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Mangaian Society

Kite Flying

Kite Flying

The mythical origin of kite flying is attributed to a competition between Rongo and Tane in the underworld. Rongo had the longer line and thus won. The incident is recorded in a kite song by Koroa (6, p. 124):

Taumoamoa e Tane e na Rongo 'oki, A competition of skill by Tane and Rongo also,
Tere manu aitu ki Iva ē. Flying spirit kites in Iva.

The sport was a chiefly one. The object, as in the original match between the gods, was to see whose kite could fly the highest. Incantations to give success were chanted and songs were composed. Men gave names to their kites and wept with joy when they excelled those of others. The competitors had a feast afterwards in which the greatest share of food went to the winner.

A mythical-historical tale is recorded (12, p. 39) of the two kites of Ake of Atiu, named Mata-ruerue, which broke away and dropped at Mangaia. Akatere-ariki, son of Ake, voyaged down to Mangaia in search of the kites and married Matakore, the daughter of the Te-aio who was Lord of Mangaia.