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An akava'ine or 'akava'ine individual is a third gender term used within Cook Islands Māori to describe AMAB transfeminine individuals. They do not physically transition, however, they socially transition and do acts of woman's work such as sewing, cooking, cutting dress patterns, and similar feminine-associated acts.

History

Pacific Islanders have a long history of integration, positions of authority, respect and acceptance towards gender-variant individuals. After the arrival of English missionaries during the 19th-century, this quickly began to change.

An individual named Marshall stated that despite these transfeminine individuals existed on the Cook Islands, there were not any "homosexuals" while estimating there were at least two or three akava'ine individuals. He stated that "men on Mangaia who enjoy women's work, may have a feminine figure, and—to some degree—may dress like a woman. There is no social disapproval of the indications of transvestism". The akava'ine he observed enjoyed and excelled at women's work and, as stated, "are frequently called upon to assist in cooking, feasts, sewing pillowcases, and cutting out dresses and dress patterns" and "show no apparent wish for male sexual partners".

Resources

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