The mythology of Oceania The mythology and the gods of the Pacific region are both complex and

diverse. Some gods are shared between many groups of islands while others are specific to one set of islands or even to a single island. Their exact roles are often overlapping as one god can appear in different places under different names. A god can also appear in many different forms.

What follows is a short alphabetical listing of some of the primary deities of Oceania. In preparing this list, only the countries of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia are featured. This approach would then exclude Australia as although it is technically part of Oceania, it does not readily fall into any of the categories identified above. Also, Hawaii has been included in the following list as being part of Polynesia. Indeed, this particular approach is a feature of almost all of my Oceania Web sites. Abeguwo (Melanesia/New Guinea) Rain goddess whose urine turns to moisture. Abere (Melanesia) An evil demoness who attacks males. Adaro (Polynesia and Melanesia) A sea god. In the myths of the Solomon Islands, an adaro is a malevolent sea-spirit in the shape of a fish-man with all fins on his feet and gills behind his ears. He has a horn like a shark's back fin and a pike on his head like a sword fish or sawfish. An adaro can travel along rainbows and koll men by shooting poisonous flying fish at them. Afa The Samoan Storm-God.

Afekan (Melanesia/New Guinea) The creator goddess. Ahoeitu A legendary King Tonga, grandson of Kohai who may have been a primeval earth serpent. Ahu An ahu is a burial platform on Easter Island. There were 160 on the island, where the ancestors lay entombed. 'Aiaru (Polynesia) One of the seven guardians of the world. Her function is to predict death. The others are Fa'a'ipu, Firifiri'Aufau, Nihoniho teitei, 'Orerorero, Tahu'a, and Tamaumau'orero. Ai Tupua'i (Polynesia) Goddess of healing and of war. Ala Muki (Polynesia) A river goddess who takes the form of a dragon. Alalahe (Polynesia) Goddess of love. Alii Menehune (Hawaii) Chief of the Little People. The aboriginal little people of long, long ago were called menehune; Alii means highest: thus Alii Menehune. Aluluei (Micronesia) God of knowledge. Amai-te-rangi A Polynesian deity of the sky who 'angles' for mortals on earth, pulling them up in baskets to devour them. Ao The God of Clouds. Apu Hau A god of storms. God of the 'Fierce Squall'. Apu Matangi The Maori god of storms, God of the 'Howling Rainfall'. Arahuta The daughter of Tawhaki and Tangotango.

Ara Tiotio (or Awhiowhio) The Polynesian God of the Whirlwind and Tornado. Aremata-rorua and Aremata-popoa 'Long-wave' and 'Short-wave', two ocean demons who destroy mariners. They are greatly feared by Polynesian mariners because they were totally at the mercy of their immense power. Areoi In the mythology of the Tuamotu (Society) Islands, a religious order first organized by the gods Oro-Teteta and Uru-Tetefa, two brothers living in heaven but later settling on earth. Like the Knights of St John, they were celibate warriors, who recruited their members from among the nobility. Arohirohi The Maori Goddess of Marages. Ata An island in the Tongan archipelago. The story runs that Ata was thrown down from heaven. Such stony islands were called Maka-Fonua 'Thrown-Land'. Atanea A dawn goddess in some South Pacific islands, who created the seas when she miscarried and filled the hollows of the earth with amniotic fluid. Atea ('Space') Atea was the Sky-God in the cosmology of the people of Tuamotu. He married Fa'ahotu. Their first son was Tahu, 'Knowledge', who became a great magician. Ati The Maori chief who managed to catch a lovely fairy in a net, and married her. Atonga In Samoan myth, a hero who is half-human, half-spirit. He built a miraculous canoe which he completed in one night. Then he summoned the birds from heaven to carry the light craft to the beach of Upolu where chief Alutanga Nuku was awaiting it impatiently. Atu Name of the first man on Fiji and the first man on Tonga, according to Samoan myth. Atua An ancestor's spirit revered as a god. Atutuahi (or Autahi) The south star, Canopus, Alpha Carinae, God of the Heavens, which guided Polynesian navigators on their voyages lasting many months. Atutuahi is addressed in hymns as the 'Mother of the Moon and the Star'.

Auahi-Turoa and the Fire Children According to Polynesian myth, Auahi-Turoa was the son of the Sun-God Tama NuiTe-Ra, who sent him down to earth as a comet, carrying the Seed of Fire. On earth, Auahi-Turoa married Mahuika, the Fire-Goddess, or Mother of Fire. They had five sons, the Fire Children, who bear the names of the fingers: Koiti (little finger), Konui (thumb), Koroa (index finger), Manawa (ring finger) and Mapere (middle finger). Audjal (Caroline Islands) The earth goddess. Aumakua (Hawaii) Means "Ghost of Your Ancestors". Huna, the religion of early Hawaii, taught that each person had two souls. When one died the earthly soul (unihi-pili) remained earth-bound and descended to the underworld. The aumakua (higher soul) ascended to the heavens to rejoin the deceased ancestors. Auraka ('The All-Devouring') A deity of death in Polynesian mythology. Auriaria A king in Kiribati mythology. See Nei Tituabine. Awha The Maori Storm-God. Babamik (New Guinea) A cannibalistic ogress. When she died she became the crocodile ancestor. Bakoa A Kiribati demi-god. Bue In Kiribati there is a myth of the Sun-God in which he sent a ray of light to a woman on earth and so made her pregnant. She gave birth to a son whom she called Bue. She told her son who his father was, so he built a canoe and set out one night towards the east, hoping to meet his father. Dakuwanga The Fijian Shark-God, eater of lost souls. Dengei/Degei (Melanesia/Fiji) The Serpent-God, a judge in the Land of the Dead. In Fijian mythology, Degei is the Serpent-God in the Kauvadra hills. After death the soul faces a long journey from the sunny land of the living to the cold, misty Land of the Dead. Degei will interrogate the souls as soon as they arrive.

De ai (Micronesia) Mother of the sun, moon, and sea. Dogai (Melanesia) A malignant spirit who tried constantly to frustrate human enterprise by making crops fail, scaring fish away from nets, etc. Some places he was a male god, in other places she was a female goddess. Ele'ele The Samoan first woman. Eleio In Hawaiian mythology, a kabuna, a diviner who can see the spirits, cure diseases and return the dead to life. One day, Eleio set out to find the root of the awa (kava) plant. Ahead of him he saw a lovely girl. He walked faster to catch up with her but so did she. e ran, but so did she. Over hills and woods she flew ahead of him. Enda semangko (Melanesia) Both a war goddess and a fertility goddess. Fa'atiu The Samoan Wind-God. Faumea (Polynesia) Goddess of fertility. Fe'e In Samoan mythology, he is the War-God, who is described as a huge octopus, living under the sea with his tentacles reaching to the far corners of the known world like a huge compass with eight hands. Fe'e was believed to cause thunderstorms in which his voice would be heard. Goga In Melanesia-Papua New Guinea and nearby islands the story of how humans got fire goes like this: The primal being was an ageless old woman named Goga 'Hau Maringi God of Mists and Fog. Haumea (Hawaii) Goddess of childbirth. Haumia Tiketike The God of Wild Roots and ferns Hiiaka' 1. (Polynesia) Sister to Pele and her helper in keeping the fires of Kilauea burning. 2. (Hawaii) Patroness of hula dancing.

Hina (Hawaii) Goddess of the moon. Hine (Polynesia) Goddess of darkness. Hine-keha, Hine-uri The Moon-Goddess, wife of Marama the Moon-God, whose forms are Hina-keha (bright moon) and Hine-uri (dark room). Hine-nui-te-po Goddess of the Night, of Darkness and Death. Hine is actually a universal goddess with many functions. She is represented with two heads, night and day. Hine-te-ngaru-moana The Lady of the Ocean Waves. Hine in her fish form. Hine-tu-whenua A benevolent goddess of the wind who blows vessels to their destination. Hoa-Tapu (Tahiti) God of war. Hua-hega The mother of the trickster demi-god Maui. Imoa (Polynesia) The first woman. Io Polynesian myth tells how their supreme god, Io, created the world. In the beginning there were only waters and darkness. Kanaloa (Hawaii) God of the sea. Kane (Hawaii) God of fertility, fresh water, and the woodlands. Kapo (Hawaii) Goddess of abortions, childbirth, and fertility. Konori (New Guinea) Creator of the world. Ku (Hawaii) The god of power and war.

Kukailimoku Hawaiian god of war. Kuklikimoku (Polynesia) God of war. Kulu Lau Goddess of mirages. La'a Maomao The Polynesian God of the Winds. Laka (Hawaii) Goddess of fertile land and dance. Laufakanaa In the mythology of Ata, one of the Tongan islands, Laufakanaa is the God of inds. The heavenly god Tamapo sent Laufakanaa down to earth to rule the winds. He landed on Ata and became its ruler. Laulaati (Loyalty Islands) Creator of the world. Limu The Polynesian God of the Dead. Lingadua The one-armed Fijian god of drums. Ligoupup In Micronesian mythology, she is the great goddess who was never born. Loa According to the myths of the people of the Marshall Islands, Loa was the name of the Creator. Living alone in the primeval ocean, he created the colourful reefs and barriers which gradually filled up with sand. Lona The Moon-Goddess in north Polynesian mythology, who fell in love with a mortal man, Ai Kanaka, and married him. She carried him on her wings to the White Kingdom she ruled. They lived very happily until Ai Kanaka died because he was an earthling. Lono (Hawaii) God of the sky, rain, and agriculture who descended on a rainbow to marry a Hawaiian girl who was the goddess Laka.

Lugeilan In the mythology of some Caroline Islands peoples, Lugeilan was the God of Knowledge who descended from heaven to teach the people one earth how to cultivate crops. He is associated with the coconut palm. Magantu The great white shark, a monster fish able to swallow a pahi canoe whole. MakeMake (Easter Island) Half human, half bird, he was the protector of birds. Mahiuki (Polynesia) Ruler of the underworld, and as Mahuika is goddess of fire and earthquakes. Maomao The great wind-god, father of the many storm-god, including "howling rainfall" and "fierce squall". Marama God of the moon, husband of Hine-keha, Hine-uri. Marikoriko First woman and divine ancestor, wife of Tiki. She was fashioned by the goddess of mirages out of the noon day heatwaves. Marruni (Melanesia) God of earthquakes. Maui 1.The most famous folktale character of Polynesia is Maui, the trickster hero who steals fire for man (The legend describes the descent of Maui to the underworld, where he learns the art of making fire by rubbing two sticks together), fishes up the islands of the South Pacific, traps the sun to lengthen the day, and helps raise the sky. Maui is also known in Micronesian and some Melanesian folklore. 2.The great Oceanian trickster hero, with powers almost equal those of a god. Maui was born to Taranga, who wrapped the child in her hair and gave him to the seafairies. Maui is responsible for many things, including the birth of the myriads of islands in Oceania, the coconut, and the length of the day, which was once too short until Maui beat Ra with a stick and forced him to travel across the sky more slowly. Menehune The "little people" of Polynesian folklore are also called "menehune". Milu Ruler of the underworld. Moeuhane (Hawaii) God of dreams.

Moko The lizard-god. Nangananga Goddess of punishment, who waits at the entrance to the land of the dead for bachelors. Nareau The spider-god. (See Kiribati Mythology at Oceania Mythology Home Page for further information on Nareau). Ndauthina (Fiji) God of adultery, fire, and fishing. Ne Te-reere (Micronesia) Goddess of trees. Nevinbimbaau (Melanesia) Initiation goddess. Nganga The god of sleet. Ngendei/Degei (Fiji) The creator, and head god of all the original Fiji gods. Supporter of the world; every time he moves we have an earthquake. He is also the god of good harvest and the king of the land of the dead. He is half snake and half rock. Nobu (Vanuatu) In part of Vanuatu he is considered the creator of the world. Oro God of war and peace, commander of the warrior hordes of the spirit world. In peace time he is "Oro with the spear down" but in war he is "killer of men". Patron of the Arioi. Ove (Fiji) Creator of the world. Paka'a (Hawaii) A son of a guardian of the king, who serves the king so well himself that he becomes the greatest chief of all. Papa (or Enua, Hotu-Papa, Whenua) Mother earth, wife of Rangi, first woman. (Hawaii) Goddess of the Underworld. Pele Goddess of fire and the volcano.

Pere Goddess of the waters which surround islands. Her mother was Tahinariki or Haoumea, or Papa. She married Wahiaroa. One morning Pere wanted to travel so her mother gave her the ocean in a jar to take with her and later to carry her in her royal yacht. In the beginning there was no sea at all, so Pere poured it out whenever she wanted to go. Quat Melanesian sun god. Ra Tama. Nui-te-ra, the sun-god. Rangi God of the upper sky, originally coupled to his wife's Papa, the Goddess of the Earth, but separated by their children, mainly Tane the God of Forests whose trees pushed the couple apart and provide a space between the brown earth and the blue sky, to make room for creatures to walk and fly. Ratu-mbati-ndua (Fiji) The god of hell is a man with only one tooth with which he devours the dead. Ratu-Mai-Mbula (Fiji) God of fertility. Rehua The star-god, son of Rangi and Papa, ancestor of the demi-god Maui. Ro A demi-god, wife of the trickster demi-god Maui who became tired of his mischief and left him to live in the netherworld. Rongo God of agriculture, fruits and cultivated plants. Along with Tane and Tu he forms the creative unity, the Trinity, equal in essence but each with distinctly attributes. Rongo-ma-tane God of the sweet potato, staple diet of the people of Oceania. Rongo-mai God of comets and whales. Ro'o The healer-god whose curative chants were taught to men to help them drive out evil spirits which cause sickness. Rua (Tahiti) God of crafts.

Ruau-Moko Unborn God of Earthquakes, trapped in Papa's womb. Ruahatu (Tahiti) A sea god. Samulayo God of death in battle. Ta'aroa (Tahiti) Supreme deity. Taburimai In the myths of the people of Kiribati, Taburimai was the ancestor of the people, son of the demi-god Bakoa. Tamakaia (Vanuatu) Creator of the world. Tane Son of Rangi, the sky-god and himself the god of artisans and boat builders. He is also the God of Light (especially to underwater swimmers because to skin divers light is where life is), the God of artistic beauty, the God of the Forest, and Lord of the Fairies. As creator in one of his minor forms, he is the God of Hope. Tanemahuta (Polynesia) The Maori peoples' God of the Forests, Birds and Insects. Tangaroa God of the ocean who breathes only twice in 24 hours thus creating the tides. (Polynesia) The Maori peoples' lord of the ocean, and the supreme god who created all the other gods and mankind. Tagaloa The Samoan Ocean-God See Tangaroa Tawhaki God of Thunder and Lightning. Tawhaki gives birth to Uira (lightning) out of his armpits. Tawhaki is also the God of Good Health, an artisan god particularly adept at building houses and plaiting decorative mats. (New Zealand) God of clouds and thunder. Tawhiri-matea The God of Storms and Winds, leveller of forests, wave-whipper. Te Tuna A fish-god and vegetarian-god. Tuna lived in a tidal pool near the beach and one day Hine went down to the pool to bathe. Tuna made love to her while she did so and they lived for some time on the ocean bed.

Tiki The divine ancestor of all Oceanians who let his people in their fleet to the first islands of Oceania. (Polynesia) He is sometimes identified as the first man. Tikokura A wave-god of monstrous size whose enormous power and quick flaring temper are to be greatly feared. Tini Rau Lord of the Fishes. (Polynesia) God of the sea. Tu (Polynesia) The war god. Tu-Matauenga The God of War, the first man Tui Tofua God of all the Sharks. Tuli (Polynesia) Goddess in charge of keeping the volcano Kilauea burning. (Samoa) Creator goddess of the world. Turi-a-faumea (Polynesia) God of fish and reptiles. Ua The Rain God, whose many sons and daughters, such as "long rains" and "short rains" are responsible for providing the earth with water. Uira Lightning (see Tawhaki) Ukupanipo (Hawaii) God of sharks. Wahini-Hal (Polynesian) The demonic mother figure of Polynesia looked like a seductive woman (except for her protruding eyes and her tongue hanging to her toes!). She sneaked through the world at night stealing and eating small children. Wari-Ma-Te-Takere (Polynesia) This goddess was a coconut-shell divinity who parthenogenetically produced the other gods from her right and left sides. Wari symbolizes the fertile slime of primordial times and literally means "mud".

Whaitiri (Polynesia) She was a powerful figure who owned the thunder and ate human flesh. Once she descended to earth to marry a warrior chief, misunderstanding his title, "mankiller." When Whaitiri had taken up residence with her husband, she found that he did not, after all, share her affection for eating humans. Not only that, but he complained about the smell of their children's excrement. She invented the toilet, showed humans how to use it, and returned to the sky, where she still lives. Whatu The Maori God of Hail. Whiro The Maori Lizard-God of the Dead who lives in the dark misty Underworld and inspires evil thoughts in the minds of people. Wulleb A god and the first man according to the myths of some of the Marshall Islands peoples. He was born in an oyster shell from between Loa's legs. When he lifted the top half of the shell, it became the sky, while the bottom became the earth. This myth aptly explains the Pacific's colours. See also: Loa