differs little from that typically found among simple horticulturalists. Yet it should not be forgotten that intensive horticulturalists work significantly harder just to achieve the same material results.
As noted earlier, aboriginal Polynesia contained many simple horticultural societies. Most of the population of this region lived on the so-called high islands, which are rugged, eroded remnants of great volcanic cones. The arable land is very rich and covered with dense tropical growth. One of these high islands is Tahiti, a member of the Society Islands group. Tahiti is about 35 miles long and about half as wide. In the eighteenth century the island supported a population of approximately 100,000 (Service, 1963).
The Tahitians are sophisticated horticulturalists, considerably more so than groups like the Yanomama. They make very efficient use of the land for their gardens by terracing hillsides, diverting streams for irrigation, and enriching the soil in various ways. The primary horticultural tool is the simple digging stick. Since there are no metals, they have never developed the metal hoes characteristic of many other intensive horticulturalists. Tahiti’s main domesticated plants were brought from Indonesia, and these include coconut palms, breadfruit trees, taro, yams, sweet potatoes, bananas and plantains, and sugar cane. The most important food is breadfruit, a fruit that is plentiful and nutritious and stores well. The most versatile domesticated plant is the coconut palm. The coconut meat is a nourishing food and coconut milk is used for drinking. Palm leaves are used for thatch, and the fiber is used for the manufacture of mats and baskets. Fishing is also an important part of the Tahitian subsistence pattern, and the technology available for it is diversified and elaborate. This technology includes basketry