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Coconut crabs for the whole village

Friday 26 February 2021 | Written by Rashneel Kumar | Published in Outer Islands

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Coconut crabs for the whole village
The men from the district of Tawa Ngake on the island of Pukapuka return home with ethri harvest. PHOTO: KO TINGA/21022401

The district of Tawa Ngake on the island of Pukapuka this week took part in the wuli kaveu – coconut crab harvesting to mark the new year.

According to island resident Ko Tinga, the event was discussed and finalised by one of the districts (Tawa Ngake) at their annual general meeting 2021.

The district of Tawa Lalo had their turn last week, Tinga said.

“The event was handed over to one of the tawa committees (pule). The pule went around the island to announce the day and time of the event. They set the programme.”

Motu Ko is one of the island’s reserves of Tawa Ngake preserved for the coconut crabs.

On Tuesday at 4pm, more than 60 men armed with their bush knives and torches left the main island on the barge for Motu Ko.

“We departed to Motu Ko at 4pm and started getting the coconut crabs at night time using our torches. We divided the people into two groups. The young and strong men went to get the coconut crabs and the elders or veterans stayed at the camp, cooked the coconut crabs and weaved some kikau baskets for the cooked coconut crabs.”


The islanders harvested 530 coconut crabs. KO TINGA/21022402

They returned to the main island on Wednesday morning with 530 coconut crabs and shared them among 266 people residing in the district – two coconut crabs each for adults and one coconut crab per child.