PROTO-POLYNESIAN ETYMOLOGIES
*Kiekie [Proto Nuclear Polynesian]
One or more species of Freycinetia, (Pandanaceae), the roots of which were used for making specialized fish traps.
Tui
From PROTO MALAYO-POLYNESIAN *KiRay, Pandanus species used in making fine mats (Pandanaceae),
through PROTO OCEANIC *KiRe, Pandanus odoratissimus, (Pandanaceae), and a mat made from leaves of this plant, also
PROTO OCEANIC *KiRekiRe, Pandanus species (Pandanaceae), and
PROTO POLYNESIAN *Kie, Pandanus odoratissimus, (Pandanaceae), and a mat made from leaves of this plant.

Proto Nuclear Polynesian: *Kiekie
REFLEXES IN SOME POLYNESIAN LANGUAGES:
Samoan: 'ie'ie (three species of Freycinetia, Pandanaceae, also known as salasala, siganopa, & tuāfaga; in Tutuila, American Samoa, tuāfaga refers to the adventitious roots of the 'ie'ie).
Tahitian: 'ie'ie (Freycinetia demissa, Pandanaceae)
Hawaiian: 'ie'ie (Freycinetia arborea, Pandanaceae)
East Futuna: Kiekie (Freycinetia storckii, Pandanaceae)
Rarotongan: Kiekie (Freycinetia arborea , Pandanaceae)
Maori: Kiekie (Freycinetia banksii, Pandanaceae)

'ie'ie
Freycinetia arborea - 'ie'ie
(On the side of a gully, Lyon Arboretum, Honolulu)
'ie'ie with fruit
Freycinetia arborea - 'ie'ie
(Showing fruit)

COGNATE REFLEXES OF THE MALAYO-POLYNESIAN AND PROTO-OCEANIC ROOTS IN SOME OTHER AUSTRONESIAN LANGUAGES
Manobo (Mindanao, Philippines): Kilay (Pandanus species, Pandanaceae)
Kambera (Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia): Iri (a thornless Pandanus, leaves used for fine mats)
Gilbertese (Kiribati): Kie (a mat of Pandanus leaves, used for sleeping)
Rennelese: Kie (Pandanus used for fine mats)
Tongan: Kie (a sterile variety of Pandanus witmeeanus used for making the finest mats)
Samoan: 'ie (a sterile variety of Pandanus tectorius; and an ancient introduced species of Pandanus, also called lau'ie)
Fijian: Kiekie [independently reduplicated form of (*)kie] (Benstonea thurstonii, Pandanaceae)


This name ('ie'ie in Samoa, Tahiti and Hawaii, and Kiekie in the Marquesas, Rarotonga and Aotearoa) seems to have originated in Samoa, an analogical reference to the variety of pandanus, 'ie, or lau'ie, used for making fine mats. In Samoa it is applied to the three native species of Freycinetia (also members of the wider Pandanus plant family), F. storckii, widely distributed at higher altitudes, and also found in Fiji, F. hombronii, found mostly along higher ridges and craters, the roots of which were used in making fish traps, and F. marginata -- both the latter species are widely distributed in the Western Pacific. According to Art Whistler (Plants in Samoan Culture, p. 169) the circular woven fish traps, 'enu, woven from 'ie'ie roots are now rarely made. Roots of species of Freycinetia were also used for making fish traps in other parts of Polynesia, including Aotearoa, the Cook Islands and the Marquesas. In Tahiti the adventitious roots are also used in basket work. All the species of Freycinetia with names derived from *kiekie are climbing plants with similar habits and general appearance.

Ieie on Eucalyptus
Freycinetia arborea - 'ie'ie - climbing a Eucalyptus tree.
(Hawaii) Photo: Forest and Kim Starr
Kauri+Text
Freycinetia banksii - kiekie
(New Zealand) Photo: (c) Wayne Bennett, NZPCN
Further information : There is more information about these species and their uses in Art Whistler's Plants in Samoan Culture, and the other publications on Samoan, Hawaiian and other regional and local floras and general works on plants in tropical Polynesia and Aotearoa included in the Bibliography. There are pages on Freycinetia arborea and Pandanus whitmeeanus in the Bishop Museum's Cook Island database (see also Wagner et al. pp. 1478-9, and the article on East Polynesian Freycinetia by Benjamin Stone).
Photographs: The picture of the 'ie'ie climbing a Eucalyptus tree is by Forest & Kim Starr, and that of the NZ kiekie is by Wayne Bennett. The others are by RB: they were taken on the side of a gully in the Lyon Arboretum in Upper Mānoa, Honolulu. My good friend Prof Will McClutchie accompanied me on this particular expedition, and thoughtfully held my cell phone while I was taking these photographs, so he could give his condolences to my next of kin should I lose my footing and plunge to my doom into the canyon below.

Te Mära Reo, c/o Benton Family Trust, "Tumanako", RD 1, Taupiri, Waikato 3791, Aotearoa / New Zealand. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License