In this circle game, each player needs an object like a rock, a seashell or half of a coconut shell.


*Tuki means to beat or strike. It's also used in a paddling song to give timing to the paddlers.
Teni means to exalt someone.

According to Cook Islands Languages entry on "tukituki teniteni", it's a phrase in the Penrhyn language (Tongareva):

1. "The initial verse of the chant that is performed to allot penalties, e. g. dancing, to the players; the players alloted the penalties have to perform them. (See also under pitipiti.) Hano mai ka tukituki teniteni tātou. Come on, let us play tukituki teniteni. ¶The Penrhynese chant of the kind is as follows, which is untranslatable. Kaikai te nononi ka tūrama te nononi/ mitimiti te matā rearea ia pekupeku ē/ oi ē ā nā/ te uanga rā, te uanga rā, ua ua rā/ teni ua e toki te uanga rā."

Game Instructions

The players sit in a circle each with their shell or rock. One object is marked as the "ghost".

1st Verse: On the first line, each player taps the object on the floor in front of them to the beat. Then they tap the shell in front of the player to their right and pass it on until the end of the verse. Whoever has the "ghost" on the last word "toke" has to perform a hula in the middle of the circle on the 2nd verse.

2nd Verse: Everyone chants the 2nd verse while the one who got the "ghost" dances a hula.

Then play the game all over again.


We welcome help fine-tuning the translation. Please email me if you can help. Also, if you play this game, we'd love to hear about it. Thanks! Mama Lisa

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Thanks and Acknowledgements

This song can be found on the Guide Zone. According to that site, the song can be found in "a booklet called 'Guide to Pacific Guiding', published by The Girl Guides Association New Zealand (Inc.), 1981, with sponsorship provided by Air New Zealand. This booklet is no longer in print and, to the best of my knowledge, no longer available."

Loose translation by Lisa.