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THE MYTHOLOGY OF OCEANIA

These images represent a Rarotongan staff god. They averaged about thirteen feet in length with the centre section
wrapped around with tapa cloth. Usually only the upper portion shown above has survived. Many of these images are
thought to be of Oro, son of Tangaroa, although some investigators believe they represent Tangaroa himself.

MELANESIAN MICRONESIA POLYNESIAN

Fiji Kiribati EASTER ISLAND


Papua New Guinea Marshall Islands HAWAII
Solomon Islands Palau MAORI
New Caledonia Yap SAMOA
Vanuatu Kosrae TAHITI

Chuuk TUVALU

Pohnpei

The World of the Gods

All the Polynesians were extremely religious people. They clung to beliefs about the gods which had a great effect on
their day-to-day lives. As with so many other things, a lot of these beliefs were shared from island to island, though
they might be very different in details. There were many versions of the legends about how the world came into
existence. As most of them describe it, in the beginning there was only Nothing, and nothing could be said about it,
except that it was completely dark. At last this blankness began to shift about and change into other kinds of
Nothingness, then into different kinds of night, then dawn, then day, then space called Cloudless heavens.

The child of Cloudless Heavens was an egg, which drifted about in the empty space. After ages of time, something
stirred inside the egg, burst its shell, and emerged. This was the supreme god, Tangaroa. But Tangaroa was dismayed
to find himself alone. So he took the remains of his shell and created the world out of it. Next he created the lesser
gods, and finally men and women. In those days the Earth Goddess and the Sky God were so close together that
people living between them kept banging their heads on Sky. It was always hot and stuffy, and nothing grew properly.
One day the young gods revelled and, heaving and shoving, pushed the two apart. That is why sometimes we hear the
Sky God lamenting with a voice of thunder, while the rainfall is really his tears at being parted from Earth.

In the times since people were created, the Polynesians said, the gods have lived in Pulotu or Hawaiki, the mysterious
islands in the west. Sometimes, however, they went to live in the sky or otherwise under the islands. The Hawaiians
believed that the home of some of the gods and goddesses was the volcano called Kirauea. Here they lived in the vast
crater, two miles across. The smaller craters were the gods' houses, while the boiling lava was the sea on which they
went surfboard riding, and its rumbling and crashing was the music for their dances. Just as there were different ranks
of people, there were different ranks of gods. The most important were the Atua, the original gods who created the
world. The greatest was of course Tangaroa. next came the Tupua, men who had been ruling chiefs on earth, and had
been elected as gods when they died. the greatest of them became transformed into posts supporting the roof in the
gods' own temple in Pulotu.

Third in rank were the Aitu. As far as the ordinary Polynesian man or woman was concerned, these were the gods who
really counted. There were gods for every kind of trade or activity - gods for carpenters, builders, canoe makers,
thatchers, net makers, even for thieves. It was not just a matter of one god for each kind, but up to a dozen or more.
Besides this, each district had its own individual god, and so die many families. This was still not the end of the list. In
some parts of Polynesia they believed in gods of mischief, who went about causing small troubles out of sheer malice.
Finally, lowest of all on the scale, there were ghosts and spooks who were sometimes frightening but never very
important.

Among the other gods the Polynesian worshiped were some particularly important to them. Their lives depended on the
fertility of their animals, their gardens, and themselves. Since they had gods for almost everything else, naturally they
had gods and goddesses to represent the powers which made this fertility possible. It was a long time before
Europeans understood that the chief servants of these particular divine characters were the members of the Arioi
society, whose odd behavior so puzzled the first visitors to Tahiti. Their strange, wandering lives were really
pilgrimages, and their apparently lighthearted songs and dances were a form of worship.

The gods were served in temples called maraes, which were also often used as public meeting places. They were built
on points of land overlooking the sea, or deep in the woods. A huge enclosure, with stone walls sheltering a number of
small huts in front of a great pyramid, was the usual form of a marae. On the top of the pyramid stood another small
enclosure containing the wooden image of the god. Other images and sacred equipment were kept in the courtyard
huts. There was also a building nearby for the sacred canoe, made by the king's own hands, for the gods' travels.

The worship was carried out by special priests. Being a priest was a profession, usually taught to a boy by his father
who was also a priest. Anybody could pray privately, but for the great ceremonies each priest had to be word perfect in
numbers of long prayers and chants. They had a few devices to help them. Some were very simple, just bundles of
leaves or sticks which the priest laid down one by one as he finished each chant. The Marquesans had sacred strings in
which knots represented ancestors, and the Maoris had wooden rods notched for the same purpose. but the most
extraordinary, and most famous, of these memory aids are from Easter Island. About 1868 a French missionary
discovered in the islanders' huts some slabs of wood carved with row after row of tiny engraved signs. A couple of
dozen are now scattered throughout the museums of the world. What did the signs mean? The islanders remembered
that the professional chanters used to hold them in their hands as they sang, but only one of these men, Metoro, was
still alive. When he was questioned by a missionary, the answers he gave seemed to make no sense, and he was
dismissed as a fake. The question of whether or not the signs were a form of writing remained unsolved.

In 1953 Thomas Barthel, a young German expert on codes, began a new investigation. He collected copies of all the
tablets. After a long search, he ran down the missionary's lost notes on Metoro's explanations in an Italian monastery.
Barthel decided Metoro had been doing his best. Not completely trained, he had really understood some signs and had
made wild guesses about others. In the end, Barthel decided that the tablets contained true writing in the form of
ideograms, small pictures standing for single words, often combined to form yet other words. They stood for the key
words of a chant, as if it had been written like a telegram. Most of the tablet inscriptions are myths, according to
Barthel. He also thinks that the system of writing was brought to Easter Island from some other part of Polynesia,
where it was forgotten before Europeans arrived.

Even with the Easter Island writing method as a help, however, the priests had to be learned men with excellent
memories. They fully earned their title of tohunga, or "expert," and were well paid for their work. But they, too, were
bound in the same rigid pattern of classes as the rest of the people and the gods themselves. The priests of the Aitu
gods, for instance, could not serve the Atua gods. The priests not only prayed to the gods. The people believed that the
gods actually entered their bodies from time to time. Then the priest would shriek, tremble, and roll on the ground
while people questioned the god within him. this lasted about half an hour, after which the priest fell into an exhausted
sleep. Any answer the priest gave was taken as the voice of the god himself. The Polynesians also looked on all kinds of
natural wonders as signs from gods, including their dreams, and it was part of the priests' work to interpret their
meaning.
The priests also carried out the sacrifices to the gods. For most occasions, the gods were presented with offerings of
particularly delicious food, such as pigs, turtles, and some kinds of fish. these were not wasted by the congregation,
who ate them at a big feast when the prayers were over. but there was another kind of sacrifice which was much more
sinister, even though the victims were also called "fish," or the "fish of the gods." They were men, women, and
children. Sometimes a particular family was selected to supply the sacrifices, one after the other, until every member of
it had been killed. This kind of sacrifice was carried out only for the most important reasons, and we can therefore get
an idea of what the Polynesians thought of as important. Some may seem very strange to us. They took place when
temples were built, for instance, when a gr3eat chief was ill, or launched a new canoe, or when his daughter had her
ears pierced for earrings. In some cases the horrible custom was performed just in order to make what was being done
even more important. At other times it was to ward off danger from the person most involved in the ceremony. In
some islands there were also mock sacrifices in which people lay pretending to be dead, or appeared with ropes around
their necks as if they had been strangled.

These things were done to please the gods because the gods were so powerful. Tangaroa himself was too great to be
bothered with human affairs at all, and therefore he was never called upon to interfere in them. sometimes he made
his will known by the thunder or by inflicting natural disasters, but usually he remained remote in Hawaiki. But the
lesser gods were always close at hand, and rewarded men or punished them as they thought fit. To offend the gods in
any way was dangerous, as they would take personal revenge. There was a story in the Society Islands of two
fishermen who furtively put out their lines in a stretch of water sacred to Rua-Latu, the sea god. The god caught their
hooks, and the men hauled up to the surface the god himself, a terrifying figure with drifting, seaweed hair. He
thundered at them that they had disturbed his sleep, and that he would now drown the islands to wash out the
disrespect they had shown. Only one small island should be saved, he said, for the sake of his worshiper the princess
Airaro, and anyone who wished to survive should go there. The fishermen hurried home and warned the people, but
most of them scoffed at the wild tale. The princess, her family, and a very few others went to the refuge. The gods
drew up the birds and insects into the safety of the sky, because these creatures acted as their messengers.

Then the water began to steadily, and it rose all day until all the land, all the gardens, all the people, were covered but
Airaro's island. the water sank again that same night, leaving only ruins and death, and Airaro's family had to return to
rebuild the country again. On the other hand, the worship and sacrifices made to the gods were not only carried out in
slavish fear. They were payment for the gods' duties to men, and if the gods did not faithfully fulfill their duties in
return they were despised, punished, and finally abandoned.

Religion entered into all kinds of aspect of life. Since agriculture was so important to the Polynesian, questions of who
owned what stretches of land were absolutely vital. Here the maraes came into the picture, because where they were
built established claims to ownership of the land around. Now and again some greedy great family would shift its
maraes so as to encroach on the lands of other families. This always caused trouble. It was looked upon with disgust,
and called by the word for a particularly mean kind of thieving. The claim a chief made to land by building a marae
could never be taken away from him. Even if he was defeated in war and reduced to a nobody, he still had title to his
rights in his maraes. If he was able to do it, he could fight his way back to power, and end with the same rights as
before on the strength of his marae titles.

For ordinary people, the gods were very important in all kinds of activities. Who could tell if the plants would really
grow next season? What made the big meaty fish come to certain reaches of the coast lines? Quite certainly the gods,
the Polynesian thought. They knew that if there were no yams and no fish, they would die. therefore, before every
fishing excursion, or every planting season, the gods had to be pleased by prayers and offerings. this often had to be
performed at the highest level. In Tikopia, each chief was responsible for one of the main food plants, and was
responsible for carrying out a long ceremony to the gods to make sure the particular plant flourished. In the Marquesas
Islands, the fishermen had special plots of land where women were never allowed. the chief fisherman would go there
to pray, chant, and make offerings to the images of the fisherman's gods.

During the course of planting and fishing there were also set regulations and acts to be performed by anyone involved,
these amounted to nothing much more than muttering a certain formula as the seedling was put into the ground or
choosing a particular color of hook on a particular day. Many of these devices were almost what we would call
superstitions, like not walking under ladders and thinking the number 13 is unlucky. The difference was that the
Polynesians thought they worked, and so they should really be called magic. The Polynesians went in for a good deal of
magic. while only men could be priests, women as well as men could be magicians. Each of them was supposed to
have under his or her control one of the ghosts called ti'i spirit into the image. He gave it his orders and sent it about
his business. To cast a spell on anyone, the magician needed something which had been part of the victim, such as bits
of hair or fingernail clippings. Even something he had touched, food, or cloth would do. In some way, the spirit worked
on these, and brought an illness upon the victim which killed him in a day or so.

Besides working with the frightening and evil magic, the magicians used their talents as detectives. By the use of spells
they tried to discover criminals, particularly thieves. Of course this was not expected to work out successfully all the
time, since the thieves had their own form of protection. They prayed to the god of thieves to look after them turn
aside the spells of the inquisitive magicians. So, as all this shows, in Polynesia everyone believed in the gods. And the
gods were so real to the people because, however powerful they were, the gods behaved like human beings. They
quarreled with each other, were generous, loved, and fought. Men and women did what they could to please the gods,
but thought that if they failed perhaps the gods might be in the wrong as much as themselves. The Polynesians were
willing to pay high prices for the favors the gods gave, but they expected the prices to be paid by favors regularly and
promptly.

Besides this, since the worship of the gods was so much a part of everyday life, it helped the Polynesian culture to keep
its shape. Their belief in high gods and less important gods helped everyone to understand why, on earth, there were
noblemen and commoners. If it was so with the gods, then it should be the same with men. Every man had his god,
and so the dignity of the gods gave dignity to men. This Polynesian belief in the human qualities of the gods led to one
of their first clashes with Europeans. A Hawaiian legend foretold that one day the islands would be visited by the god
Lono. On his third voyage, Captain Cook discovered the islands in December, 1778, and when he landed was given an
extraordinary welcome. The Hawaiians had decided among themselves he was actually Lono, travelling on a floating
island, and behaved accordingly. Cook was led to the most sacred shrine, and introduced by the priests to the statues
of the gods. It seems that Cook himself took part in worshipping them. After this he was enthroned at the temple of
Lono, and the priests sang hymns to him, made sacrifices, and fed him.

The strangest part of this story is that Cook must have known he was being worshiped. He had spent years among
Polynesians, and certainly knew one of their religious ceremonies when he saw it. Perhaps he had become something of
Polynesian himself, or perhaps he only went along with the performance because he thought it would make it easier to
establish influence over the Hawaiians. We shall never know, all we can see from this distance in time is the spectacle
of a Christian Englishman allowing himself to be treated as a Polynesian god. But by doing this he put himself in a
dangerous position. A few days later, one of his crew died, casting doubts on the idea that the strangers were really
immortal and godlike.

By the following month, there were open quarrels between the Hawaiians and the Englishmen. One day, Cook, in an
effort to control the situation, attempted something he had done in several other islands. He tried to take the old king
of Hawaii hostage. It had worked before, but here the chiefs were even more sacred than anywhere else in Polynesia.
The Hawaiians were torn between the claims of their kings and their gods, and it was more than they could stand. A
struggle began, and while it was going on, a chief grasped Cook, who winced with pain. Immediately, the chief called,
"He groans, he is not a god!" and stabbed Cook to death.

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MELANESIAN

Melanesian society does not possess the sort of social stratification typical of Polynesia, where a nobility had a vested
interest in establishing their descent from the gods. The typical Melanesian, if such a person exists, is not concerned
with a hierarchy deities nor does his mythology unfold a sequence of creation.

In many parts of Melanesia, particularly the New Hebrides (Vanuatu), the encroachments of the Europeans took place
with the same mixture of brutality and indifference that marked the process elsewhere in the Pacific. In other places,
especially in New Guinea, the encounter was more gradual and even today there are isolated communities where
contacts remain minimal. In these communities, the way of life of the people had been hardly touched by the ways of
Europeans, and their myths continued to reinforce the intricate bond between themselves and nature upon which their
survival depends.

Yet such mythological systems are not static; they reflect the limited social change which occurs continually in all
societies no matter how isolated. In many other Melanesian societies that are in transition and have been affected by
contact with the culture as vastly different as the European, myth has a dynamic role as an accessory to social change.
Attempts to explain the white men's coming and his superior material culture are often based on old mythological
things.

Before the coming of the European, the Melanesian's knowledge of the world seldom extended beyond its immediate
neighbours with whom he traded and fought. Amongst the semi-nomadic Arapesh who lived on the mountains to the
north of the Sepik River, the world was vaguely thought of as an island. The coastal Busama of the Huon Gulf saw their
districts as the centre of the world shaped like an upside-down plate, and believed that anyone who travelled beyond
the neighbouring territories had to climb the vault of heaven which was "solid like thatch".

The Trobian Islanders, who were fine sailors and took part in extensive overseas trading expeditions, had a broader
world view that encompassed the few hundred square miles of ocean which they called Pilolu. Beyond this, to the south
and west, were the land of people with wings and people with tails; to the north they knew vaguely of a country of
ordinary men - probably New Britain - and another extremely dangerous land, the island of women.

Each small community had its own unique way of looking at the world. Each had its own coterie of mythological beings
whose names were seldom known beyond its borders. The earliest hybrid group in Papua New Guinea, the Papuans,
are mostly found in the western areas of the south coast of New Guinea and in parts of the interior. A scattering of
Papuan elements, including languages, are found in some nearby islands as well as in New Britain and New Ireland and
the Northern Solomons. A Papuo-Melanesian mixture predominates towards the eastern extremity of New Guinea and
the neighbouring small archipelago. The further one moved south the more elements predominates that can be called
Melanesians, though distinctions can be made between coastal and bush people.

Melanesian society does not possess the sort of social stratification typical of Polynesia, where a nobility had a vested
interest in establishing their descent from the gods. The typical Melanesian, if such a person exists, is not concerned
with a hierarchy deities nor does his mythology unfold a sequent of creation. So earthbound is he that he neglects
almost completely the more "elevated" themes which inspire the myths of Polynesia and Micronesia. He is not so much
concerned with the origin of all men as with the origin of his own social unit, his clan and his moiety or his totem. This
knowledge establishes his identity and defines his mode of behaviour; it determines whom he calls brother, and whom
he may marry and the young people for whom he is responsible.

IN THE BEGINNING: THE PREDECESSORS OF MEN

Melanesian's cosmological beliefs tend to be vague and unformulated but most Melanesians do conceive of a time in
the "beginning" when mythical beings dwelt on earth. In some places, these primal beings came from the sky, in other
places they emerged from underground or merely came from somewhere else. The world was seen as apparently
already in existence and they did play a part in shaping it. Sometimes, this included raising the sky. Almost always it
included making or releasing the sea. The Iatmul of the Sepik River area say that the dry land was created when a
spirit put his foot upon mud.

Belief about man's origins were many and varied. Some myths say he came into the world fully grown either from the
sky or from underground or was released from a tree. Other myths say he was created from clay or sand or that he
was carved from wood. These mythical beings who acted as creators were not the sole creators, for each clan or sub-
clan within the group had its own view. For example, some Kiwaians believed that their "father" was the crocodile and
a modern account of the story had been written by Mea Idei from Boze near the Binaturi River. He tells how a being
called Ipila carved a human figure out of wood and brought it to life by painting the face with sago milk. First the eyes
open, then the nostrils quivered and the "man" made a noise like a crocodile. His name was Nugu but he was not
satisfied until Ipila made three more men as companions for him. These men refused to learn the things Ipila wanted
to teach them and turned their backs on him. After a while, two of them became tired of only eating sago and started
to kill animals for food. Almost at once, they turned into half-crocodiles. Neither the animals nor Nugu and the other
man wanted any more to do with them so they tried to make some of their own kind. But they found that they could
only make men because Ipala sequently altered their work. From these new men are descended the people who claim
the crocodile as their father. Ipala was so angry with his first creation, Nugu, that he condemned him to hold the earth
on his shoulders for ever. The narrator concludes that these events explain why his people only know what they know -
not why they are alive, nor what is happening beyond their part of the world.

The Keraki Papuans of the southwest coast often say that there is a sky world from which the first beings came - these
were called Gainjin. All agree that they went back into the sky when their time on earth was finished. The exception
was the two Gainjin animals, Bugal the snake and Warger the crocodile, who still haunt the bush. An excess of rain is
regarded by the villagers as a sign that the sky beings are displeased. They fear that the great rattan cane which
supports this aerial world will one day break, so during heavy storms they stand ready to defend themselves in case
any of the sky beings should tumble down.

There are many stories about how man was released from a tree. There are two Keraki mythologies, each associated
with its own sacred site, and in one of the Kuramangu stories a sky being, Kambel, was curious about the unintelligible
sound which issued from a palm tree and he cut it down, releasing the people. In the evening, a shiny white object
rose from the palm and slipped from his grasp into the sky. It was his son, the moon. (Both father and son are
associated with the moon).

There are also many stories about how man emerged from underground. The northern Massim area is a relatively
homogenous cultural grouping and there it is believed that the life which existed below ground was exactly like the one
above, so that the people who emerged brought with them the rules governing conduct as well as the knowledge of
special skills and magic lore. Among the Trobiand Islanders, for example, each small sub-clan had an ancestress who
emerged with her brother from a particular spot sighted in a grove grotto lump of coral or rock. With each of these hole
of emergence were associated certain territories including garden land and seashore so that each particular myth
determined land usage and inheritance. One particular site on the peninsula of Kirawina was especially renowned
because from it came the first creatures to emerge on earth. They were the iguana, the dog, the pig and the snake -
the animal ancestors of the four principal clans.

The central characters in a number of Melanesian myths are two brothers, who, although they have different names
from place to place tend to be associated with the same mythological theme. They often share the laurels in Ogre-
killing stories but sometimes victory is achieved because of one's brother's superior strength and astuteness. In other
stories it is this very difference between the brothers' abilities which determines the outcome of events.

In a tale from Mekeo in New Guinea, one brother only has fruit to eat while the other eats meat. The former spies on
the latter, and sees him enter a hill which opens at his command and then closes it behind you. A little later he
emerges with a wallaby and two scrub hens. When the foolish brother tries to do the same thing, he was too slow and
all the animals escape. The two brothers begin to fight but their wives separate them and send them off to fight an
ogre instead.

One of the great heroes of the Kiwai Papuans was Marunogere. Before he taught them how to build their great
communal houses - some exceed 300 feet in length - they lived in miserable holes in the ground. As soon as the first
ceremonial house was built, he inaugurated it with a moguru or life-giving ceremony, which also aims at making men
great fighters. The ritual with a dead pig did make the men great warriors and it was re-enacted yearly in the moguru
when young boys crawl over the corpse of a wild boar decked out in the finery of a fighter. Marunogere also bored a
hole in each woman to give her sexual organs and in the evening he was content to die after he felt the gentle rocking
of the great house as the men and women were locked in the first sexual embrace. This part of the myth provided the
sanction for the ritual initiation, during the moguru of the young boys and girls into adult sexual life.

For the Melanesians, the bush and sea around him is made dangerous by a great variety of supernatural emanation.
There are special ghosts like those of beheaded men whose wounds glow in the dark. There are also the spirits doubles
of living men. The mountain Kukukukus of New Guinea tell how a boy was approached by a spirit with the face of his
mother's brother, who pierced his nose septum and inserted a bush fowl's bone. His real uncle found him and took him
home. It was noticed soon after that he became a great fighter, so henceforth initiation included the nose piercing
ceremony.

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MICRONESIA

When Magellan first visited Guam in 1521, the Chamorro, who were the indigenous population of the Mariana Islands
had the doubtful honour of being the first people of Oceania to receive European callers. It was not until 1668 however
that the Jesuits and soldiery set about converting and subduing the islanders. Several great typhoons at the end of the
17th century were nature's footnote to the carnage wrought by the Spaniards. By 1710 an estimated population of
100,000 had been reduced to little more than 3,500. A few Chamorro escaped to the neighbouring Caroline Islands
where they kept their identity as a people.

In the years that followed, the Mariana Islands north of Guam became completely depopulated. By the late 19th
century, although the population of Guam had increased again, it had become a mixture of Chamorro, Filipino and
Spanish stock. The indigenous language had survived but the oral traditions had been swamped by introduced
elements with only fragments of recognisable oceanic themes remaining.
This massive population loss has been attributed to a policy of genocide supposedly carried out by the Spanish military
particularly following the arrival of Quiroga in 1680. This explanation however is not in keeping with the historical facts.
The principal aim of the Spanish mission was not the extermination of the Chamorro population but rather its religious
conversion. Most likely the high mortality rate of the late 17th century can be attributed to the introduction of deadly
contagious diseases into the archipelago along with the policy of concentrating the scattered Chamorro population into
mission villages, a practice referred to as the reduccion.

It was important that the Chamorro people believed they were created by mythical beings named Puntan and Fuuna
and that their ancestors issued forth from a rock formation located in Southern Guam.

"Regarding the creation of the world, they say that Puntan was a very ingenious man who lived in an imaginary place
which existed before earth and sky were made. This good man, being about to die...called his sister who, like himself,
had been born without father or mother. Making known to her the benefit he wished to confer upon humanity, he gave
her all his powers so that when he died she could create from his breast and back the earth and sky, from his eyes the
sun and the moon, a rainbow from his eyebrows, and thus adjusting everything else."

No other Micronesians suffered from the unwanted attentions of Europeans quite so rapidly or drastically as the
Chamorro as the high islands of the Mariana Group lie in a north-south line and serve as stepping stones out of Asia
into the Pacific. South of them the Caroline archipelago spread like a net from east to west for some 2,000 miles.
Further east the low-lying atolls of the Marshall and Gilbert (Kiribati) Groups together with the Polynesian Tuvalu
Islands form a continuous chain which extends south-eastward into Western Polynesia.

In Micronesia, as in Polynesia, rank was of some importance and, especially on the larger and more populous islands,
the existence of a leisured class stimulated the development of a rich oral literature. Throughout the area myths were
not only told singly but were arranged in cycles, and mythological illusions are bound in all their oral literature.

The Micronesians did not have a myth similar to that of the Polynesians about a hero like Maui who sought to obtain
immortality for man. It was usually assumed that the gods had decreed that man should be mortal. The souls of the
dead journey either northward or westward to the leaping place which leads either to an island of the dead or skyward,
or underground.

Stories about animals as tricksters usually involve a basic cast of three characters. Favourites are the rat, the land crab
and a turtle or octopus. One familiar story tells of a land crab and a rat having a quarrel, because the rat either refuses
to share food or toddy, or fouls it before handing it over. The land crab waits until they go sailing before he takes his
revenge and then he makes a hole in the canoe and walks off along the ocean floor, leaving the rat to drown. Along
came an octopus who offers to carry the rat to the shore. On the way, the rat chews his bearer's hair. After he is safely
ashore he jeers at the octopus for being bald. Sometimes the benefactor fares much worse, even being fouled by the
animal he carries. In one tale, the benefactor is a turtle and the rat summons all the animals to help him kill and eat
the creature who has rescued him.

The favourite bogeyman of Micronesian Islands are cannibal spirits or ogres who are characterised by their brute
strength and stupidity. They tend to come in families of ten; ten brothers, each one hand-span taller than the next or
the first with one head and the second with two heads and so on. They can sometimes be driven away by blowing on a
conch trumpet or simply by making lots of noise. Sometimes, the ogres who dwell in the woods so terrorise a district
that has to be abandoned. This calls for the birth of an ogre-slaying child who is a special hero in Melanesia but is also
well-known in Micronesia.

A popular theme in Micronesia is that of a girl who comes either from the sea or the sky to watch men dance or to steal
something. She is prevented from returning home because a man hides either her wings or her tail. This simple tale
conveys perfectly the islanders' delight in the narrative art. Yet it is more than an idle tale for almost always the story
is used to explain the origin of certain food tabus or social customs. It is also significant in another way, for some
mythologists consider that it belongs to the tale-type defined as "swan maiden"; the basis of which is that a
supernatural girl loses her wings and is forced to remain on earth as the wife of her captor. One day she recovers them
and makes her escape. Her husband follows her and attempts to win her back. Sometimes he succeeds.

This is a theme of tremendous antiquity; elements of which are to be found in a story from the Indian Rig Veda,
recorded 3,000 years ago. Its widespread distribution in Oceania points to its early arrival in the area. Consideration of
those story-elements which persists and those which are lacking in the different places is an interesting exercise in
comparative mythology.

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A characteristic figure from the Marquesas Islands,


of carved and decorated wood. Each foot is set firmly on a skull.
The figure was set in the prow of a canoe and the mooring
rope was attached to it. Hooper Collection.

POLYNESIAN

The early missionaries laboured to destroy belief in the Polynesian concepts of the world and the origin and the power
of the local gods. In this they were helped by the natives themselves who, eager to accept and adopt new ideas, broke
almost completely with their old religion. Priests and scholars who had adopted and accepted the new teaching refused
to pass on the concepts and the legends, and the continuity of oral transmission was broken. Many European
missionaries however recorded or attempted to record the old religion, perhaps to show the church at home from what
they were rescuing the heathen. Indeed, wherever the white missionaries were stationed, a certain amount of
information has been saved from the wreck and it is this information that forms much of the basis of our present
knowledge of

Throughout Polynesia much of the creative energy of the people flow into words that were woven into songs and
stories about gods and heroes who had the strengths and weaknesses of men, and into tales of history about noble
ancestors who bore the names and attributes of gods. Words were spun by the bards into welcoming orations, love
lyrics, laments and eulogies of praise for the great chiefs, warriors and navigators; particularly those who led the canoe
parties to find new lands. Ritual words were guarded by priests, and the master/craftsman who acted as priests for the
canoe-builders, house-builders, fishermen and the makers of images. Prayers summoned gods to the marae (temple)
and shrines. Invocations, charms and spells use words in formula so powerful that if any were omitted or misplaced
disaster and death follows.

These oral traditions exist wherever the Polynesians settled, within an area which extends from the Hawaiian islands in
the far north to New Zealand in southern seas and to lonely Easter Island to the east. And on every island the poets,
priests and narrators drew from the same deep well of the mythologican past which the Polynesians themselves called
The Night of Tradition. For when their ancestors moved out from the Polynesian nucleus in the western islands, they
carried with them the knowledge of the same great mythological events, the names of their gods and of their many
demi gods and heroes.

As time passed, the Polynesian imagination adapted and elaborated on old themes to suit fresh settings, and new
characters and events were absorbed into the mythological systems. But on almost every island favourite stories have
the same central characters: Hina the woman who beat tapa cloth in the moon; Maui who fished up the island and
snared the sun; Tinirau whose pet whale was murdered by Kae; Tawhaki who visited the sky and Rata whose canoe
was built by the little people of the forest.

The Polynesians lived in a world created by their gods and heroes and felt a close involvement with them. Mythological
references like "as deceitful as Maui" were a part of everyone's conversation. The lullaby for the baby, the story for the
curious child, the idle tale to pass the time, all drew on the familiar themes. Simple prayers acknowledge the ever-
present gods.

Men also needed more specialised assistance to communicate with their gods. All labour was consecrated. The success
of planting, fishing, canoe-making and house-building depended not only on correct technique but also correct ritual.
The master-craftsman of every occupation therefore taught his successor both his technical skills and his correction of
spells, invocations, genealogies and legends.

The highest mysteries of traditional lore were the province of the divine chief, the inspirational priest and the
ceremonial priest. Every Polynesian chief traced his genealogy back to the gods and was therefore the living link with
the mythological past. The inspirational priest was the mouthpiece of the gods, the oracle and diviner who was
consulted before any event of importance. His revelations were probably the source of new myths and the basis for the
re-interpretation of the old. The ceremonial priest presided over the public ceremonies associated with the birth,
marriage, installation and death of a chief, as well as those which regulated man's association with nature.

Broadly speaking, this was the pattern on most islands, except of those of western Polynesia where true ceremonial
priests do not exist. There, the talking chiefs, who were both bards and orators, were the repositories of the traditional
laws of the group and simply passed it from generation to generation.

CREATION OF THE COSMOS

Amongst the Polynesians genesis was conceived of either a process of growth or evolution from an intangible to a
tangible state, or as the work of a pre-existent, omniscient creator who brought matter into existence, gave forms of
the formless and set all in an established order. The primordial state in which the creator dwelt or from which all things
emerged was described as a void, nothingness, chaos, immensity, space, night or darkness, and in an attempt to free
the concept even more, it was qualified as limitless without light, without form or without motion.

The belief in a pre-existent creator called Tangaloa, who lived alone in the illimitable void and made all things, was
found in the western Polynesian islands of the Samoan, Tongan and Ellice (Tuvalu) Groups and on Niue, Uvea and
Rotuma. Tangaloa, some said, brooded over a vast expanse of waters while his messenger, the bird Tuli, flew over the
never ending ocean searching for somewhere to rest. At last Tangaloa cast down a rock which became the island of
Manu'a, the main island of the Samoan group. Next he made the other islands of the group, then Tonga and Fiji. Tuli
complained of the lack of shade in these islands and Tangaloa gave him a vine to plant called the peopling vine, from
which man was made.

Other creation myths of the evolutionary type were completely personalised. The two elements became an earth
mother and a sky father, who were the progenitors of the gods, the element, the lands and all living things. In myths of
this type, the first-born sons of the primal pair played an active part in creation: separating their parents, raising the
sky and creating lands, plants and man. The names and attributes of the greatest of these, the gods Tane, Tangaroa,
Tu and Rongo were known throughout all of Polynesia except the west, where Tangaroa or Tangaloa alone was known,
not as one of the pantheon of great gods, but as the sole creator.
THE ORIGIN OF MANKIND

Tuli, the bird messenger of Tangaloa, flew down to earth with a creeping vine to clothe the bare land and provide
shade. At first the vine spread; then it withered and decomposed and swarmed with a shapeless moving mass of
maggots. Tangaloa took these and fashioned them into human shape. He straightened them out and moulded hands,
legs and features. He gave each a heart and a soul and they came alive. This type of myth in which man appeared by a
kind of primitive evolution, sometimes aided by a deity, was confined to the western Polynesians. In other islands to
the east, it was believed that man came into being by a continuation of the process of creation, which had begun with
Atea and Papa. The god Tane was most often considered to be the actual generative agent who impregnated a woman
he formed from earth.

A Rarotongan staff god. These averaged about thirteen feet in length though some were longer. They consisted of an
upper carved portion with a profile head surrounding a series of figures alternatively profile and full-face; a middle
section wrapped round with tapa cloth until it was probably two or three yards in circumference; and a terminal
phallus. The missionary John Williams reported seeing many torn to pieces before his eyes, but some were saved and
sent to England. Usually only the upper portion has survived. Many of these images are thought to be of Oro, son of
Tangaroa, but some investigators believe they represent Tangaroa himself.

The unions between the gods and human beings which took place long ago in the mythological past tended to blur the
line between the divine and human ancestors in the genealogy of men. Many men also counted amongst their
ancestors the children of such union, the demi-gods and heroes whose adventures were performed when the world was
young and the journey could still be made between the world of the living and the spirit lands, aided by the power of
their divine relatives. Their deeds were eulogised in narrative, drama, poetry and song and the names of some were
known almost more widely than those of the gods.

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EASTER ISLAND
Numerous carvings of the Bird-Man, some showing him
with egg in hand on the cliff top at Orongo, Easter Island.

On Easter Island, as throughout Polynesia, the people maintain an oral tradition in the form of songs and stories about
their mythical gods and heroes who had the strengths and weaknesses of men, and into tales of history about noble
ancestors who bore the names and attributes of gods.

The oral traditions exist wherever the Polynesians settled. On every island, the poets, priests, and narrators drew from
the same deep well of the mythological past which the Polynesians themselves called the night of tradition. On far
away Easter Island, the only great gods were Tangaroa and Rongo and these were merely mentioned in the lineage of
Hotu-matua, the traditional founder of the community. A local god, Makemake was regarded as the creator of mankind
and was also patron of the Bird Cult, the principal festival of the island.

Makemake first manifested himself in the form of a skull and the large-eyed rock-carvings or petroglyphs at the sacred
village of Rongo are said to represent him. This village was built on the cliffs overlooking three small islets and it was to
one of these, Motu-nui that Makemake was said to have driven the birds to protect them from egg gatherers.

Each year in the nesting season, servants were sent to the island to await the appearance of the first egg, while their
masters waited at Rongo. The man whose servants found the first egg became Bird Man, for one year. His hair and
eyebrows were shaved and his eyelashes cut off and he carried the egg on the palm of his hand down the mountain to
a place where he lived in seclusion for the rest of the year.

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HAWAII

The Polynesians of Hawaii lived in a world created by their gods and heroes and felt a close involvement with them. The
highest of traditional lore were the province of the divine chief, the inspirational priest and the ceremonial priest. Every
Polynesian chief traced his genealogy back to the gods and was therefore the living link with the mythological past. The
inspirational priest was the mouthpiece of the gods, the oracle and diviner, who was consulted before any events of
importance. The ceremonial priest presided over the public ceremonies associated with the birth, installation and death
of a chief, as well as those which regulated man's association with nature.
The role of social commentator was also enjoyed by the Hula troupers of Hawaii who used ki'i or marionettes,
manipulated by ventriloquists, to tell simple dramatic tales, full of gossip and satirical comments. As well as being
entertainers, they served in a religious capacity at the great public ceremony like the festival of the first groups for the
god Lono. Laka, the goddess of the wildwood and sister of Lono was their patroness. Her presence was manifested in a
small block of wood which was covered by a piece of yellow tapa and placed on the altar in the special hula house.

The Hula troupe comprised novices and experienced performers who came together under a kumu who was both
leader, teacher and business manager. As his troupes were not food producers, he founded a chief to act as patron.
Training was strict and surrounded by the usual tapus. Young aspirants were chosen for their beauty, grace, wit and
liveliness of imagination.

The contrast between these vivacious entertainers and the solemn and dignified priests and bards were tremendous,
but together they were guardian of the traditional lore and through them the Polynesians of Hawaii consciously
preserve and transmitted the esoteric truths enshrined in their mythology.

Amongst the Polynesians genesis was conceived of either a process of growth or evolution from an intangible to a
tangible state, or as the work of a pre-existent, omniscient creator who brought matter into existence, gave form to
the formless and set all in an established order. Other creation myths of the evolutionary type were completely
personalised. The two elements became an earth mother and a sky father, who were the progenitors of the gods, the
elements, the land and all living things. In myths of this type, the first born sons of the primal pair played an active
part in creation; separating their parents, raising the sky and creating lands, plants and man. The names and
attributes of the greatest of these, the gods Tane, Tangaroa, Tu and Rongo were known throughout almost all of
Polynesia except the west where Tangaroa or Tangaloa alone was known as the sole creator.

GODS WORK FOR MAN

Ku's name means "to stand" and "to strike" and he was the god of war to whom human sacrifices were made. In
Hawaii, where he was known as Ku-of-the-deep-forest, Ku-of-the-undergrowth, Ku-adzing-out-the-canoe, he was also
the patron of wood workers; but he was also known as Ku-the-snatcher-of-land and Ku-with-the-maggot-dropping-
mouth, who received human sacrifices. The family of gods classed as Ku were formidable gods of war in Hawaii.

Rongo was known as Lono in Hawaii. As Lono in the Hawaiian Islands, he was the god of agriculture and was said to
have introduced the Makahiki rite, a harvest festival that was a time on singing and celebration. The high priest was
blindfolded for five days of merrymaking and the people indulged in wresting matches and other sports. The Long god,
an upright pole with a cross piece from which hung feather wreaths and long streamers of tapa was carried in a circuit
of the island. Wherever it rested, tributes were exacted and when it returns to the ruling chief's district, he sailed out
to meet it. When he landed, a spear was thrown at him which was parried by a special attendant. A mock battle
follows. The following day, there was feasting and the Net of Maoleha, a large meshed net full of food, was shaken out.
If no food clung to the net, a season of plenty was certain.
A formidable puppet meant to inspire fear carved in a light wood
and covered with black tapa. The upper teeth are human and the lower
teeth are the palatine teeth of a fish. Six teeth serve as fingers. (British Museum)

Tane, known as Kane in Hawaii, signifies "man". He fulfilled many great tasks: separating earth and sky, beautifying
the heavens and creating women. Kane's lifegiving qualities were symbolised in myths and prayers as The-water-of-
life-of-Kane. He was lord of the forest and all the creatures who lived in it. All who used wood particularly the canoe
builders invoked him. Hawaiian tradition also stated that Kane and Kanaloa (Tangaroa) as they were known there came
from Kahiki (Tahiti) and such old gods were not considered very important. Hawaii, almost more than anywhere else in
Polynesia, possessed a proliferation of gods.

HINA - THE UNIVERSAL WOMAN

Each story or cycle of stories in Polynesian mythology had its supporting cast and in many of them, with the frequency
of a refrain, there appeared a character called Hina, who was sometimes a woman and sometimes a goddess. The
different facets of Hina's personality were mot often revealed by her composite names. She was most closely
associated with the moon, and although she rarely received the worship accorded male gods, she was highly regarded
in Polynesian mythology. Her companion resembles Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanic fires, in that both were said
to command the lightning. As such, she seems to be another aspect of Hina herself, for the Hawaiians say that Pele's
human incarnation was Hina-ai-malama or Hina-who-eats-the-moon.

There are many explanation of how Hina came to be in the moon. Hina's place for beating cloth was localised on many
islands. The Hawaiians believed that a certain long black rock, visible above the surf-line, and a spot on the island of
Maui, was where she worked. Stories from that district described her both as the mother of Maui and the ancestress of
Kaha'i (Tawhaki) and Laka (Rata), who returned to the moon after a difference with her husband.

The Hawaiians attributed these procreative powers of Hina to yet another person called Haumea, mother of Pele.
Sometimes they identified with the first woman who they called not Hina but La-ila-i or again Haumea was incarnated
in human form as Papa, the wife of Wakea (Atea), but in Hawaii, Papa and Wakea were not the primal pair, they were
the first ancestors of the island chiefs. Hina-the-Bailer was Wakea's second wife, after Haumea. This tangle of
relationships strengthens the impression that all these various female characters really represent aspects of one being
who acted as both a creative and destructive force.

HAUMEA, THE CREATOR

The Hawaiians regarded Haumea as the patroness of childbirth because she was said to have introduced natural
childbirth. Before her, women were cut open to deliver the child. As a reward she was granted the name "tree of
changing leaves" or "tree of never ending vegetable food supply". In some versions, it was from this that Makalei
came, the stick which had the power to attract fish. The Hawaiians used a charred oiled stick for such a purpose.

Haumea possessed powerful magic. She was said to have saved her husband Wakea from being sacrificed by passing
through the trunk of a breadfruit tree with him and escaping. As they fled, the fragments torn from her skirt change
into morning glory flowers. But Haumea, the great producer sometimes used her powers destructively. Some say she
withdrew the wild plants of the forest which people relied on when cultivated foods were scarce. A trickster, Kaulu,
broke her power by stealing cultivated plants from the gods and killed her by tossing her into the net of Maoleha. This
was the net of divination in which food is tossed each year at the Makahiki ceremony.

PELE, THE DESTROYER

Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanic fires, symbolised woman at her most destructive. Like many other beings of
Polynesian myth she was a great voyager. She was said to have come from Kahiki (Tahiti). Some say she was driven
out by her elder sister whose husband she stole, or that she was driven towards Hawaii by a flood. Others say that she
simply longed to travel and, tucking her little sister Hi'iaka (who was born in the shape of an egg) under her arm, she
set off on the journey to Hawaii.

WONDER-WORKERS AND TRICKSTERS

Some of the most popular stories of Polynesia centred on characters who possessed extraordinary powers which
derived from a supernatural source. The Hawaiians called them Kupua and delighted in their adventures. They were
born in non-human form, either as an egg which developed into a monstrous creature, or as a plant or inanimate
object. They were usually brought up by their maternal grandparents who later supported them in their adventures
with their magic. When they took human shape, their supernormal nature was apparent in their ability to transform
themselves, stretch or shrink themselves, fly to the air, take giant strides over the land and perform great feat of
strength. Tales about them are concern with how they slew monsters, rescued maidens, defeated rivals and even
disputing with the gods in all sorts of games of skill, riddling competitions and trials of strength.

The most famous stretching Kupua of Hawaii was Kana, who was born in the form of a rope and brought up by his
grandmother, Uli. He was asked to rescue a woman who had been abducted and placed on an island-hill. Each time
Kana tried to reach her by growing taller, the hill grew taller too, lifting the girl further away. Soon he became as thin
as a cobweb and very hungry, so he bent over to Hawaii and put his head through his grandmother's door where she
fed him. She also told him that the island was really a turtle whose stretching power lay in his slippers. Kana broke
these off and rescued the girl.

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Maui, the most celebrated of all Polynesian heroes.


This panel from a Maori meeting house is concerned with his fishing exploits.

MAORI

The Maori view of creation in which all nature was seen as a great kinship tracing its origins back to a single pair, the
Sky Father and the Earth Mother, was a conception which they brought with them when they came from Central
Polynesia about 1,000 A.D. Furthermore this belief in a primal pair, as well as the metaphysical idea of an original Void
or Darkness, seems to be part of the stock of ideas which the ancestors of the Polynesians brought with them from the
west, from the Asian mainland, and which they carry with them as they disperse into marginal Polynesia. The resultant
shift in names and attributes, and the elaboration of themes which occurred throughout the area cannot obscure this
underlying unity of ideas.

About the middle of the last century certain Maori priests of some of the east coast tribes were consecrating classes in
their school of sacred learning with prayers to Io-the-self-creative, a god unknown elsewhere in Polynesia. His presence
at the head of the hierarchy of Maori gods was unknown until the 1870's when the first European reference to him was
published. Most of our knowledge about him comes from "The Lore of the Whare Wananga" which was the Maori's first
attempt to write down and preserve their beliefs. Although this was not translated and published until this century, it
was formulated during the 1860's from the teachings of two Maori priests Te Matorohanga and Nepia Pohuhu. Not only
was it written down by Maori "scribes", but the finer doctrinal points were thrashed out by a committee by Maori priests
and elders. The lore explicitly stated that "...the priests alone had complete knowledge of Io and that ordinary people
knew nothing".

This could mean either that the inner knowledge had been deliberately withheld, or that the cult of Io represented a
reorganisation of Maori sacred lore under the impact of European contact. Some of Io's names certainly seems to be
derived from Christianity for as well as being Io-of-the-hidden-face, that is, not manifested in material form, he was
also called Io-eternal and Io-god-of-love. Moreover, he created all things by "The Word". Yet, the doctrine of Io was
much more than an attempt to amalgamate Christian and Maori beliefs. Whatever, its source of information its creators
regarded it as the revelation of an inner truth.

But although the priest had revived the esoteric lore to establish Io in a position of supremacy, he was not made a
solitary deity. Two more heavens were added to the ten of earlier creation stories, and Io was accommodated in the
highest. Tane was assigned a new task; after separating Rangi and Papa, he ascended to Io and asked him for the
three baskets which contained all knowledge, especially that "pertaining to the Sky Father and the Earth Mother". It is
not surprising that Io manifested himself at a time when the Maori's awareness of their own identity as a people was
beginning to assert itself. For the function of this, Io-of-all-knowledge was to re-enforce the old beliefs with the
sanction of a supreme deity who would match the Christian gods.

THE ORIGIN OF MANKIND

In the eastern islands of Polynesia, it was believed that man came into being by continuation of the process of creation,
or rather procreation, which had begun with Atea and Papa. The god Tane was most often considered to be the actual
generative agent who impregnated a woman he formed from earth. In Maori lore, Tane procreative power and organ
was called Tiki.

What follows is the old story of Tane's search for a wife. First he turned to his mother, Papa, who rejected him. Then he
united with several different beings, but each time their offspring were things like mountain streams, reptiles and
stones. This did not satisfy Tane, who bore the likeness of a man and he longed to have a partner to match himself. At
last he took his mother's advice and formed the shape of a woman out of the soft red sand on the sea shore of
Hawaiki. He breathed life into her nostrils, ears, mouth and eyes. Hot breath burst from her mouth and she sneezed.
She opened her eyes and she saw Tane. Her name was Hine-hau-one, the Earth-formed-maiden. Their first child was
called Hine-titama, the Dawn maiden. After a while Tane took the Dawn maiden as his wife. The girl did not know that
Tane was her father as well as her husband. When she asked who her father was, she was told to "...ask that question
of the pillars of the house". Hine did so but the housepost did not answer nor did the side panel. Then the Dawn
maiden realised the truth. She fled in shame from Hawaiki to the darkness of Po, the underworld. When Tane tried to
follow her, she cried out to him that she had "...cut the cord of this world" and that he must return to look after their
children in the world of light while she remained in the world of darkness to drag their children down. This was the
origin of death. Hine-titama, Dawn maiden became Hine-nui-te-po, great-goddess-of-darkness. In this story, Hine, or
Hina as she is called in other places, has a dual nature. She is presented at both the first woman and as a goddess who
is guardian of the land of the dead. She is both a life-giver and a destroyer of life.

Amongst the Maoris the planting and cultivating of the kumara (sweet potato) was accompanied by considerable ritual
which culminated in the lifting of the crop by the priest when the appearance of the star called Whanui gave the signal
for the harvest to begin. In the explanatory myth, Rongo-Maui went to heaven to steal kumara from his brother
Whanui. Concealing in his loin cloth, he returned to earth and impregnated his wife Pani. She went to the stream and
gave birth to kumara in the water. One day she was disturbed by her sons and fled to the underworld where she
continued to cultivate the kumara patch.

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SZAMOA

The following are two versions of the traditional Samoan myths of creation. The first version is considered to be the
more original since it was recorded only shortly after the arrival of Christian missionaries, and is therefore likely to be
less tainted by their influence. The second version below is much shorter and easier to understand, since it is provided
as a straightforward narrative.

The mythology of Kiribati also incorporates their own version of the mythology of Samoa. This is as a consequence of
the Kiribati ancestors being seen as having their mythological roots in Samoa. This version is built around Nareau the
Kiribati equivalent to the Samoan god Tagaloa. Click here for the Kiribati version of Samoan Myth of Creation.

The Myths of Creation

The god Tagaloa dwelt in the Expanse; he made all things; he alone was (there); not any sky, not any country; he only
went to and fro in the Expanse; there was also no sea, and no earth; but, at the place where he stood there grew up a
rock. Tagaloa-fa'atutupu-nu'u (creator) was his name; all things were about to be made, but him, for all things were
not yet made; the sky was not made nor any thing else, but there grew up a Rock on which he stood.
Then Tagaloa said to the Rock, "Be thou split up." Then was brought forth Papa-ta'oto (lying rock); after that, Papa-
sosolo (creep-ing rock); then Papa-lau-a'au (reef rock); then Papa-'ano-'ano (thick rock); then Papa-'ele (clay rock);
then Papa-tu (standing rock); then Papa-'amu-'amu (coral rock) and his children.

But Tagaloa stood facing the west, and spoke to the Rock. Then Tagaloa struck the Rock with his right hand, and it split
open towards the right side. Then the Earth was brought forth (that is the parent of all the people in the world), and
the sea was brought forth. Then the Sea covered the Papa-sosolo; and Papa-nofo (that is, Papa-ta'oto) said to Papa-
sosolo, "Don't bless me; the sea will soon reach you too. All the rocks in the manner called him blessed.

Then Tagaloa turned to the right side, and the fresh-water sprang up. Then Tagaloa spoke again to the Rock, and the
Sky was produced. He spoke again to the Rock and Tui-te'e-lagi (sky proper) was brought forth; then came forth llu,
'Immensity', and Mamao, 'Space', (that was a woman); then came Niuao (clouds).

Tagaloa spoke again to the Rock; then Lua-ao (two clouds), a boy, came forth. Tagaloa spoke again to the Rock, and
Lua-vai (water hole), a girl, came forth. Tagaloa appointed these two to the Sa-tua-lagi (behind the sky).

Then Tagaloa spoke again, and Aoa-lala (aoa, a native tree branch), a boy was born and (next) Ao-gao-le-tai (open
sea), a girl; then came Man; then came the Spirit; then the Heart; then the Will; then Thought.

That is the end of Tagaloa's creations which were produced from the Rock; they were only floating about on the sea;
there was no fixedness there.

Then Tagaloa made an ordinance to the rock and said:

(1) Let the Spirit and the Heart and Will and Thought go on and join together inside the Man; and they joined together
there and man became intelligent. And this was joined to the earth ('ele-ele'), and it was called Fatu-ma-le-'Ele-'ele
(Heart and the Earth), as a couple, Fatu the man, and 'Ele-'ele, the woman.

(2) Then he said to Immensity and Space, "Come now; you two be united up above in the sky with your boy Niuao,
then they went up; there was only a void, nothing for the sight to rest upon.

(3) Then he said to Lua-ao and Lua-vai, "Come now, you two, that the region of fresh-water may be peopled.

(4) But he ordains Aoa-lala and Gao-gao-le-tai to the sea, that they too may people the sea.

(5) And he ordains Le-fatu and Le-'Ele-'ele, that they people this side; and he points them to the left-hand side,
opposite to Tualagi. Then Tagaloa said to Tui-te'e-lagi, "Come here now; that you may prop up the sky." Then lt was
propped up; it reached up on high. But it fell down becausc he was not able for it. Then Tui-te e-lagi went to Masoa
(starch) and Teve (a plant with very bitter roots); he brought them and used them as props; then he was able. (The
masoa and the teve were the first plants that grew, and other plants came afterwards). Then the sky remained up
above, but there was nothing for the sight to rest upon. There was only the far-receding sky, reaching to Immensity
and Space.

The Production of the Nine Heavens

Then Immensity and Space brought forth offspring; they brought forth Po and Ao, 'Night and Day', and this couple was
ordained by Tagaloa to produce the 'Eye of the Sky', (the Sun). Again Immensity and Space brought forth Le-lagi (the
sky); that is the Second Heavens; for Tui-te'e-lagi went forth to prop it up and the sky became double; and Immensity
and Space remained there, and they peopled the sky. Then again Lagi (sky), brought forth, and Tui-te'e-lagi went forth
and propped it up; that was the Third Heavens; that was peopled by Immensity and Space. Then Lagi bore again; that
was the fourth Heavens. Tui-te'e-lagi went forth to prop it up; that heaven also was peopled by llu and Mamao. Then
Lagi bore again; that was the Fifth Heavens. Then went forth Tui-te'e-lagi to prop it up; that heaven also was peopled
by llu and Mamao. Lagi brought forth again, that was the Sixth Heavens. And Tui-te'e-fagi went and propped it up; that
heaven was peopled by Ilu and Mamao. Then Lagi bore again that was the Seventh Heavens. And Tui-te'e-lagi went
forth and propped it up; that heaven was peopled by llu and Mamao. Then Lagi again brought forth; that was called the
Eighth Heavens. Tui-te'e-lagi went to prop up that heaven and that heaven was peopled by Ilu and Mamao. Then again
Lagi brought forth; that was the Ninth Heavens; and it was propped up by Tui-te'e-lagi; and that heaven was peopled
by Ilu and Mamao; then ended the productiveness of Ilu and Mamao; it reached to the Ninth Heavens.

The Production of Other Gods

Then Tagaloa sat (still); he is well known as Tagaloa-fa'a-tutupu-nu'u; then he created Tagaloa-le-fuli (stable Tagaloa),
and Tagaloa- asiasi-nu'u (Tagaloa the visitor), and Tagaloa-tolo-nu'u (Tagaloa the village creeper), and Tagaloa-savali
(Tagaloa the walker), and Tuli (a seabird) also, and Logonoa (deaf).

Then said Tagaloa the creator to Tagaloa-le-fuli, Come here; be thou chief in the heavens." Then Tagaloa, 'the
immoveable' was chief in the heavens.
Then Tagaloa, the creator said to Tagaloa-savali, `the messenger', "Come here; be thou ambassador in all the
heavens, beginning from the Eighth Heavens down to the First Heavens, to tell them all to gather together in the Ninth
Heavens, where Tagaloa, the immoveable, is chief." Then proclamation was made that they should go up to the Ninth
Heavens, and Chen visit below the children of Night and Day in the first Heavens.

Then Tagaloa, the messenger, went down to Night and Day in the first Heavens, and asked them thus:- "Have you two
any children appointed to you?" And they answered, "Come here; these two are our children, appointed to us, Lagi-uli
(black sky) and Lagi-ma (clear sky)."

All the stars also were their offspring, but we do not have the names of all the stars (the stars had each its own name),
for they are forgotten now, because they dropped out of use. And surely the last injunction of Tagaloa, the creator, to
Nigbt and Day was that they should produce the Eye-of-the-Sky. That was the reason Tagaloa, the messenger, went
down to ask Night and Day in the first Heavens (if they had any children).

Then answered Night and Day, "Come now; there remain four boys that are not yet appointed, Manu'a, Samoa, the
Sun, and the Moon."

These are the boys that originated the names of 5amoa and Manu'a; these two were the children of Night and Day. The
name of the one is Sa-tia-i-le-moa, 'obstructed by the chest'; the meaning of which is this:- the boy seemed as if he
would not be born, because he was caught by the chest; therefore it was he was called Sa-tia-i-le-moa; that is,
Samoa; the other was born with one side abraded ('manu'a' ); then said Day to Night "Why is this child so greatly
wounded?" therefore the child was called `Manu'a-tele'.

Then said Tagaloa, the messenger, "lt is good; come now; go up into the Ninth Heavens, you four; all are about to
gather together there to form a Council; go up you two also." Then they all gathered together in the Ninth Heavens;
the ground where they held the Council was Malae-a-Toto'a, the council ground of Tranquility.

Then various decrees were made in the Ninth Neavens; the children of Ilu and Mamao were appointed all of them to be
builder and to come down ,from the Eighth Heavens to this (earth) below; perhaps they were ten thousand in all that
were appointed to be builders; they had one name all were (called) Tagaloa. Then they built houses for the Tagaloa;
but the builders did not reach to the Ninth Heavens - the home of Tagaloa-le-fuli - which was called the 'Bright House'
(fale-ula).

Then said Tagaloa, the creator, to Night and Day: "Let those two boys go down below to be chiefs over the offsprings of
Fatu and 'Ele-'ele." But to the end of the names of the two boys was attached the name of Tagaloa-le-fuli who is king
('tupu') of the Ninth Heavens; hence the Samoan kings ('tupu') were named 'Tui of Manu'a-tele ma Samoa atoa' (King
of Manu'a and whole of Samoa).

Then Tagaloa, the creator, said to Night and Day:- Let those two boys, the Sun and the Moon, go and follow you two;
when day comes; let the Sun follow; also when Night comes, the Moon too comes on. These two are the shades of
Tagaloa; they are well known in all the world; the Moon is the shade of Tagaloa; but thus runs the decree of Tagaloa,
the creator. "Let there be one portion of the heavens, in which they pass along, in like manner also shall the Stars pass
along."

Then Tagaloa, the messenger, went to and fro to visit the land, his visit began in the place where are (now) the Eastern
groups, these groups were made to spring up; then he went off to cause the group of Fiji to group up; but the space
between seemed so far off that he could not walk it; then he stood there and turned his face to the Sky, (praying) to
Tagaloa, the creator, and Tagaloa, the immovable; Tagaloa looked down to Tagaloa the messenger, and he made the
Tongan group spring up; then that land sprung up.

Then he turns his face to this Manu'a; and looks up to the heavens, for he is unable to move about; then Tagaloa, the
creator and Tagaloa, the immovable, looked down and caused Savai'i to spring up, then that land grew up.

Then Tagaloa, the messenger, went back to the heavens, and said "We have (now) got countries, the Eastern group
and the Fiji group and the Tongan group, and Savai'i." Then, as all these lands were grown up, Tagaloa, the creator,
went down in a black cloud to look at the countries, and he delighted in them; and he said: "it is good," then he stood
on the top of the mountains to tread them down, that the land might be prepared for people to dwell in. Then he
returned (on high). And Tagaloa, the creator, said (to Tagaloa, the messenger), "Come now; go back by the road you
came; take people to possess the Eastern groups; take Atu (group) and Sasa'e (Eastern)"; that is a pair, they were
conjointly Atu-Sasa'e; these two people came from the heavens among the children of Tagaloa.

Then Tagaloa, the messenger, went again to the Fiji group; he also again took two persons, a pair - their names were
Atu and Fiji - from among all the children of Tagaloa; so that group of islands was called Atu-Fiji.

Then he turned his face towards Tonga, he took (with him) a couple; their names were Atu and Tonga; these two
peopled that group of islands; their names were the Atu-Tonga; these two were the people of Tagaloa.

Then Tagaloa, the messenger, came back to this Manu'a, to Le- Fatu and Le-'Ele-'ele and their children; because the
command of Tagaloa, the creator, (had gone forth) from the heavens, that Le-Fatu and Le-'Ele-'ele should go there to
people this side of the world. Then went out Valu'a and Ti-apa to people Savai'i; these two are the children of Le-Fatu
and Le-'Ele-'ele; these two people are from this Manu'a; Savai'i and this Manu'a are one; these two were the parents of
I'i and Sava; I'i was the girl, and Sava was the boy; that island was peopled by them, and was named Savai'i.

And Tagaloa, the messenger, went again to this Manu'a; then he stood and faced the sky, as if he were making a
prayer; then Tagaloa, the creator looked down, and the Land of Upolu sprang up. Then Tagaloa, the messenger, stood
and again faced the heavens towards Tagaloa, the creator; and Tagaloa, the creator, looked down from the heavens,
and the land of Tutuila sprang up.

Then Tagaloa, the messenger, turned to the heavens, and said "Two lands are now gotten for me to rest in." And
Tagaloa, the creator, said, "Come now, go you with the Peopling vine; take it and place it outside in the sun, leave it
there to bring forth; when you see it has brought forth, tell me." Then he took it and placed it in Salea-au- mua, a
council ground, which is now called the Malae-of-the-sun. Then Tagaloa, the messenger, was walking to and fro; and he
visited the place where the Fue was; he went there and it had brought forth. Then he went back again to tell Tagaloa,
the creator that the Fue had brought forth. Then Tagaloa, the creator, first went down; he went to it; he looked and it
had brought forth something like worms; wonderful was the multitude of worms; then Tagaloa, the creator, shred them
into stripes, and fashioned them into members, so that the head, and the face, and the hands, and the legs were
distinguishable; the, body was now complete, like a man's body; he gave them heart and spirit; four persons grew up
so this land was peopled; there grew up Tele and Upolu, which are the children of the Fue; Tutu and Ila that is a pair;
these are the children of Fue; four persons Tele and Upolu, Tutu and Ila. Tele and Upolu were placed to pople the land
of Upolu-tele; but Tutu and Ila, they two were to people the land now called Tutuila.

Fue, the son of Tagaloa, that came down from heaven, had two names, Fue-Tagata and Fue-sa; he peopled the two flat
lands.

Then Tagaloa gave his parting command thus; "Always show respect to Manu'a; if any one does not, he will be
overtaken by calamity; but let each one do as he likes with his own lands."

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A stone image of Aroonoona, the guardian of the marae


where public religious ceremonies were performed.
Ra'ivavae, Austral Islands.

TAHITI

In Tahiti, the highest mysteries of the traditional lore were the province of the divine chief, the inspirational priest and
the ceremonial priest. Consistent with other Polynesian countries, the chiefs of Tahiti traced their genealogy back to the
gods and they were therefore the living link with the mythological past.

The inspirational priest was the mouthpiece of the gods, the oracle and the diviner, who was consulted before any
events of importance. His revelations were probably the source of new myths and the basis for the reinterpretation of
the old. The ceremonial priest presided over the public ceremonies associated with the birth, marriage, installation and
death of a chief, as well as those which regulated man's association with nature.

Instruction was formal and took place either in permanent buildings or in a specially built structure which was later
destroyed. There were various degrees of learning. In the Society Islands novice priests retired within the sacred
enclosures of Houses-in-which-to-absorb-invocations to learn to recite without hesitancy the prayers, chants,
invocations and ritual of their profession; and men and women of rank join a House of Learning to study mythology,
genealogy, heraldry, astronomy, navigation and geography, as well as the art of competition.

The religious festivals and public celebrations which were stage-managed by the hereditary priests and bards also
absorbed the energies of many other people in the group who excelled as musicians, dances and players. In some
archipelagos the popular entertainers with the young adolescents of the privileged classes, while in the Marquesas the
gay young men who associated together in bands called Ka'ioi were liberally rewarded for their performances at feasts
and ceremonies. In times of peace, they wandered from village to village as strolling players and minstrels. They
rubbed their bodies with perfumed oils and dyed their skins orange with turmeric. They adorned themselves with
feather ruffs, anklets and hair ornaments and wore yellow bark cloth garments. Within these informal groups young
men of talent, no matter how humble their origin, could achieve advancement.
In the more class-bound communities of Tahiti and the neighbouring islands, the loose association of the Ka'ioi was
paralleled by the more formal institution of the Arioi, but membership in this society also gave talented men and
women the opportunity to short-circuit the rigid social divisions, for whatever their social origin, candidates for the
society had simply to work themselves into a frenzied state of nevaneva and break into an Arioi performance. Once
they were accepted as novices, they were trained in the art of pantomime and took part in the comic interludes. They
also performed as a chorus and introduced the program with a chant praising the attractions of the district in which
they were playing, its history and its mythological association.

There were eight graves of Arioi, each with a distinctive dress and tattoo pattern, and members could advance through
successive grades up to the seventh; but the highest order of the red tapa girdle could only be inherited. Even so, it
could not be assumed automatically, it had to be bestowed by the high chief himself. Although complete sexual
freedom was permitted and permanent unions were formed between members, all grades of the Arioi, except the
highest, had to bow to destroy all children born to them. This meant that, in spite of their personal prestige, which they
gained as Arioi, they could never consolidate their power and thereby threaten the established hierarchy. Their reward
came after death, when they entered a special paradise presided over by the god Roma-Tane.

However, the Arioi were much more than a guild of entertainment, for their artistic skills were dedicated to Oro, whom
they called Oro-of-the-laid-down-spear, thus transforming this formidable god of war into a god of peace. Before they
set out on a journey, they ritually demanded that Oro remain behind at home in the marae to safeguard them.

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TUVALU

Tuvalu comprises a chain, 580 kilometres long, of 9 coral islands lying between 5 and 11 degrees south of the equator,
just to the west of the International Date Line. Six of the islands are built around lagoons open to the ocean. They are
Nanumea, Nui, Vaitupu, Nukufetau, Funafuti and Nukulaelae. With the exception of Vaitupu where the sea enters the
lagoon at only one point, these six are all atolls consisting of numerous pieces of land linked by a reef and arranged
rather like a string of beads. Of the other islands, Nanumaga and Niutao have completely landlocked lagoons while
Niulakita has no lagoon at all, but only a swamp at the centre. It has never had a permanent population and has not
been taken into account in the naming of the Tuvalu group. Tuvalu means "group of eight".

The different islands of Tuvalu are all unique in these respects. In most of the islands of Tuvalu people believe that the
Eel and the Flounder were the first creators of Tuvalu and so strong is this belief that nearly all the islands regard the
Eel as tapu among the many fish that are edible. In some places the people believed that the spirits of their great
grandfathers were the creators of their islands. In other islands they believe that a woman who once lived on the moon
was the creator.
NANUMEA

Our traditions say that the first people to settle on the sand banks now called Nunumea were two women named Pai
and Vau. It is said that the neighbouring islets were formed from the sand which fell out of the women's baskets after
they had been sent away from Nanumea by the Tongan warrior Tefolaha who became the ancestor of the people of
Nanumea.

Tefolaha was involved in some battle between Tongan and Samoan warriors. After one of these wars Tefolaha decided
to settle in Samoa. He was given some land by the Samoans for helping them fight the Tongans. But Tefolaha soon
became tired of fighting so he decided to leave Samoa, hoping to meet with new adventures somewhere else. He
travelled for many days, meeting with strong winds and currents until he finally arrived on the beach of Nanumea.

When Tefolaha arrived at Nanumea he thought that the island was uninhabited but he soon found some footprints in
the sand which he followed until he came upon two women, Pai and Vau. They were weaving baskets and gallands
when Tefolaha suddenly appeared. He ordered the women to leave the island at once on the grounds that he was the
owner. The women however, insisted that Tefolaha should leave, unless he could tell them their names. In doing so
they were adopting a defence that is frequently used in the mythology of the Pacific Islands. This mythology reflects
the belief that to know someone's name is in some way to have power over that person. On Funafuti for instance, in a
story collected by Mrs. David, four brothers named Nautiki, Nautaka, Valivalimatanaka and Naka attempted to save
their house from a dwarf named Nariao by telling him that he could hav it only if he guessed their names. Craftily,
Nariao climbed up onto the roof of the house and lowered a large spider onto the forehead of each brother. As he
expected, each one was called by name by the other brothers to warn him of the spider. Nariao heard all this, and
quickly went to the brothers and told them their names. They then departed, leaving the house to him. It was much
the same on Nanumea with Tefolaha and Pai and Vau.

Tefolaha was known in Samoa as "Folasa-Aitu" because he was able to turn himself into a spirit. As he was keen to
know the names of the women he turned himself into a spirit so that he could easily get up into the rafters of the hut
to observe them. Then he took a piece of string, tied a wooden hook to the end of it and, having climbed onto the roof
of the house, lowered the hook down close to one of the women. When the other woman saw it she called out "Pai look
out. There is a hook above your head." Tefolaha then knew the name of that woman was Pai. He now wished to know
the name of the other woman so he pulled up the hook and then lowered the hook close to the other woman's head.
Pai called out "Vau, look out the hook is over your head." Now Tefolaha knew for certain the names of both women.
Using his magic powers he turned himself into a man again and walked towards the two women.

"Why have you come to my island without my permission?" he asked. One of the women said "It is our island. We were
the first to live here." To this Tefolaha said, "There is, as we have already discussed, only one way to sort out who owns
this island. If you can tell me my name you can have the land. If I can tell you what your names are, I can have the
land." The two women agreed. They asked Tefolaha to tell them their names. Tefolaha paused for a little while and then
pointing to one of them, he said, "You are Pai." He then pointed to the other and said "You are Vau." The two women
were very surprised because the man knew their names.

Tefolaha then said, "Now, it is your turn to tell my name." They thought and thought. They gave him this name and
that but none was correct. Tefolaha had now the right to be the owner of Nanumea. He asked the two women to leave
the island and they picked up their baskets of sand and left spilling sand as they went. From the sand they spilled the
islets of Lefogaki, Te Afua-a-Taepoa and Lakena were formed. The two women then landed in Kiribati where they
stayed.

Having won the island, Tefolaha then married a woman named Loukite. They had five daughters. Four of the daughters
were fierce cannibals with beaked fish mouths, so Tefolaha had to kill them. The fifth, named Koli, did not eat people
and so was allowed to live. Some time later Tefolaha returned to Samoa for a visit. On this trip he also visited Tonga,
where he acquired a new wife named Puleala. The children he had by her were all fully human and it is from their three
sons, Tuutaki, Fiaola and Lavega that most Nanumeans traced their descent.

There are other things too, which swerve to remind Nanumeans of the heroic Founder of their community. One is the
belief, still strong among them, that they are the rightful owners of Tefolaha's land in Samoa, although that is now
claimed by the Samoan Government. Another is, or what is at least thought to be, Tefolaha's grave. In 1978 this was
dug up near the residence of Tepou, one of his descendants. A huge flat stone was found in the grave, together with
pieces of decayed bone believed by the people to be the founder's remains.

According to tradition, soon after the first settlers were established on Nanumea their peace was disturbed by visitors
from Tonga. The first of these is said to have been a lone voyager, a prince named Lupo, who came from Nukualofa. He
was first seen by Kaimoko, as inhabitant of Nanumea, who was fishing on the reef. Observing Lupo trying to come up
on the reef, Kaimoko broke the long handle off his tae fagota (a round fishing net with a very long handle used for
catching reef-fish during low tide) and threw it at Lupo. The prince was struck in the eye. It is said that Lupo
immediately turned back for his homeland with the handle still stuck in his eye. He completed his journey, only to be
found lying dead on the beach with the handle of the tae fagota still there in his eye. His countrymen tried to pull it out
while uttering the names of different countries but they could not do so until the name Nanumea was mentioned. The
Tongans then learnt that that was where the prince was killed. Because of the death of Lupo, successive raiding parties
from Tonga visited Nanumea to exact revenge for their dead prince. One of the parties was led by a giant called
Tuulaapoupou. It is said that Lapi, a Nanumean warrior fought the giant on the southern reef of the main island and
killed him with the Kaumaile, the powerful spear which belonged to their warrior ancestor Tefolaha. Tradition tells us
that Lapi was aided in the fight by Tefolaha from the spiritual world.

In yet another attempt to subdue Nanumea, a raiding party from Tonga was destroyed by the combined magic of the
powerful spirits of Nanumea - Tagaloa (the chief spirit), and Maumau and Na Kaa, (the eel and the octopus). The
occupants of only one of the eleven war canoes were allowed to live. It is said that the crew of this particular canoe
were all octopus worshippers and that, consequently, the octopus who was responsible for cutting the anchors off the
war canoes left their canoe alone. Noko and Ila, the Tongan women who were with the survivors of the spared canoe,
warned the Nanumeans to avoid eating the leve, a poisonous fruit which they would be given to eat by the Tongan
warriors. The two women also informed the Nanumea warriors where to find the weapons of the Tongans.

Another raid was notable for the presence of Laukava, a son of a Nanumea woman who had been kidnapped by the
first raiders, a generation before. Despite fighting bravely, this party of Tongans, too, was defeated, but when the
battle was over Laukava's Nanumea ancestry was discovered by the victors. He was spared, and allowed to live on the
island. It was a wise decision, for when the nest generation of Tongan warriors returned, Laukava defeated them single
handed. Moreover, he then persuaded the survivors that a Tongan victory was no longer possible, and so they agreed
never to return. This ended the intermittent fighting and the raids that had regularly killed many Nanumeans and
disturbed island peace.

Meanwhile, despite the raids, Nanumea society continued to function along the lines laid down by Tefolaha. He gave to
his sons by Puleala various responsibilities and privileges which they in turn passed on to their children. Tuutoki was
given the task of cutting up fish offered to the chief by his people. His descendants are called Kau a te Nifo (the
'dividers'). Fiaola was given the task of passing food to the chief. His descendants are called Kau o te Tufa (the
'distributors'). The youngest son, Lavega was given a much greater task. He was to guard and protect his father, the
chief, on his journeys at sea and on land and to carry out his orders. It is said that he was also given power to alter the
directions of the wind so that the chief's journey could be safely completed.

So well did Lavega perform his duties that eventually he was appointed aliki by his father. Mopreover all subsequent
alike claimed descent from him. Thus the Te Aliki a Mua, one of the two aliki clans (aliki maga) which traditionally ruled
(hopo) the island, traces its descent back tohim through a notable ancestor named Teilo. Leadership by a member of
this clan is supposed to be marked by successful ocean fishing and abundant coconut production. The name of the
branch means 'the front chief' and refers to the fact the Teilo was older than his half-brother, Tepaa. They were sons of
the same mother. The other leading clan, Te Aliki a Muli, meaning 'back chief', claims descent from Tepaa. The rule of
this line is characterised by an abundance of easily caught reef fish.

In addition to the two leading maga there are five other chiefly branches which developed later. Normally the ruling
chief was selected from the main branches alternately but occasionally he might be chosen from one of the other.
These others are as follows:

Te Tuinanumea. An offshoot of Aliki a Mua, this branch, which is said to have provided carpenters for the aliki.

Te Aliki o Tai or Tuumau. The function of this branch, which was supposed to care for the welfare of the aliki, has been
well described by Anne Chambers. Its members would organize and form the crew for canoe voyages of the aliki
(hence the word ocean, tai, in the name Tuumau ('stand fast') marks this maga as having been descended from the
aliki Logotau, who stayed to fight the I-Kiribati invaders when when all the other aliki fled. The role of this maga as
leoleo (guardian) of the aliki stems from Logotau's assumption of that role, and members of the branch lecture men
who have been chosen to hopo (reign) on their duties and appropriate behaviour before they take office. Traditionally
the group is not supposed to rule but one of its members did so in 1960 when he was told to do so by Government
officials from Tarawa.

Te Paa Heiloa. The name means having no paa, or defects. Paa is normally applied to mis-shaped wood, which the
members of the maga are skilled at carving into beautiful canoes. They also have a reputation for being physically
beautiful and for being skilled in the use of magic, which enables them to catch very large numbers of fish. Sometimes
they are called Kau o te toki or adze holders.

Taualepuke and Pologa. Both these maga are said to have done 'the work of the aliki' but their specific functions have
been forgotten.

Before the arrival of the Europeans the ruling chief was chosen from the two chiefly branches. In later years some from
other lines were chosen. When a ruling chief was appointed he had to be well behaved. Traditional belief tells that
misfortune would befall the island if the chief's behaviour was not appropriate to his position. The ceremony of
appointment would occur the day after the meeting of the chiefly members to decide who was suitable to be chosen.
The festivities of the day included the ceremonial fighting called tualapalapa, in which the appointed chierf's guardians
symbolically protected, and also hand fed (fakapuku), the new chief in deference to his high status.

The ruling chief used to get a share of food prepared by the chiefly members. This share, called faagaiga, has long
since been passed over to the pastor by the consent of chiefly clans.

At one time the various aliki controlled all the land on Nanumea, but this changed as they gradually handed over much
of it to the tuaatina (their mothers' brothers) who cared for them, to the toa (warriors) who defended the island and to
the fakaalofa (new comers) who were adopted into the kopiti or land-holding extended family groups. By 1900 there
were about seven or eight such groups although by that time they were already dying out. Their decline followed from
the destruction of the old religion, since people approached many of the aitu as members of a particular kopiti. The
death-blow came with the registering of lands in the names of individual owners by D.G. Kennedy in the 1930's.
Meanwhile the aliki families, as a result of their ancestors' generosity, were relatively impoverished, although they still
owned most of the matafenua (that is, the ends of the islets). Thus it is that some of the descendants of Taitai, a later
migrant from Kiribati, have more land than some members of old chiefly families.

The colonial government aimed to reduce the powers of the aliki. The Native Laws of the Ellice Islands in 1894
recognised the High Chief as the main member of the island government. Then in 1916 he was the main member of
the island government. Then in 1916 he was replaced by a magistrate and a lesser ranking Chief Kaupule, while in
1968 the establishment of a system of elected Island Councils means that the aliki of Nanumea would no longer
participate officially in government. Chief Kaupule were supposed to be elected by the island people from among the
aliki but in practice they were often appointed, and summarily dismissed, by touring colonial officials.

The last ulu aliki ('head aliki') to serve on Nanumea, held his position for about five years, until 1968. Most Nanumea
people believe that this malo fou ('new government') put an end to their traditional aliki leader, as well as to the
Famasino and Chief Kaupule combination that had ruled them since 1894. Nevertheless in 1970 they reorganized the
aliki system to the concerns to form a group of twelve men called the kau aliki. This was to attend to the concerns of
the island in a non-governmental way. It would, for instance, organise island events, set rules for wedding feasts, and
care for the ahiga or meeting house. Despite the important of such functions in the life of the community the kau aliki
did not last long. It was disbanded in July 1973 because its members felt that their duties were below their dignity, and
so degraded further their traditional status. The functions of the kau aliki were then taken over by the Island Council.
The final blow to the old chiefly order came in 1974 when the leader of the former kau aliki attempted to register the
group as a club with the Island Executive Officer (IEO) and was refused. The IEO said that the aliki had no place in
modern life, and therefore should not be recognized.

However, much had happened on Nanumea that must be recorded before that point was reached.

After the Tongans, people from Kiribati (or Tungaru) started invading the Tuvalu Islands. Thus Uakeia and Kaitu, two
warriors well known throughout the Tungaru group, conquered Nui but are said to have passed by Nanumea due to the
powerful magic of the Nanumea priests in making currents too strong for them to land.

Nanumea traditional history tells that about 1700-1750 Taitai, Uakeia's son, was more successful and landed on the
island together with his sister Teputi and a fellow warrior from Onotoa named Temotu. Tradition says that Teputi
warned her brother not to land on Nanumea as she had seen, through her magic, the danger they would face if they
tried to land. But Taitai was a great warrior. He despised the warning, and his confidence was rewarded. The three were
accepted and apparently adopted into island families since both Taitai and his sister were both married on Nanumea.
Still, Taitai planned to dominate the island. Gradually, he killed Nanumea warriors secretly as they worked alone in the
bush. Taitai even terrorised the island's chiefs into fleeing to neighbouring islands of the group until he virtually ruled
the island himself. Logotau was the only young chief remaining on Nanumea. He hid himself in the bush with Matio's
assistance. Matio was one of the island's warriors. He, with the young chief, plotted to kill the usurpers. The plan was
successful. They killed Taitai by luring him to dig a post-hole for a new ahiga and stabbed him fatally. Temotu, who was
with a party of dancing girls, was killed when he tried to escape. Teputi, with all the descendants of the Tungaru
immigrants, was allowed to live. The exiled chiefs, meanwhile, used magic visions to keep abreast of developments at
home and decided to return. They agreed that the first of them to return would rule. Logotau, who had never left, was
there to greet them as they arrived and mocked them for their cowardice. Ashamed, they all agreed Logotau should
rule, but he refused, preferring to uphold whoever was made chief and to use his strength to provide continuity as the
chief changed from time to time.

Though Taitai was killed by the people of Nanumea his struggle to settle there was at least partly a success. Today his
exploits are recalled by his descendants who still live on the island. One of them is named after Taitai's father - Uakeia.
Remembered, also, is a grandson of Taitai named Poepoe, who planned to avenge the killing of his grandfather.When
he was forbidden by his father to fulfil his intention Poepoe sent out ina canoe with his uncle Pikia to folau, or commit
suicide at sea. No one heard about what happened to them until nearly 200 years later, in the 1960's, when some
Tuvaluans living in the Solomon Islands heard a local tradition of Poepoe's canoe arriving safely at tiny Anuta Island. An
account of this voyage was also collected by the anthropologist Raymond Firth in 1929.

Not all fighting on Nanumea was against attackers from outside. Occasionally our people fought among themselves.
The most famous such conflict was the 'taro pit war' which occurred about 250-300 years ago. Probably because of a
prolonged drought, the inhabitants of the island had split into two groups, one living on Lakena and the other on the
main island of Nanumea. They were forbidden to travel to each other's residence. Then, as today, there were no taro
pits on the main island of Nanumea. The people living there resented their lack of taro to eat and decided to plant
some on Nanumea, even though that would attract mosquitoes to the island. Accordingly, they secretly raided Lakena
to get taro shoots to plant, and then returned to Nanumea and started digging a pit. The Lakena people ambushed the
Nanumeans while they were at work. Each side then took up positions at rock outcrops (pae) along the lagoon shore,
the Lakena people at Pae and Kamu and the Nanumeans at Pae Hoopuu. Rocks, and spears carved out of coconut
wood, were the main weapons used by each side. The leader's names of this war are forgotten but evidently the
Lakena people were victorious. If the Nanumeans had defeated the people of Lakena, it is likely that Nanumea would
today suffer from the stings of the mosquitoes, as Lakena still does. As it is, the inhabitants of Nanumea, where the
whole population again lives, are proud of their mosquito-free island and prefer the long trip to Lakena to obtain pulaka
to being pestered by mosquitoes.
This was strikingly shown in the 1950's when they forbade the Samoan teacher of the new village school to dig taro
pits at Matagi, just across the lagoon from the main village.

The last fighting between large groups of Nanumeans occurred about 1840, before the missionaries put an end to such
activities. It involved the members of two extended families, one led by a man called Keli and the other by Laukava,
who was seeking to avenge the attempted abduction of his wife. About half of the ten men who fought on each side
were killed.

Violence, exercised by one or two of the leading warriors, was also used as a means of ridding the community of
undesirables. The last time this happened was about 1874, when a man called Kalihi was killed. He was supposed to be
killed by a toa named Moulogo. Instead Moulogo's younger brother Tepou, hearing of the plan, decided to do the job
himself. So he met Kalihi one night and stabbed him fatally in the stomach with a sharp-pointed club. Kalihi took the
club and broke it but before he could do anything more Tepou and men of Nanumea grabbed him and tied him up.
They then put him in a leaking canoe without a paddle and pushed him away from land, which was another way of
disposing of trouble-makers.

The next morning Moulogo arrived from Lakena ready to fight Kalihi, only to learn that he was already dead. Tradition
tells us that Moulogo was furious at the news. He then threatened to kill Tepou, but was persuaded by some of his
relatives to leave brother alone and to join them in accepting the new religion - Christianity. Moulogo agreed, and not
only urged others on the island to become Christians but announced his own wish to be a deacon.

Christianity had a difficult beginning on Nanumea. It was introduced by a man named Tumumuni, who converted his
brother Teuhie, a powerful toa. Eventually they managed to persuade the aliki, Lie, to accept a teacher, but only after
Captain Moresby of the Basilisk in 1872 had demonstrated the frightening power of a naval bombardment. A few
months later Tuilouaa, the first teacher, arrived. In 1874 the Nanumea people showed that they had accepted
Christianity by ceasing to practise the traditional purification ceremonies for strangers. These ceremonies, which could
last all day, were a religious activity, intended to counter any hostile aitu, or tapu. Yet they were also useful in a
practical way in that the ritual washings reduced the risk of strangers bringing harmful infections to the island.

In 1922 (on the last day of the New Year celebrations) the people decided to commemorate the golden jubilee of the
introduction of Christianity by Temumuni. They had no time to prepare a great feast. Instead they decided to complete
the conversation those families who had retained their old beliefs, and named the day Po'o Tefolaha, 'the day of
Tefolaha'. Some years later a Samoan pastor changed the name to Pati, a word formed from the first letters of Po Alo
Tefolaha Iesu, 'the day of Tefolaha and Jesus'. This is now the day on which new members are admitted in the Church
of Tuvalu. The church bell is rung as each member is accepted.

NANUMAGA

Nanumaga folk-tales concerning creation all state that in the beginning the heavens and earth were united, but there
are varying accounts of how they were separated. One popular story tells how Tepuhi, a spirit with the physical form of
a sea-serpent, lifted the heavens to their present positions. Finding that the earth was one massive stretch of land, he
then smashed it up and formed oceans and rivers between the pieces. Tepuhi as the woman, and earth as the man,
later begot the human race.

Another version tells of a substance called Te Atua o Heka which lay between earth and the heavens. As it was slippery
Te Atua o Heka moved about and caused earth and heavens to shift. After some time it expanded and gradually forced
them apart. The human race was also formed from this substance. The first product of it were spirits, both good and
bad, who possessed supernatural powers. Over time, however, they lost these powers and eventually became human.
Te Atua o Heka, meanwhile had become personified as ruler of the heavens and earth and had gone to live in the sky.

Eventually a system of clans evolved and within these clans, life revolved around the family. Traditionally, families
consisted of three or four generations, all living and working together. These extended families were headed by the
most senior elder, who would represent the family in clan meetings. The actual management of each family, however,
was entrusted to his sons (or, if need to be, his daughters). The sons in turn would look upon the eldest among them
as leader but any dispute among them would be settled by the head of the family. When the head of the family died his
position was taken over the his second eldest brother, or his eldest son, not by his widow.

The island, in turn, was ruled by the representatives from each clan, who sat in the council of chiefs with the king. The
king did not normally talk during these meetings, but expressed himself through the representatives of the Magatai
clan, who also conducted the meetings. Decisions were based on consensus.

Besides the clans, two large social groups called Tonga (south) and Tokelau (north) have been formed on the island.
Tonga and Tokelau do not have any significant positions in community affairs and are called together mainly when a
large number of people is needed for a game. People are more loyal to their clans than to either of these groups.

Despite the importance of clan loyalties and the many profound changes that have occurred in their way of life the
people of Nanumaga still retain their traditional respect for their leaders. This is not always to their advantage, as was
strikingly shown in recent times by their enthusiastic acceptance of an ill-conceived investment scheme, which brought
heavy and embarrassing losses to the island. In 1979 a salesman from a United States land-selling company, Green
Valley Acres Incorporated, arrived in Tuvalu. He was Mr Bula Tikotasi O'Brien, a part-Tuvaluan. About the same time
the government was investing money with another American land developer, Mr Sydney Gross. O'Brien had come to
sell the islanders pieces of land in Texas, and the people of Nanumaga, urged by their elders, yielded to his persuasion.
As a result they committed nearly all the funds of the island to paying inflated prices for land which is likely never to be
of any use to them because it is of very poor quality, isolated and without water or other essential services. Moreover,
Tuvalu people have no right of access to USA. It was an expensive way to learn how important it is to be careful when
conducting business but the lesson is not likely to be forgotten.

NIUTAO

Niutao is roughly rectangular in shape and has a tiny land-locked lagoon in the middle. It was believed in former times,
and the story is still told, that the two women, Pai and Vau who made Nanumea, also made Niutao. They came from
Kiribati with baskets of earth which they scattered around to form islands.

The first inhabitants of Niutao were half spirit and half human beings who lived at Mulitefao. Their leader was Kulu who
took the form of a woman. The first human settlers came from Samoa in a canoe captained by a man called Mataika.
He settled at Tamana on the eastern side of the island, whre winds sweep the spray of the surf over between the
people of Tamana and the beings who dwelt at Mulitefao. Mataika had many children. Later, a man by the name of
Faitafaga with a party of ten lesser chiefs, followed Mataika from Samoa. He, too, was accepted at Niutao where he
built a village named Savaea, a little to the north of Mulitefao.

As in other islands in the Atu Tuvalu, only the first male child and the first female child of a marriage were permitted to
live. Later children were held beneath the water of the small lagoon until they were dead. This was to ensure that the
population did not grow out of proportion to the resources of the island. To assist them in the conduct of their affairs,
the people offered prayers to, and sought guidance from, the moon and sun and the spirits of their ancestors. From
these spirits certain elders, of whom Fakaua was the most famous, obtained magical power which enabled them do
such things as calm the sea before fishing expeditions, cause death or insanity and to bring rain. When turtles were
caught at sea or on the steep sandy beaches their heads were ceremonially presented to the chiefs, who sat at the
southern end of the large fale-kaupule or meeting house.

According to our tradition the early inhabitants of Niutao enjoyed a pleasant, easy life, undisturbed by strife, although
this did not last indefinitely. From the north one day came three canoes carrying Kiribati warriors determined to make
war on the peaceful island of Niutao. Unskilled at arms, the people put up little opposition. In the battle the chiefs and
their male descendants were slain.

Shortly afterwards the I-Kiribati departed, leaving behind a grieving people, and an unstable authority system. From
among the survivors on Niutao, a man named Papau became chief. Before he died he appointed his kinsman Kiali to
succeed him. His widow, however, resented the succession of a man not of her family, induced her relative, Kiolili to
depose Kiali and to make himself chief. This in turn aroused the ambition of Fuatia, a man of the same line as Papau
who had supported Kiali, to whom he was also related.

Since Kiolili was an unpopular chief, Fuatia sailed to Nui where he persuaded a number of warriors, to help him
overthrow Kiolili. Landing at night, they joined forces with Fuatia's lieutenant, an ambitious young man with Kiribati
blood called Pokia who had stayed behind when Fuatia went to Nui. While Kiolili and his family were sleeping they
attacked and killed Kiolili but spared his family.

Thus being unchallenged as the leaders of the community, Fuatia and Pokia then divided the island between them.
Fuatia, the elder chief claimed all lands in the interior of the island and on the eastern coast while Pokia, the younger,
held the land above the western beaches.

Neither of them wanted to take an active part in the Government of the island, so each appointed a sub-chief to
represent them. Following that, the people living in the hamlet of Tamana on the eastern coast moved their dwelling to
the west, with the result that the settlements of Mulitefao and Savaea were merged into the one large village where
everybody lived.

Vaguna, assisted by Lito, was the ruling chief of the island when Christianity was introduced. The people had already
learned something of this new religion from Mose a man from Vaitupu, but it was only in 1870 with the arrival of
missionaries that they became seriously interested in it.

The chief welcomed the missionaries and after hearing them expound their message agreed that the people could
become Christians. Most did so. Indeed, among all the people of Niutao only one family did not accept the gospel. This
family, led by a man called Galiga continued to worship in the old way and, in defiance of a ban on nakedness, refused
to wear a skirt or lavalava when swimming in the lagoon.

While much has changed on Niutao over the last century various traditional beliefs have survived. For instance, Taia
Teuai, an old woman who died in 1892 was generally recognized as having inherited from her grandparents the power
to make rain. Even today the people of Niutao still believe that Taia Teuai possessed this power.

NUI
Nui Island consists of eleven main islets separated by passages through which the sea passes freely from ocean to
lagoon. At low tide people can walk across these passages from islet to islet. The coral reef that links the islets is about
200 metres wide. The biggest opening in it is about 2 kilometres long, stretching from Tabontebike to Tehikiai on the
western side of the island. Trees such as coconuts, breadfruit and pandanus, and food crops such as babai, tauroro and
bero grow abundantly there while the lagoon, reef and ocean provide the people with an ample supply of fresh fish.
The permanent settlement is on the main islet of Fenuatapu.

The story is told on Nui that once a group of spirits who lived beyond the horizon decided to swim around the ocean.
After they had gone hundreds of kilometres, their leader decided that they should rest. So he signalled for them to
gather together in a circle. When they had rested he decided that they should mark the spot. Accordingly, they all
dived down to the ocean bed and started heaping up stones, mud and sand into piles that eventually appeared above
the waves. They then swam on, and marked each resting spot in a similar manner. In this way, Nui and many other
islands were made. The matter in which they were made explains, it is said, why they are round in shape and have a
lagoon in the middle.

VAITUPU

The legends of Vaitupu contain many stories of how the island was created, but they differ almost as much from each
other as they do from modern scientific explanation. In regard to the settlement of the island, however, they generally
agree that the first settler was Telematua, who arrived by canoe from Samoa. With him were his son Foumatua and his
grandson Silaga. According to some stories Telematua, who had earlier visited Funafuti, where he landed his wife Futi,
placed his second wife Tupu on Vaitupu. He then divided his time between the two islands. Often the people of Funafuti
would inquire why Telematua went away so often, and where he had gone. Futi would reply, in Samoan, voai ia Tupu,
"to see Tupu." Eventually the phrase became shortened to one word "Vaitupu" - and that is how the island got its
name.

There are six large family groups on Vaitupu that claimed descent from Telematua. In addition to their membership of
these the Vaitupu people are also divided into three principal clans; namely Tua, Lotoa and Kilitai. Each clan now elects
one chief to represent them on the council of three chiefs.

In the 20th century Vaitupu has been notable as the educational centre of Tuvalu. The London Missionary Society
(LMS) opened a school there at Motufoua in 1905. Motufoua was not the only school on Vaitupu. In 1923 the
Government Primary School was shifted there from Funafuti and the school was called Elisefou (New Ellice).

D. G. Kennedy, the first Headmaster of the school was a firm disciplinarian who often used the cricket bat to control his
subjects. Elisefou continued until 1953 until the Government closed it down and shifted the students to King George V
School in Kiribati. Two distinguished Tuvaluans, Sir Penitala Teo, the first Governor General and the first Prime Minister
Toalipi Lauti, were both pupils at Elisefou.

NUKUFETAU

Legend has it that a party of Tongans were the first people to settle on Nukufetau. It is said that when they landed
there they found but one fetau tree growing there and so they called the place Nukufetau, "the island of the fetau".
Shortly afterwards they sailed back to Tonga to obtain some coconuts to plant on the sandbanks of the newly
discovered land, and on returning to Nukufetau settled at Fale on the western part of the island. As time passed, the
population increased and there arose men of outstanding character who were recognized as chiefs.

In order to more effectively protect the island from sea-raiders the early chiefs divided the inhabitants into three main
clans which live in different areas. Fialua, one of the chiefs was put in charge of Lafaga the biggest of the eastern
islets. Tauasa was placed on the northern islet of Motulalo while Lagitupu and Laupapa remained at Fale. In later years,
after the coming of missionaries, the whole population reassembled at Fale, before shifting to nearby Savave, an islet
on the lagoon side of the Fale settlement.

Another, more recent, event that is proudly celebrated on Nukufetau is the opening of a boarding school on the islet of
Motumua on 11th February 1947. Established and operated by the local community entirely at its own expense, the
purpose of the school, named Tutasi, was to fulfill parents' demands that their children obtain a better education,
especially in the English language.

This school lasted until 1951 when, at the request of the Ministry of Education, it was transferred to Savave and
became the Government's Primary School for the whole island. Yet its service to the community was not forgotten. The
new school was called Tutasi Memorial School and Seluka Resture, a grandson of Alfred Restieaux, was sent to set it
up. Interestingly Seluka Resture, when he returned to open Tutasi Memorial School brought with him the first
motorbike on the island. The local children would run around behind his bike and smell the tyre prints. Each year since
it was opened, the 11th February has been celebrated by the students of Tutasi Memorial School, and their parents, as
"Founding Day" in honour of its predecessor.

FUNAFUTI
According to a oral tradition, Funafuti was first inhabited by the porcupine fish whose progeny became men and
women. The accepted tradition of the island, however, and this accords with historical probability, is that the Funafuti
people originated from Samoa. As was the case with Vaitupu, the founding ancestors were Telematua and his two wives
Futi (meaning banana) and Tupu (meaning "holy" or "abundant").

The island is named after Futi; funa is a feminine prefix. The travellers first settled on Funafuna islet before shifting to
Fogafale, where the main village is still situated. Later, leaving Futi on Funafuti, Telematua, searching for a land of
greater fertility and where fresh water was more plentiful, discovered Vaitupu. There he left Tupu and henceforth he
divided his time between the two islands.

The Tongans used to attack Funafuti at intervals. After each attack they would kidnap a child and take it home with
them so that, as the child grew up, they could work out when the next generation on Funafuti would be old enough to
fight. They would then mount another raid, and repeat their performance until they were defeated and did not return.
Thereafter, Funafuti was free of foreign marauders until the Peruvian slave raids of the 19th century.

The power on Funafuti remained in the hands of the chiefs until the coming of the Samoan pastors brought the system
to an end. Iakopa, the chief at the time the first pastor arrived, surrendered his place of honour to the pastor and also
gave up receiving the turtle's head.

Henceforth that, too was given to the pastor. The end was then in sight. Iakopa's son, Elia, who died in 1902 was the
last chief. He was also the one who allowed Captain Davis to raise the British flag on Funafuti in 1892, although it is
said that before he did so the sailors had scared him by parading outside with their rifles.

NUKULAELAE

According to some old men, a white-skinned man was the first person to sight the island. This man, who came alone,
did not settle as there were no trees and all the land was barren. Nukulaelae, means "the land of sands".

Later, according to tradition, another man came. This was Valoa from Vaitupu, who discovered Nukulaelae while on a
fishing expedition. He did not stay long but returned to Vaitupu to obtain coconut seedlings which he soon afterwards
planted on Nukulaelae. Thereafter, he made many trips from Vaitupu to Nukulaelae, each time bringing more nuts to
plant. At length, when the trees had begun to bear fruit he asked the chief of Vaitupu for permission to settle on
Nukulaelae.

Valoa was accompanied to Nukulaelae by his two sons Moeva and Katuli and a daughter named Teaalo. Soon
afterwards a warrior named Takauapa, from Funafuti raided the island and the two boys were killed in battle, but
Teaalo was spared and bore children.

Others who had come with Valoa from Vaitupu included his servants Vave and Tapo. After his death these two
succeeded him as chiefs and ruled the island jointly. Vave and Tapo each had one son, named Noa and Kaituloa,
respectively. These two succeeded their fathers as chiefs but when they in turn died the position ceased to be
hereditary. Instead, their successors were chosen by the community although one was still selected from among the
descendants of Vave and the other from the family of Tapo.

In 1860 there were about 300 people on Nukulaelae, contentedly living their traditional life and honouring their spirits.
In 1861 Christianity was introduced by the Cook Islands castaway Elekana and in 1863 two-thirds of the people were
kidnapped by Peruvian slavers. It is said that when the vessel arrived the crew members went ashore and persuaded
the islanders to come aboard for a feast. Not knowing that they were being tricked, many of them did so, among them
couples with children. They were taken away to work in the phosphate mines in the Chincha Islands off the coast of
Peru. None of them ever returned. In 1892 Captain Davis of the "Royalist" counted only 95 people on Nukulaelae.

NIULAKITA

Niulakita is a southern most island in the Tuvalu group and has no lagoon at all but only a swamp at its centre. It was
not taken into account in the naming of the Tuvalu group as Tuvalu means a "group of eight".

The famous Spanish explorer Alvaro de Mendana was the first to discover Niulakita in 1595 and called it La Solitaria;
George Bennett, a Nantucket whaler in 1821 named it Independence; while others have called it Sophia and Rocky.
Niulakita has never had a permanent population of its own so it was well suited to being claimed by people from
elsewhere. The American trader Harry S. Moors, of Samoa, exploited its guano deposit late last century. In 1914 he
sold it to E.F.H. Allen of the Samoa Shipping and Trading Company, which also maintained a trading station on Funafuti.

The Allen's connection with Niulakita (and, indeed, with Tuvalu) ended in 1916. That year the island was purchased by
Burns Philp and Co. of Sydney. They in turn, sold it in 1944 to the Western Pacific High Commission who would
administer it for the benefit of Tuvalu.

In 1946 a Lands Commissioner toured the group to find out how much land each island had for its inhabitants. He
discovered that Niutao had the highest population density. To relieve the pressure on the land he suggested to the old
men of the island that some of their people could go to Tonga or, if they preferred, they could exploit Niulakita. They
chose the latter. A more recent but less notable event in the history of Niutao has thus been its acquisition of Niulakita.

The first group of workers, with their wives and children, were sent to Niulakita in 1949 to cut copra. When they
arrived they found some Vaitupu people there. These were returned to their home leaving their few cows behind. The
Niutao people were rather scared of these animals which they did not have on their island.

There was no school on the island in those days. Its children could not read nor write, although they were given a little
instruction by a man named Loela, who had remained behind when the Vaitupuans left. A school was opened there in
1980 and operates as an extension of the one at Niutao. Similarly, the Niutao council is responsible for the labourers at
Niulakita.

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KIRIBATI

Stories telling the history of the Gilbert Islands (Kiribati) were passed from mouth to mouth, and from generation to
generation. On every island there were, and are, certain families known for their skills as story tellers. The story tellers
do not always agree and different families and islands often have different versions of the same story. Furthermore, the
myths from some islands progress systematically through the creation process while those from other islands tend to
omit some details on some aspects of creation.

Despite these many differences, however, there are obvious similarities. The creation story that follows is based mainly
on the traditions of Beru and other islands whose legendary history is closely associated with that island.

NAREAU THE CREATOR

Long, long ago, there was Nareau. Nareau means 'the spider'. He was a god, but a god who could do human things. No
one knew his origin, from where he was, or who his parents were. He was floating in space all alone, sleeping.

While he was floating, he dreamt that somebody called his name, "Nareau, why do you lie like that doing nothing?"
Nareau was very surprised to hear somebody call his name. He opened his eyes to see who it was. He could not see
anyone. There was nobody there. His name was called yet again, for the third time. He began to realise that there was
no one calling his name but that it was just a dream. When he woke the third time, he began to stretch his arms and
legs and yawn and sneeze.

He then said, "Who calls my name?" Nobody answered, for he was alone and no one else was there. He began to look
around. He saw nothing but emptiness. When he looked down, he saw a sealed object floating below him. It was Te
Bomatemaki (The Earth and Sky Sealed Together).

NAREAU THE CREATOR AND TE BOMATEMAKI

When Nareau the Creator saw Te Bomatemaki floating far below he was very curious about it, and to satisfy his
curiosity he descended and stood on it and looked at it carefully. He thought of opening it to see what it was like inside.
Taking his tail called Kaweten bukin Nareau (The Barb of the Spider), he walked about on Te Bomatemaki with his tail,
first to the north and chanted:

I stamp, I stamp,
Over the skies to the northward;
There are neither spirits nor men;
But only I,
The Powerful Nareau.

He repeated the same process till he had completed four rounds in Te Bomatemaki, first to the north, then to the
south, to the east and to the west. When he had done this he noticed that nothing had happened. There was neither a
crack nor an opening on the surface of Te Bomatemaki. He thought again, and eventually tried to slit it open. He
crouched down and started to slit Te Bomatemaki with his tail, while chanting these words:

Dense, dense, rock, rock,


Crack of what? Crack of rock,
Crack of what? Crack of boulder,
Is the Powerful Nareau
Oh! Let it crack.

He repeated the same process three times. As a result, a crack appeared on Te Bomatemaki, and he forced it open
with his tail: the 'Barb'.

After he had pulled out his tail there remained a hole on Te Bomatemaki. He put his right hand into the hole and felt
sand. He picked it up. Then he it put in his left hand and felt water. Having looked at these, he took sand and water
and combined them to form stone. He put the stone back into the hole and said "You will stay there as Na Atibu
(stone). Lie with Nei Teakea (Emptiness) and bear Nareau Tekikiteia (Nareau the Wise)." From the union with Na Atibu,
Nei Teakea became pregnant and gave birth to Nareau the Wise, in accordance with the instructions of Nareau the
Creator.

Nareau the Creator was on Te Bomatemaki while Nareau the Wise was inside it. Now they could talk to each other.
Nareau the Creator commanded Nareau the Wise to stay on his father, the Stone (Na Atibu).

As time passed, Nareau the Wise asked Nareau the Creator, "What can I do inside here? It is too low and I cnnot move
about." In reply, Nareau the Creator said, "Ah! You are right. You had better lift it up a little."Then Nareau the Creator
left to Nareau the Wise the responsibility for completing the task of creation.

SEPARATING THE EARTH AND THE SKY

When Nareau the Wise had lifted the upper portion of Te Bomatemaki a little higher, he was aware of himself and his
surroundings. When he looked around he saw stiff bodies lying beneath the cover he had raised. They were spirits just
as he was. He called this cover Robungini Karawa or (The Darkened Image of Sky).
The first task which Nareau the Wise had to do was to raise the cover even higher. So he went to the stiff bodies lying
inside and broke parts of them to make them

lexible so that they could move. He also noticed that they could not speak, so he chanted these words:
Why lying, why lying.

Crowd-of-spirits (bunanti)
Within Te Bomatemaki
Arise for we'll converse
Speak for we'll speak.

When they began to converse, Nareau the Wise knew that these spirits had life in them. Therefore, he gave them
names that he thought suited them. Some of these names were:

Uka (blowing - the essence of moving air)


Nabawe (antiquity - the essence of age)
Karitoro (push into heap - the essence of energy)
Kanaweawe (lofty - the essence of dimension)
Ngkoangkoa (long, long ago - the essence of time)
Riiki (coming into existence, growing - the essence of procreation)
Auriaria (rising, coming from afar - the essence of light)
Nei Kika (the octopus)
Nei Tituabine (the sting ray, the cockroach)
Nei Tewenei (the comet)
There were many others.
After Nareau the Wise had given them names, he went to Nareau the Creator to seek advice as to how to separate the
earth and the sky. He was advised to try alone, at first using his power of magic.
Nareau the Wise returned to the inside of Te Bomatemaka and began his work. He then chanted this prophecy:
Speak of the sky and move it.
Speak of the sky and lift it.
Rest it on its pillar, Te Kaintikuaba (The Tree of Life)
May fruits of this, my sceptre, come forth.
Speak Riiki, speak Nei Tituabine,
For Samoa the first land.
And Beru the second land.

There are different versions of which was the first land and which was the second. Those from Beru and Nikunau have
Samoa as the first of all lands and then Nikunau have Samoa as the first of all lands and then their respective islands
as the second. Those from Tarawa and Tabiteuea say that their island was the first to be created. The actual creation of
lands is explained in the next chapter about the Tree of Life.
After Nareau had chanted those words, the upper portion of Te Bomatemaki lifted a little, and the crowd of spirits, who
by then could speak and understand, were able to move. Nareau the Wise told them that they should co-operate with
him to lift it further, thus separating the sky and the earth. They agreed, and pushed upwards while together they
shouted encouragement, "Let's push together, oh!"

During this process, some were chopping at roots of the cover which were stuck onto what was to become the earth.
Others held Te Bomatemaki in shape as it started to expand.
When most of the people inside had reached as high as they could and were unable to raise the skies any further,
Nareau the Wise called one named Kanaweawe (lofty) and asked him to lift it by himself. When he had reached his full
height and could not raise it any higher, Nareau the Wise called Riiki (who had the power to grow) and who was lying
on his stomach near by. Riiki replied that he was hungry. So Nareau went to Nei Kika (the octopus) who had ten legs
and took off two of them (thus leaving her with eight) and gave them to Riiki to eat. Nareau the Wise tapped on Riiki's
chest while he was eating.
With the tapping he chanted these words:

The taps for Riiki's breast:


To implant courage,
And to make him stand.
Firm be his hands,
Firm be his feet,
Firm be his body,
We shall strengthen him.
Lift the sky,
Lift the sky,
Lift higher and higher still.
Let's all lift together, oh!

As Riiki lifted the upper portion of Te Bomatemaki, Nareau the Wise ran below to the north and assisted him by
chanting:

Lift yourself Riiki and lift,


Let there be a tail,
Oh! Let there be a tallest.
I shall run under the skies to the south.
I think I will meet northerly wind,
She shall bear my children.
A crowd of spirits in the north,
Let there be north.

When Nareau the Wise stopped running northwards, Riiki shouted from above to him, "How is it?" Nareau replied,
"Raise it higher." Riiki obeyed. Again Nareau resumed running, this time in the opposite direction, chanting:

Lift yourself Riiki and lift,


Let there be a tail,
Oh! Let there be a tallest.
I shall run under the skies to the north.
I think I will meet southerly wind,
She shall bear my children.
A crowd of spirits in the south,
Let there be south.

Riiki again shouted from above, "How is it?" Nareau replied, "Raise it higher," and Riiki continued. Nareau now ran in a
westerly direction and then to the east chanting the same words. Thus, he created North, South, West and East, and
Bunanti or the Crowd of Spirits.
Now he Crowd of Spirits could move freely, although Riiki had not yet reached his maximum height. The only thing
which was lacking was light. There was a weak light produced once Te Bomatemaki was raised, but it was not bright
enough to see easily and it would not have been sufficient even if Riiki had raised himself higher.
Therefore Nareau the Wise appealed to Nareau the Creator, who was above Te Bomatemaki, and was ordered to slay
Na Atibu, his father, from whose body sufficient light could be created.

THE SUN, THE MOON AND THE STARS

Nareau the Wise slew Na Atibu, his own father, and laid him down with his head towards the east. He pulled out his
father's right eye and threw it to the eastern portion of the sky and it became the sun. He pulled the left eye and threw
it into the western sky and it became the moon and its task was to help the sun to give light. He took the ribs and
threw them into the midst of the sky. They shattered into minute particles which became stars. The myths of some
islands, such as Nikunau, suggest the stars were created from Na Atibu's head.

THE WEATHER

Nareau the Wise then took his father's right hand and threw it northward and said, "Go and become the northerly wind,
and you shall be associated with strong winds, rain and bad weather." He then pulled off the left hand and threw it
southward and said, "Go and become the southerly wind, and you shall be associated with light winds and calm days.
These will be days to labour for food."
Then he tore off the right leg of his father, Na Atibu, and threw it westward and said, "Go and become the westerly
wind, and you shall be associated with fine days for navigation."

Nareau the Wise gathered all the intestines and threw them upwards and they became people. The spine, and the
remnants of flesh and skin, remained to become Te Kaintikuaba and Samoa, the first of all lands, respectively.

Nareau the Wise went back to Riiki and asked him to raise the sky as high as he could. As Riiki tried to do this, Nareau
the Wise stamped hard on his tail, Riiki jerked with pain and carried the upper portion of Te Bomatemaki to its present
height and he stayed there in the sky as Aiabu (The Great Milky Way).
The earth, the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars and the weather had all been created by Nareau the Creator and
Nareau the Wise, and their world was inhabited by spirits. Now we turn to the creation of lands and people.

These stories of the creation emphasize the Samoan migration which has come to dominate the traditions today. This is
to be expected as that migration came more recently and brought new ideas and ways of life. Other stories,
particularly in the northern islands, tell of connections with the Marshallese and other Micronesians with whom the
Gilbertese (I-Kiribati) have older common origins of language, biology and culture.

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MARSHALL ISLANDS

In the Marshall Islands, myths explaining navigational skills, such as the judgment of position and weather from the
observation of natural phenomena were included in the training of navigators. No other Micronesians suffered from the
unwanted attentions of Europeans quite so rapidly or dramatically as the Chamorro, who were the indigenous
population of the Mariana Islands. The strategic position of the Mariana Islands meant that freebooters, whalers,
blackbirders and traders were inevitably followed by the official claim-staking of both European and Asian nations.

The high islands of the Mariana group lie in a north-south line and served as stepping stones out of Asia into the
Pacific. South of them the Caroline archipelago spread like a net from east to west for some 2,000 miles. Farther east
the low-lying atolls of the Marshall and Gilbert Islands (now Kiribati), together with the Polynesian Ellice Islands (now
Tuvalu), form a continuous chain which extends south-eastward into western Polynesia.

The principal protagonists in the area were Spain, Germany, Japan, Britain and America. The prizes for which they
contended were natural resources such as the phosphates of Nauru and Ocean Island (Banaba); the copra, the shell
and the fish and, in the case of Japan, space for surplus population. Although the myths of many Micronesian islands
have been lost, some were recorded by many travellers and missionaries. Since World War 2, this knowledge had been
supplemented by folklore studies at several significant tertiary institutions.

Earlier ethnological studies including those by Gilbert Archey, Director of the Auckland War Memorial Museum,
published in 1945, indicated that he had been unable to find in Micronesia some of the ideas or philosophy of nearby
Malaysia or China suggesting that the area may be too scattered, too diffuse and sieve-like to have retained such
influences. Archey did suggest however that future studies may disclose more precise relationships between the
mythology of Indonesia and Micronesia.
Certainly, this seems to have been the case with some commonality apparent in some of the folklore of Asia and
Micronesia. One particular example of this is the myth of a girl who comes either from the sea or the sky to watch men
dance or to steal something. She is prevented from returning home because a man hides either her wings or her tail.
This is a theme of tremendous antiquity with elements of this story being found in a story from the Indian Rig Veda
recorded over 3,000 years ago.

Myths were sometimes part of the secret law of a special group. In the Marshall Islands, myths explaining navigational
skills, such as the judgment of position and weather from the observation of natural phenomena were included in the
training of navigators.

In the Marshall Islands the being who was responsible for creation was Lowa, perhaps a cognate of the Polynesian sea
deity-creator god Tagaloa. He brought the islands into existence by merely making the magic sound "Mmmmm". Some
said he dwelt in a primeval sea and others said that he came down from the sky. His offspring, a boy and a girl, were
born from a blood blister on his leg. It is not clear however whether they were supernatural beings or the first humans.

The Micronesians did not have a myth about a hero like Maui who sought to obtain immortality for man. It was usually
assumed that the gods had decreed that man was to be mortal. The souls of the dead journey either northward or
westward to the leaping place which leads either to an island of the dead, or skyward, or underground. Some Marshall

Islanders say that the dead must swim a channel to reach the island of Nako, where the spirit food is everlasting, but
some are weighted down by their sins and sink.
The favourite bogymen of the Micronesian islands are cannibal spirits or ogres who are characterized by their brute
strength and stupidity. The Marshall Islands version of the myth of the two brothers, Rongerik (small cheeks) and
Rongelap (large cheeks), who lend their names to two islands in that group, appear to have been lost but stories about
the brothers and the very large family of seafaring deities to which they belong have been recorded. There are
bewildering variations in the names of the different family members as well as shifts in relationships and attributes.
Very often Palulop, the great canoe captain, is said to have been the father of the family and his most distinguished son
is Aluluei. Sometimes the relationships are reversed, but whether he is father or son, Aluluei is always the great
teacher and patron of the arts of navigation.

The following story tells how the reefs were formed on Majuro by a man named Letao who was a famous trickster as
well as having great strength. Letao admired the canoe of a king and schemed to get it from him. To do this, he built
an attractive but useless canoe with which to fool the king into believing that this canoe was superior to his own. Letao
built his attractive canoe from a wood called kone which is strong and shines but will not float. He then went to the
king and offered to exchange canoes and when the king arrived in the morning the canoe was sitting on some large
rocks giving the appearance of floating on the water.

The king was very impressed with the appearance of Letao's canoe and traded his own canoe for it not knowing that
Letao's canoe was not seaworthy. Letao hurried away, leaving the king ashore admiring his new boat. The king then
waded out into the lagoon and boarded his new canoe but when he tried to paddle it away it was pushed from the
rocks and sank to the bottom of the lagoon.

The king was soaking wet and furious and yelled for his subjects to pursue and capture the tricky Letao. As the canoe
raced after Letao, he was laughing and singing. As his pursuers closed in, Letao kicked up sand and coral from the
bottom of the lagoon causing a reef to form that blocked their way. Still laughing and singing Letao was last seen
sailing into the sea beyond this reef that became known as Majuro.

Another story concerns a man called Lowakalle who was a very big and strong man as well as a fearful fighter who
lived on Arno Atoll. One day, he left his people and went to live alone on an isolated islet called Ijoen. No one would
visit him here because he had warned all the people to stay away and after a long time he was nearly forgotten and his
people did not know if he were dead or alive.

Later on, the people of Arno began to complain about a stranger who visited their village, stealing their most precious
possession. Nobody knew who the thief was but they began to suspect it was in fact Lowakalle and they were right.
Lowakalle would raid villages both day and night by swimming from the islet Ijoen.
His crime then became worse and he would steal all the food he saw at the cooking fires and he would kill anyone who
got in his way. The situation became so desperate that a meeting was called of all the elders of the villages who
decided on a plan to eliminate the monster Lowakalle. They sent out many canoes which caught many fish and they
then cut all of their catch into pieces and threw them into the sea attracting many sharks.

Lowakalle decided that many fish were being caught and he began to swim towards the area to steal them. In doing
so, he swam right into the centre of the shark who killed Lowakalle and ate him. The fishermen then returned home to
spread the word that Lowakalle had been killed. The people of Arno felt safe again and named the reef where he had
been killed "Lowakalle" and it has this name until today.

PALAU

Storyboards were introduced into Palau by a Japanese artist during the Japanese occupation of Palau and adapted by
the islanders to record their own traditions.
The stories that are told on the Palau storyboards are usually old Palauan legends or alternatively legends from
different islands especially Yap, Federated States of Micronesia.

The people of Palau have long been both good story tellers and skilful in woodcarving. As a result, the practice of telling
stories through woodcarvings or storyboards is a natural extension. The storyboards themselves can be made from
several good hard woods that are grown on Palau. The first of these is ironwood, or dort as it is known in the Palauan
language. This is the preferred kind of wood as it is both strong and long lasting. If ironwood cannot be obtained either
because it is not available or too expensive, imported woods are occasionally used for storyboards.

The construction of a storyboard may take some weeks to complete depending upon its size. In some cases, carvers
had been known to produce poor quality work in order to meet the increasing demand from tourists and visitors to
Palau. When the construction of the storyboard is complete, it will be finished by painting it with different colours or
alternatively it will be treated so that the wood retains its natural colours. Tourists tend to prefer the painted board
however the storyboards that retain the natural shades of the wood appear most attractive. With these, the wood is
finished using black and brown shoe polish which causes it to shine and retain the true shades of the wood.

The stories that are told on the storyboards are usually old Palauan legends or alternatively legends from different
islands especially Yap, Federated States of Micronesia. Some of the legends that may be featured on the storyboards
are as follows:

Ngirngemelas tells the story about a brave Palauan warrior and his deeds.
Uwab is a story about a legendary giant.
Surech ma Tulei is the story about two lovers.
Melechotech-a-chau is a legend about a giant with an unbelievably large penis.
Palauan storyboards can be quite expensive by local standards and are usually purchased by tourists or high
government officials and businessmen who are able to afford them. Normally, about 90 per cent of Palauan storyboards
are sold to visitors who normally receive an attached paper explaining the story associated with the board. These
papers can, over a period of time be lost or misplaced resulting in the story associated with the storyboards becoming
obscure.

THE LEGEND OF WHY A GIRL BECAME A DUGONG IN PALAU

Once there lived an old man and his wife. One day the wife went to her taro patch while her husband remained at
home. While she was away, the husband was turned into a nut tree by an evil spirit and when she returned he was
nowhere to be seen. She called out for him but could get no answer and she knew something strange must have
happened. She then called out the names of all the plants nearby hoping for a response. She called the lemon tree, the
banana tree, the pineapple plants, the breadfruit tree and the many others but she got no response.

For a while she sat down to rest and then remembered that she had not called out to the nut tree. So she gathered all
her strength and shouted loudly to the nut tree. She shouted so loudly that she caused a branch of the tree to bend
and the blood dripped down from it. The wife then cried because she knew that her husband had been turned into that
nut tree.

She then remained alone until one day she felt a stirring in her wound and she knew that she was pregnant. Soon she
delivered a beautiful baby girl and as the girl grew up she asked about her father only to be told that he had died a
long time ago and not to think about him.
The girl was very obedient and her mother treated her kindly. She was well looked after and fed but was told she must
never eat the nuts from the nearby nut tree. The girl obeyed her mother's wishes.

The girl eventually became very curious about the nut tree and one day while her mother was working in the taro
patch, the girl picked some nuts from the tree and cracked them. When she was about to eat the nuts, her mother
suddenly appeared and the girl felt very ashamed for disobeying her mother. What she did was to put the nuts in her
mouth so her mother could not see them and ran towards the sea. Her mother saw what happened however and
followed the daughter begging her not to swallow the nuts. The daughter continued running into the sea and was
turned into a dugong and then disappeared.
The girl had the nuts in her mouth but had not swallowed them when she was turned into the dugong. Today, one can
see a bulging in the jaws of the dugong where the nuts were in the girl's mouth.

PALAU FUNERAL CUSTOMS

When a death occurs on Palau, immediate relatives of the deceased have specific responsibilities. The head of the clan
of the deceased notifies all relatives who, with the help of others in the community will build a coffin and the
deceased's sister will prepare the body for burial. The body is then placed in the centre of the abai or community
house.

The sister-in-law of the deceased is responsible for bringing food which should be served to the visitors. In this she will
be helped by the female relatives from both sides of the family. In return, the female visitors contribute such gifts as
cloth, soap, fine woven mats and Palauan money to the sister-in-law.

The burial ceremony takes place after one or two days, but when a chief dies it might wait up to four days. While the
body is at the community house, there are specific places where the sister of the deceased sits while the other relatives
sit opposite to each other. When a married man dies, the four grandparents, if they are living, sit opposite each other
in pairs at the coffin. The wife's place is at the foot on one side while the mother takes the foot at the other side of the
coffin. This is because at this time the wife will be too grief-stricken to be close to the head of her husband. The sister
sits at the head and are expected to place their faces close to the face of the dead brother and wail loudly in a manner
that is forbidden to the wife. The wife is expected to weep, but must keep her composure.

Food is served to visitors at this time in accordance with the particular designated order. The chief is served first, then
the women around the coffin, and then those who are outside, and lastly, those who are cooking food. Either a man or
a woman from a higher clan will serve. The reason for this is that the server must be familiar with high clan customs to
ensure that the chief is properly served. Should this not be done, the parents of the dead person may be fined in
Palauan money.
The burial site is selected by the chief, the father of the deceased and the closest relatives. Palauans have different
cemeteries such as community cemeteries, high clan, low clan and family graveyards. The time of burial will then be
determined by the elders after the grave has been dug. It is customary to bury the dead between 3 and 5 p.m. Before
the burial, all the sons, daughters and sisters will make a final visit to the body before the coffin is closed.

The coffin is carried from the community centre, head first, cradled in a rope sling between bamboo poles. The first to
leave will then be the sisters who carry with them two woven mats. The others follow in procession to the cemetery
and upon arrival one mat is placed in the grave. The coffin is placed on this mat and the other mat will cover the top of
the coffin. After the coffin is lowered into the grave, the mourners walk by, each dropping a handful of soil into it.
After the burial, everybody returns to the community house where the body had been kept and food is served. After
this, they are free to return to their homes. On the seventh day after the burial, the relatives visit the grave and
enclose it in cement. This is the final day of official mourning.
YAP

According to Yapese mythology, the island of Yap, a long time ago, contained only a few people. There was only one
chief and he was worshipped by the whole island which was populated by a mixture of people and ghosts. The chief
heard about a very beautiful lady who was a ghost and stayed on a stone outside of the village. She was very evasive
and each time the people tried to capture her, she would hide under the stone. The chief brought together all of his
workers and slaves to try and work out how the ghost could be captured. As it turned out, there was a man in a group
who had his eyes in the back of his head and so when he was going forward, he appeared to be going backwards.

A plan was devised which involved flying kites to distract the lady while the man would walk up and capture her with a
net while he seemed to be walking in the opposite direction. The plan was successful and the beautiful ghost-lady was
taken prisoner and brought to the chief.

The lady's name was Leebirang and the chief was Rugog, and they were soon married. Leebirang however became very
lonely and so her mother came to visit her. All of the people of Tomil, one of the islands of Yap, were told by the chief
to feed the mother, who had a great appetite. This they did, however, they soon got tired of it as the mother ate so
much. The mother then had to steal sugar cane from the chief's garden. When the chief discovered that his sugar cane
had been stolen, he set a trap and the mother was caught in it. This caused a great typhoon to hit the island with the
seas being so high that everyone was washed away except for Leebirang and Rugog.

The chief and his ghost-lady eventually had seven sons and they were distributed among seven municipalities of Yap,
and this is how the islands became populated again. In the 18th century, it is said that the chief's grave was dug up in
order to find out how tall he had been. It was discovered that he measured over 7 feet and was the tallest among
Micronesians. A dance was composed for him that is still performed on Yap today.

DANCING

Yapese people are known throughout Micronesia for their skill in traditional dancing. Dances are performed whenever
there is a feast or on special occasions such as the marriage of a chief. It is not just one section of the society who
dances but rather everybody is expected to know how to dance. As soon as children are mature enough to learn the
instructions, their parents began teaching them.

In some dances, men, women and children perform together. In others, only men do the dancing. Men, women and
children dance together in the famous Yapese stick dance and the marching dance. A very common dance, the
standing dance is performed by men and boys and when women perform the standing dance, the men and boys are
not allowed to participate. Dances are performed whenever there is a feast or on special occasions such as the
marriage of a chief.
On Yap, men from different municipalities often compete with each other in dancing competitions. Men and women do
not normally compete against each other as each specializes in different dance forms with the women being
particularly adept at the sitting dance.

In the caste system of Yap, different castes are not permitted to compete against each other but rather they compete
amongst themselves. Lower caste members cannot dance whenever they choose but must wait for an occasion when
they are asked to do so by higher caste members. There was also a very common standing dance that is performed by
women in the low caste. They can only perform when the chief tells them and they cannot dance in the chief's building.
Whenever the chief wants them to perform, he will announce the date and the place where the dance will be held so
that everyone can come and watch.

TRADITIONAL YAPESE MONEY

One unique feature of Yapese society is the traditional Yapese money of which there are five important kinds. The first
of these is called Mmbul money which is about 2 feet in diameter. The second type is Gaw money which is very long
and can be up to 10 feet in length. The third type, Ray money, comes in various sizes with the larger ones being 12
feet high and 12 feet wide. Shell money is called Yar and also comes in different sizes with the largest one being about
10 inches long and 5 inches wide. Finally, Reng money is quite small and is only about 1 foot in diameter.

The different kinds of money have different values. Among Gaw money, one called Angumang is the most valuable
because it was the first one brought to Yap. Among the Yar shell money, one called Balaw is considered to be of most
value. With Reng money, the largest and brightest, are best. A Ray money, called Rayningochol, is valued because it
was brought to Yap from Palau by raft. Each item of Mmbul money has the same value.

Some Yapese money come from Yap and some from distant places. Mmbul is from the municipality called Aalipebinaw
on Yap. Gaw was brought to Yap from an island called Ganat near Pohnpei. It is believed that Yar was brought from
New Guinea while Ray comes from Palau and Reng from Yap. Traditionally, Yapese money had many uses in the past,
some of which are still practised today. For example, Ray is still used to buy land and the Yar shell money is still used
to buy a bride. Money was also used to give others at dances - this was not meant to buy anything but simply to say
thanks because the people were happy.

THE MAGIC OF YAP

Magic has always played an important part in the lives of the people of Yap. Different magicians used their skills for
different purposes while some magic is used for good purposes and other magic is the opposite. For example, one
magician may use his skill for rain and when there is a drought, it is said that he can bring rain in a few days. He can
also control typhoons by keeping them away from the islands or getting rid of them when they come. In doing this, the
material he uses is a piece of stone. He can turn the stone in different ways to cause rain to come or typhoons to
leave. Another magician has a special talent to deal with sickness and if people have an epidemic disease, the Yapese
elders will ask the magician to get rid of it.

The people of Yap will go to a magician whenever something happens to them. For example, when someone is in
trouble and it is known by the man who the person is that has caused the trouble, he will go to a magician for help.
Magic will be used to solve the problem. However, the magician must first be paid and it is very expensive to buy magic
that is to be used against another person. Also, on occasions, magic may be used by one village against another.

Magic can also be used in affairs of the heart. For example, a man may use magic on a woman he desires who does not
care for him. He will go to the magician and receive a special solution which he must try and spread on the woman.
This will make her change her mind and fall in love with the man. This solution can also be used by a woman if she
wants a particular man to fall in love with her.

In doing their work, the magicians of Yap use many materials. Some of these are eggs, coconut fronds, crabs, bones,
small stones and plants. In making magic, magicians will first find the particular material required for an offering to be
made to the spirits. They place the offering in a shrine while holding coconut fronds that they can shake many times.
They will speak to the spirit, call on their relatives who have died, and will speak the language of the spirit rather than
in Yapese.
There are two different kinds of shrines associated with magic rituals on Yap. The first is called Tocue, which means
altar in Yapese. This shrine belongs to a single magician and is located in a corner of his house. The second shrine is
called Taliw and is much larger and belongs to an entire village or municipality. Taliw is not often used to make magic
as it is considered to be a highly sacred place and magicians must get permission to use it. Only a magician can go
near Taliw.
There are five main types of magicians on Yap. The responsibility of Ganiniy is to bring rain. Trur brings luck in fishing
while Plaw has the power to bring success in navigation. Yaw is responsible for bringing victory in war while Dafngoch,
has the power to increase population.

ABOUT YAP

The vegetation of Yap is similar to that of the other high islands of Micronesia. Mangrove swamps exist on most of the
shoreline with coconut groves beyond the swamps. The vegetation on the hills is mixed often consisting of forest,
grasslands, bush and coconut palms. Large forest trees grow to about 40 feet tall on the mountain tops and about 75
feet in valleys. A large proportion of the hills and flatlands are covered with grass.

Yapese economy remains mostly at the subsistence level even though the land provides an abundance of food. The
main occupations of the people are gardening, harvesting and fishing. The popular food grown are taro, yams, sweet
potatoes, bananas, breadfruit, papaya, oranges, coconuts and pineapples along with tobacco. The people also raised
chickens and pigs which are usually eaten at feasts.

The farming system on Yap is similar to that of some of the other high islands in Micronesia. Cultivation on the hills and
uplands is usually done in small plots by individual families who find a different plot from one year to the next. The
main food in the Yapese diet is taro which is normally grown as swamp taro or wet-land taro. Taro growing can be
continued in the same plot by the addition of quantities of organic matter from one year to the next. Most of the crops
grown are for local consumption.

A complicated system of land ownership and rights has evolved on Yap. There is no common land to be farmed with
many landowners having tenants who pay no rent and make a subsistence living from the land. These people are
obliged to give the owner something if the crops are raised for a profit. Selling of land is almost unknown with most
property changing hand through inheritance. In the Yap caste system, the higher castes own the land and it is usually
farmed by the lower castes.

KOSRAE

Kosrae is isolated from other islands of Micronesia and as such the culture of Kosrae combines elements of the
traditional culture along with the culture introduced by the missionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries. According to
legend, however, the following story is told on Kosrae about how the four villages on the island were first settled and
how they were named.

The legend concerns a mother, her three sons and her daughter who stayed on a small portion of land on the island. As
time passed, the mother grew to be very old and could no longer care for her children, so she called them together and
told the children that it was time for her to let them go and find their own homes on the island.

The older son wandered westward until he came to a place he wanted for his home on the western part of Kosrae. He
named this place Tafunsak. The name came from two Kosraean words, Tafu which means half and sak, which means
woods or trees. He chose this name because the place was heavily timbered. Today, Tafunsak is the largest village on
Kosrae because it was settled by the oldest son.

The old woman's lovely daughter settled the second village on Kosrae and she called her home Melem, meaning moon.
This name was chosen because she arrived at night and the moon was shining very brightly and it is said that Melem
looks so beautiful under the moonlight. Because the daughter settled there long ago, young girls from this village are
said to be the most beautiful girls on Kosrae.

The second eldest son wandered a great distance until he came to the far side of the island and could not go any
further. Consequently, he decided to settle there but could not think of an appropriate name for his home. Then he
remembered that when he wondered there, he had come to the back to find his home and for this reason he named it
Utwe.
The youngest son did not want to leave his mother alone so he stayed with her until she died. After she died, he
decided to name his home and as it was completely surrounded by water, he named it Lelu, meaning the inside of the
lake.

The four villages of Kosrae retain the qualities of the people who named them. Tafunsak is the largest because of the
importance of the oldest son. From Melem, comes the beautiful girls as it was settled by the lovely daughter of the old
woman. Utwe is the village farther south and Lelu is the capital village of the island because it was the home of the
mother and the last born son.

CHILDBIRTH ON KOSRAE

Although there are no ceremonies before childbirth, certain customs are followed by many expectant mothers.
Everything that she needs should be prepared before the delivery. According to custom, the woman should not go out
at night. Otherwise she will become very weak and will be sick when her child is born. Also, the woman is encouraged
to be active to exercise her body and to swim in salt-water. It is felt that if she does not do these things, she will have
difficulty in her delivery. She is also restricted in the kinds of foods she may eat.

Responsibility for the pregnant woman is usually in the hands of her own mother. However, others who are familiar with
delivering babies may be asked to assist. After the delivery and the severing of the umbilical cord, the husband will
bury it and usually plant a coconut tree on top of it to mark the place. The new mother will be provided with food and
also local medicine so she can gain strength. The baby will be kept warm by a local leaf that has been heated and
placed on its body.
In Kosraean custom, the husband cannot stay with his wife after childbirth. He must stay in a different room or house
for a number of months. The practical reason for this is so the mother or child will not contact diseases and become ill.
The husband and other members of the family will provide her with food and limit the kinds that she eats. The foods
given to her will have very little fat. Also, fish is considered to be the best food at this time.
The main celebration of childbirth on Kosrae takes place one year after the child has been born. Plans for the occasion
will be made well in advance of the day and it is the husband's responsibility to organize it. On this day, very early in
the morning, the mother will feed and wash her child and dress him/her in his/her finest clothes. The cooking for the
feast will begin immediately and different foods such as breadfruit, taro, pigs, and chickens are prepared. Cooking
takes place at the houses of both the husband's and wife's relatives. Although men do much of the cooking at this
time, women and girls will assist. Also, every woman on this occasion will bring a gift for the baby.
When the cooking has been completed and all of the food is brought together, the father and child will select several
men to distribute it. It is the mother's responsibility to keep track of the gifts and food.
There is little difference in the celebration even if the mother is not married. The only difference is that other male
relatives of the mother would be responsible for the duties of the father. The actual celebration is the same for all
children on Kosrae.
There are names given to children that are particular to the people of Kosrae and different names are given males and
females. These names are traditional. Although they were given much more in the past, they are quite evident on the
island today and the parents make this decision. Baby boys might be named Sru, Nena, Alik, Kilafwasru, Aliksru, Palik,
Palikna, Alikna, Kun, Tolenna, tolensa, and Tulenkun. Popular names for baby girls are Shra, Notwe, Tulpe, Shrue,
Kenye, and Sepe, among others. Today, a combination of Christian and traditional names is given and anyone might
name the child with the permission of the parents.
FOOD AND EATING HABITS IN KOSRAE
Kosrae has been called the green island by some and the loveliest island in the Pacific by others. From the air or sea its
lush vegetation presents a startling contrast to the blue ocean surrounding the island. An enormous amount of plant
life exists on Kosrae. Although some were introduced during the Japanese and American administrations, most are
native to the island.
Because of the rich soil and comparatively large size of the island, farming is quite common and every man should
have farmland. Regardless of its size, he will have certain plants on his land. Some of these are breadfruit, bananas,
wet and dry taro, and most importantly, coconut trees. Coconuts are vital because they can serve as a food crop or a
cash crop. The size of each holding is decreasing compared to landholding in the past. This is a result of increasing
population and the splitting of an inheritance among a number of children.
Men do the farming on Kosrae and sometimes a group will work together as a team. They will come together and
decide on which farm to begin with, whose will be next, and so forth. Most Kosraeans tend their farms individually,
however. A farmer often takes his sons with him to help, and on Saturday an entire family might work. This is
especially true if the father is a government employee and can only visit his land on weekends.
Farming usually takes place away from the home but some crops are grown nearby in gardens. These might include
sweet potatoes, cucumbers, watermelons, oranges, limes, and beans. Where oranges and limes are grown, only a few
of these trees will be found because of the space necessary for the trees.
Because of farming responsibilities, it is difficult for a family to gather for meals and dinner is the only meal of which
most families are together. On Sundays, however, people are not supposed to work and all three meals should be
prepared the previous day. On Kosrae, there is no such thing as table manners as they are known in western society.
Also, people might eat only twice each day because it takes hours to prepare the main foods. People usually do not
have breakfast unless they arise early enough in the morning to cook or they have something left over from the
previous evening meal.
It is common on Kosrae that the father always has the first serving at meals so that he might have his choice of food. A
special food might be served. If there is not enough for all, it would be unfair to the children if some had that food and
some had to do without. In this case, it would be best to leave it for the father and the mother. However, most of the
time, enough food is prepared for the entire family. When the father is absent for some reason, the mother will assume
his responsibility.
Kosrae has a wide variety of food available for the people as nature has been kind in providing an abundant diet of food
from the land as well as fish and animals.
LAND OWNERSHIP ON KOSRAE
Ownership of land is a fundamental tenant of life in Kosrae. Among other things, land ownership is a means of ranking
a family or an individual in the village hierarchy, quite apart from the monetary value of the land. In addition, the land
provides the basis for the quality of life of the family in terms of its utilization to grow crops.
Land ownership on the island is associated with traditional customs and is determined in several ways. The most
common of these is right of ownership by birth which allows land to remain within the family from one generation to
the next. In this context, it is important that division of land between the sons should be undertaken by the father on a
very equitable basis. If this is not done, serious disputes can arise which can often sever the ties between brothers and
sisters and cause some to denounce membership of the family. Because of this, many fathers choose not to divide the
land but instead ensure that all members of the family acquire the same rights and privileges to use the land.
One form of land inheritance which attempts to avoid disputes involves the older child getting the most and the best
land. In this way, the oldest child in the family has the responsibility, on behalf of the father, on dividing the land
among the brothers and sisters. Since it is traditional in Kosrae culture that older people are respected, many
Kosraeans favour this method of distribution. The disadvantage, however, is that distribution of the land tends not to
favour the younger members of the family.
Under some circumstances, parents may favour some children over others in the distribution of land. In this way, the
younger children may be given a larger share of the property than the elder sons. This is of course an insult to the
older children but they are unable to protest as the parents' decision is absolutely final. In this respect, children on
Kosrae often try to please their parents otherwise they may not be favoured when the land is distributed.

CHUUK

According to legend, five brothers once lived on the island of Moen in Chuuk lagoon. Before their parents died, their
father called all the boys together and told his sons about a lost island near Moen and said that some day they should
search for it. Some years after the father died, the five brothers decided to look for the island and for three days they
searched but could not find it. With the exception of the youngest brother, the brothers felt the father's story was not
true.

However, the youngest son believed the father and set sail by himself in search of the island. After travelling a short
distance, he saw a huge white shark that was leading the canoe to the area of the lost island. The boy thought that the
shark must be the ghost of his dead father. The shark disappeared once the canoe had reached a certain spot.

The youngest son lowered his sails and dropped anchor. He then dived deeply below the surface of the sea and found
the lost island. When he returned to the surface, he boarded his canoe but found his anchor was stuck and he could
not raise it. So finally, he cut the anchor rope and sailed back to his home on Moen.
When he returned, he told the other brothers what had happened and early next morning they sailed off to find the
island. When they arrived at the island, the oldest brother swam down and tied a rope to the island. After returning to
the boat, he pulled on a rope as hard as he could but could not raise the island from the bottom. The second brother
tried, and then the third and the fourth, but the result was the same - the island could not be raised from the ocean
floor.

Finally, the youngest brother tugged on the rope and the island amazingly came up to the surface. At that very
moment, a black bird flew overhead and called out to the brothers that the island should be called Pisiiras and must
remain forever the property of the youngest son who had believed his father.
About a mile north of Moen sits a small island all by itself. There, the descendants of the youngest brother still live. The
island is still called Pisiiras, the name of the clan of the brothers.

OWNERSHIP OF LAND ON CHUUK


The islands of Chuuk are relatively small and are of volcanic origin. They also have one of the largest population of any
group of islands in Micronesia which makes ownership of land extremely important.
Traditionally, there were six ways that land could be acquired on Chuuk however only four of these are still in
existence. The first way is to acquire land by inheritance from one extended family or one's parent. Land can also be
purchased with money or goods, or it might be acquired as a gift. In the past, land could be taken from a defeated
enemy or it might be discovered uninhabited.
The Chuukese value land as being more important than any of their possessions. If a person does not have a piece of
land or two, then he is not considered to be a real Chuukese. A person who has no land will be considered to be very
poor and he may lose his identity and self-respect. The Chuukese value land so much that fights can occur if there is a
dispute over its ownership, even between close relatives. The Chuukese firmly believe that a man can only exist if he
has land. Land is the source of food as well as wealth to the Chuukese.
There are other advantages of land ownership apart from food and wealth. All parts of native thatched roof houses can
be made from parts of trees that grow on one's land. Without the product of the land, the Chuukese would not be able
to build boats and make the equipment necessary for fishing.
Land can be used to validate or strengthen a marriage. A man who has a lot of land will also be able to marry the most
beautiful girl. Land is also given as a gift to someone who takes care of a sick person or it can be used as a way of
seeking forgiveness. For instance, if the child of one family gets hurt by the child of another family, land gifts might be
used as a way of settling the matter.
More recently on Chuuk, land provides a cash income for people who are employed. When his crop is harvested, he will
sell some of his crops for income after he has kept what is needed for his family. In summary, land is of extreme value
to the people of Chuuk because it allows them to live and to survive.

TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE PRACTICES IN CHUUK

Traditionally, before a man can consider marriage, he needed to have experience in farming, fishing, and boat
construction. He also had to be able to build his own house. When he had these skills he would inform his parents that
he was ready for marriage. The parents would then search for a suitable young woman to be his wife. When they had
decided on a girl, the parents of a man would visit the girl's parents. They would introduce themselves at the purpose
of their visit and discuss possible marriage with the girl's parents. If a marriage is agreed upon, the young man would
stay with the girl's parents and the girl would reside with the young man's parents up until the wedding day. Prior to
the marriage, both families would prepare a feast which would be attended by the leaders of their respective families.
According to custom, the girl's family would provide enough food for the man's family and his family would do the
same for the girl.
There are some possible attitudes on marriage that have been retained from the past among the Chuukese people.
While both the man and woman will desire compatible sex partners in marriage, they look even more for good workers.
A person incapable of work is unlikely to be successful at marriage in Chuuk. A person is well aware of the character
and abilities of those in the community and selects a partner accordingly.

POHNPEI

On the island of Pohnpei, there are four prominent clans named Dipwinpahnmei, Lasialap, Dipwinmen and Sounkawad.
These four clans have the five high chiefs or Nahnmwarkis of the five municipalities of the island with Sounkawad
having two high chiefs of two different municipalities. Clan membership is matriarchal and so members of the clan
always come from the mother's side. As a result of this, a son and a daughter from different mothers that belong to
the same clan, according to tradition, cannot be married.

he traditional government of the island is in the hands of the high chiefs. Each of the five municipalities has its own
local government and contains a group of people appointed by the high chief. These groups have the highest titles in
each municipality and are also the leaders of the community. The group always comprise the men. When the high chief
has important decisions to make, he assembles this group. The function of this group is to suggest decisions to the
high chief. If, however, the high chief does not agree with the decisions presented to him, he will protest at the meeting
and sometimes will go direct to an individual. If the individual cannot meet the request, he will try to find what has
been asked for.

There are reasons why a request from a high chief should be obeyed. Firstly, among these is the fact that they are still
highly respected as the traditional leaders on Pohnpei. The high chiefs have no real power although in the past, their
power was much stronger as they owned all the land.
Around the year 1910, the German administration under Governor Kresting, introduced the concept of private
ownership of land to Pohnpeians. Under this system an individual or group of relatives could privately hold a title to a
parcel of land. This document took actual land ownership out of the hands of the traditional leaders.

It is interesting however that in many aspects the traditional high chiefs still control much of the land. The people on
Pohnpei still ask the traditional leaders for permission to use the land for such things as burying the dead. Also, any
visitor to the famous ruins of Nan Madol is expected to ask permission from the high chief of Madolenihmw
municipality.

TRADITIONAL SAKAU (KAVA) OF POHNPEI


Several legends exist about how the kava plant, sakau, came to exist on Pohnpei. The legends say that sakau was first
made by two brothers Widen-ngar and Luhk through magic. Widen-ngar was a ghost who appeared in the form of
thunder and Luhk was also a ghost who lived below the surface of the earth. One day Widen-ngar came down to earth
and joined Luhk, who came up from beneath the surface. They journeyed together from Saladak in Uh to Nahpali
Island in Metalenihmw. Luhk, unfortunately, injured his foot on the way to the island. When they arrived, they took the
skin from the injured foot and pounded it into small pieces. They then squeezed out the liquid using hibiscus bark.
Widen-ngar took off his knee cap to use it as a cup to catch the liquid. When they finished, they went to the sky and
changed their skin into the form of a plant called the sakau plant. Years later, this plant was found in Saladak, Uh, and
the people considered it to be the most important on Pohnpei. The liquid, when consumed, had a calming effect and so
it was given to the king or high chief to calm him down whenever he became angry. Nothing could calm down the high
chief except this liquid. In the early days, only the high chief could drink sakau as there were not many plants and it
could only be prepared by his relatives.

TRADITIONS REGARDING SAKAU

Pohnpeian sakau has a most important role in traditional custom. Sakau is prepared whenever feasts, parties,
meetings or other important occasions occur. There is, however, an important procedure to follow when preparing
sakau. These are basically as follows:

1. Do not bring the plant inside the house until the high chief is seated.
2. Cut branches from the plant and the roots into small pieces for easy cleaning.
3. Place the root on the stone and put a taro leaf beneath to protect pieces from the dirt.
4. After the root is pounded, use a hibiscus bark to squeeze the liquid into a coconut cup.

There is also priority in serving sakau and this is based on traditional rank. The first cup goes to the high chief and the
second goes to the next highest leader. The third cup goes to the queen and the fourth goes back to the high chief
again. The next cup goes to those who prepared the sakau.
Today on Pohnpei, sakau is served in small bars on the islands. The most important function of the drink, however, is
serving it at traditional feasts and activities in the traditional manner.

FIJI

Of the generally recognized gods, Degei was the most important. It was said that he lived on the slopes of the
Kauvadra mountains near the Ra coast - an area that is considered to be the most specific location of the origin of the
Fijian people.

Traditionally the people of Fiji attributed all unexplained phenomena either to gods and spirits or to witchcraft. There
were gods to ensure favourable winds for sailing, success in war and deliverance from sickness. There were gods who
were born gods and gods who had been men - the spirits of ancestors and chiefs of renown, known respectively as
kalou-vu and kalou-yalo. There were gods acknowledged by all Fijians and others which were the local gods who were
somewhat down the scale but had more influence over the fortunes of the people.

Of the generally recognized gods, Degei was the most important. It was said that he lived on the slopes of the
Kauvadra mountains near the Ra coast - the area is the most specific location of the origin of the Fijian traditions. In
this respect, Degei is not only considered the origin of the people but also as the huge snake living in a cave in the
northernmost peak of the Kauvadra Range. He took no interest in his people's affairs however earth tremors and
thunder were attributed to his uneasy turning within the cave. By association with Degei, snakes have a honoured
place in Fijian traditions with many snake legends on islands where no snake existed.
Of the other gods widely recognized, Ravuyalo, Rokola, Ratumaibulu and Dakuwaqa are the most well known. Ravuyalo
was the soul-slayer; he was posted on the path followed by departed spirits, for the purpose of clubbing them and
various means were proposed for outwitting him.

Generally speaking, the powers of the other gods were restricted to the present life. Rokola, a son of Degei was served
by canoe builders as he was the chief of the carpenters and founder of the Mataisau or craftsman's mataqali.
Cultivators ensured the success of their crops by offerings to Ratumaibulu who was also known as Ratu Levu.

Dakuwaqa was believed to manifest himself as a great shark who lived in a cave on Benau Island, opposite Somosomo
Strait and who roams the adjacent seas. He was generally the god of seafaring and fishing communities although he
was also considered to be the god of adultery. In his honour all sharks were saluted when seen and it was considered
tabu to eat shark flesh. When canoes passed over areas of sea he was known to frequent, cups of yaqona and morsels
of food were thrown overboard to gain his favour.

The priests were the mediators between gods and people. The rituals for doing this was simple and involved the
preparation of a feast. The chiefs and elders then entered the bure kalou, presenting the feast and an offering of
whales' teeth and sat in silence gazing intensely upon the priest. Presently the priest would begin to twitch, first in one
limb and then in another, until he was seized with violent muscular convulsions and fell in a fit, with eyes rolling and
sweat running from every pore. Then the gods spoke and everyone listened to the priest's words - the shaking grew
less violent and gradually subsided and the priest relaxed and recovered.

The gods also manifested themselves in living creatures or trees, and dwelt in certain inanimate objects. These were
recognized as the abode of a god but in themselves were not objects of worship. Indeed, the Fijians had no religious
idols of worship.

The Fijians believed also that the human soul - at any rate that of a chief - survived the body but their conception of
the spirit world varied greatly according to locality and the consequent degree of outside influence. In all parts of Fiji,
however, the spirit world was believed to lie in the direction from which the original migration came and that departing
spirits retraced the path followed by their ancestors when coming to Fiji. Spirits of the dead remained near their earthly
homes for four days before beginning the journey to the spirit world.

Sickness and insanity were considered to be the work of malignant spirits and food gardens wilted under their spells. In
all such cases, some form of sorcery was assumed and steps were taken to find the sorcerer and to counter his spell
with a more potent one. Should a spirit strike a family with sickness a feast and ceremonial yaqona were prepared and
offered with a prayer that the spirit might depart. If that were unsuccessful, the services of an exorcist might be
secured, who, with suitable rituals and incantations drive out the unfriendly spirits and invoke friendly ones.

The office of sorcerer (vu-ni-duva) was generally hereditary although any man or woman with enough cunning could
build up a reputation in witchcraft. Potions were purveyed to give invulnerability or invisibility in war. Any man wishing
to rid himself of a rival or enemy and who was able to afford the fee might engage an expert in witchcraft. In order for
the witchcraft to be applied, it was first necessary to secure a fragment of something that had been worn or eaten by
the intended victim, or something personal such as hair trimmings or nail clippings. Whatever of this kind was available
was tied up in a banana leaf or placed in a bamboo tube together with certain leaves and roots known to the sorcerer.
With appropriate incantations, this charm was then placed in a thatch above the victim's door or some other place
frequented by him. He was told of this by his friends and the news would prey upon his mind as he believed he must
grow sick and die. If the charm was not overtaken by another more potent one then the victim would die.

From birth to death, the Fijians were guided by observances of things that he must do and tabu - things that he must
not do. Some of these include closing the eyes when a man planted coconuts lest he be blinded. The knife used for
cutting seed yams must not be used for any other purpose or heated by being placed near a fire. It was tabu to call
after fishermen asking them where they were going as they would catch nothing. No person might reach for an object
above a chief's head without first asking permission. Indeed, the simplest acts were regulated by tabu of this kind,
while in the more important relationships of the communal life, they filled the place occupied by a code of laws in other
societies.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

The people of Tangu who live in small hamlets not far inland from the north coast of New Guinea have a myth about a
certain woman who had no husband to protect her. One day, she left her daughter alone and a stranger came and
killed the child and buried the body. The woman had a dream that revealed the whereabouts of the grave and she
recovered the body carrying it in her string bag from village to village until she found a place to bury it and a man, the
younger of two brothers, who would marry her. She had two sons by her new husband.

Later she visited the daughter's grave and parting some coconut fronds she found salt water flowing from the grave
with fish swimming in the water. The woman took some water and a small fish as food for her family. The results were
miraculous. Overnight, her son grew to manhood. Her husband's elder brother was envious and wanted the same for
his son so she directed him to the grave. Instead of taking a small fish, the foolish man seized the large eel-like one.
Immediately, the ground quaked and water thundered forth from underground, forming the sea and separating brother
from brother.

After a while, the two brothers re-established contact by floating messages to each other written on leaves. It soon
became apparent that the younger brother was able to invent and make wonderful things like boats with engines,
umbrellas, rifles and canned food while the elder brother could only make copies. The narrator's conclusion was that
this was why some people were black and ate yams. This theme of the release of the sea is a common one all over
Melanesia and is obviously of considerable antiquity.

On the island of Dobu in Massim, New Guinea, it was believed that when the sea was released all the beautiful women
were swept in a flood to the neighbouring Trobian Islands while the ugly women were scattered inland in Dobu. In
these examples, the consequences that flow from certain kinds of anti-social behaviour for disobedience seems to be
much more important than the explanation of how the sea originated. Sot it is not surprising that in many other places
besides Tangu this type of myth has been adapted and reinterpreted to account for the differences between white and
black men.

Before the coming of the European, the Melanesian's knowledge of the world seldom extended beyond its immediate
neighbours with whom he traded and fought. Amongst the semi-nomadic Arapesh who lived on the mountains to the
north of the Sepik River, the world was vaguely thought of as an island. The coastal Busama of the Huon Gulf saw their
districts as the centre of the world shaped like an upside-down plate, and believed that anyone who travelled beyond
the neighbouring territories had to climb the vault of heaven which was "solid like thatch".

The Trobianders, who were fine sailors and took part in extensive overseas trading expeditions, had a broader world
view that encompassed the few hundred square miles of ocean which they called Pilolu. Beyond this, to the south and
west, were the land of people with wings and people with tails; to the north they knew vaguely of a country of ordinary
men - probably New Britain - and another extremely dangerous land, the island of women.
Each small community had its own unique way of looking at the world. Each had its own coterie of mythological beings
whose names were seldom known beyond its borders. The earliest hybrid group in Papua New Guinea, the Papuans,
are mostly found in the western areas of the south coast of New Guinea and in parts of the interior. A scattering of
Papuan elements, including languages, are found in some nearby islands as well as in New Britain and New Ireland and
the Northern Solomons. A Papuo-Melanesian mixture predominates towards the eastern extremity of New Guinea and
the neighbouring small archipelago. The further one moved south the more elements predominates that can be called
Melanesians, though distinctions can be made between coastal and bush people.

.
IN THE BEGINNING: THE PREDECESSORS OF MEN

Belief about man's origins were many and varied. Some myths say he came into the world fully grown either from the
sky or from underground or was released from a tree. Other myths say he was created from clay or sand or that he
was carved from wood. These mythical beings who acted as creators were not the sole creators, for each clan or sub-
clan within the group had its own view. For example, some Kiwaians believed that their "father" was the crocodile and
a modern account of the story had been written by Mea Idei from Boze near the Binaturi River. He tells how a being
called Ipila carved a human figure out of wood and brought it to life by painting the face with sago milk. First the eyes
open, then the nostrils quivered and the "man" made a noise like a crocodile. His name was Nugu but he was not
satisfied until Ipila made three more men as companions for him. These men refused to learn the things Ipila wanted
to teach them and turned their backs on him. After a while, two of them became tired of only eating sago and started
to kill animals for food. Almost at once, they turned into half-crocodiles. Neither the animals nor Nugu and the other
man wanted any more to do with them so they tried to make some of their own kind. But they found that they could
only make men because Ipala sequently altered their work. From these new men are descended the people who claim
the crocodile as their father. Ipala was so angry with his first creation, Nugu, that he condemned him to hold the earth
on his shoulders for ever. The narrator concludes that these events explain why his people only know what they know -
not why they are alive, nor what is happening beyond their part of the world.

The Keraki Papuans of the southwest coast often say that there is a sky world from which the first beings came - these
were called Gainjin. All agree that they went back into the sky when their time on earth was finished. The exception
was the two Gainjin animals, Bugal the snake and Warger the crocodile, who still haunt the bush. An excess of rain is
regarded by the villagers as a sign that the sky beings are displeased. They fear that the great rattan cane which
supports this aerial world will one day break, so during heavy storms they stand ready to defend themselves in case
any of the sky beings should tumble down.

There are many stories about how man was released from a tree. There are two Keraki mythologies, each associated
with its own sacred site, and in one of the Kuramangu stories a sky being, Kambel, was curious about the unintelligible
sound which issued from a palm tree and he cut it down, releasing the people. In the evening, a shiny white object
rose from the palm and slipped from his grasp into the sky. It was his son, the moon. (Both father and son are
associated with the moon).

There are also many stories about how man emerged from underground. The northern Massim area is a relatively
homogenous cultural grouping and there it is believed that the life which existed below ground was exactly like the one
above, so that the people who emerged brought with them the rules governing conduct as well as the knowledge of
special skills and magic lore. Among the Trobianders, for example, each small sub-clan had an ancestress who emerged
with her brother from a particular spot sighted in a grove grotto lump of coral or rock. With each of these hole of
emergence were associated certain territories including garden land and seashore so that each particular myth
determined land usage and inheritance. One particular site on the peninsula of Kirawina was especially renowned
because from it came the first creatures to emerge on earth. They were the iguana, the dog, the pig and the snake -
the animal ancestors of the four principal clans.

The central characters in a number of Melanesian myths are two brothers, who although they have different names
from place to place tend to be associated with the same mythological theme. They often share the laurels in Ogre-
killing stories but sometimes victory is achieved because of one's brother's superior strength and astuteness. In other
stories it is this very difference between the brothers' abilities which determines the outcome of events.

In a tale from Mekeo in New Guinea, one brother only has fruit to eat while the other eats meat. The former spies on
the latter, and sees him enter a hill which opens at his command and then closes it behind you. A little later he
emerges with a wallaby and two scrub hens. When the foolish brother tries to do the same thing, he was too slow and
all the animals escape. The two brothers begin to fight but their wives separate them and send them off to fight an
ogre instead.
In several places along the north coast of New Guinea and inland amongst the Arapesh there are myths in which the
jealousy and rivalry between two brothers reaches such a pitch that one tries to kill the other by crushing him in a post
hole.

One of the great heroes of the Kiwai Papuans was Marunogere. Before he taught them how to build their great
communal houses - some exceed 300 feet in length - they lived in miserable holes in the ground. As soon as the first
ceremonial house was built, he inaugurated it with a moguru or lifegiving ceremony, which also aims at making men
great fighters. The ritual with a dead pig did make the men great warriors and it was re-enacted yearly in the moguru
when young boys crawl over the corpse of a wild boar decked out in the finery of a fighter. Marunogere also bored a
hole in each woman to give her sexual organs and in the evening he was content to die after he felt the gentle rocking
of the great house as the men and women were locked in the first sexual embrace. This part of the myth provided the
sanction for the ritual initiation, during the moguru of the young boys and girls into adult sexual life.

For the Melanesians, the bush and sea around him is made dangerous by a great variety of supernatural emanation.
There are special ghosts like those of beheaded men whose wounds glow in the dark. There are also the spirits doubles
of living men. The mountain Kukukukus of New Guinea tell how a boy was approached by a spirit with the face of his
mother's brother, who pierced his nose septum and inserted a bush fowl's bone. His real uncle found him and took him
home. It was noticed soon after that he became a great fighter, so henceforth initiation included the nose piercing
ceremony.

SOLOMON ISLANDS

In the Solomon Islands as throughout Melanesia beliefs about origins, not only of men but also of animals, plants, and
social customs are frequently linked with certain archetypal themes, one of which is the myth of the ogre-killing child
born to an abandoned woman.

Over many thousands of years successive waves of predominantly Oceanic negroids and later Austranesians (a
Caucasoid and Mongoloid mixture moved out of South-east Asia into New Guinea and the chain of Melanesian
archipelago which stretch south to New Caledonia and New Hebrides (Vanuatu) and east to Fiji). Each new group of
immigrants either mixed with their predecessors to form hybrid groups or push into the less hospitable regions of
mountain, swamp and jungle. The pattern of settlement was one of independent developers of innumerable small
communities in relative isolation - a process that was constantly modified by external pressure such as minor
migration, warfare, trade and intertribal social gatherings.

It is these factors that ensured the continuous diffusion of all sorts of cultural elements including myths. The manner in
which certain stock incidents, elements and themes of myths became linked in a kaleidoscopic variety of combinations
tempts speculation about the cultural layers they belong to and draws attention to the complexity of the area's cultural
history. It is this diffusion that manifests itself in the continuing process that has produced the rich profusion of cultural
patterns that characterise Melanesia today.

In the Solomon Islands as throughout Melanesia beliefs about origins, not only of men but also of animals, plants, and
social customs are frequently linked with certain archetypal themes, one of which is the myth of the ogre-killing child
born to an abandoned woman. Other related themes concern abandoned women who mate with animals or birds or
abandoned children who are suckled by animals or birds. Very often one of two hostile brothers or one of a band of
brothers is regarded as a creator. Then there are the myths about a snake relative who is killed and from whose body
comes various forms.

Several districts of New Ireland have stories about snakes as food producers and makers of totems and clans. One of
these stories come from the district of Medina and is about Marruni the earthquake, who had a human body that ended
in snake's tail which he kept hidden from his wives. One day they returned from the garden early without giving the
warning signal and discovered him sunning himself. He sent them away and cut his tail into segments. He gave a clan
name to some pieces and from each of these came the people of that clan. From others came birds, snakes, fish and
pigs. Marruni is said to have come from the tiny offshore island of Tabar, which seemed to have been the home of the
germinal culture of the area, and to have brought the malanggin or memorial rights for the dead with him from there.

Everywhere in San Cristobal there were stories about serpent figonas who were thought to be creators. Hatuibwari of
the Arosi district was a winged serpent with a human head, four eyes and four breasts and he suckled all he created.
The greatest of all these figona was Agunua who was thought to embrace all the others who were merely his
representatives or incarnations. He made all kinds of vegetables and fruits but his brother burnt some of these in the
oven, making them forever inedible. He made a male child who was helpless at caring for himself so he created a
woman to make fire, cook and weed the gardens. The first drinking coconut from the tree was sacred to him.

The theme of the ogre killing child is also common in the Solomon Islands. The monstrous creature who devours
people has many different shapes. He may be an ogre or a giant in human or spirit form, or an animal like a crocodile.
Almost always, the overkillers are twins, although occasionally the hero himself is a bird like a cockatoo. The method
used to kill the ogre are various. In a story from New Ireland, there was a great devouring pig who caused the villagers
to flee to the offshore island of Tabar, leaving Tsenabonpil behind because she had a swollen leg, so heavy it would
have sunk the canoe. She mated with a bird and produced twin boys who killed the pig. The woman sent the pig's hair
attached to a coconut leaf to Tabar as a sign. The fugitives returned and Tsenabonpil allocated them to different clans
and assigned them their totems so that they would know how to behave towards one another. She also taught them
magic and other skills.

In some parts of Melanesia, particularly the southern and central Solomon Islands, there is a belief in dual souls, one of
which goes to an after-world usually situated either on an island or underground while the other takes various forms.
In parts of the Solomon Islands it passes into sharks, fish, birds, animals, men, stones and trees and as a person ages,
his companions watch for a creature that buy its persistent association with him reveals itself as his future incarnation.
Sometimes, the head of a man is placed in a hollow wooden shark and floated in the sea. Then the soul passes into the
first sea creature that approaches it.

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NEW CALEDONIA

There are examples of hereditary chieftainship in Melanesia, particularly in New Caledonia and Vanuatu, but social
control by a consensus of adult male opinion is much more usual.

Before the coming of the European, the Melanesian knowledge of the world seldom extended beyond his immediate
neighbours with whom he traded and fought. Each small community had its own unique way at looking at the world.
Each community had its own coterie of mythological being whose names were seldom known beyond its borders. But
the events in which these beings were involved tended to be associated with a number of archetypal themes. The way
in which stock incidents, elements and themes of myths became linked in a kalaeidoscopic variety of combinations
tempts speculations about the cultural layers they belong to and draws attention to the complexity of the area's
cultural history.

Over many thousands of years successive waves of predominantly Oceanic Negroids and later Austranesians (a
Caucasiod and Mongoloid mixture) moved out of southeast Asia into New Guinea and through the chain of Melanesian
archipelagos which stretch south to New Caledonia and Vanuatu and east to Fiji. Each group of immigrants either
mixed with their predecessors who formed hybrid groups or pushed them into less hospitable regions. This was a
process that was constantly modified by external pressure such as minor migrations, warfare, trade and intertribal
social gatherings resulting in the diffusion of the various mythology.
Almost everywhere in Melanesia the largest political unit is the village but the important social unit is the kinship group
whose influence can extend beyond the village. There are examples of hereditary chieftainship in Melanesia,
particularly in New Caledonia and Vanuatu, but social control by a consensus of adult male opinion is much more usual.

The Melanesians do not possess the sort of social stratification typical of Polynesia, where a nobility claimed a descent
from the gods. The typical Melanesian is not concerned with a hierarchy of deities nor does his mythology unfold a
sequence of creation. Rather he is more concerned with the origin of his own social group or his clan. This knowledge
establishes its identity, determines whom he calls brother, and whom he may marry and the young people for whom he
is responsible.

Throughout Melanesia the snake appears in mythology as a symbol not only of fertility but also of aggression. From
New Guinea to Fiji, there are stories about snake relatives who reward kindness or avenge ill-treatment. Sometimes
men, animals and plants are produced from their slaughtered bodies. In New Caledonia, the theme of the ogre-killing
child is apparently absent although it is common in many other parts of Melanesia.

In New Caledonia, the classical "swan maiden" story is present in their mythology. This story or theme is found in parts
of western and northern New Guinea and Vanuatu as well as New Caledonia. This scattered distribution suggests that it
has been absorbed independently in each other place in Melanesia. The "swan maiden" theme concerns how a person
sometimes referred to as Qat came upon a group of sky maidens bathing and hid one pair of wings so that one girl had
to remain behind. One day, Qat's mother reproached her daughter-in-law and the girl wept, her tears washing away
the earth covering her wings. She put on the wings and flew away. Qat shot an arrow into the air wound with a banyan
root which he climbed up to follow her into the sky. He met a man hoeing a garden and begged him not to disturb the
root until he was safely down again. However, as he descended with his wife, the root snapped and he plunged to his
death, while his wife flew safely away.

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