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Mangaian Society


page 9


Creation Myth

The creation myth of Mangaia has been well described by Gill (6, pp. 1-22). Mamae's manuscript gives, in addition, the names of the lands occupied by the spirits and also the marriages and offspring of the brothers of Vatea. These extra details provide material for making comparisons with other Polynesian areas.

Mamae states that there were four spiritual beings who, in the order of their distance away from this world, were Te-Aka-ia-Roe, Te Tangaengae, Te Manavaroa, and Vari. The four were of one kind, all spirits (Ka toko'a ratou, e apinga 'okota'i ratou, e au vaerua anake). Gill gives the alternative name Te Vaerua (The Spirit) to Te Tangaengae, but in doing so he has evidently misunderstood his informants and restricted to one a descriptive term applied to all four.

Gill (6, p. 2) says the universe of the Mangaians is to be conceived of as the hollow of a vast coconut shell. He places the first three spirits below the coconut shell and pictures them as occupying space represented by "a thick stem, gradually tapering to a point, which represents the very beginning of things. This point is a spirit or demon, without human form, and is named Te-aka-ia-Roe, or The-root-of-all existence." In a note (6, p. 1) he says, "Roê = thread-worm. The idea is of a quivering, slender, wormlike point at which existence begins, i.e., the extremity of the threadworm." Though the thin line may represent the beginning of existence, it does not represent the universe, for, according to Mamae, the four spirits occupied definite lands ('enua), of which he gives the names.

Te Aka-ia-roe was the spirit farthest away.

Koia 'oki te 'aka'ui'anga, aore o raro atu. He was the last, there was no one below.
Tera tona 'enua o 'Avaiki-te-'akaoti. His land was Hawaiki-the-last.,

Te Tangaengae was the second spirit. Gill translates this as "Breathing." The word also carries the meaning of the movement of the ribs during breathing.

Tona 'enua o 'Avaiki-te-araro. His land was Hawaiki-the-lower.

Te Manava-roa came next. See the following chant. Gill (6, p. 3) translates Te Manava-roa as "The-long-lived." The word conveys the idea of a continuation of breathing. The term manavaroa is applied to persons of sound wind whose breath will hold a long time.

Tera teta'i o Te Manava-roa, e vaerua ra i, no roto mai ia Te Tangaengae. Tera te 'enua o 'Avaiki-te-a-nua. Another was Te Manava-roa, a spirit, closer in than Te Tangaengae. The land was Hawaiki-the-upper.

Vari, a female, the fourth spiritual being, is admitted by Gill (6, p. 3) to page 10the interior of the coconut shell. Her name in full is Vari-ma-te-takere, which he translates as "The-very-beginning." The word vari, however, also means "mud," and, taken in conjunction with takere (canoe bottom or keel), the name literally means "The-mud-and-the-bottom"; it suggests the mud on the bottom of the figurative coconut shell. Vari is the mud of taro swamps and connotes potential plant growth. As applied to a female, it means the menses and conveys a connection with the female womb and the origin of human growth.

The association of plant and human growth in the Mangaian mind is evident in the phraseology describing the process by which children of Vari were produced. Mamae states:

Tera tei rauka mai no roto ia ratou, 0 Vari, e vaerua ra i. I a ia i pua'ia mai te tangata i teia 'enua nei. There came from among them Vari, a spirit. Through her were derived the human beings of this land.
O te korero ia a te 'ui tupuna, tera te ravenga i rauka mai ai te tangata no roto i a ia ia Vari, i 'aki'akia mai no runga i a Vari, e toru i teta'i kaokao, e toru i teta'i kaokao. Ka tokoono ratou. This is the story of the ancestors that the method by which beings with human qualities were obtained from Vari was by plucking off Vari, three from one side, three from the other side. They were six.

Beings with human characteristics (tangata) grew within Vari (no roto i a ia i a Vari). The six evidently sprouted up successively from either side of her body from the region of the thorax below the armpits (kaokao). That they became external growths is indicated by the fact that they were picked off from Vari (no runga i a Vari). The term for picking ('aki'akia) is used with reference to mature or ripe fruit. The six were not torn or pulled up ('u'uti). According to Mangaian concept, growths within the fertile mud (vari) sprouted up like plants and were picked off when they reached maturity. The fruit picked off had human characteristics, indicated, perhaps, by the double meaning of vari, but the plant idea predominates. Vari had no husband and her children no father.

The land of Vari received a special name:

Tera te ingoa o to Vari 'enua o Te Aiti-i-te-apiapi. The name of Vari's land was Te Aiti-i-te-apiapi.

It was a narrow, confined land (aiti), with a low ceiling, in which Vari sat kneeling (tuturi) or crouched up (memenge)." The name Te-Aiti-i-te-apiapi probably means the "Narrow-land-where-little-could-be-done." The land of Vari is alluded to in dance song (pe'e kapa) composed by the ancestor Potiki.

No'o mai Vari i Te Aiti Vari dwelt in the Narrow-land,
I te tuturi, i te memenge Kneeling and crouched up.
E Rongo e, a kake! O Rongo, ascend!

Gill (6, p. 8), in quoting this song, spells Te Aiti with small initial letters and translates the first line, "The house of Vari is the narrowest of all." page 11Treating Te Aiti as descriptive instead of as a proper noun, the name of Vari's land, led him into the error of describing Vari as living with her daughter in the land of Enua-te-ki.

Another verse of the same song quoted by Gill (6, p. 9) contains additional detail:

No'o mai Vari i Te Aiti; Vari dwelt in the Narrow-land;
E tuarangi kai taro mata A distant region where taro was eaten raw
I na turanga pure e ! At the appointed times of worship.
O Vatea matua e pua 'ua ake. (Our) parent Vatea simply grew.

Gill translates the second line as "A goddess eating raw taro," but tuarangi means a "region beyond the horizon" or "distant region" rather than "goddess."

Children of Vari

The six fatherless children of Vari, in order of plucking, are given by Mamae, with the lands they occupied, as follows:

Vari, f. Side of Vari Lands
1. Avatea or Vatea, m. Right Te Papa-rairai
2. Tumu-te-ana-oa, f. Left Te Parae-tea
3. Tinirau, m. Right 1. Mioana-irakau
2. Motu-tapu
4. Raka, m. Left Matauriki
5. Tango, m. Left Te Aiti-kai-moko
6. Tu-metua, f. Right Enua-te-ki

Gill (6, pp. 4, 5) gives Tinirau as the second child, Tango as the third, Tumu-te-ana-oa as the fourth, and Raka as the fifth. He attributes the land of Moana-irakau to Raka, and Enua-kura to Tango.

Tumu-te-ana-oa was the female personification of Echo. Both the name of the person and the land she occupied had to do with the production of echoes. Her name means "the cause (tumu) of the call or voice (oa) heard from caves (ana)." The term oa is used by people when calling out to evoke an echo. Her land was Te Parae-tea, which Gill translates, "The-hollow-gray-rocks." Mamae gives no more detail, but Gill (6, p. 114) recounts that Tumu-te-ana-oa frequented the caves of Mangaia, where she was seen by Rangi, one of the first inhabitants. The cave in which she was first seen was Aitu-mamaoa.

Tinirau dwelt in Moana-irakau, or, according to some, at Motu-tapu (Tera-tona 'enua 0 Moana-irakau, i ta teta'i tara o Motu-tapu). Mamae gives the following:

page 12

Inconsistencies in the Mangaian account are at once apparent:

Vari, the great source of human life, had contemporaries in the father and mother of Ina, who married Tinirau. Gill (6, p. 4) says that Tinirau had a second fish form, a sprat, and that he was lord of the finny inhabitants of the sea, from the shark down. Tinirau appears in many Polynesian areas as the tutelary deity of fish and the owner of the pet whale killed by Kae. Accounts from several sources give his land as Motu-tapu. In the name of his wife, Ina, we see the Hina of New Zealand and the Sina of Samoa. The Mangaian genealogy gives Rupe as one of the brothers of Ina, which corresponds to the New Zealand version except that Rupe was another name for Maui-mua, the eldest of the Maui brethren. The voyage of Ina on various fish to seek Tinirau at Motu-tapu is recorded by Gill (6, p. 88), and also the subsequent visit of her brother Rupe in the form of a linnet (karaurau). The Mangaian myth is localized in part, for Tinirau and his son Koro are said to have lived part of their time on Mangaia at the place named Atua-koro. The mystic isle of Motu-tapu with its great fishponds was called to the reef at Mangaia by the incantations of Tinirau, who then embarked on it (6, p. 101).

Raka presided over the winds. According to Gill (6, p. 5), Raka received from Vari a great basket, which contained the winds, as well as the knowledge of many useful inventions. Each wind was assigned a hole in the horizon through which it blew. Mamae gives his wife and children but not the parents of the wife, Takatipa; whoever they were, they formed additional contemporaries of Vari.

Tango is given by Mamae as the progenitor of a skilled fishing family:

That the six grandsons of Tango were good workers is shown in the native text. The enclosure (akeke) for fish mentioned in the chant has not been retained in the local culture of the people.

E aronga rava kai ratou. They were workers in obtaining food.
Na ratou i timata i te tuku manga ika i roto i te akeke o Tinirau. By them was commenced the placing of fish within the enclosure [fishpond] of Tinirau.
O Moana-irakau te tai i tuku ai ratou. Moana-irakau was the sea in which they netted.page 13
Ia Aketoa e Makona nga tutu. Aketoa and Makona had the set nets.
Ia Tutu-mai-tonga e Tutu-ma-takerau nga rau. Set-nets-from-the-south and Set-net s-fro m-the-north had the leaf sweeps.
Ia Maututu e Mautake te tireu. Maututu and Mautake had the scoop net.
I parau i te akari te 'anau ika. The progeny of fish were attracted by ground bait composed of [grated mature] coconut.
Inara ia tuku ratou i te upenga, ua ki i te mangaika, kare e maranga. Ia taki ki runga, ua kau topa atu ra i nga tua-rangi. And thus when they let down the nets, they were filled with fish and could not be lifted. On attempting to lift [they] fell over the horizons.
Tera nga tuarangi: o Anaua, Apainuku, Tuturi-kai-enieni, Tane-maru-a-nuku, Tane-te-tuarangi-i-marangai, Tane-tane-maru-a-riuku, Irakoai. The horizons were: Anaua, etc.
I timata 'ia te tatau 'ia i te apinga. The counting of things was commenced [by them].
I tatau te takau, e rau, e mano, e kiu, e tini. There was counted a twenty, a hundred, a thousand, a kiu, a myriad.

Tu-metua lived in Enua-te-ki. The place name means "Mute-land" ('enua, "land," + te, used as a negative, + ki, "to speak"). Gill (6, p. 6) states that Vari and Tu-metua lived together in Enua-te-ki, but he was in error in treating Te Aiti as a descriptive word and not as Vari's own distinct land. Mamae's native text, however, shows that the two lands were close together. It also explains the meaning of Tu-metua's name, which differs from Gill's translation as "Stick-to-the-parent."

Tera tona 'enua o 'Enua-te-ki. The name of her land was the Mute-land.
E no'o vaitata a ia i te pa'aki o to ratou metua. She dwelt close to the home of their parent.
I karanga'ia tona ingoa o Tumetua, tei a ia te taratu o to ratou metua. Her name was called Tumetua [as] she the straight speech of their parent.
O taratu te aite anga otona ingoa. Straight-speech was the meaning of her name.
I karanga'ia e kare a ia i kite i te kanga va'ine. It was said that she did not know female sins.
Ia tara'ia te tara kino i a ia, kare e ki. mai; e tara tu ra, e tungou 'ua mai. When evil speech was spoken to her, she did not answer; [but] straight speech, she simply nodded her head.
I karanga'ia e e 'enua parere te tara. It was said to be a land destitute of speech.
Tera te pe'e i 'atua e Potiki no te 'enua o Tu-metua: There is the song composed by Potiki regarding the land of Tu-metua:
"E 'enua va'ine iraro atu, "There is a land of women further down.
"Te a'a maira te tara? What is the tale that comes from there?
"'Aore. "Nothing.page 14
(Taipo e) (Chorus)
"E 'enua parere i 'Avaiki, e 'enua mu matangi e. "A speechless land in Hawaiki, a land dumb as the winds.
"Ae— "Yes
"Ua ie Tautiti nei aore kite i te tara e. "Tautiti is now silent, not knowing how to speak.
"E a'a te tara i tara i; tei 'Avaiki na va'ine ie kata e." "What is the story that is told; in Hawaiki are women who laugh silently."

Mamae gives the following account of Avatea or Vatea, first child of Vari:

Tera te tangata mua o Avatea. The first man was Vatea.
Tera tona 'enua i Te Papa-ra 'ira'i i ta-kina i nunga ei poitu. His land was the Thin-stratum-of-earth, [which] was drawn up above as a net float.
Tera tana va'ine o Papa, e tama'ine no Timate-kore. Tamaiti-ngavarivari tona metua va'ine. His wife was Papa, a daughter of Ti-mate-kore. Tamaiti-ngavarivari was her mother.
E va'ine 'akairimoe 'ia e Avatea i te po. Te moe ra raua. [Papa was] a woman embraced by Vatea in his sleep. They two slept together.
la 'itirere a ia i te ao, kare 'ua taua va'ine. When he woke in the morning, that woman was not there.
Kimi 'aere atu ra a ia i te nga'i i no'o ai. He sought about for the place where she lived.
Tera tana ravenga i varu a ia i te 'akari e paru i nga va'arua. What he did was to grate coconut to place before the openings in the earth.
Ua 'oki a ia ua moe i tona kainga, kua ara mai a ia i te popongi, kua 'aere kua akara i nga va'arua, tana i paru. He returned to sleep at his home, he arose in the morning and went to view the openings that he had baited.
Ta'i va'arua ua pau te 'akari, o te va'arua tana i kite ana i taua va'ine. One opening, the coconut had disappeared, the opening that he would see that woman.
Kua varu 'aka'ou i te akari, kua tuku ra i taua va'arua. He grated coconut afresh, [and] laid it at that opening.
Kua no'o a ia i te pae, ua a'ia'i. He remained at the side, it was evening.
Karo atu a ia i te rima te 'aro mai ra i te 'akari. Ua 'oro a ia i taua va'arua, ua kite a ia i a Papa, ua rave a ia ei va'ine nana. He saw a hand scraping up the grated coconut. He hastened to the opening, he saw Papa [and] he took her as his wife.
Ua ui a Avatea kia Papa i te metua tane e te metua va'ine. Ua 'akakite mai a Papa o Timate-kore e Tamaiti-ngavarivari. Ua ui i te 'enua, ua 'akakite mai o 'Enua-kura. Vatea asked Papa who were her father and mother. Papa informed him that they were Timate-kore and Tamaiti-ngavarivari. [He] asked their land, [she] informed him it was Enua-kura.
E rua o Avatea tino, e tino tangata, e tino ika. Vatea had two bodies, a human body and a fish body.

Gill (6, p. 4) pictures Vatea as a composite being, one half, from the middle vertical line, human, and the other half fish. Perhaps Gill's informants made such a division clear to him. As Mamae says Vatea has two bodies, it is possible that the spiritual form was human and the fish form the material incarnation. The same applies to Tinirau, who had two forms.

page 15

Avatea, or Vatea, means "Light-of-day." The full name of Papa is Papa-i-te-itinga. Papa is the earth crust or stratum, and the full name is Earth-in-the-rising (or east). The mating of Light and Earth is an old Polynesian conception. From this marriage the gods were born, and through them human beings came into the world.

Conflicting traditional versions of the lands occupied are evident:

Mamae states that Enua-kura was the land of Papa's parents, whereas Gill attributes that land to Tango. Gill (6, p. 2), in his diagrammatic scheme of the universe, represents the interior of the coconut as divided into six superimposed strata. If this depicts the Mangaian idea of the universe, Gill has omitted one stratum in placing Vari and Tumetua on the same stratum. From Mamae's account, however, it does not appear that distinct strata were indicated, but rather a number of lands at varying distances from the surface located in a vague general Avaiki. Vari lived in the most distant part, Te Aiti-i-te-apiapi, on the bottom (takere) of the hollow sphere. Near her was Enua-te-ki, the home of her daughter, Tu-metua. The land of Te Papa-rairai, the home of Vatea, was floated up to the top to form a thin crust of land below the opening through which the great-grandchildren of Vatea were subsequently to emerge into the upper world of human beings. The Land-of-the-hollow-gray-rocks (Te Parae-tea), the home of Tumu-te-ana-oa, could have been anywhere, for Tumu-te-ana-oa is later said to inhabit some of the caves of Mangaia. Tinirau dwelt on Motu-tapu, situated in the Moana-Irakau (Deep-ocean), and near him was evidently Te Aiti-kai-moko (Narrow-land-where-lizards-were-eaten), the land of his brother Tango, for Tango's grandchildren fished in Moana-irakau and stocked Tinirau's fishpond with fish obtained therein. Gill states that Raka's land was Moana-irakau. Mamae records that it was Matau-riki, but Matau-riki may be another island in the Moana-irakau over the surface of which the winds of Raka swept. Thus Tinirau, Tango, and Raka lived on lands or islands studded on one ocean and occupied one stratum instead of three. Enua-kura, occupied by Papa's parents, is not accounted for, nor are the lands from which the wives of the three other brothers came. The conception of a hollow coconut divided into six strata does not fit in with mythological data. The fact that other Polynesians had definite strata in their underworld does not prove that the Mangaians had a similar arrangement. Gill's diagram printed in 1876 may even influence workers in other areas to take the strata as typical and influence them in producing similar definite arrangements that may not have taken form in the native mind. The native philosophers were not clear as to their pre-Mangaian history. Such persons and lands as were remembered were conveniently stuffed into a vague Avaiki.

Children of Vatea

Of the six children of Vari, Mamae could follow out the lines of descent from Vatea only:

Kare i taka to e tokorima 'uanga i aku, o ta'i 'ua 'uanga i taka i aku, no Vatea 'ua. I do not know the descendants of five, the descendants of one only are known to me, from Vatea only.
Tera ta Vatea 'anau, ta Papa i 'anau. This is the family of Vatea that Papa bore.
Tera ta raua tama mua o Tangaroa. Their first son was Tangaroa.
Aru mai o Rongo, aru mai o Tonga-iti, aru mai o Tane-papa-kai, aru mai o Tangiia. There followed Rongo, followed Tonga-iti, followed Tane-papa-kai, followed Tangiia.page 16
O ta'i o ratou tua'ine o Te Ra-kura-iti. Their one sister was Te Ra-kura-iti.
Tera to ratou au tu'anga i tuku'ia e te metua. There were divisions given to them by their father.
E ta'ua kai to Tangaroa. A division of food was Tangaroa's.
Tera tana au kai: e nu kura, e i'i kura, e 'uetu, e kaka kura, e au manu kura, e au mangaika kura. These were his foods: red coconuts, red chestnuts, plantains, a red kind of taro, red birds, red fish.
Otira 'ua tana, no te mea kare i tika i te metua va'ine te au kai ravarai. Only these were his, because his mother would not consent to all foods [being his].
Kua taumaro a Vatea raua o tana va'ine o Papa. Tera te mea i taumaro ai raua me tareke te au kai ravarai ia Tanga-roa, kare te metua va'ine e tae i te kai. Vatea and his wife Papa disagreed. The subject they two disagreed about was, if all kinds of food were allocated to Tangaroa, the mother could not be present at the meal.
Ua tapu no te mea e tama a Tangaroa. [The food] would be prohibited because Tangaroa was the first-born.
Ko ta te metua va'ine korero ia ia ra'i ta Rongo ta'ua kai ia tae a ia i te kai. This was the mother's speech that the share of food of Rongo be large in order that she could be present to eat.
Tera teta'i korero a Papa ia riro nga tu'anga i tena ta'iaiti ia Rongo. That was one talk of Papa so that dis-tributions would be obtained by that younger brother, by Rongo.

Vatea desired that Tangaroa, as the first-born, should have all the kinds of food, but Papa used her influence with her husband to restrict Tangaroa's official share to the foods which were of a reddish tinge. Red was chosen to pacify him, as it was the color of high chieftainship derived by the first-born. All other foods she obtained by intrigue for Rongo, as she was not prohibited by the law of primogeniture from sharing his meals. Thus Rongo got more than his share, not only of food but of power.

Ta Rongo tu'anga, e ua mangaia, e tikoru, e paku, e papa, e ta'uakai, e atua. Rongo's share [consisted of] temporal power, bark cloth, paku [?], ornaments, a distribution of food, supernatural power.
Kia tae te tuatau i ropa ta raua takurua o te ta'ua kai koia 'oki te tuituitu, kua onge i ta Tangaroa. Kua taka-taka'i i te vaevae ta Rongo. When the season arrived that their [Tangaroa and Rongo's] feast of food was spread out, that is, at the tuituitu feast, Tangaroa's [spread] did not appease the hunger. Rongo's spread [was so great that it] was trodden under foot.
No reira mai ia apinga, e tuoro takurua. Tera te tara me tuoro: From that time was derived this thing [custom], a calling of the feast. These are the words when calling:
"Putunga a kai— "The heaping together of food—
"Na Ruanuku, na Tangaroa, "Belonging to Ruanuku, to Tangaroa,
"Na te anau Atea "To the descendants of Atea,
"E tini—e mano—." "[They are] myriad—[they are] numberless."

Because of the restricted number of red foods, Tangaroa's heaps of food at the feast were small. The share of food belonging to Rongo, owing to page 17the greater variety of material, was piled so high that the food rolled off the heaps and was trodden under foot. Tangaroa became so jealous (vare'ae) that he left ('oro) for other parts. Tangaroa was evidently married to a woman named Taka.

Tera 'oki ra te 'anau a Vatea, ta Papa i 'anau, ko Tangaroa te tama, i karanga'ia ai kare i 'anau mai no raro, i na roto mai i te 'atu 'e'e. Also from the family of Vatea, born of Papa, of Tangaroa the first-born, it was said that he was not born from below but from the core of a boil.
I teta'i tana i na roto mai i te kokira upoko, no te mea a kikomua a ia i tapu ai. In another story, he emerged through the hair whorl of the head [of his mother] because he was the first-born and thus tapu.

The reason for Tangaroa's abnormal birth is clearly explained. He was the first-born male (kiko mua, "first flesh") and could not use a common path, as he bore the tapu of primogeniture. This miraculous delivery is used to stress the importance of male seniority in the family.

Tera te rua o te tama o Rongo. Tei a ia te tu'amga, koia 'oki te ua mangaia. The second son was Rongo. He had the share, which is power and authority.
Tera te toru o Tonga-iti. The third was Tonga-iti.
Tei a ia te pi'a i te toa e te vainga'ere. He had the receptacle of bravery and military enterprises.
Tera te 'a o Tane-papa-kai. The fourth was Tane-papa-kai.
Tei a ia te pi'a i te umu e te atua. He had the oven and the god.
Tera te rima o Tangiia, The fifth was Tangiia.
Tei a ia te ika kokoti e te viriviri. He had the cut-up fish [human sacrifice] and the viriviri [?].
Tera te ono o Te-ra-kura-i-'iti, to ratou ia tua'ine. The sixth was the Red-sun-in-the-rising, their sister.

Rongo, besides securing power over the greater share of food, completed the discomfiture of his elder brother, Tangaroa, by obtaining his wife.

No'o i'o' ra Rongo i runga i to ratou 'enua. Tera te ingoa o te 'enua o A'ua'u. Rongo remained on their land. The name of the land was Auau.
Riro mai ra te va'ine a Tangaroa ia Rongo. I ropa 'ekeke'ia e Rongo, i keu ai i ia a Taka. The wife of Tangaroa was secured by Rongo. It was by greater sex appeal on the part of Rongo that Taka transferred her affection to him.
I tomata'ia i nunga i a Rongo teia apinga te te'e ure. Na Tu'a ia angaanga. The custom of exposing the glans penis [superincision] was begun on Rongo. This operation was introduced by Tua.
E tae ake ra i te tuatau i 'anau ai ta Rongo tamaiti i a Taka, 'anau mai ra e tama'ine. O Tavake tona ingoa. When the period was reached that Rongo's child by Taka should be born, there was born a girl. Her name was Tavake.
'Anau mai ra ta Tavake e 'anau kakaoa. Tera to ratou au ingoa o Rangi, Te Akatauira, Moko, Te 'Etu, Te Mata-o-Tangaroa. No'o kapiti i'o ratou i to ratou 'enua o A'ua'u. Tavake gave birth to a brood of illegitimates. Their names were Rangi, Te Akatauira, Moko, Te Etu, and Te Mata-o-Tangaroa. They lived together on their land, Auau.
page 18

The children of Tavake were called kakaoa (illegitimate) because she had no official husband; the father of her children was her own father Rongo. With the birth of Tavake's children the lineage of the main stock of Mangaia became definitely human.

Gill (6, p. 118) records a myth in which Tangaroa descends from the heavens on his rainbow girdle to mate with Ina-ani-vai, who gives birth to Tarauri and Turi, both flaxen-haired. (See 6, p. 13.) The sons engage in dart-throwing games with the seven dwarf sons of Pinga (p. 150). By some, the incidents were placed in the land of Ukupolu, showing that the early Mangaian historians had a memory of other Polynesian lands which they had not been able to work into Avaiki of the underworld.

First Human Settlers

In the fifth generation from Vari the sons of Tavake by the god Rongo were living on the land of Auau in the underworld of Avaiki. Mamae writes:

Tera te aiteanga ia A'ua'u, " 'akatautika." Kia tae i te tuatau i takina mai ai a A'ua'u i nunga, na Rangi ma i taki mai. Kare i kitea te ravenga i takina ai. The meaning of Auau, "leveled-off" When the time arrived that Auau was brought to the surface, it was Rangi and the others who brought it up. It is not known by what means it was brought up.
Tera te korero a te ai metua, i karanga'ia e e 'aka'aka 'ua te rangi i raro. Tera tona teitei e 'a 'onu. Noreira te pia e te teve i para ai te rau, kare e nga'i e tupu atu ai ua papani'ia mai e te rangi. Karanga'ia e na Ru i toko te rangi i teitei ai. This is the story of the fathers that it was told that the sky was spread out low down. Its height was four finger spans. That is the reason why the pia and the teve [two species of arrow-root] have flat leaves, there being no space for them to grow, as the sky confined them. It was said that Ru propped up the sky, which makes it so high.
E toru kopu i kake mai i nunga nei, no raro mai i 'Avaiki. Tera aua nga kopu, o Rangi, Te 'Akatauira, o Moko. E mokopuna ratou na Rongo. Three groups of people came up to this upper region from below in Avaiki. These groups were Rangi, Te Aka-tauira, and Moko. They were grand-children of Rongo.

Note: Drawing up an island to the surface is not a unique legend. Both Raka-hanga and the North Island of New Zealand were raised from the bottom of the sea by inhabitants of the upper world who journeyed to the site in the ocean by canoe. Auau, however, was drawn or led up (takina) from the underworld where there were other lands. Mamae naively says of Auau that it is not known how it was drawn up. The myth of the sky's proximity to the earth is widespread, and Ru figures in the Cook, Society, and Tuamotu islands as the person who pushed up the sky to its present position. In Tahiti Ru propped up the sky at the request of Tane, but in New Zealand Tane himself did the work. The effect of the sky's pressure in flattening the leaves of the arrowroot is known throughout the Tuamotus.

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Three of Rongo's grandsons, Rangi, Te Akatauira, and Moko (Mokoiro), were the first human beings on the land. Although Rongo was actually their father, they are usually referred to as his grandsons through their mother in order not to stress the illegitimate strain, for Rongo could not very well marry his own daughter. The incest was accepted but not approved.

Incidents are often narrated by natives to stress the fact that their ancestors, the early voyagers, were the first on the land. In Mangaia a story with such a purpose, naively inconsistent with the myth that Rangi and his brothers drew Mangaia up from the underworld, was originated.

Rangi, while exploring his domain, came to a pile of rocks overhanging a gorge. He shouted and to his surprise all his questions were answered by similar questions. He cursed the unseen owner of the voice and was cursed back in a mocking strain. At last he caught sight of a female laughing at him. When asked her name, she replied that she was Tumu-te-ana-oa who had occupied the rocks of Mangaia ere Rangi had set foot on the soil. She was the sister of Vatea and the personification of echoes. Her offspring were the rats and the shrimps, eels, and small fish which lived in the fresh-water streams of Mangaia. She had no husband. Her offspring evidently came into being without a male parent. The story as given in full by Gill (6, p. 114) stresses the point that though Tumu-te-ana-oa was first on Mangaia she was a spirit and her offspring were not human, whereas Rangi was the first man.

Mamae says that family groups (kopu) ascended with the three brothers. Among the few names remembered are those of the wives. Rangi was married to Potangotango and had a son Paparangi. Moko was married to Angarua and had a son, Vaeruarangi. Te Akatauira was married to Ruange.

The three brothers ruled over their land, but Rongo distributed the authority between them. To Rangi he gave the drum of peace which subsequently confirmed temporal authority over all the people. To Moko he gave the authority over food which developed into the position of the official Ruler of Food (Te-ariki-i-te-ua-i-te-tapora-kai, "The-chief-at-the-head-of-the-food-platter"). To Te Akatauira he gave the karakia (prayers and ritual) out of which developed the positions of the two priests of Rongo. The ritual had to do with Rongo and not the gods who became established later. Rangi and his brothers could descend at will through Tiki's hole (p. 199) to consult with Rongo.

The three brothers were the High Chiefs (nga ariki), and the term Ngaariki, subsequently shortened to Ngariki, was, in the course of time, applied as a tribal name to the combined groups under them. With the later increase of population the Ngariki split into three subgroups which evidently traced descent to each of the three brothers; the Ngariki proper, or Parangi, from Paparangi, the son of Rangi; the Ngati-Vaeruarangi from Vaeruarangi, son of Moko; and Te Akatauira from Te Akatauira. The three groups still come under the name Ngariki.

From the distribution of authority by Rongo, certain titles were estab-page 20lished by succession in the Ngariki tribe. Of these, the two priests of Rongo and the Ruler of Food remained in the Ngariki tribe throughout Mangaian history in spite of the vicissitudes and defeats that it subsequently suffered. The office of Supreme Temporal Lord which went with the drum of peace was kept in the Ngariki for some generations, but, becoming intimately merged in a military dictatorship, it passed to the strongest military power of the time.

The names of three of the first settlers are given in a myth briefly para-phrased from Gill's version (6, pp. 282-286):

One of the first settlers, Matoetoea, possessed the wonderful power of causing violent shivering fits to assail anyone who lifted up an arm to strike him. Thus anyone having gooseflesh with a shivering fit was said to have the skin of Matoetoea (te kiri o Matoetoea). A warrior named Tukaitaua, son of Tavarenga, in the underworld of Avaiki, was attracted to the upper world by the fame of Matoetoea. Matoetoea's art failed him and he fell under the spear of Tukaitaua. Tukaitaua also killed Ngake and Akuru. Matoetoea was the first person slain in the early reign of Rangi. Rangi went down through Tiki's chasm to seek advice of his grandfather Rongo. Rongo sent Tutavake to exact vengeance, instructing him not to attack Tukaitaua while the sun threw a long shadow in the morning or afternoon, as his strength increased or diminished with the length of the shadow cast. Tutavake thus met Tutaitaua at noon and slew him when the sun cast no shadow. The Ngariki people were supposed to have learned about weapons and methods of using them from covertly watching Tukaitaua during his daily sparring practices before he was killed by Tutavake.

Papaaunuku, next to the three High Chiefs, was the most famous of the first immigrants from the underworld. Gill (6, p. 19) states that he was a son of Tane-papa-kai, the brother of Rongo, and that Tane spoke through him quietly and without frenzy. Rangi, who wanted another god in addition to Rongo, rejected Tane, took Motoro as his god for the upper world, and appointed Papaaunuku as his priest. Mamae, who is a direct descendant of Papaaunuku, does not agree with the Tane paternity, for he says, in speaking of his own tribe (kopu):

Tera te ingoa o te tupuna mua tika i o tona kopu o Papaaunuku. I tuatua'ia e no raro mai no 'Avaiki. Kare 'ua i kitea tona metua tane e tona metua va'ine. The name of the very first ancestor of his tribe was Papaaunuku. It was said that he came from below from Avaiki. It is. not known who were his father and his mother.
Kua 'akariro atu ra teta'i tangata ia Pa-paaunuku ei pi'a atua nona. Tera te ingoa o taua tangata o Rangi. Riro atu ra a Papaaunuku ei pi'a atua no te kopu o Ngariki. A certain man appointed Papaaunuku as the medium of his god. The name of that man was Rangi. Thus Papaaunuku was taken as a priest for the tribe of Ngariki.

The descendants of Papaaunuku do not recognize their first ancestor as a son of Tane. It is known that six generations later Mautara consulted Tane on his own business, but both Aiteina and Akaeakore held that the communications were made indirectly through his wife, Te Ko, who belonged to the Ngati-Tane tribe, and through Te Vake, his uncle-in-law, who was page 21high priest of Tane. The descendants of Papaaunuku for some generations became followers of Tane, but they were never priests of Tane, which would have been their right had Papaaunuku been Tane's son. The worshipers of Tane did not arrive on Mangaia until some time after the advent of the Ngariki and Papaaunuku.

Rauvaru, another first settler mentioned by Gill (6, p. 273), built the first house on Mangaia at Tamarua and left the long thatch ends hanging down. Rangi admired the new invention but thought improvements could be effected. He descended to the underworld, where Rongo presented him with an adz named Ruateatonga. With the adz he trimmed the thatch all around the eaves while Ruavaru was asleep. The owner was astonished to see the improvements effected on his house.

Rarotongan Infusion

As listed in Table 2, Tangiia in the family of Vatea was a younger brother of the gods Tangaroa, Rongo, Tonga-iti, and Tane-papa-kai. Gill (6, p. 24) says this mythical Tangiia, whose ironwood form was deposited in the Museum of the London Missionary Society, must be distinguished from the Rarotongan ancestor of that name, who is unquestionably a historical character.

The tribal god of the Ngariki tribe was Motoro. Gill (6, p. 19) gives the following origin of Motoro, after stating that Rangi had rejected Tane-papa-kai because he spoke without frenzy through his son:

His grandfather Rongo lived only in the shades; Rangi wished for a god who would live with him in this upper world. He therefore sent to Rarotonga to ask Tangiia, a renowned warrior king of that island, to send over one of his sons "who had grown up under the sacred shade of the tamanu leaves" to be his god. Rangi's wish was gratified, and Motoro was fixed upon by his father for the purpose.

No details are given as to how Rangi, who had made no canoe voyages, knew of the existence of Rarotonga and Tangiia. It might be inferred that Gill had blended his knowledge of Mangaian and Rarotongan traditions, were it not for other details regarding Motoro:

The Mangaian tradition (6, pp. 25-27) states that Tangiia sent Motoro with two of his brothers, Ruanuku and Kereteki. Another brother, Utakea, followed some time after. Of these four sons, Motoro was the fourth and best beloved. At sea a violent quarrel took place and the two eldest brothers threw Motoro into the sea, where he perished. Motoro's body was devoured by sharks, but his spirit floated on a piece of hibiscus until it reached Mangaia. Here it entered Papaaunuku and, "drawing him into a frenzy, compelled him to utter his oracles from a foaming mouth." The two brothers Ruanuku and Kereteki reached the west coast of Mangaia and landed opposite the marae of Rongo. Here they decided to bathe in a pool of fresh water; but, a quarrel arising as to who should bathe first, Kereteki treacherously slew his first-born brother in the bath. Utakea, the third brother, arrived later on the south of the island. He lived peacefully with his brother Kereteki. Kereteki set up a marae sacred to his dead brother, Motoro. Both Kereteki and Utakea lived and died on Mangaia and in the next generation were worshipped as gods.

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Te Kuraaki was a god brought from Rarotonga by Tui (6, p. 31).

Tui is first on the list of the combined high chiefs and priests of Rongo known as the ariki-pa-tai (Shore High Chiefs). He is said to have come from Rarotonga and, by courtesy, to have shared the High Chief's honors with Rangi by sitting with him on the sacred sandstone in Rongo's marae at Orongo. The Orongo marae was situated on the coast below the makatea on the west. Rangi occupied the position of the first Inland High Chief (ariki-pa-uta). Tui's son, Tamatapu, succeeded to the position of Shore High Chief on his father's death. His mother was a native of Mangaia and belonged to the tribe Te Tui-kura (The Red-marked). Their god was Te Kuraaki, brought from Rarotonga by Tui, but it is not stated in what way they were related to the Ngariki or how they became established on Mangaia in the time of Rangi.

Rarotongan influence in the earliest part of Rangi's occupation must have been strong for Tui to obtain the high position created for him and for Rangi to obtain the Ngariki god from Rarotonga. Much detail concerning Motoro is found in Rarotongan traditions:

Tangiia, while living in the Society Islands, heard of the beauty of the two daughters of Uki, a chief of the island of Mauke. He voyaged there, and while the two girls were bathing in an inland fresh-water pool, he approached by stealth to observe them. He married both. By the elder sister, Moetuma, he had a son named Te Rei; by the younger sister, Puatara, he had Motoro. The name Motoro, which means "to approach a woman by stealth," was given to Puatara's son to record the incident at the bathing pool. Tangiia left his wives in Mauke, but subsequently sent from Tahiti for Motoro. In a battle on Tahiti between Tangiia and Tutapu, Motoro would have been consumed in a forest fire had the gods not taken pity and saved him. They conveyed him to Mangaia, where he was brought up, according to one version. After Tangiia became established in Rarotonga he sent to Mangaia for Motoro and set him up as a high chief with maraes and lands. He had issue, one of whom, Ruatapu, is a prominent Cook Islands and New Zealand ancestor.

The Rarotongan and Mangaian stories regarding Motoro vary considerably. The Mangaian version, in which Ruanuku, Kereteki, and Utakea were elder brothers of Motoro, is not supported in Rarotonga. Tangiia had a number of wives at different times, but none of the children's names agree with those mentioned above. Gill (6, p. 25) states that Ruanuku of Mangaian mythology is the Uanuku of Rarotonga, who is respresented by the "wise men" of Rarotonga as the eldest son of Tangiia. This statement is not confirmed by the Rarotongan genealogies, but Uenuku (not Uanuku) is given as Motoro's son.

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The five generations of the mythological account are summarized in Tables 1 and 2.

Table 1.—Mythological Origin of the People of Mangaia.

Table 1.—Mythological Origin of the People of Mangaia.

The first generation comprises the four spirits, who, though at varying distances away in space, are co-existent. The distances give the order in which they are placed to express the Mangaian concept of the factors that precede human life. They are the Threadlike-root, Breath, Sustained-breath, and Material-in-which-growth-may-take place. As compared with other Polynesian cosmogonies, which include aeons of time and dimensions of space before plant growth and human growth are reached, the Mangaian version is extremely simple. The peculiarities of the Mangaian account can be better followed by grouping the characters into the five generations, as in table 2.

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Table 2.—Contemporaries in the First Five Generations

Table 2.—Contemporaries in the First Five Generations

In the second generation, Vari produced six children who had no father. Yet both Vatea and Tinirau married women whose fathers and mothers are given. These married couples were, therefore, contemporaries of Vari, and Vari's daughters-in-law came into the world through physiological reproduction. Similarly, both Raka and Tango married women whose parents, though not given, must have been contemporaries of Vari. The Mangaians are derived from a primary concept, personified in Vari, by a process of plant growth; the anomaly is that Vari had contemporaries who produced biological families. Vatea and Papa appear as primary parents in other parts of Polynesia. Tinirau is also well known, but in the more carefully kept genealogies of other areas he does not appear until a considerable time after Vatea.

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In the third generation the well-known gods Tangaroa, Rongo, and Tane are born of Vatea and Papa. This part of the account is orthodox and widely spread. Tinirau, however, becomes an uncle to the gods instead of living several generations later. The god Tonga-iti occurs in Rarotonga and may be accepted as in his correct chronology. Tangiia, however, occupies a unique position as a full brother of Tangaroa, Tane, and Rongo. Tangiia as a god does not occur elsewhere, except in Rarotonga, where he represents an ancestor who was made a god after his death. This Tangiia lived about 26 generations ago and was never confused as a son of Vatea. It is thus evident that Tangiia is another local misplacement. The children of Tinirau, Raka, and Tango are all made contemporaries of Rongo and his brothers. Human population was increasing in the other lands of Avaiki when the ancestors of the Mangaians were still in the god stage.

In the fourth generation is Rongo's daughter, Tavake. Her second cousins who descended through Tango were skilled fishermen using nets and stocking the fishponds of Motu-tapu.

The fifth generation brings the genealogy to the human ancestors who were to occupy Mangaia. In the more authentic myths and traditions of other Polynesians the god Rongo and his brothers are placed at a fairly remote period. Following the mythological period is an exploratory or migrational period occupied by movements in the great voyaging canoes to various islands in the Pacific. This period in most accounts covers several generations—as many as 60 in Rarotongan traditional history—and among the ancestral names are those of such culture heroes as Maui and Tinirau and such famous explorers as Iro and Tangiia. In the Mangaian account the exploratory voyaging period is missing, and the length of time from the god Rongo to the human first settlers is reduced to two generations.