Maui (Tongan mythology)

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In Tonga, Maui drew up the Tongan Islands from the deep: first appeared Lofaga and the other Haʻapai Islands, and finally Vavaʻu. Maui then dwelt in Tonga. Maui had two sons: the eldest, Maui Atalaga, and the younger Kisikisi. The latter discovered the secret of fire, and taught people the art of cooking food: he made fire dwell in certain kinds of wood. Maui bears the earth on his shoulders, and when he nods in sleep it causes earthquakes, therefore the people have to stamp on the ground to waken him. Hikule'o, the deity presiding over Pulotu, the underworld, is Maui's younger brother. Houga is pointed out as the spot where Maui's fish-hook caught (Tregear 1891:235-236).

Other sources say that in Tonga there were three Maui brothers: Maui-motuʻa (old Maui), Maui-atalanga, and Maui-kisikisi (dragonfly Maui), the last one being the trickster. He also got the name Maui-fusi-fonua (Maui land puller) when he begged the magic fishhook from the old fisherman Tongafusifonua, who lived in Manuka (Sāmoan: Manuʻa). Tongafusifonua allowed him to take the fishhook, under the condition that he could find it in his collection of countless hooks. But his wife, Tavatava betrayed the secret, allowing Maui to pick the right hook. And so he was able to fish up the coral islands from the bottom of the ocean. (Volcanic islands are supposed to have fallen down from heavens.

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References[edit]

  • E.R. Tregear, Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary (Lyon and Blair: Lambton Quay, 1891).
  • M. Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology (University of Hawaii Press: Honolulu, 1970).