Moana Oceania - Tonga - Te Taumata Toi-a-Iwi


Pāletu‘a or Kali ‘o Hina

This pōvai or club, is known as Pāletu‘a, shield and weapon or Kali ‘o Hina, Headrest of Hina. It is used in faiva no‘o‘anga, the Tongan performance art of shark-catching. Hina is one of Tonga’s deified ancestors where, amongst her various domains, she is goddess of faiva no‘o‘anga. Made of wood, it is completed carved with the Tongan kupesi or pattern veimau, meaning ‘ordered water flow’ – where the surface is calm and ordered but the water underneath is dynamic and chaotic. 
Collection of Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, 1931.245, 16405; L26 
Illustration by Cecelia Faumuina

The Ancestors of Tongan Arts

Maui-TāVā-He-Akó Professor Tēvita O Kaʻili

Sio FakaTonga ‘Ae ‘Aati FakaTonga: Tongan Views of Tongans Arts

Pā‘utu-‘O-Vava‘u-Lahi, Adriana Lear

Hūfanga-He-Ako-Moe-Lotu Professor ‘Ōkusitino Māhina

“Art is a central thread of culture. Thus, some cultures worship the creators of the arts. In Moana Nui (Polynesia), originators of an art form are often elevated into deities. Ancestors were deified due to their great achievements in the arts. Today, they are still revered within the pantheon of Moana Nui societies. In Tonga, ʻotua are deified ancestors.”

“In Tonga, specifically (and in Moana Oceania, generally), it is thought and felt that we, epistemologically/metaphorically yet ontologically/historically, travel forward into the past and backward into the future, where both the illusive already-taken-place past and elusive yet-to-take-place future are constantly negotiated in the ever-shifting present.” Read more

Further readings...

Adriana Lear, A Study Of Traditional Tongan Music Using The Tā-Vā (Time-Space) Theory Of Art, BCA (Hons) thesis, Creative Arts – Music, University of Wollongong, 2018.


Tā-Vā (Time-Space) Theory of Reality, Pacific Studies, special issue, Vol. 40, 2017 co-edited by Tevita O. Ka‘ili, ‘Ōkusitino Māhina (Hūfanga) & Ping-Ann Addo.


‘Pulotu, Hawaiki, and Lapita’ by Hūfanga-He-Ako-Moe-Lotu, originally published in Crafting Aotearoa: A Cultural History of Making in New Zealand and the Wider Moana Oceania (2019), edited by Karl Chitham, Kolokesa U. Māhina-Tuai, and Damian Skinner and published by Te Papa Press, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand. Click here to read.