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We investigated the weaving of the kato alu, a traditional Tongan basket. Unlike most ordinary baskets which are woven from coconut or pandanus leaves, kato alu are woven from tuaniu (Cocos nucifera, Palmae, midrib of leaf) and alu [Epipremnum pinnatum, Araceae, aerial roots]. Anciently the common people wove and decorated the kato alu and gave them to chiefs, nobles and kings as gifts at wedding and funeral ceremonies. Today, however, the weaving techniques are known to only a few people. It appears that these techniques will likely disappear from Tonga within a generation. Ko e lipooti ko eni na'e vakai'i 'ae ngaahi founga a'ia 'oku kau ki he lalanga 'o e kato faka-Tonga, koe kato alu, pea na'a ku vakai'i foki 'a e tuaniu (Cocos nucifera) mo e akau, ko e alu (Epipremnum pinnatum) a'ia 'oku na kau i he lalanga 'o e kato ia. 'I he ngaahi kuonga kuo hili, na'e lalanga 'a e kato alu 'e he kakai, 'o nau foaki me'a'ofa 'a kato ko ia ki he kau hou'eiki pea mo e Tu'i 'i he taimi na'a nau fai mali mo e fai putu. Ko e 'uhinga 'a e lipooti ko eni, ke fakamatala pe fakailonga 'a e ngaahi founga faka-Tonga ki hono lalanga 'o e kato mahu'inga ko eni, 'a'ai koe kato alu.
Economic Botany © 1997 New York Botanical Garden Press