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Tauhi vä: Nurturing Tongan Sociospatial Ties in Maui and Beyond

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Title:Tauhi vä: Nurturing Tongan Sociospatial Ties in Maui and Beyond
Authors:Ka‘ili, Tëvita O.
Keywords:Social space
tauhi va
Tongan Americans
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LC Subject Headings:Oceania -- Periodicals.
Date Issued:2005
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
Citation:Ka‘ili, T. O. 2005. Tauhi va: Nurturing Tongan Sociospatial Ties in Maui and Beyond. The Contemporary Pacific 17 (1): 83-114.
Abstract:Although studies have shown that Tongan migrants maintain strong linkages with
Tongans in Tonga as well as with their kin in New Zealand, Australia, and the
United States, the Tongan concept of vä, social space, has not been used to understand
Tongan transnational relations. For Tongans, vä is organized through one’s
genealogy and kinship ties. The concept of space is central to our understanding
of transnationality because global practices involve the movement and flows of
people and things within space and across spatial boundaries while people maintain
sociospatial connections with one another. Tongans generally view reciprocal
exchanges, whether within Tonga or transnational, as tauhi vä: taking care
of sociospatial ties with kin and kin-like members. In this article, I explore the
concept of vä and the practice of tauhi vä primarily through my research among
Tongans in Maui, Hawai‘i, as well as my experience with Tongans in Seattle,
Washington. I argue that vä and tauhi vä provide us with new spatial concepts
for framing our understanding of Tongan transnationality.
Appears in Collections: TCP [The Contemporary Pacific], 2005 - Volume 17, Number 1

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