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Te Tau Hana ʻAvaika Kākiu: Ancestral fishing practice and knowledge of Nukuhiva, Te Henua ʻEnana (The Marquesas Islands)

This thesis explores the ancestral fishing practices of Nukuhiva Island and how they have changed over time. I aim to preserve the ancestral fishing practices and lore within this thesis to benefit future ʻEnana (Indigenous Marquesans) generations due to the unfortunate lack of literature written by ʻEnana, for ʻEnana, on this and many other topics. This thesis is integral to the perpetuation and preservation of ancestral knowledge and practices among the many changes occurring today throughout Te Henua ʻEnana (The Marquesas Islands). There are three key areas that this thesis focuses on, which form the questions in Chapter 1 - The fishing practices of Te Henua ʻEnana during the early times of outsider contact, contemporary fishing in Nukuhiva now and in the recent past and how fishing practices and knowledge as a whole have evolved over time. To accomplish this, a review of relevant literature on the importance of fishing and ancestral fishing practices across Polynesia is presented in order to fill in the gaps within the literature written on fishing practice and knowledge of Te Henua ʻEnana. Indigenous Oceanic methodologies are explored to present this thesis through an Indigenous framework. Due to the lack of ʻEnana scholarship on methodologies, along with the strong genealogic and cultural links between ʻEnana and Tongan culture, the Kakala methodology is adapted for this study. Next, a thorough review of the relevant ethnohistoric literature written on Nukuhiva and the broader Henua ʻEnana is introduced, to provide a basis for the ancestral fishing methods practiced during first contact with Europeans. To provide Indigenous perspectives on the fishing performed in Nukuhiva now and in the recent past, informal interviews with six local fishing elders within Nukuhiva Island were conducted. From these interviews, a comparison is made between the fishing practices that are presently undertaken and the fishing practices that are no longer performed. Modern subsistence fishing with local fishermen was also undertaken within the context of Nukuhiva, with this experience providing a practical knowledge basis for fishing performed today. Environmental fishing knowledge, such as seasonal indicators of abundance and lunar phases in relation to different fishing practices collected from fishing informants, are also underlined in this thesis. Although many changes have occurred, the fishing that most subsistence fishermen of today practice - such as handline fishing - still echoes the fishing methods recorded at outsider contact (most traditional nets being an exception) and has evolved with the new technologies and materials of today. The findings presented in this thesis show the efficacy and continued benefits of ancestral fishing knowledge in ancient and contemporary times, highlighting that preserving ancestral traditions is crucial to maintaining ʻEnana knowledge systems, identity and culture.
Type of thesis
Teʻikitekahioho-Wolff, T. (2021). Te Tau Hana ʻAvaika Kākiu: Ancestral fishing practice and knowledge of Nukuhiva, Te Henua ʻEnana (The Marquesas Islands) (Thesis, Master of Māori and Pacific Development (MMPD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/14189
The University of Waikato
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