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Economically speaking a Kapauka polygamous family does not form an undivided whole. From the point of consumption and distribution this unit constitutes a conglomerate of its constituent quasi-autonomous nuclear families. Kapauku individualism prescribes not only separate quarters for the co-wives, which they share only with their children, but also separate finances and plots in their husband’s gardens … Reflecting the cultural emphasis on equality and personal freedom, all co-wives, irrespective of their age and the sequence of their marriage, are regarded as equals.
The Kapauku Papuans of West New Guinea (1963), p. 41