H.M.A.V. Bounty  
devoted to the study of the people and philately of the Pitcairn Islands  
   Pitcairn Log
Pitcairn Log
                  July 2006



Culture and Language Class with Lala
by Meralda Warren of Pitcairn Island

The beautiful March 2nd day started with the kids being dropped off at my house where we quickly checked to see if my digital camera was loaded and ready for the shoot.

The Warren-Peu kids, Ralph, Jayden, Kimiora and Torika clambered on my old trusty quad bike and we were off to school. Bradley Christian was down with the flu and couldn't make it to school this day.

Being the first Pitcairn Culture class for Susan the school teacher, it was interesting for her to join in. Her husband Hutch also came along to lean a bit about our island and its history.


Our destination was not far from the school. We were headed for "Sailors Hide" via "Bang en Iron." Leaving school we headed down the path at the end of school play ground and were soon into the native forest. The children were telling Hutch and Susan about the different plants surrounding us or asking me what they were. These included Pulau, Roseapple, Miro (also known as Amea), Morning Glory, Cowgrass, Indian Shot, Sydney Plun and so on. Jayden was able to point out the Rautea and its root and hence the story of William McCoy making his moonshine from the roots by boiling the brew in the Bounty's old kettle was told.

We moved on and under the "Hanging Rock of Big Stone," also known as "Bang en Iron." Kimi had the camera by now and was lucky enough to get a shot of the Marmayawlaw land crab that scuttled away in a crack under the "Hugh Rock." Ralph also captured a great shot of a Sodja crab tucked in a Welk shell.

We made our way down the main track and down through the Tarpau trees until we came across some fallen Dodwi nuts. History class began as the children learnt of the ways our foremothers and fathers would crack the Dodwi nuts, extracting the whole kernels so they could string them onto the coconut niew. They also learnt that the strung Dodwi is placed into the dried coconut flower sheath and tied to a long strong stick. It is called a Rummer and used as a lighted torch at night, especially to go night fishing by the rocks. Five-year old Kimi was snapping the process whilst Jayden and Hutch cracked the Dodwi nuts that they and Ralph found lying on the ground. Torika, Susan and Lala found the Niew and strung a couple of nuts.

Crashing through the final bush and over a few hugh rocks, we stumbled across the dried up old pond that was known to have a couple of eels in there years ago. A few meters on, under the vines and a few trees, the entrance of "Sailors Hide" opened up to us. This overhanging rock gave a sense of mystery. The green colour illuminates the shapes of the stones inside. Kimi, still with the camera, took a few great shots of the inside. Ralph had a turn at the camera and took some pictures of unusual formations where the water would have run through. The mystery of who the sailors were and what ship they came on kept running through our minds as we crouched under the rocky overhang and explored.

The three boys decided on the way back to go through the drain, so Hutch followed as they clambered up the ditch back to the main track. We girls back tracked and raided the coconut tree on the way back to "Bang en Iron" and picked up an Ito (a coconut that just sprouted). We stopped at "Bang en Iron" to catch our breath. The kids watched and told their stories to Hutch and Susan as Lala husked the Ito so we all could enjoy the spongy inside.


Happily we made our way back to the school knowing that we had discovered the plant that the Mutineers McCoy and Quintal used for making their liquor, learning that fish wrapped and roasted in the leaves are delicious. We also learnt about the materials that are used for making a Rummer. And we discovered where The Sailors hid(e) and had a delicious morning tea of Ito and coconut.