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 Fiji Papua New Guinea Solomon Islands New Caledonia Vanuatu

MICRONESIA Kiribati Marshall Islands Palau Yap Kosrae Chuuk Pohnpei

POLYNESIAN EASTER ISLAND HAWAII MAORI SAMOA TAHITI TUVALU

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. www.janeresture.com Back 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 subclan 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 Ogrekilling 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. www.janeresture.com Back

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. Back

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 everpresent 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. Back www.janeresture.com

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. www.janeresture.com

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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-droppingmouth, 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-oflife-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, Papasosolo (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 Papasosolo, "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." www.janeresture.com Back

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. www.janeresture.com Back

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. linkek

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. 2. 3. 4. Do not bring the plant inside the house until the high chief is seated. Cut branches from the plant and the roots into small pieces for easy cleaning. Place the root on the stone and put a taro leaf beneath to protect pieces from the dirt. 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 subclan 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 Ogrekilling 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. Back

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. www.janeresture.com Back

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