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Rotuman Custom as told to Gordon MacGregor in 1932
from notes archived at
Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawai'i

Marriage: Incest Taboo




Incest Taboo



MacGregor's Notes


Any woman considered in the same kainaga as a blood relation is taboo as a wife. A sister or cousin, or anyone called sister because of same blood, or sister's daughter is considered ineligible for marriage. However these taboos are constantly being broken. Cousins very often marry, and there is the case of a man who married his father's sister, and another who wanted to marry his half-sister. This latter case however brought a considerable stir and the couple were driven from district to district, and finally punished by hard labor by the late Maraf. There was no formal marriage, but they lived together and had a child.

The in-family marriages appear to be greater among the chiefs. Thus an aunt married her nephew to keep the chiefly blood strong. Chiefs could not marry commoners in the old days. The last two dead Maraf married female cousins.

Faimanu, Titupte's son married Varea Titupte's sister. They are from the chiefly family in Noa'tau.

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