Kanawa Point

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Excerpts from "Kanawa Point."
On the map produced by the New Zealand survey of early 1939, this promontory is labeled “Kanawa Point.” This rather clearly implies that there was a Kanawa tree or trees at that location in late ’38/early ’39. Kanawa is rare and valuable wood. Gallagher, on 27 December 1940, says that the coffin built to convey the bones to Fiji “is made from a local wood known as ‘kanawa’ and the tree was, until a year ago, growing on the edge of the lagoon, not very far from the spot where the deceased was found.”
Laxton’s description of the peninsula where Mrs. Koata saw the Ghost Maneaba specifies that on either side there are big pools where fish are trapped at low tide and frigate birds come to get them. The presence of easily caught fish might make it an attractive place for castaways to camp. We also know from our interviews with former residents of Nikumaroro that there is a place on the island known to them as “Niurabo” which is sacred to Nei Manganibuka and is the place where Mrs. Koata had her encounter. It would seem safe to conclude that Kanawa Point is Niurabo and may well be the spot where the bones were found. (Tempting as it may be to speculate that what Mrs. Koata saw was actually a ’round-the-bend Amelia Earhart, it is more likely that her encounter was a spiritual experience perhaps prompted by the association of that place with the discovery of human remains.)
Kanawa Point was visited briefly by a small TIGHAR team led by Tom King in the last days of the 1989 expedition (Niku I). A cursory look turned up nothing of particular interest except a place nearby along the shoreline where a scatter of opened clamshells indicated former human presence (only people eat clams by prying open the shell). Because the shells had been there long enough to be cemented into the coral, Tom regarded them to be possible evidence of prehistoric habitation. Recently, however, we’ve learned that such cementation can occur in a matter of decades rather than centuries.