Ethnology of Tongareva
The men's club (korare) was made of coconut wood and was as long as two arm spans. It had a wide blade, somewhat paddle-shaped in coming to a distinct point. The blade was thickest in the longitudinal median line where a median edge was formed on either side surface by sloping planes running outward to form sharp lateral edges. (See fig. 63, c.) The club was cut out of a coconut log with shell adzes and finished off with the sting ray rasp and the kana material. The club was used in hand fighting in which thrusting blows (to) with the point, or cutting blows (tipu) with the sharp edges, were made. Lamont (15, p. 155) states that the “coerare” (club) was ornamented with some carving on the blade end.
The women's club (tamutu) was made of the same material and by the same method as the men's club, but it was lighter and had a blunt distal end. My informants described the blade as being shaped like a European oar. It was also shorter, being one arm span in length. The club is not now obtainable, but figure 63, d, reproduced from Wilkes (31, vol. 4, p. 287), shows a weapon that conforms to the native description of the tamutu. It is carved on the blade with paired chevrons with the apices proximal. Lamont (15, p. 133) states, “The long light paddle-shaped club used by the women is called a ‘coerari,’ and is used in battle principally for breaking the spears of the men of the opposite party.” To Lamont, the blunt-ended weapon would be as much “paddle-shaped” as the pointed korare of the men. My informants were definite in distinguishing the women's club as a tamutu. From Lamont's use of the term “coerari” it is quite possible that both forms page 214 were termed korare, but that the women's club, because of its blunt end (mutu), was specially termed ta mutu, which would mean “to strike” (ta) with a blunt-ended club. The distinction in shape is also borne out in the name of the pointed club (korare) by including the word ko (to thrust).
The truncheon (motumotu) was made of the tough ngangie wood. It was about two feet long, thicker at the distal end, and was pierced by a hole through the grip end. A cord loop was run through the hole, by which the weapon was hung round the neck when it was not in use. The korare was used at longer range and the motumotu for close fighting.
Figure 63. Weapons: a, b, spears (to) after Louis Choris; c, man's club (korare) in Bernice P. Bishop Museum (C. 292); d, woman's club (tamiutu) after Wilkes. a, spear with wide two-edged point and b, with simple point: 1, point; 2, butt piece; 3, lashing of butt piece to spear shaft. c, man's club, 7 feet 9 inches long: 1, lozenge-shaped blade 30 inches long, 2.1 inches wide, and 1.1 inches thick at proximal end; 2, well-marked shoulders cut in at right angles to mesial longitudinal line to meet blade, making flare of shaft on surface slightly higher and 0.1 inches thicker than blade; 3, widest part of blade not quite halfway between shoulder and point, 5.1 inches wide and 1.3 inches thick; 4, sharp point; 5, median edges of blade (see section), disappear beyond widest part; 6 shaft, 3.1 inches wide at distal shoulders (2), sloping in to width of 1.55 inches and thickness of 1.1 inches near middle of shaft, median and lateral edges making shaft four-sided instead of round; 7, point 3.2 inches from proximal end, 1.1 inches wide and 1.0 inches thick where transverse cut made; 8, blunt point at proximal end. d, woman's club: 1, rounded distal end differentiating it from pointed club used by men; 2, two paired chevrons incised on shoulderless blades; 3, proximal end of shaft which ends indefinitely in Wilkes' drawing.