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Mangaian Society

Children of Vari

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:

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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.

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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.