*Lama [Proto Nuclear Polynesian]
"A tree used to make torches".
From PROTO AUSTRONESAN *damaR, "Tree resin used in torches";
PROTO MALAYO POLYNESIAN *damaR, "resin, torch, light";
PROTO OCEANIC *ramaR, "torch, coconut-leaf torch used when fishing; fish at night with torches", and *ma-ramaR "shine, bright, shining";
through PROTO POLYNESIAN *lama, "fish at night with torches; torch" and
PROTO NUCLEAR POLYNESIAN *lama "Torch; tree providing a source of light".

Proto Nuclear Polynesian: *Lama
Samoan: Lama (Aleurites moluccana, "Candlenut tree ", Euphorbiaceae).
Hawaiian: Lama (Diospyros hillebrandii & D. sandwicensis, "lama, ēlama", Ebenaceae).
Mangareva: Rama (Aleurites moluccana "Candlenut tree ", Euphorbiaceae).
Maori: Ramarama (Lophomyrtus bullata, "Ramarama", Myrtaceae), & Pseudowintera colorata, "Horopito, Pepper tree", Winteraceae).

Kukui nuts, fruits of Aleurites moluccana - Lama (Samoa)
(Waihe'e, Maui, Hawaii)
Diospiros sandwicensis - Lama (Hawaii)
(McBryde Garden, Poipu, Kauai, Hawai'i)

Language: Rama "Torch; fish at night with a torch", a term originally associated in this sense with the coconut (*Niu). Follow the link for more information on the etymology and associations of this word.

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

As a plant-related name, *lama and its antecdents and progeny have a long and complex story to tell, but with a common theme of "light" -- providing it, reflecting it, facilitating its production. The word has changed its specific referent often, from association with the coconut, to the candlenut in Western Polynesia, relatives of the persimmon in Hawaii, and two species unrelated botanically to any of the others or each other (apart from being trees), but again having an association with light and radiance, in Aotearoa.

Alurites moluccana "Candlenut" Grove - Lama ~ Kukui
(Kahanu Garden, Maui, Hawai'i)
Pseudowintera colorata - Ramarama, Horopito
(Te Māra Reo)
Lophomyrtus bullata - Ramarama
(Photograph (c) Wayne Bennett, NZPCN)
Diospyros hillebrandii - Lama (Hawai'i)
(Lyon Arboretum, Mānoa, Honolulu)
Further information : (See the Bibliography and linked pages; there is information about Aleurites moluccana (Lama/Kukui) and Diospyros sandwicensis (Lama) on the U.S. National Tropical Botanical Garden's web site.)
Photographs: Photographs of Aleurites moluccana by Forest and Kim Starr. The photo of Lophomyrtus bullata is by Wayne Bennett (NZ Plant Conservation Network). The others are by R.B.

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