In Samoan legend, the mythological figure Ti'iti'i Atalaga appears in legends very similar to those recounting the tales of the demigod Māui, found in other island cultures. In one such legend, which is almost identical to the New Zealand fire myth of Māui Tikitiki-a-Taranga, he succeeds in bringing fire to the people of Samoa after a battle with the earthquake god, Mafui'e. During the battle, Ti'iti'i breaks off one of Mafui'e's arms, forcing him to agree to teach him of how fire had been concealed by the gods in certain trees during the making of the world. The people of Samoa were thankful to Ti'iti'i for breaking off Mafui'e's arm, as they believed that he was less able to create large earthquakes as a result.
In Polynesian spellings, 't' and 'k' are linguistically linked, and in speech, the 'k' sound is typically used in place of the 't' sound. Likewise, the apostrophe can be used to replace either sounds. Thus, the Samoan Ti'iti'i is comparable to the Gilbert Islands' Tiki-tiki, or Hawai'ian Maui-ki'i-ki'i.
The Polynesian narrative or Polynesian mythology encompasses the oral traditions of the people of Polynesia, a grouping of Central and South Pacific Ocean island archipelagos in the Polynesian Triangle together with the scattered cultures known as the Polynesian outliers. Polynesians speak languages that descend from a language reconstructed as Proto-Polynesian that was probably spoken in the Tonga - Samoa area around 1000 BC.
Māui (Maui) is the great culture hero and trickster in Polynesian mythology. Very rarely was Maui actually worshipped, being less of a deity and more of a folk hero. His origins vary from culture to culture, but many of his main exploits remain relatively similar.
Hina is the name assigned to a number of Polynesian deities. The name Hina usually relates to a powerful female force who has dominion over a specific entity. Some variations of the name Hina include Sina, Hanaiakamalama, and Ina. Even within a single culture, Hina could refer to multiple goddesses and the distinction between the different identities are not always clear. In Hawaiian mythology, the name is usually paired with words which explain or identify the goddess and her power such as Hina-puku-iʻa (Hina-gathering-seafood) the goddess of fishermen, and Hina-ʻopu-hala-koʻa who gave birth to all reef life.
In Māori mythology, Rongo or Rongo-mā-Tāne is a major god (atua) of cultivated plants, especially kumara, a vital crop. Other crops cultivated by Māori in traditional times included taro, yams (uwhi), cordyline (tī), and gourds (hue). Because of their tropical origin, most of these crops were difficult to grow except in the far north of the North Island, hence the importance of Rongo in New Zealand.
In Māori mythology, Tangaroa is one of the great gods, the god of the fish. He is a son of Ranginui and Papatūānuku, Sky and Earth. After he joins his brothers Rongo, Tūmatauenga, Haumia, and Tāne in the forcible separation of their parents, he is attacked by his brother Tāwhirimātea, the god of storms, and forced to hide in the sea. Tangaroa is the father of many sea creatures. Tangaroa's son, Punga, has two children, Ikatere, the ancestor of fish, and Tū-te-wehiwehi, the ancestor of reptiles. Terrified by Tāwhirimātea's onslaught, the fish seek shelter in the sea, and the reptiles in the forests. Ever since, Tangaroa has held a grudge with Tāne, the god of forests, because he offers refuge to his runaway children.
Samoan mythology tells stories of many different deities. There were deities of the forest, the seas, rain, harvest, villages, and war. There were two types of deities, atua, who had non-human origins, and aitu, who were of human origin.
Hine-nui-te-pō in Maori legends, is a goddess of night and she receives the spirits of humans when they die. She is the daughter of Tane Mahuta / Tane Tuturi and Hine-ahuone. It is believed among Maori that the colour red in the sky comes from her. Hine nui te Po Shepherds the Wairua/souls into the underworld to ready them for the next stage of their journey.
In Samoan mythology, Tagaloa is generally accepted as the supreme ruler, the creator of the universe, the chief of all gods and the progenitor of other gods and humans. Tagaloa dwelt in space and made the Heavens (lagi), the sky, the land, the seas, the fresh water, the trees and the people. Samoans believed Tagaloa created nine heavens. After Tagaloa made the islands, the humans developed from worms.
In Polynesian mythology, Mafui'e is the god of earthquakes.
In Polynesian mythology, Hawaiki is the original home of the Polynesians, before dispersal across Polynesia. It also features as the underworld in many Māori stories.
Paʻao is a figure from Hawaii. He is most likely a Hawaiian historical character retold through Hawaiian legend. According to Hawaiian tradition and folklore, he is said to have been a high priest from Kahiki, specifically "Wewaʻu" and "ʻUporu." In Hawaiian prose and chant, the term "Kahiki" is applied in reference to any land outside of Hawai'i, although the linguistic root is conclusively derived from Tahiti. "Wewaʻu" and "Uporu" point to actual places in the Society Islands, Samoa, and/or Tonga, and Hawaiian scholars and royal commentators consistently claim Paʻao came from either Samoa or Tahiti, or even that he was a Tahitian priest with properties in both Tonga and Samoa.
Mahuika is a Māori fire deity. Generally, Mahuika is female and wife of the god Auahitūroa.
In Māori mythology, Tiki is the first man created by either Tūmatauenga or Tāne. He found the first woman, Marikoriko, in a pond; she seduced him and he became the father of Hine-kau-ataata. By extension, a tiki is a large or small wooden or stone carving in humanoid form, although this is a somewhat archaic usage in the Māori language. Carvings similar to tikis and coming to represent deified ancestors are found in most Polynesian cultures. They often serve to mark the boundaries of sacred or significant sites.
In Hawaiian religion, Māui is a culture hero and ancient chief who appears in several different genealogies. In the Kumulipo, he is the son of ʻAkalana and his wife Hina-a-ke-ahi (Hina). This couple has four sons, Māui-mua, Māui-waena, Māui-kiʻikiʻi, and Māui-a-kalana. Māui-a-kalana's wife is named Hinakealohaila, and his son is named Nanamaoa. Māui is one of the Kupua. His name is the same as that of the Hawaiian island Maui, although native tradition holds that it is not named for him directly, but instead named after the son of Hawaii's discoverer.
Maui is the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands.
Polynesia is a subregion of Oceania, made up of more than 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are termed Polynesians, sharing many similar traits including language family, culture, and beliefs. Historically, they had a strong tradition of sailing and using stars to navigate at night. The largest country in Polynesia is New Zealand.
Sina and the Eel is a myth of origins in Samoan mythology, which explains the origins of the first coconut tree.
Mt Matavanu is an active volcano on the island of Savai'i in Samoa.
Mauna Afi is a volcanic mountain on the island of Savai'i in Samoa. Its name means Burning Mountain or Mountain of Fire, from the Samoan language mauga (mountain) and afi (fire).
There was widespread belief in ghosts in Polynesian culture, some of which persists today. After death, a person's ghost would normally travel to the sky world or the underworld, but some could stay on earth. In many Polynesian legends, ghosts were often involved in the affairs of the living. Ghosts might also cause sickness or even invade the body of ordinary people, to be driven out through strong medicines.