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3 THEORIZING TĀ-VĀ THE OMISSION OF TIME SCHOLARLY WRITINGS HAVE contributed to our understanding and appreciation of tauhi vā. However, most of these writings focus solely on the spatial dimensions of tauhi vā with almost no attention to its temporal dimension.This omission is significant because tauhi vā,as indicated by its name,is a spatiotemporal concept and practice. For instance, tauhi means to create and maintain a particular rhythm (time), and vā is a social expression of space.1 Put simply, tauhi vā is a social form of tā-vā. Another critical deficiency is that most of the writings focus on the function of tauhi vā with almost no attention to its artistic form. For instance, many writings focus on the utility of tauhi vā in nurturing social relations, resolving conflicts, creating good health, and sharing resources. These writings do not address the artistic nature of mediating conflicts through symmetry and harmony.This is a significant dimension of tauhi vā.Finally,none of the writings provide a theory to account for the aesthetic dimension of tauhi vā. The aesthetic aspect is important because the aim of tauhi vā is to create harmony and beauty ( faka‘ofo‘ofa/mālie). In recent years, prominent Moanan writer Albert Wendt (1999) briefly addressed tā in his discussion of Samoan tatau (tattoo), teu le vā (the act of adorning/repairing sociospatial relations),and tauhi vā.Wendt (1999) proposed that tā is the root word of tatau.2 He defined tā as ‘to strike’ (the rapid tapping action in the process of tattooing) and tata as ‘to strike repeatedly’ (1999, 401). Furthermore, Wendt pointed out that the Samoan tufuga tā tatau (tattoo artists) have their own rhythm (401). He did not directly link tā and vā; Theorizing Tā-Vā  35 however, he recognized the significance of vā to Samoan cultural reality (401).3 Vā, according to Wendt, is crucial in Samoa because it values communalism over individualism. TENETS OF THE TĀ-VĀ THEORY OF REALITY Hūfanga ‘Ōkusitino Māhina was the first scholar to link tā and vā in his indigenous Moanan theory of reality (Māhina 2001,2002a; Māhina,Ka‘ili,and Ka‘ili 2006).4 Māhina called his theory the tā-vā theory of reality (Māhina 2008; Potauaine and Māhina 2007). In recent years, the tā-vā theory of reality has emerged as the theoretical framework for a number of significant researches in Moana (Ferris-Leary 2013; Ka‘ili 2008; Kalavite 2010; Potauaine 2010; Vaka 2014; Williams 2009). This theory divides reality into nature, mind, and society (Māhina 2008). Even though there are three major divisions of reality, it is important to note that logically mind and society are part of nature (Māhina 2008). The tā-vā theory of reality is philosophical with ontological and epistemological tenets (Māhina 2010b). Ontologically, tā and vā are the common medium of all things—natural, mental, and social—that exist in a single level of reality or tempospatiality (Māhina 2008).This means that all things exist within time and space and nothing is above, beyond, or outside the realm of time and space. Furthermore, all things in nature, mind, and society have four dimensions: three spatial dimensions and one temporal dimension. In Tongan, the three spatial dimensions are ma‘olunga/loloto (height/depth), fālahi/maokupu/laulahi (width/breadth), and lōloa (length). These three spatial dimensions can also be expressed as ‘olunga/ lalo (top/bottom), mata‘u/hema (right/left), and mui/mu‘a (backward/forward), or as cardinal directions: tokelau (north),tonga (south),hahake (east),and hihifo/ lulunga (west).The one temporal dimension is fuo (form). In Tongan, the temporal aspect of fuo is evident in the terms fuoloa (a long time) and fuonounou (a short time). To summarize, the three spatial dimensions are height/depth, width/breadth, and length, and the one temporal dimension is form (Māhina 2004b, 89). In a concrete way, space manifests itself in uho (content) and time expresses itself in fuo (form).5 Finally, according to the tā-vā theory of reality, time and space and form and content are inseparable (Māhina 2010b). The tā-vā theory of reality also proposes that all things in nature, mind, and society stand in eternal relations of exchange with one another (Māhina 2008, 33). Relations of exchange that are symmetrical create harmony and beauty.6 36 chapter 3 In contrast, relations of exchange that are asymmetrical produce disharmony (M...


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