Kava drinking session early 1900’ in Uvea, Wallis and Futuna island

The kava bowl and tapa cloth are important symbols of both cultures. Kava is drunk both ritually and secularly in Futuna. The kava bowl is used to honor chiefs and the existing hierarchy. Tapa cloth is made by women for exchange at rituals that draw extended families together. It is symbolic of women’s wealth, along with specially scented oil. Tapa is also sold to tourists. Food gifts are symbols of welcome and good will. The malae , or meeting ground, is a place where people gather to honor their chiefs (kings in Futuna). The Lomipeau canoe represents the ties between Wallis/’Uvea and the early maritime empire of Tonga of four hundred years ago. It also symbolizes the strong seagoing tradition of these people, particularly their journeys to Tonga, Samoa, and other islands.

About the author: Aaron Taravaki
Tell us something about yourself.