from notes archived at Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawai'i
Yam: planted in a shallow hole in a rich field. Bush and trees are cut down over it and the vine is allowed to climb climbed over these. The Rotuman Soil is so fertile that deep holes are not necessary. A small piece of dried yam is planted, often with kava. The planting time for yam is May and June. Taro may be planted any time.
Manioc and arrowroot were recently introduced.
When a company of gardeners intended to work, they cooked a feast. They begin the garden by making or preparing the faktü'toga. This was a cross strip that ran through each individual's strip.
At yam planting, the married people were tabued from sexual intercourse lest the yams should rot at maturity.
When the crops ripened the food from the faktü'toga would be given either to the chiefs or to the owner of the land.
Water taken from wells. Water kept in coconuts.
First a cooked feast, koua. Nuj koua = an earth oven, and when they uncovered it, two people were appointed to bless their garden. The first would say "All you people who are gathered to make a yam garden, let us thnk of our name (reputation) and our place on the land."
Prayer before garden making: Olalum Olalum la 'on uso. 'On rue la eag vek te'is la fu ufag la pu ufa'a.
The person who is in charge of the gardening party would mark out 4 rows of yams or taro in the middle of the garden. And these were to be reserved for the owner of the garden. Called faktü'tonga. The owner of the garden would prepare a cooked feast for all the workers to eat. Then the owner would pray for good crops.
Then a feast would be held.
The garden is called a jigjige (Nat.: jijiga). The meaning is many had shares in the garden and each one had his own strip, each 4-5' way just as the children cut off a coconut branch and leave rib 4-5' long and take to slope of hill and clear a patch and they slide down on the ribs.
If the bottom of a garden is called taumuri = this means the hind end of a canoe also. Both ends are called taumuri ?.
This is the way gardening has been done for the last 67 years. But before, only chiefs were allowed to make gardens in this way.
In those days the gardens of commoners had to be made in secret or the chief would put a fapui on it and tabu it, so that the owner could not go to it again.
Apar = big taro. When there is a 2' long one in a garden and the chief knew this, he would forbid the owner from eating it. It became the chief's food. Name of this: apar kou. If there were io kou'ikou?, it would be tapu to eat them, if you did, you would be sir'aki = punished.
Commoners have things taken away by force. Taro is pulled up, yams are dug up, fowls are shot, pigs are taken.