Kava has not always been consumed out Of a dish.. Some islands were and still are – traditionally preparing cups individually directly straining the kava juice in a shell, like when kava is chewed (Tanna Island) or stone ground ( Maewo, North Pentecost, Banks). In some other places, kava was prepared in wooden dishes or stone dish and Chief would knee down and drink directly from the dish….
The strong Tongan influence In Fiji and then Missionaries and the Churches have slowly populariséd the Tanoa there too.
Kava wooden dishes are a traditional norms in Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Wallis and Futuna, and there are many versions and names. Some are carved in Tamanu woods , some have many legs, but the Fijian Tanoa has only four.
Tanoa are coming mainly from the Far eastern islands of Lau Group ( Kambara) and are carved out in Vesi wood. ( Intsia bijuga) ( natora or kohu). They can be preserved for many years provided that they are given some basic care and attention:
Since wood is a porous material, changes in humidity and temperature levels will cause it to expand or cracks…so Store it properly away from extrem temperatures and humidity, avoid direct sunlight and fireplace or other heat source…
Also prior to using it for the first time , the Tanoa should be immersed in water for a week and then thoroughly dried. During immersion, water should be changed daily until it becomes clear. This will help to clean the Tanoa and help prevent the wood from cracking.
Enjoy your kava 😁