This episode — the first of this 1993 series — takes a broad look at ancient Polynesian rites and rituals. Presenter Ramona Papali'i explores the Māori custom of returning the placenta to the land, the Samoan ceremony of betrothal, and the practice of traditional Samoan tattoo. Viewers are offered access to a Niuean ear-piercing ceremony and the investiture of a Fijian chief. There are stories of walking statues at Rapa Nui (Easter Island), and of the goddess Pele's volcanic beauty in Hawai'i. Papali’i interviews local knowledge keepers in each land, revealing what's at the heart of Polynesian culture: family, community, and people.
The newly finished tattoos, still very painful, are soothed with tumeric and coconut oil. But as the song says, when the pain is gone, the pride will take over. The pride of completion will be shared by their families...– Narrator Ramona Papali’i on tattooing in Samoa
Made with funding from NZ On Air