Maui (Tongan mythology)

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Maui is a figure in Polynesian mythology. In the Tongan version of his tales, Maui drew up the Tongan Islands from the deep: first appeared Lofanga and the other Haʻapai Islands, and finally Vavaʻu. Maui then dwelt in Tonga. Maui had two sons: the eldest, Maui-Atalanga, and the younger Maui-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-Motu'a 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 the youngest son of Maui-Motu'a. Houma is pointed out as the spot where Maui's fish-hook caught.[1]

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 (located to the east on the island of Tonga). 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).[citation needed]

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General references[edit]

  • M. Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology (University of Hawaii Press: Honolulu, 1970).

Inline citations[edit]

  1. ^ E.R. Tregear, Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary (Lyon and Blair: Lambton Quay, 1891). 1891:235-236).

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