Hawaiian Swinging Games

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2. Le-le-ko-a-li - Swinging

[Page 205]A single rope is used, to which a stick is attached, across which one person sits, while another sits facing him astride his legs. The swingers are pulled by ropes from the opposite side. The name is from le-le, "to fly," and ko-a-li, the convolvulus, the vine formerly used for swings.

Ellis1 says of the Tahitians that they were very fond of the tahoro, or swing, and frequently suspended a rope from a branch of a lofty tree, and spent hours in swinging backward and forward. They used the rope singly, and at the lower end fastened a short stick.

[Page 206]Williams2 describes the Fijian swing as supplying a favorite amusement to children and young people. It consists of a single cord, either a rope or strong vine, suspended from a tree and having at its lower end a loop in which to insert one foot as in a stirrup, or a knot on which both feet rest. Grasping at a convenient height the cord, which varies in length from 30 to 50 feet, the swinger is set in motion and rejoices to dart through the air, describing an arc that would terrify a European.

Tregear3 describes a New Zealand swing, morere or moari, consisting of a pole with ropes at the top held by runners, the "giant's stride," sometimes played on the edge of cliffs, half the swing being over the abyss.

Taylor,4 under he morere, he moari, says: "This is a lofty pole, generally erected near a river, from the top of which about a dozen ropes are attached; the parties who use it take hold of them, and swing round, going over the precipice, and, whilst doing so, sometimes let go, falling into the water. Occasionally serious accidents have thus occurred by striking the bank."

1. Op. Cit., I, p. 228.
2. Op. Cit., p. 127.
3. Page 115.
4. Page 173.

Last update February 3, 2010