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Bringing the bright land into being: Seeding and feeding space and place in Hawai'i

Bartlett, Rima Alicia; (2000) Bringing the bright land into being: Seeding and feeding space and place in Hawai'i. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Sacred knowledge in Polynesia is believed to live in the higher dimensions of space. Held by a few experts, it is passed down according to the perceived readiness of the questioner. The topic of this thesis is part of that sacred lore. Turning space into place is believed by many to be done by bringing the sacred knowledge to earth; using it to make the land more fertile. The hidden dimensions of knowledge are contained in the Hawaiian language, which has many 'bodies of meaning'. What is seen depends on perception. The 'body' of the word may be grown like a cord, and intertwined with the physical and meta-physical construction of the human body and the growth of the land. Certain perceptions of the hidden meanings may open to the individual body and consciousness to lighter dimensions, where higher beings and greater knowledge reside. This thesis builds on previous geographical and anthropological work in place names. Four sequences of names from three islands, Kaua'i, Hawai'i and Moloka'i are studied. I discuss how 'place' in Hawai'i may be conceived of as not yet existing in reality and refer to the legendary islands of the gods. In these examples I illustrate how place may be thought of as being 'grown' through a system of imaging and reflection. None of these interpretations are exclusive and are indicative of the multi-dimensional nature of Hawaiian knowledge which must be understood according to perception. I demonstrate that the word is part of a system of growth, through attraction and creation. This has different results, depending on the perception of the interpreter, The eventual result can be imaged as regaining the land of the gods or 'bringing the bright land into being'. Frequent comparisons to New Zealand allude to the possibility of a system stretching throughout Polynesia.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Bringing the bright land into being: Seeding and feeding space and place in Hawai'i
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Social sciences; Place names
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10124509
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