used for reference rather than address. Like other Polynesian societies, it was Hawaiian, but relative seniority was marked between ego and same-sex relatives of his or her generation. It was atypical and Eskimo-like, however, in having additional descriptive terms for "father," "mother," "uncle," "aunt," "nephew," and "niece." With the exception of "husband" and "wife," in-law terms were collaterally extended within a generation.

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