Drehu: a brief note
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Tongan Arrival in Mu (Lifu, Loyalty Islands)
New Caledonia, Mu (Lifou), 1997, Wanum Maka, Claire Moyse-Faurie
Several accounts tell of the arrival of Polynesian migrations from Tonga, Samoa, Wallis or Futuna, probably between the 16th century and the very beginning of the 19th century. Such migrations most certainly existed at much earlier dates. This account tells of the arrival of a Tongan migration which is said to have settled in Mu (Lifou) after a brief stop in Walpole and several years’ residence in the Ile des Pins. M. J. Dubois, in Kwènyii, the Ile des Pins in ancient times, SEHNC, evokes the shipwreck, around 1810, of a boat with Tongan seamen aboard, on Wania (spelled Ouigna by Father Lambert) near the bay of Corbeille on the Ile des Pins. Beforehand, towards 1770, during the reign of chief Këëwa, a canoe from Tonga is said to have been wrecked in the bay of Ayogi. According to Glaumont (Ethnogénie des insulaires de Kunié (îles des Pins), Revue d'Ethnographie, Paris, 1887), ten men and six women from Tonga are said to have been shipwrecked on the Ile des Pins, after having stopped off on Walpole. A few years later, these Tongans are said to have taken up residence in Lifou, in the bay of Mu, where their descendents still reside, bearing the name angetre Tonga “people from Tonga”. The narrator of this account is the wife of one of these descendents, who died a few years ago. She attributes to a certain Taufa the recognition of the evangelist Fao upon his arrival on Ahmelewedre, according to J. Guiart, confusing him with a person of the same name who is said to have welcomed the missionary ship of the L.M.S., the Camden, to Maré in 1841. Guiart justly points out (Structure de la chefferie en Mélanésie du Sud, 1963, pp. 205-209) the similarities in the reasons given for the departure of the Tongans who came to Lifou, and those given for the Wallisians who came to Uvea: because of an accident, or a war, the chief’s son is wounded or killed. For fear of repercussions, the guilty party flees by canoe. Beyond incidents involving a chief’s son, these migrations could be due to a multitude of more complex causes: lack of land, dissensions between chiefdoms, the search for new matrimonial alliances.