Kites in Polynesia: Replicative Experiments and Hawaiian Petroglyphs
Kites and the flying of kites were important in Polynesia. In New Zealand, kites were not only for play but were used in ritualistic magic, being flown for divination purposes by priests (Barrow 1984: 103), and it is said that Tawhaki ascended into the sky world by means of a kite. In Mangaia (Cook Islands), the god Rongo was the patron of kite flying (Poignant 1967:66). Similar stories are found elsewhere in Polynesia, and kites made of tapa cloth with painted bird heads (manu hakarere) are cited from Easter Island (Metraux 1971 :353).