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(1922)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 64-112
Nature god(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 171-172
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 (1970), pp. 75-83
God(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 83-90

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 Absent (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 27
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife Absent (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 27
Myth of humanity’s creation Absent (Source)
Firth (1961), pp. 21-52
Primordial pair Absent (Source)
Firth (1961), pp. 21-52
Culture hero(es) Present, and the principal focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 80

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 89

Classes of Tapu

Social hierarchy tapu Present (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 41-42
Resource management tapu Present (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 42
Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Firth (1936A), pp. 333-334

Mana

Mana as a spiritual or religious concept Present (Source)
Firth (1940)
Mana linked to genealogy Present, linked to both paternal and maternal lines (Source)
Firth (1940)
Mana and social status Moderately associated (Source)
Firth (1967), pp. 194
Mana as a personal quality Present (Source)
Firth (1940)
Mana related to social influence or technical skill Present (Source)
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Absent (Source)
Firth (1961)
Costly sacrifices and offerings Present (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 199-260
Largest religious community Whole society or larger (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 51
Political and religious differentiation Considerable overlap between religious and political leaders (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 31-63

Rites

Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Firth (1936A), pp. 16
Scarification Absent from culture (Source)
Firth (1936A), pp. 12-18
Piercing Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Firth (1936A), pp. 418-467
Tattooing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Firth (1936B)
Genital cutting Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Firth (1936A), pp. 423-424
Social Environment +
Population 1100 (Source)
Firth (1959A), pp. 53
Population of largest political community 1,000-9,999 (Source)
Firth (1959A), pp. 53, 255-260
Importance of Patrilateral descent High (Source)
Firth (1991), pp. 325
Importance of Matrilateral descent Medium (Source)
Firth (1991), pp. 325
Kinship system Hawaiian (Source)
Firth (1991), pp. 325
Polygamy Limited polygyny (Source)
Firth (1959A), pp. 205
Marital residence Patrilocal or virilocal - with husband's kin (Source)
Firth (1991), pp. 325

Conflict

(No) external warfare Rare or never (Source)
Firth (1961)
Conflict within community Low (Source)
Firth (1959A), pp. 336
(No) internal warfare Rare or never (Source)
Firth (1936A), pp. 414-415
Firth (1961), pp. 160
Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Frequent, through trade, warfare, travel, etc. (Source)
Firth (1991), pp. 324
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 133.5 (Source)
Firth (1936A), pp. 20
Daft Logic Area Calculator (2014)
Distance to nearest continent 2207.0 (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 influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.21
Islamic influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.23
Christian influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence but in a region where contact is likely (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 30
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Absent (Source)
Firth (1939), pp. 32, 60-61
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Minor (Source)
Firth (1939), pp. 32, 60-61
Land-based gathering Medium (Source)
Firth (1939), pp. 32-77
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Absent (Source)
Firth (1939), pp. 32, 60-61
Agriculture / Horticulture Principal (Source)
Firth (1939), pp. 32, 64-65

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Medium (Source)
Firth (1939), pp. 32, 61-63
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Medium (Source)
Firth (1939), pp. 32, 61-63
Water-based gathering Medium (Source)
Firth (1939), pp. 32-77

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Major (Source)
Firth (1939), pp. 47, 279-351
Metalworking Absent (Source)
Firth (1939), pp. 78-84
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture One (Source)
Firth (1991), pp. 324

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Volcanic high island (Source)
Firth (1991), pp. 324
Island Size (km²) 4.6 (Source)
Firth (1991), pp. 324
Maximum elevation (meters) 350.0 (Source)
Firth (1991), pp. 324

Location

Latitude -12.3 (Source)
Firth (1991), pp. 324
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude 168.8 (Source)
Firth (1991), pp. 324
Google Maps (2014)
Post Contact History(1922-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Role of social status in conversion process Primarily a top-down process. (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 304-331
Use of force in conversion Low (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 304-406
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Firth (1991), pp. 326
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from Austronesian societies only (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 305-306

Syncretic Movements

Syncretic religious movements Absent (Source)
Firth (1970), pp. 305-406
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, but of low importance (Source)
Firth (1991), pp. 324
Yates & Anderson-Berry (2004)
Immigration Absent (Source)
Blake et al (1983)
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)
Exportation of goods to other cultures Present but minor (Source)
Yates & Anderson-Berry (2004)

Modern Infrastructure

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

Loss of Autonomy

Nature of loss of autonomy Largely voluntary (Source)
Firth (1959A), pp. 41
Loss of political autonoomy Medium (Source)
Firth (1991), pp. 324
Yates & Anderson-Berry (2004)
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)
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.

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

Daft Logic Area Calculator. (2014). Retrieved from: http://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-area-calculator-tool.htm.

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

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

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. (1959A). 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. Encyclopaedia of World Cultures (Vol. II, pp 324-327). New York, NY: G.K. Hall & Co.

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

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

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.

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.

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