Tongareva - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Women apparently could be betrothed before puberty and seem commonly to have married in their mid-teens. Husbands were probably older. "Chiefs" excepted, marriage to second cousins and closer was proscribed; beyond these limits, members of the same huaanga were encouraged to marry to maintain its solidarity and limit the fragmentation of its land. Marriage ceremonies varied in elaboration, the more complex involving the bride's seclusion in mats and self-mutilation by relatives; neither dowry nor bride-wealth was paid. Polygyny principally was restricted to "chiefs." Divorce seems to have been quite common, and postmarital Residence was usually virilocal.

Domestic Unit. It is unclear whether the basic domestic unit was the haanau—the patrilineal extended family—or a subsection of it. To judge by the communal cook house in Lamont's settlement, though, it was the haanau.

Inheritance. Land and palms were inherited individually, at the will of the owner, by real and adopted children, nieces, and nephews. At the time of a 1929 study, sons were favored over daughters and elder brothers over younger, but it is unclear if these preferences also were true of the contact era. Spouses might extend usufruct rights to one another. Nothing is known concerning inheritance of movable property.

Socialization. Apart from the fact that many children were adopted or fostered out to consanguineal relatives for greater or lesser periods of time, little is known of Tongarevan socialization.

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