Tuluma & Matau: Tokelau fishing box, chest and fishhooks
E fakafeiloaki atu,
In celebration of Tokelau Language Week (25 – 31 October 2015) we have installed tuluma (fishing box and chest) and matau (fish hooks) in a display case in our Te Kākano Information Centre located in the west wing of the Māori Gallery. Iutana Pue selected these works and wrote both the Tokelu and English labels.
Ko te tuluma hove ko he tahi ia o koa tāua i loto o he kaiga Tokelau. Ko he puha lakau e malu lelei, na ta mai i te kanava. Kafai ko he tuluma fuaefa, e tuku la i te fale ke fai ma puha lavalava. Ko he tuluma feoloolo e mahani fakaaogā e te tautai mo ana kope fagota. E mafai foki ke tuku ai tana papa hikaleti, na lau hului ma te afi. Kafai te vaka e fāfāia i moana, ko na mea fagota e malu lele. E hē gata e alaga i te tai, kae e hē hao kiei he huātai, ma tona pupuni e mau i he meauka.
Tuluma is perhaps the next most valuable family possession in the Tokelau community. It is a water-proof wooden box of traditional design, carved out of a single log of kanava/cordias or sea trumpets.
A large tuluma is kept in the house and used as a family chest. A medium-sized one may be used exclusively by the tautai/master fisherman to store his deep-sea fishing gear and keep it all in order. It may also hold his supply of plug tobacco, the fala/pandanus leaves in which cigarettes are rolled, and a lighter. If a canoe was capsized at sea during bad weather, the gear remains safe in the watertight tuluma. It floats upright in the water, with the lid being kept on by a sennit cord.
Ko te faifaiva ko he tahi tenei o auala e maua ai te kai a Tokelau. Ko te mea ia e takalahi ai kitea na matau, kafilo ma na tahi mea fagota i luga o Tokelau. I na aho kua loa, nae hē faigofie oi maua na pa (laumilo, hikuuli ma pahina) ma ietahi kope nae fakaaogā e tautai kafai e laga he faiva. Kua fakaaogā ai e na tautai te gagie ma ietahi ivi ika, ke fau ai na matau.
Ko na matau ko ni fakailoga iena o te amanaki ma ola i loto o he kaiga ma he nuku. Amanaki ke lahi he mafua kae ke ta inati i loto o te nuku. Ko te mafua foki e maua, ko he fakaola tena ki te kaifenua katoa.
Fishing has always been one of the great sources of food in Tokelau. Therefore, the fishing lures and other methods of fishing (like fish net, spearing) are common sights in Tokelau. In the old days, it was not easy to acquire good gear like pearl-shell lures (particularly those like laumilo, hikuuli and pahina) and other gear used by a tautai/master fisherman when he went out to sea. Alternatively, tautai have carved fishing hooks from gagie/pamphis acidula (exceptionally hard, strong wood) and fish bones.
Fishing lures are symbols of hope as well as life within a family and a community. Always hopeful that there will be more catches to be distributed evenly/inati in the village. Catches of fish also brings life to the nuku/whole community.
Manuia te vaiaho.