Tikopia is a small volcanic island located north of Vanuatu and east of the Solomons. It is one of the 'Polynesian outliers', in that its people are clearly Polynesian, but live outside the area usually defined as Polynesia. Tikopia is noted for being the subject of detailed ethnographic study by the New Zealand anthropologist Raymond Firth, and for having maintained its indigenous religion well into the twentieth century. The last pagan chiefs of Tikopia converted to Christianity in 1955.

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Traditional Culture(1895-1920)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Firth (1936A), pp. 28
Firth (1967), pp. 25-28
Nature god(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 171-172
Firth (1961), pp. 21
Ancestral spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 74-75
Deified ancestor(s) Present, and the principal focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Firth (1967), pp. 25
God(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Firth (1967), pp. 25
Firth (1970), pp. 75-83

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 24-25

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife Actions while living do not affect the nature of one’s afterlife (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 27
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife Actions of others after one has died are one factor in determining the nature of one’s afterlife (Source)
Firth (1967), pp. 342
Myth of humanity’s creation Present, and evolutionary (Source)
Firth (1961), pp. 21-24, 27-28
Primordial pair Present, and genealogically linked to humans now living (Source)
Firth (1961), pp. 27-28
Culture hero(es) Present, and the principal focus of worship (Source)
Firth (1967), pp. 25

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 46, 155-156

Classes of Tapu

Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Firth (1936A), pp. 122, 167-170, 189, 196-197, 268-274, 287-290
Resource management tapu Present (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 41-42
Firth (1967), pp. 232
Social hierarchy tapu Present (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 41-42

Mana

Mana as a personal quality Present (Source)
Firth (1940B), pp. 496
Mana linked to genealogy Present, linked to both paternal and maternal lines (Source)
Firth (1930), pp. 110
Firth (1940B), pp. 503
Mana related to social influence or technical skill Present (Source)
Mana and social status Mana is associated with social status, but high social status is not necessary in order to be mana or have mana. (Source)
Firth (1967), pp. 194
Mana as a spiritual or religious concept Present (Source)
Firth (1940B), pp. 494-496
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Absent (Source)
Firth (1967)
Costly sacrifices and offerings Absent (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 227-230, 245-254
Size of largest ritual social group Larger than a local community, no larger than the largest political community in the culture (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 51
Political and religious differentiation Considerable overlap between religious and political leaders (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 34

Rites

Piercing Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Firth (1936A), pp. 378
Genital cutting Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Firth (1936A), pp. 423
Scarification Absent from culture (Source)
Firth (1936A), pp. 377-480
Tattooing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Firth (1936B)
Firth (1936A), pp. 377-380
Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Firth (1936A), pp. 378-480
Social Environment +
Population 1000 (Source)
Firth (1936A), pp. 368
Kirch (1997), pp. 38
Kirch & Yen (1982), pp. 50
Population of largest political community 1,000-9,999 (Source)
Firth (1959), pp. 255-259
Firth (1936A), pp. 368
Kirch (1997), pp. 50
Importance of Patrilateral descent High (Source)
Firth (1991), pp. 325
Importance of Matrilateral descent Medium (Source)
Firth (1991), pp. 325
Polygamy Limited polygyny (Source)
Firth (1991), pp. 325
Marital residence Patrilocal or virilocal - with husband's kin (Source)
Firth (1991), pp. 325

Conflict

Conflict within communities Moderate (Source)
Firth (1936A), pp. 442
Firth (1961), pp. 147-148
Conflict between communities of the culture Rare or never (Source)
Firth (1936A), pp. 374
Kirch & Yen (1982), pp. 365-368
Conflict with other cultures Rare or never (Source)
Firth (1961)
Cultural Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Frequent, through trade, warfare, travel, etc. (Source)
Firth (1961), pp. 146-147, 160-166
Kirch & Yen (1982), pp. 336-345, 365
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 133.5 (Source)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Distance to African or Asian mainland (km) 6736.0 (Source)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Pre-Austronesian population Absent: No evidence of human occupation prior to Austronesian settlement (Source)
Bellwood (1995), pp. 109
Hindu / Buddhist influence on supernatural belief No evidence of Hindu / Buddhist influence on supernatural belief, and culture is unlikely to have had contact with Hindu or Buddhist societies at or prior to to the time focus in question. (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.21
Islamic influence on supernatural belief No evidence of Islamic influence on supernatural belief, and culture is unlikely to have had contact with Islamic societies at or prior to the time focus in question. (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.23
Christian influence on supernatural belief No evidence of Christian influence on supernatural belief, and culture is unlikely to have had contact with Christian societies at or prior to the time focus in question. (Source)
Blake et al (1983), pp. 353
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Minor (Source)
Firth (1967), pp. 17
Kirch & Yen (1982), pp. 49-54, 276, 282-283, 352-354, 361
Kirch (2007), pp. 89
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Minor (Source)
Firth (1939), pp. 60-61
Land-based gathering Minor (Source)
Firth (1936A), pp. 17
Kirch (1997), pp. 35
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Absent (Source)
Firth (1939), pp. 60-61
Agriculture / Horticulture Principal (Source)
Kirch (1997), pp. 35

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Major (Source)
Firth (1936A), pp. 22, 146, 378-379
Kirch & Yen (1982), pp. 284-292
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Major (Source)
Firth (1936A), pp. 52-53, 92
Kirch & Yen (1982), pp. 238-239, 284-292
Water-based gathering Minor (Source)
Kirch & Yen (1982), pp. 292-303

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Absent (Source)
Kirch (2007), pp. 88
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture One (Source)
Ethnologue (Map of Solomon Islands) (2014)

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Latitude -12.3 (Source)
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude 168.8 (Source)
Google Maps (2014)
Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Volcanic high island (Source)
Kirch (2007), pp. 86
Island Size (km²) 5.7 (Source)
Wolcott & Conrad (2011), pp. 405-406
Maximum elevation (meters) 360.0 (Source)
Kirch (2007), pp. 86
Post Contact History(1920-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Role of social status in conversion process Primarily a top-down process. (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 308, 316-317, 392
Use of force in conversion Low (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 308, 316-317, 386-392
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from Austronesian societies only (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 305-307
Macdonald (2000), pp. 111-112
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 308, 316-317, 386-392
Yates & Anderson-Berry (2004), pp. 16

Syncretic Movements

Syncretic religious movements Absent (Source)
Treadaway (2007), pp. 111-113
Firth (1970), pp. 305-392
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, but of low importance (Source)
Macdonald (2000), pp. 113
Rasmussen et al (2009), pp. 11
Immigration Absent (Source)
Blake et al (1983), pp. 353
Macdonald (2000), pp. 112
Language shift Low (Source)
Treadaway (2007), pp. 154, 163
Foreign education systems High (Source)
Treadaway (2007), pp. 151

Economic Changes

Changes in means of subsistence Low (Source)
Yates & Anderson-Berry (2004), pp. 16
Exportation of goods to other cultures Present but minor (Source)
Yates & Anderson-Berry (2004), pp. 16

Modern Infrastructure

Vehicles and roads Absent (Source)
Yates & Anderson-Berry (2004), pp. 19
Air travel Absent (Source)
Yates & Anderson-Berry (2004), pp. 19
Sea port Absent (Source)
Yates & Anderson-Berry (2004), pp. 19

Loss of Autonomy

Nature of loss of autonomy Largely voluntary (Source)
Firth (1959), pp. 41
Loss of political autonoomy Medium (Source)
Firth (1959), pp. 41
Macdonald (2000), pp. 111-112
Yates & Anderson-Berry (2004), pp. 16
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Unofficial religious syncretism Medium (Source)
Treadaway (2007), pp. 104
Institutional religious syncretism Medium (Source)
Treadaway (2007), pp. 104, 111-112
Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Yates & Anderson-Berry (2004), pp. 16
External Links
References
Bellwood, P. (1995). Austronesian Prehistory in Southeast Asia: Homeland, Expansion and Transformation. P. Bellwood, J.J. Fox, & D. Tryon (Eds.), The Austronesians: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (pp 113-114). Canberra, Australia: ANU Press.

Blake, N.M., Hawkins, B.R., Kirk, R.L., Bhatia, K., Brown, P. Garruto, R.M. & Gajdusek, D.C. (1983). A Population Genetic Study of the Banks and Torres Islands (Vanuatu) and of the Santa Cruz Islands and Polynesian Outliers (Solomon Islands). American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 62 (4), 343-361. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.1330620402.

Brunton, R. (1989). The Abandoned Narcotic: Kava and Cultural Instability in Melanesia. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Cribb, R. (2000). Historical atlas of Indonesia. Surrey, UK: Curzon Press.

Daft Logic Distance Calculator. (2014). http://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-distance-calculator.htm.

Encyclopaedia Britannica (Solomon Islands). (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/553556/Solomon-Islands

Ethnologue (Map of Solomon Islands). (2014). Map of Solomon Islands. Retrieved from http://www.ethnologue.com/map/SB.

Firth, J. (1967) Ritual and Belief in Tikopia. London, UK: Allen and Unwin.

Firth, R. (1930). Report on Research in Tikopia. Oceania, 1 (1), 105-117. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40373037

Firth, R. (1936). Tattooing in Tikopia. Man, 36 (235-236), 173-177. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2789929

Firth, R. (1936A). We, The Tikopia: a Sociological Study of Kinship in Primitive Polynesia. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Firth, R. (1939). Primitive Polynesian Economy. London, UK: Routledge and Sons.

Firth, R. (1959). Social Change in Tikopia: Re-Study of a Polynesian Community after a Generation. London, UK: Allen and Unwin.

Firth, R. (1960). Succession to chieftainship in Tikopia. Oceania, 30, 161–180. Retrieved from http://ehrafworldcultures.yale.edu/document?id=ot11-025

Firth, R. (1961). History and Traditions of Tikopia. Wellington, New Zealand: The Polynesian Society.

Firth, R. (1970). Rank and Religion in Tikopia: a Study in Polynesian Paganism and Conversion to Christianity. London: Allen and Unwin.

Firth, R. (1991). Tikopia. In T.E. Hays (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of World Cultures (Vol. II, pp 324-327). New York, NY: G.K. Hall & Co.

Firth, R.W. (1940B). The Analysis of Mana: an Empirical Approach. Journal of the Polynesian Society (48), 583-510.

Google Maps (2014). Retrieved from maps.google.com

Kirch, P.V. & Yen, D.E. (1982). Tikopia: the Prehistory and Ecology of a Polynesian Outlier. Honolulu, HI: Bishop Museum Press.

Kirch, P.V. (1997). Microcosmic Histories: Island Perspectives on "Global" Change. American Anthropologist, 99 (1), 30-42. DOI: 10.1525/aa.1997.99.1.30

Kirch, P.V. (2007). Three Islands and an Archipelago: Reciprocal Interactions between Humans and Island Ecosystems in Polynesia. Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 98 (1), 85-99. DOI: 10.1017/S1755691007000011

Laracy, M. (1969). The First Mission to Tikopia. The Journal of Pacific History, 4 (1), 105-109. DOI: 10.1080/00223346908572148

Macdonald, J. (2000). The Tikopia and What Raymond Said. In Jaarsma, S.R. & Rohatynskyj, M.A. (Eds.) "Ethnographic Artifacts: Challenges to a Reflexive Anthropology". Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press.

Rasmussen, K., May, W., Birk, T., Mataki, M., Mertz, O. & Yee, D. (2009). Climate Change on Three Polynesian Outliers in the Solomon Islands: Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation. Geografisk Tidsskrift - Danish Journal of Geography, 109 (1), 1-13. DOI: 10.1080/00167223.2009.10649592

Sahlins, M. D. (1958). Social stratification in Polynesia. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press

Treadaway, J. (2007). Dancing, Dying, Crawling, Crying: Stories of Continuity and Change in the Polynesian Community of Tikopia. Suva, Fiji: Institute of Pacific Studies Publications, University of the South Pacific.

Wolcott, E.L. & Conrad, J.M. (2011). Agroecology of an Island Economy. Land Economics, 87 (3), 403-411.

Yates, L. & Anderson-Berry, L. (2004). The Societal and Environmental Impacts of Cyclone Zoe and the Effectiveness of the Tropical Cyclone Warning Systems in Tikopia and Anuta, Solomon Islands. The Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 19 (1), 16-20. Retrieved from http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/documentSummary;dn=373087390716104;res=ielhss