PROTO-POLYNESIAN ETYMOLOGIES
*Kofe [Proto South Central Pacific], *Kofekofe [Proto Central Eastern Polynesian],
Schizostachyum glaucifolium (Poaceae), and other bamboos (*Kofe).
Tui
From PROTO SOUTH CENTRAL PACIFIC *Kofe, Schizostachyum glaucifolium (Poaceae),
through PROTO POLYNESIAN *Kofe, S. glaucifolium and other bamboos, to: PROTO CENTRAL EASTERN POLYNESIAN *Kofekofe, plants having bamboo-like qualities.

Proto Polynesian: *Kofe
REFLEXES IN SOME POLYNESIAN LANGUAGES:
Tongan: Kofe (Schizostachyum glaucifolium, "Bamboo", Poaceae)
Niuean: Kofe ("Bamboo nose flute" (older meaning); general term for musical instruments)
Samoan: 'ofe (Schizostachyum spp., Bambusa spp., "Bamboo [general term]", Poaceae)
Tokelauan: Kohe (Schizostachyum glaucifolium and other bamboo species, Poaceae)
Marquesan, Tuamotuan : Kohe (Bamboo species, Poaceae)
Hawaiian: 'ohe (Schizostachyum glaucifolium and other bamboo species, Poaceae; also Isachne distichophylla (Poaceae), Joinvillea sacendens (Joinvilleaceae), Tetraplasandra hawaiensis (Araliaceae)
Rarotongan: Ko'e (Bambusa vulgaris "Common bamboo ", Poaceae)
Maori: Kohe (Dysoxylum spectabile, Meliaceae, Passiflora tetranda (Passifloraceae)

Proto Central Eastern Polynesian: *Kofekofe (Long-stemmed grasses or trees reminiscent of bamboo)
REFLEXES IN SOME POLYNESIAN LANGUAGES:
Marquesan: Kohekohe (Centosteca lappacea, Poaceae)
Hawaian: 'ohe'ohe (Tetraplasandra gymnocarpa & T. kavaiensis, Araliaceae; Coix lacryma-jobi "Job's tears", Poaceae)
Tahitian: 'ohe'ohe, 'ofe'ofe (Centosteca lappacea, Poaceae)
Rarotongan: Ko'eko'e (various large-leaved grasses, Poaceae)
Maori: Kohekohe (Dysoxylum spectabile, Meliaceae, Familyaceae)

'ohe
Schizostachyum glaucifolium - 'ohe
(Lyon Arboretum, Mānoa, Honolulu)
Tetraplasandra
Tetraplasandra hawaiiensis - 'ohe'ohe
(Lyon Arboretum, Honolulu, Hawaii)

COGNATE REFLEXES IN SOME OTHER AUSTRONESIAN LANGUAGES
Fijian: Kovekove (a grass). A homonymous Fijian word refers to the "Sea daisy ", Melanthera biflora, Compositae - see notes below.


Watch this space! This is a page still very much under construction, but which contains the essential linguistic and botanical information, and to which both text and pictures will be added progressively as soon as time permits. See the "News" for February 2016 for more information.

In some Polynesian languages reflexes of *kohe have come also to mean "knife", originally a knife fashioned from bamboo (e.g. as still illustrated by Marquesan and Tuamotuan kohe, Tongan kofetafa), but in some languages now a term for knives in general (e.g. Tikopian kofe, Samoan 'ofe).

There may well be a second *kofekofe, reflected in (or derived from the same source as) Fijian kovekove, Melanthera biflora, "Sea daisy ". Cognate with these would be Tikopian kohekohe, also denoting Melanthera biflora (Asteraceae) and Māori kohekohe, an alternative name for kōhia, Passiflora tetranda (Passifloraceae).

In addition to denoting certain bamboo species and bamboo-like grasses, the base and reduplicated forms of the reflex of this Proto Polynesian *kofe in Hawaiian refer to a group of trees of the genus Tetraplasandra which have long, slender trunks. This usuage is paralleled in Māori, where the primary referent of these words is also a tree, Disoxylum spectabile, which when a sapling is notable for its straight, slender, branchless trunk.

 

Sunset-Tiapapata
Reserved for photograph - yet to come
(Aroha mai!)
Kauri+Text
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(Aroha mai!)
Further information : (See Bibliography and linked pages.)
Photographs: R.B. (More to come.)

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