The Berlin Museum Tongiaki riddle
The more we look the more drua we find. In 2011, while we were researching the history of drua, kailia and `alia in Suva, someone mentioned they had seen one in a museum in Germany years ago. Then we found this photo on the web @ http://www.justpacific.com/fiji/fijiphotos/cards/modern/index.html
"Doppelrumpfboot (Rekonstruktion nach Zeichnungen von James Cook) L 12.03m. Tonga-Inseln, Polynesien. Abteilung Südsee Kat. Nr. VI 49744"
Double-hulled canoe: Photograph and postcard by the Museum für Völkerkunde, Berlin [Ethnographic Museum, Berlin].
The explanation on the site read:
" This beautifully reconstructed 12 metre vessel collected by Cook (on his third voyage) is a kalia, the Tongan name for their version of the Fijian-designed drua double-hulled voyaging canoe, with which they were identical. It would have been made in Lau, Fiji by Tongan jafau woodcraftsmen, using the giant vesi (Intsia bijuga) hardwood that did not grow in Tonga. At the time of Cook's visit, the Tongans were switching from their own relatively unmanoeuvreable tongiaki to the swifter, more manageable and faster Fijian design. The same switch occurred in Samoa, where they called the new craft 'alia. The sole advantage of the tongiaki appears to have been her greater capacity for transporting heavy loads, such as, according to legend, the huge stones used in the trilothon of Tongatabu, and other stoneworks in Tonga."
Which was absolutely intriguing because, although the information on kalia is completely accurate, the vessel in the photo is definitely a tongiaki and not a kalia.
As Haddon & Hornell explain, "The principal features wherein the tongiaki differed from the kalia were: (1) in the approximate equality of the two hulls; (2) in sailing, the same ends were always directed forward and in consequence the manipulation of the sail was entirely different; (3) the mast was much shorter and had a forked head in which the yard rested, with the tack of the sail confined by ropes between the prows and not stepped at the fore end of one hull; (4) the presence of an outrigger balance spar; (5) the deck platform was relatively larger and extended considerably farther aft than in the kalia; (6) the deck shelter was a tunnel-shaped hut without a platform above the roof. (Canoes of Oceania, Bishop Museum, 1936, reprinted 1975, 271-272)"
The pictures below show the differing vessel types, the first from 1616, then Tasman 1642, Webbers Tongiaki (but without the horizontal yards) from 1777 and finally a Kalia from 1830s.
Detail from an engraving from Schouten and Le Marie’s 1616’s voyage. Reported as the earliest pictorial record by European explorers of a Pacific blue water vessel between Samoa and Tonga (so of course they shot at it). Most references refer to it as a tongiaki, but Haddon and Hornell classify it as a va`a tele class out of Samoa.
“Canoes of the Friendly Islands” John Webber 1777 shows a tongiaki.
Kalia off Tongatapu, 1830s
We contacted the Museum für Völkerkunde and learnt that it was not an orginal artifact but a replica. When we went looking for someone to help us find out more about the Berlin Mueum we met up with Anna Bertram, a visiting German student at USP.
Of course she knew Bernd Sauer-Diele who had taken the original photo we’d found. (http://www.bsd-photo-archiv.de/detail.php?picture_id=853) (http://www.tip-berlin.de/community/profile/bernd-sauer/blog/die-palau-in...). Bernd sent us a fact sheet from the Museum.
Fri 23/12/2011 12:08 p.m.
well, I´ve been in the museum library, but I didn´t find out anything about the tongiaki or the drua or kalia. I found the original writings of James Cook´s 3rd voyage (3 thick volumes) and it was hard to get through. Then I discovered a reprint with some maps and drawings and a register, but all the paths were leading not to any boats. ... The most difficult thing is to find out on which island he got his tongiaki from, do you know that? .... Enclosed are some examples of James Cook´s original writings and the map of his 3rd voyage (part of it).
Fri 6/01/2012 11:06 a.m
A Happy New Year to You,
today I have been again in the library of the Ethnological Museum and I found some written records about the tongiaki from the 3rd Journey of James Cook, I enclosed the copies I made from the book "The Voyage of the Resolution and Discovery 1776-1780", edited by J.C. Beaglehole Part Two, Cambridge 1967. In the register I found under the keyword canoes the 5-6 pages about tongiaki canoes! It are descriptions and they seem accurate, but I can´t judge that. But there were no pictures inside.
Then I discovered in the computer of the library that there is a German book about "Schiffahrt in Ozeanien" (shipping/navigation in Oceania) from Hans Nevermann, a dissertation from 1928. I couldn’t have a look into it today, .... Would you need also a translation from the German fact sheet about the tongiaki replica in the Berlin Museum. .... .
So hope I could help for your great traditional canoe project, I am very much interested in (old) sailing techniques. The ancestors of my mother were living some 80-100 years ago at the Baltic Sea (Kurisches Haff), near Kaliningrad (Königsberg), which is now part of Russia. They did sailing and fishing in the Haff, which is kind of bay with a small entrance to the Baltic Sea. So my grandfather and his brother and their father were helmsmen, boatbuilders and fishermen. Maybe that´s one reason why I love the sea, too....My uncle had also a small sailing boat, but unfortunately he died 2 years ago. I didn’t learn sailing yet, but I will do that probably in the next years for we will move to a big river in Berlin, the Havel in 6 months and I am loooking forward to our new home at the water :))
Many greetings from Berlin,
Thu 12/01/2012 12:55 p.m.
Some news from Berlin, not very positive, but some more research findings...First, Dr. Schindlbeck answered my e-mail. He said (translated): "Dear Mr. Sauer-Diete, this replica took place in the 60s and as far as I know there are no more records. In the replica of a kalia the museum was not involved. Unfortunately I can´t tell you more about that.”
As far as my own researches show, this seems to be true. Neither the word tongiaki nor kalia or drua are found anywhere in the tags of the computer in of all libraries in Berlin nor on the old file cards in the library nor in the library itself, this is really strange, the only trace of tongiaki is in the reprint of James Cooks third voyage journals I sent to you.......So the main ethnological scientist for Oceania in Berlin was Gerd Koch but he retired some 20 years ago and moved to an island in the North Sea...
Anyway, at least I had a chance to look at the dissertation from Hans Nevermann: Schiffahrt in Ozeanien. It is a pure bibliographical review about canoes in whole Oceania, but without any indigenous words for the canoes ... two books might be really interesting.
The first is German and I can look into it next week: "Otto von Kotzebue: Entdeckunsgreise in die Südsee (Expedition in to the South Sea), Weimar 1891, 3 Vol.", Nevermann cited him as he has some drawings and models of canoes made by indigenous people. ... Next interesting source I found in Nevermann is a book written by a Fijian: "Dave Toginivalu - The Customs of Bau, T.F.S. (Transactions of the Fijian Society), 1911, translated by Beauclerc)". This book is not listed in Berlin, so you might find it rather in Fiji. Another English book is "The Fijian Collection by H. Ling Poth, Halifax 1901". And sorry, I had´nt have any time to translate the fact sheets for you yet, but I will do this at the weekend... I really would like to come to Fiji to learn real sailing with you, but it won´t be possible this year, maybe next....
keep on sailin´, Pete
Sat 28/01/2012 2:39 p.m.
finally I finished the translation about the Berlin tongiaki replica, see attached It took me much more time than I thought, especially it is a somehow old fashioned text, but it seems to be a quite detailed explanation of the tongiaki replica, made by my "old" professor Gerd Koch in 1971. The online dictionary www.dict.cc was a great help for the translation especially with all the nautical terms... At the end of the text the drua (ndrua) and kalia of Fiji are mentioned and also the resources they made the replica from (James Cook (1777), Willem Cornelisz Schouten (1616/1619), Abel Janszon Tasman (1643/1898) and J. Hornell 1936). The tongiaki shown in this exhibition was built in Berlin from 1968 – 1970.
As the text mentions the Micronesian roots of the Fijian drua, it might be interesting for you that in the Linden-Museum in Stuttgart there was a big exhibition about Micronesia in 2009 (translated: "South Sea Oasis - Living and Surviving in Western Pacific") with a replica of a Micronesian catamaran, reconstructed by Micronesians from the Marshall Islands in the Stuttgart ethnological Linden Museum. I attended the exhibition in 2009 and attached two of my pictures of the boat.
They made also a film about the reconstruction of the boat, you might get it directly from the museum, or I could try to get a copy, if you were interested in. (www.lindenmuseum.de - e-mail: email@example.com).
Another great European ethnological museum (the best I think) is the Tropen Museum in Amsterdam, they might have some more Dutch resources, (www.tropenmuseum.nl)
I looked into the German book of Otto Kotzebue, I told you from, there was just one old foto of a
camakau but no indigenous drawings. So I hope you can use some of this information and I hope you make progress in your great work. Say greetings to your Fijian friends and to Anna.
Sat 4/02/2012 2:53 p.m.
I tried to find out where Prof. Dr. Gerd Koch is living, and sadly had to find out that he died in 2005. But his wife Dr. Marion Melk-Koch is working at the Ethnology Museum in Leipzig (Grassi-Museum für Völkerkunde Leipzig, www.mvl-grassimuseum.de). I sent her a letter explaining our interest in the work of Gerd Koch regarding the tongiaki. Maybe she can find something about the reconstruction of the Berlin tongiaki in the estate of her husband......
Fri 10/02/2012 2:40 a.m.
"The Berlin Museum Tongiaki riddle" is a great title, this story is really mysterious, but my drive to research is incited to even more now. I want to bring light into this riddle.....
Mrs. Melk-Koch answered my mail two days ago. She was happy to hear from me, as she is knows me from the early 80´s. She was also student from Gerd Koch and remembers his talking about the tongiaki-replica end of the 60´s. (so she is not as old as Gerd Koch, her later husband...). She has got a lot of work with the estate of Gerd Koch (saving, cataloguing, publishing), but she is very happy about the growing interest in his the work. She knows also your project sailing for sustainability and likes it very much. She didn’t find any documents about the tongiaki until now but she will keep on looking. Gerd Koch was a "Tongan man" with heart and soul, as he spend there many years of research. The drawing of the tongiaki from James Cook was hanging as an enlargement pic in the dining room of his home in Berlin-Dahlem in the 60´s and 70´s. Mrs Melk-Koch is right now doing a Wikipedia entry for Gerd Koch, which is missing until now... So I will try to translate it someday for the English Wikipedia.
Marion Melk-Koch told me that there must be still some documents (fotos, recordings, correspondence) in the Berlin Museum about the tongiaki, so I wrote again to Mr. Schindlbeck to ask him to do my own research in the archive of the museum. And she told me the name of a man called Olivetti, who might have financed that replica. I am trying to contact him also...... One more interesting detail about the replica is, that the sail is just a photo, no real sail....
Greetings from Berlin
Fri 10/02/2012 2:54 a.m.
Mr. Schindlbeck just answered and promised to do further research about Gerd Kochs tongiaki documents. And Olivetti is not a person, but a big company in Berlin who made typewriters....
A tale of mystery and nautical reconstruction - see also the Museum text files attached below
|Tongiaki Fact Sheet translation.pdf||442.79 KB|
|Tongiaki Fact Sheet Ethnologisches Museum Berlin- German.pdf||2.68 MB|
|Bernd Sauer-Diete - biography.pdf||219.97 KB|
|Beagehole, Cook's Journal of the voyage fo the Resolution 1776-1780 extracts.pdf||855.65 KB|