Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Genealogy of the Kings of Rarotonga and Mangaia as illustrating the colonisation of that island and the Hervey Group

[Kings of Mangaia, Hervey Group.]

The island of Mangaia was discovered by Captain Cook in 1777.

The sign of installation of the kings of Mangaia was to be formally seated by the temporal lord, in the presence of the leading under-chiefs, upon "the sacred sandstone" (te kea inamoa) in Rongo's marae (O-Rongo) on the seashore, facing the setting sun. This was their equivalent of our coronation in Westminster Abbey. The special duty of a king was by rhythmical prayers to Great Rongo to keep away evil-minded, spirits (pa tuarangi) that might injure the island. For this end the principal king (te ariki pa uta) lived in the interior, in the midst of abundance, in the sacred district of Keia. His prayers (karakia) were supposed to keep away bad spirits coming from the east. On the barren seashore, at O-Rongo, lived the secondary king (te ariki pa tai), who kept away bad spirits coming from the west. Besides page 635this primary ghostly function, many other important duties devolved upon these royal personages (see "Myths and Songs," page 293, &c.).

I derived the following information (under promise of secrecy) many years ago from my late valued friend, King Numangatini. These lists are the most accurate now obtainable; some points, however are disputed. The kingly office was hereditary; never-the-less the investiture rested with "the lord of Mangaia" for the time being. A father might be set aside in favour of his eldest son, or one brother in favour of another, for special reasons; but still it must be the same blood divine (as it was believed to be). The shore king was not unfrequently an illegitimate child of a great interior king. All kings were ex-officio high priests of Rongo (=ara pia o Rongo), tutelar god of Mangaia.