The Catch of Maui: Coral Gardens in the Past and Present of the Tongan Islands

  • Thomas MalmEmail author
Part of the Ethnobiology book series (EBL)


This chapter explores the cultural significance of reefs, coral and limestone in the past and present of the Polynesian Kingdom of Tonga. Based on the author’s own fieldwork and a thorough study of archaeological and ethnographic works by others, an overview is given of (1) how the near-shore marine environment (“coral gardens”), coral and limestone have been perceived, classified and used for a number of purposes (e.g. jewellery, construction works, tools, fishing implements, cooking stones, and lime for bleaching hair), and (2) what the transition from an environment with restricted access to a commons has meant for the coral reefs. The author argues that a sustainable scenario must be founded upon community-based biodiversity conservation where indigenous ecological knowledge and modern ecological understanding are combined in a neo-traditional system.


Coral Reef Tidal Flat Coral Garden Coral Coloni Barrier Reef 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Ecology DivisionLund UniversityLundSweden

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