Whaling, Tabua, and Cokanauto


Vicki Luker details the important role played by tabua—or whales’ teeth—in Fijian history. Though Fiji was not a bustling whaling outpost compared to other sites in the Pacific, tabua, introduced by Tongans in the eighteenth century, came to occupy an important role as both currency between Europeans and Fijians and as a valuable item in political negotiations. In addition, Luker discusses how the infamous high chief of the Fijian polity of Rewa, Cokanauto, became a “whaler” in order to secure large quantities of tabua.

DOI: 10.5282/rcc/8961