The island and its people

page 7 of 10




People of Tonga are very friendly. Everybody seems to have time and is very helpful. Here on 'Eua people are even more peaceful and the kids are especially curious when a palangi (foreigner) comes their way. The kids are often greeting me with a chorus of palangi palangi or just simply by calling out a friendly good bye.



Well here we play shop



but looking at the faces, it doesn't seem to be a good trading day today.



In Maxi's Disco Hall, a multi-purpose building, some women are weaving a huge mat. Saturday night is the disco in here and some days it is reserved for church functions.



The mat is a fine mat, woven from pandanus leaves. It will be a big mat (10x4m) which takes several weeks to complete.



The leaves of the Pandanus are cut, dried in bunches, then rolled up. Finally they are split into thin strips and woven.



This is a woman making tapa. She is sitting under a tree hammering away all day. The sound of the tapa mallets is very common in Tonga. Often several "percussionists" are heard in a small area weaving an interesting sound carpet!



It is very fascinating to see how a small piece of bark becomes a very wide strip. Tapas made for ceremonies are often very large pieces. It was used for clothing before fabric was around. Tapa is still commonly used for ceremonies and are a special gift. To produce large pieces, the individual strips are joined with arrowroot glue and then coloured with natural dyes.



The finished product.



While Tapa making is women's' work, carving is exclusively done by man. This is a selection of grim masks on the market.

Are you still there?? Next page teaches you how to start a nice bush fire!!!
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