Puina 1981

The puina is a traditional event that took place when men and women compose songs in secret that are humorous and critical of the opposite sex. The songs are composed in secret and then sung in public to the opposite sex. In former times, one group went to the three islets at the western end of the lagoon (Muli Akau) and composed songs. On an appointed day, they paddled towards the main islet (Hale) singing their songs.  After the island’s conversion to Christianity in the 1930s, the puina were discouraged because they often involved sexual allusions and hostility. But some form of the puina continued as a uiki hakamalooloo (rest week) when there was a school holiday. In 1981, there was a revival of this practice,  partly because, I suspect, some elders thought I should see this traditional practice (although my understanding is that there were several more after I left).  In 1981, both men and women composed their songs on the main islet. These slides show the women gathering and then paddling ashore from a location that was near to Hale as they sing their songs. The last slides show them singing their songs in large circle that evening.