Pulotu may be represented as the paradise from which the gods came and to which the souls of deceased chiefs go. (Commoners were not supposed to have souls). In some accounts, according to Craig, Pulotu is a jumping-off place of spirits on their way to the underworld.
This word pulotu may or may not be related with the word purotu (and variants) found in many eastern Polynesian languages, meaning beautiful (person).
In Tongan mythology, Pulotu is presided over by Havea Hikuleʻo. In Tongan cosmology the sky, the sea, and Pulotu existed from the beginning, and the gods lived there. The first land they made for the people was Touiaʻifutuna (trapped in Futuna), which was only a rock. There are suggestions that for Tonga and Samoa, Pulotu refers to a real country, in fact Matuku in the Lau Islands. Tonga and Samoa would have been vassals or tributary confederates of the Tuʻi Pulotu network in Fiji, which was in turn overshadowed by the Tui Manu'a confederacy of Samoa (which was overturned by the Tu'i Tonga dynasty of Tonga).
After the independence struggle by Hikuleʻo and his cousins Maui Motuʻa and Tangaloa ʻEiki, they renamed Touiaʻifutuna into Tongamamaʻo. Only after that the other islands were made (the volcanic islands by Hikuleʻo and the coral islands by Maui). Finally Tongamamaʻo was renamed, for the last time, as Tonga.
Hikuleʻo is supposed to have married a daughter of Tangaloa ʻEiki.
In the mythology of Sāmoa, Pulotu is presided over by the god Saveasi'uleo (also referred to as Elo), whose name reveals a similarity to the Tongan god Havea Hikuleʻo. Saveasi'uleo is the father of Nafanua the Goddess of War in Samoa, from the village of Falealupo, the site of the entryway into Pulotu.
Spirits enter Pulotu at Le Fafa at Falealupo village.
- In Melanesia, a similar concept is part of Fijian mythology – see Burotu.
- The Māori goddess of death Hine-nui-te-pō who guards the entrance to the underworld te reinga wairua.
- This idea of a jumping-off place needs to be verified from another source; it may be a mistaken interpolation of ideas from Eastern Polynesia, e.g. Māori.[clarification needed][How is Maori "eastern"?]
- , Samoa, a Hundred Years Ago and Long Before by George Turner, p.123 Cite error: Invalid
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- R.D. Craig, Dictionary of Polynesian Mythology (Greenwood Press: New York, 1989), 218;
- E.E.V. Collocott, Tales and Poems of Tonga (Bernice P. Bishop Museum: Honolulu, 1928), 12-20.
- ʻO. Māhina, Ko e Ngaahi ʻAta mei he Histōlia mo e Kalatua ʻo Tongá: Ke Tufungaʻi ha Lea Tonga Fakaako, AU 2006, ISBN 978-0-908959-09-9