Graham Roebeck – Pacific Rim

The ancient Pasifika manulua motif represents two birds in flight – representing the bringing of families together. The triangular Fijian and Tonga manulua may be derived from the triangular silhouette of the frigatebird, which cannot land on water, so was used as a sign of nearby land by Polynesian mariners.

The motif possibly derives from the ancient Lapita people who around 1000BC came into contact with first the Melanesian and then the Polynesian people. A distinct central Polynesian developed in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga; then spread to Hawaii, Easter Island and New Zealand.

The history of the early Polynesian history is unsettled; however the early Polynesians, regularly navigating vast expanses of open water toward specks of land are thought to be the finest navigators the ancient world had ever known.

Three legs are provided for stability. The four diagonal ovoids are reference in the elevation of the table legs. However, is non specific enough to be considered an appropriate site response throughout Polynesia, Australasia, Asia, the Americas – ie: the Pacific Rim.


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