Volume 30 1921 > Volume 30, No. 120 > Notes on Tongan religion. Part II, by E. E. V. Collocot, p 227-240
NOTES ON TONGAN RELIGION.
TUI Haafakafonua. This god is identified with Moso in Samoa and Tutumatua in Fiji. His Tongan habitat was Maofanga, a village near Nukualofa. When the native cults were still living Maofanga enjoyed the reputation of special sanctity. There was here a chiefly burial ground, and the house of refuge of Tui Haafakafonua was justly famous. Many, if not all, of the gods had evidently their places of sanctuary, but some were not able to afford much protection to the fugitive from vengeance; they were tutulu, literally, leaky, but others were not leaky, and once within their precincts the guilty man was safe. Of these non-leaky sanctuaries that of Tui Haafakafonua was one of the most famous.
Fakafonua is the chief of Maofanga, and Haa-Fakafonua means the tribe or clan of Fakafonua. Tui Haa-Fakafonua means the king of the tribe of Fonua, the name suggesting a close connection with the tribal organisation. The sacred animal of this god was a lizard, and for the convenience of his departure, and presumably arrival, a tree or post was always provided for him to crawl along. A handy post or tree-stump was a regular part of his temple furnishings. At the end of a seance the priest clapped his hand on the post, and, evidently speaking as the god, said to the worshippers “Good-bye,” and then evidently speaking as the priest to the god, again said “Good-bye,” using a very high chiefly term. The people, too, using this same word, also bade the departing deity good-bye. In the native tongue of course these good-byes are very different terms as addressed to those who are going away or to those who are remaining.
It was the priest of this god whose inspiration Tamale witnessed as a boy. Tui Haa-Fakafonua used to appear in a pond in Maofanga, and was noted for his fondness for the ladies who used to become sick by bathing in the sacred water. It was this god to whom I referred previously as having heard that women became pregnant by bathing in his pond. Although this is not absolutely verified it seems a not unlikely detail.
Mofuta-ae-ta'u. This deity, whose name seems literally to mean the “Proud Boastfulness of the Season,” was the god of Tamale, the chief of Niutoua, in Eastern Tongatabu, who was also intimately - 228 connected with the wider worship of Bulotu Katoa. The sacred animal of Mofuta-ae-ta'u was a great sea-eel (Toke), who dwelt in an opening of the reef opposite the village. This deity resented anyone's appearance on the beach near his abode with the head bound with a turban, or whitened with lime. Should anyone so disregard the eel's feelings as thus to appear in the forbidden area he would be taken off to the hole in the rock where the god lived. It is related of one unlucky wight who so offended that he was born off by the enraged god, but five days later, when his friends and relatives ashore had finished celebrating his obsequies, he suddenly appeared amongst them, not, however, his old, good-looking self, for the eel-god had plucked every hair from his head.
A small fish called the vete was regarded as the girdle of Mafuta-ae-ta'u, it being asserted that a shoal of vete surrounded the great eel like a leaf-girdle. A similar statement is made about another fish and one of the shark-gods, to be mentioned later. The eating of the vete was not forbidden, but it was tabu for the chief Tamale to go down to the beach on the days when it appeared. Should he neglect this precaution of keeping out of the way (probably within doors) the vete would disappear. Restrictions of this sort are not confined to Tamale.
The father of the present Tamale adopted Christianity, and burnt the temple of his god. Its furniture included fine mats, weapons of war, and carefully wrought pieces of wood painted with tumeric. Probably this is a representative collection of temple treasures.
Taufa is another god of the chiefly eastern end of Tongatabu, associated particularly with the great Tui Haatakalaua chief Tungi and his family. The Tungi chieftainship is comparatively late, but the title is now borne by the Tui Haatakalaua, one of the oldest and proudest names of the Tongan nobility. The special domain of Taufa was a large district called Ahau, including several important modern villages, in the east of Tongatabu, but the name is more familiar now as that of a village at the other end of the island. One of the most widely used names of the hero-king, George Tubou I., Taufa-ahau, is said to be derived from the name of this god and his district. In childhood the king was cured of a serious illness by Taufa, and thereafter bore the name Taufa-ahau. This name was previously unknown in his family, but has since been perpetuated. Taufa had a famous sanctuary. It is related that, during a time of war, Niukapu, a chief of very ancient lineage, fled from his foes and gained this house of refuge. His enemies thereupon slew a man, and, with appropriate accompaniments, presented him as an offering to the god. The priest Kautae, thinking it shame that a man who claimed sanctuary with him should perish, slew his own daughter and gave her to the waiting warriors, thus ransoming Niukapu. Tamale, who related this, spoke of Kautae as having given his own life to Niukapu's - 229 foes, and it is said of priests that it is better that they themselves should die than that one who has taken refuge with them should perish. Niukapu in gratitude to his deliverer told Kautae to take his pick of a piece of land, but the priest instead asked Niukapu for his kava, which means that in kava ceremonies Kautae has the right to demand that the cup intended for Niukapu should be brought to him. This practice is not very uncommon. There is an old gentleman in the island of Haano, in Haapai, who, although not a chief himself, has the right to demand the kava of a considerable number of chiefs on the ground of their descent from his family.
Taufa is both a sea and a land god. In the sea he is manifested as the shark, and is called Taufa-tahi, i.e., Taufa of the Sea. On land he bore the name Taufa-uta, i.e., Taufa of the Land, but had no separate sacred animal. In fact, Taufa-tahi and Taufa-uta cannot be considered as two distinct manifestations of the god. Taufa was the god, his totem was the shark, and he had his shrines ashore in which he spoke through his priest. The name most commonly applied to him is Taufa-tahi. Taufa's shark seems to have been a mythical sea monster. Near Mua, the chief village in eastern Tongatabu, is a place in the sea, where it is asserted that on calm days white mounds, like the mounds heaped up over the graves of the dead, can be seen beneath the water. This spot is called Taufa's cemetery, and here the god, in the form of an exceedingly white shark, might be sometimes seen.
Taufa was a notable protector of gardens. To secure the services of the god the husbandman had simply to plait a coconut-leaf in the semblance of a shark, and hang it up in his plantation. This placed the garden under a tabu that none would dare to violate. It is said that after the introduction of Christianity a man had the hardihood to thrust his hand in mockery into one of these tabu signs; but the moribund deity was not to be insulted with impunity, and soon afterwards the sacrilegious violator, whilst bathing in the sea, had both his arms bitten off by a shark. It is interesting to notice that the priestly succession has been maintained to the present day, and a Kautae is still regularly appointed.
Taliai Tubou is the god of the Tui Kanokupolu, whose title is now assumed by the constitutional ruler of Tonga. Even before the advent of Christianity real power was gradually passing out of the hands of the Tui Tonga into those of more active lords, notably the Tui Kanokupolu, who was in any case a very high chief. Tubou, the royal title of the Tui Kanokupolu appears in the name of the god. Kanokupolu is itself a small village in the west of Tongatabu, but the Tui Kanokupolu chieftainship has long been a much more important thing than king of this little village would seem to imply, but the real moment of the name Kanokupolu itself must doubtless be sought elsewhere. Kupolu - 230 is a widely distributed Polynesian place name. As the capital of the modern kingdom Nukualofa is of course the residence of the Tui Kanokupolu; but the connection between this chieftainship and Nukualofa is of longer standing than merely since the establishment of Christianity. The ancient Nukualofa was much smaller than the present town, which includes within its boundaries a number of family groups who inhabited areas whose names and locations are still known.
The sacred object of Taliai Tubou is a large black volcanic pebble, roughly oval in shape, now in the possession of the Wesleyan College, Nukualofa. This stone is called Tui Ahau, i.e., King of Ahau. Its headquarters were probably Kolovai, the largest town in western Tongatabu, and the home of Ata, the head of the Haa Ngata (Tribe of Ngata), to which the Tui Kanokupolu belongs. Ahio was originally the head of this tribe, but his influence waned by a process similar to that by which the Tui Tonga's prestige diminished.
Besides the Tui Ahau in Nukualofa there is lying on the ground in Kolovai another stone of the same kind, which enjoys a sort of twin sanctity, and is reputed to possess the power, rather unusual in a stone, of bringing forth little pebbles. The natives who led me to see the stone narrated this curious circumstance with perfect gravity, but search failed to reveal any of the fruits of petrine propagation.
These stones are of a sort not found on the coral islands of the group, and were perhaps brought from one or other of the two volcanic mountains in Haapai, Tofua and Kao.
Bekebeka-a-Tama, a flying-fox god, belonging originally to Ula, a matabule (minor chief, or rather, great gentleman-attendant of a chief) of Ahau, a village near Kolovai, in western Tongatabu, but now transferred to Ata of Kolovai. The actual god seems to be a purely mythical flying-fox, whose appearance is an omen of disaster to Ata. Bekabeka-a-tama is distinguished from the rank and file of flying-foxes (beka) by his white colour, but I know of no one who claims ever to have seen him. 1 In Kolovai are several casuarina trees on which the flying-foxes are protected by a tabu, and which are covered with the rather noisome little creatures. One or two great chiefs, however, have the right of shooting them on the prohibited trees. If one falls from the trees to the ground it is free of the tabu, and may be picked up and taken away. Rumour avers that the modern small boy's awe of the tabu is not sufficient to deter him from trying the effect of a surreptitious missile. Should the flying-foxes desert their trees Ata must make kava for them and so entice them home again.- 231
Fakafumaka, or Vakafuhu, is the god of the village of Kanokupolu, already mentioned as giving his title to the Tui Kanokupolu. Formerly there stood here a tree beneath which the installation of the Tui Kanokupolu took place. A piece of wood from this tree has been used in the construction of the throne of the Tongan kings, being let in at the back of the royal seat, a symbol of the tree which once stood at the back of the Tui Kanokupolu during his installation ceremony.
The sacred animal of this god was a little shell-fish called the fuhu, but there is an obscure statement that he appeared sometimes as a man and sometimes as a rock. The appearance as a man is probably his declaring himself through the priest, but the meaning of his being a rock is not clear, though it is apparently closely connected with the fuhu.
An old song is still extant describing the voyage of Faka-fumaka and Tutula, accompanied by the goddess Fai or Fai-malie, to Bulotu. Fai is the real heroine of the piece, and distinguished herself not only by her coolness and good sense in the several difficulties and dangers in which they were involved during the voyage, but also by her voracious appetite in Bulotu, whence arises a proverbial expression meaning to lick the platter clean, which in Tongan is to “lick like Fai.” Tongans, however, have no cause to regret her greediness, for, having swallowed a yam in Bulotu, she returned to Tonga and gave birth to a root that has been the progenitor of all the yams in these islands.
Haele-feke, literally “the Octopus comes,” or “Coming in the Octopus,” is a god which appeared in the octopus (feke). He is also called Tutula, already mentioned as the companion of Faimalie and Faka-fumaka in their journey to Bulotu. Haele-feke is the god of Motua-buaka (lit. Old Pig), an important matabule of the Tui Kanokupolu, and of Kioa, the head of a younger branch of the same clan. The clans of Motua-buaka and Kioa, inhabiting a cluster of villages in the western district of Tongatabu, refrained from eating the small octopus which is a favourite delicacy of the majority of Tongans.
The octopus god used to appear ashore in a pool called Kanakana. It is said that he changed into a lizard when travelling overland. When an octopus appeared in this pool it was at once recognised as the god, and the priestess immediately went and awaited him at the shrine, apparently a little raised platform, whither presently the people resorted with bunches of coconuts and plaited coconut leaves and earth. The priestess spoke as the octopus, and from words used by an informant would seem to have imitated an octopus, presumably sprawling out in the manner of this ungainly creature.
The people of this deity not only eschewed in their own diet the flesh of the octopus, but they must not approach a place where he was being eaten. If any transgressed the tabu he was afflicted with - 232 complete baldness, which, however, could be cured by suitable supplications. Should any of the octopus people find one of their gods dead they gave him decent and ceremonious burial in Teekiu, their head village. With this god was connected the large cowrie shell (bule), from whose movements auguries were read. The connection perhaps arises from the use of the shell in octopus-fishing, or both facts have a common origin. A cowrie-shell forms the centre of the bait, which is furnished with artificial tentacles, and somewhat resembles an octopus. This on being lowered into the water is clasped by the octopus, who is then hauled up and taken.
Fono-ki-tangata, the god of the chief Valu and his people in Utulau, in the central part of Tongatabu. The “fono” is the food served with kava, and “fono ki tangata” means to use human flesh in this way. When the kava was presented to the god a human sacrifice accompanied it.
Tui Fiji, literally king of Fiji, is the god of Haa-Vakatolo, whose chief is Ahomee, a village near the eastern boundary of the western part of Tongatabu. The sacred object of the Tui Fiji is the tree called fehi (vesi in Fiji), whose hard wood was a favourite with the makers of spears and canoes. This tree does not flourish in Tonga, but there are some specimens at Haavakatolo, and it is asserted that it is impossible to get it to grow elsewhere in the group. The fehi, or vesi, flourishes in Fiji.
Tradition records that on one occasion as the Haavakatolo people were about to fight a neighbouring folk Tui Fiji told them to place between themselves and their enemies a large lump of the food prepared by burying and fermenting certain fruits; in this case plantain. The warriors then each ate a piece of this food. None who had partaken of this sacramental meal was to turn aside to right or to left, or to flee from the foe. Immunity from death or serious wound lay in keeping straight ahead. With the dictates of caution thus urging to bold frontal attack the braves of Haavakatolo scored a signal victory.
Jiji and Fainga'a are two female divinities belonging to the Falefa, a clan of great matabules attached to the Tui Tonga. An old story relates their unfortunate love for a handsome yellow-haired Samoan named Bajikole (“Folk-Lore,” Vol. XXVI.). Their sacred creature is the heron (motuku), the dark-coloured heron being the incarnation of Jiji, and the light-coloured of Fainga'a. In Tonga a pair of herons flying together, one dark and the other light-coloured are called Jiji and Fainga'a. It is said that formerly a pair of herons so differentiated was no uncommon sight, but it is rarely seen now.
Finau-tau-iku, a god whose habitat was in the eastern end of Tongatabu, near the chief residence of the Tui Tonga. His priest was named Mohe-ke-fie-hua (Sleep to Jest?). He is spoken of as a - 233 god of carrying away, or who carries away, but I have heard no reason for his being thus dubbed. His sacred animal was the pretty little blue and green lizard called by the Tongans pili.
Tau-ki-bulotu was the god of Haa-Mene-uli, a part of Niutoua, in the east of Tongatabu. No sacred animal is known, the deity manifesting himself through his priestess, Teletele.
Vai-uka also had his seat near Niutoua, but across the border in the Tui Tonga district of Labaha (same word as the Fijian Lambasa). He was the god of the Haa-Mofuta. Mofuta will be remembered as occurring in the name of a neighbouring deity, Mofuta-ae-ta'u.
This god had no special temple, but the priest was consulted in his own home. There was, however, a sacred grove near which becoming silence must be preserved. The hard black volcanic pebbles, valued on account of their durability as heating stones for the ovens, and also used in the adornment of graves, were sacred to him, and the ground within the grove was strewn with these votive offerings. These pebbles must of course be brought from one of the distant volcanic islands. Vai Uka was much resorted to by the sick. The priest stroked the seat of affliction with the happiest results. It is not clear how far these cures can claim to be supernatural, as such soothing massage is still a regular part of Tongan medical practice. The god's pharmacopœia is strongly parallel too to the healing art of mere mortals in its employment of a liniment whose manufacture and use are far from being divine secrets.
Tui Olotau, King of Olotau, god of Olotau, the piece of ground on which stands the well-known trilithon, the Haamonga-a-Maui (The Burden carried on the Shoulders of Maui), in the eastern part of Tongatabu. His sacred animal was the sea-snake, which is also connected with Hemoana. If a sea-snake were seen ashore the people knew that it was no ordinary sea-snake, but the god.
The kalae, a rail sacred to the Tui Tonga. I have not been able to find out the name of the inspiring deity. The worshippers of this bird used to take about with them a bunch of kalae, and, as already mentioned, the priest had one of these bunches tattooed on his throat.
This bird's crying at night was an omen of death, and in this connection he was called by the sinister name of Fata, the Bier. The home near which he was heard would be the scene of death, and as he flew away the direction from which his note was heard was an indication of the situation of the cemetery in which the dead would be buried. Either through a strange coincidence, or through this bird being in some way attracted by serious illness, the monotonous cry of the kalae in unusual numbers added to the dreariness of the nights in November, 1918, when the whole of Nukualofa was filled with the sick and dying, struck down by the wave of pneumonic influenza.- 234
The kanahe (mullet), the sacred creature of the clan called Fainga'a, matabules of the Tui Tonga. These matabules are descended from the hero Tui Motuliki, who was the son of the Fijian woman Sinailele (this name is perhaps connected with Hina, the widely recognised Polynesian goddess), and the bones of the dead Maui Atalanga and Maui Kijikiji. Tui Motuliki was even mightier than the great Maui, and whilst yet a child performed the most amazing prodigies of strength and valour. The mullet was from infancy sacred (tabu) to him, and an old tale relates that he prohibited its use as food by any man. When he came from Fiji to Tonga he brought his tabu with him, and the Tui Tonga is said to have extended the prohibition on eating it to all the men of Tonga. There seems to be no remembered custom to support this tradition so far as full-grown mullet is concerned, though there is corroboration of the statement that the young mullet (called te'efo) was tabu to the men.
The veka (rail) was the god of Manumua, a chief on the island of Eua. It was also the god of Motuku-vee-valu (Eight-legged-heron), a chief in the west of Tongatabu, and the father of Muni, of whom exploits are related very similar to those of Maui. It is said that Motuku-vee-valu and his descendants were chiefs in the west of Tongatabu before the present Haa-Ngata lords. This, if true, is a very interesting statement. The rail figures prominently in the story of Muni, guiding the hero, who had been cast into the sea at birth and was completely unknown to his father, to the old gentleman as he was hiding from his foe Bunga (coral), the chief of Eastern Tonga-tabu. Those who belonged to the rail cult used to take the bird about with them. This practice is indicated in the story of the birth of the beautiful Vae.
The lulu (owl) is mentioned as sacred to a family group in Haapai who belonged to the Falefa, already noticed as matabules of the Tui Tonga. Possibly it was sacred to all the Falefa. In passing it may be remarked that Falefa seems to mean “wide-spread,” “widely ramified,” like the water flowing on all sides from the pandanus (fa) in a heavy rain.
The best remembered feature of the owl's supernatural functions is its habit of revealing the pregnancy of women. If the owl hooted near a house in the afternoon it was known that there was a pregnant woman in that household. The meddlesome bird never blurted out its news unless for some reason the lady were keeping her interesting condition a secret, or were as yet unaware of it herself.
The hooting of an owl near a house late at night was a sign that some disaster would befall the unlucky home.
Toke-i-Moana, that Eel-in-the-Open-Sea, was the god of Uiha in Haapai, whose chief is Malubo. On his mother's side King George Tubou I. was connected with this family. Two of the king's sons are - 235 buried in the rather imposing terraced native vaults in Uiha. There was some question as to whether the king himself should not be buried there, as doubtless he would have been if old native custom had been observed, but one of the outward symbols of recent Europeanisation is a royal burial ground in Nukualofa, in which cement takes the place of the great coral slabs cut from the reef with which the tomb of an ancient chief was built up. Before his conversion to Christianity Tubou I. worshipped Toke-i-Moana, whose sacred animal is, as the name implies, the sea-eel. A temple was built for him in Uiha. The sick were taken to Toke-i-Moana and sometimes cured, and sometimes not, after the customary tribute of finger had been collected from an unfortunate relative. There is the usual tabu against eating the flesh of the god or approaching a place where it is being prepared as food.
Jinilau is the son of a woman who used, in going out to fish on the reef, always to turn her back to the rising sun, and at length conceived by that luminary, the fruit of this extraordinary marriage being Jinilau, who is spoken of as the god of beauty. Exceptionally handsome persons were called Jinilau, their attractive appearance being regarded as the gift of the god.
Jinilau married Hina, but before the marriage took place the poverty of the god and his mother made the procuring of appropriate adornment to grace the occasion a matter of no small difficulty. The mother, however, solved the question by telling Jinilau to go to his father the Sun and secure his assistance, adding that he must go to him very early in the morning. Jinilau slept too long, and the sun was already above the horizon before the dilatory groom reached him and preferred his request. After a few grumbling remarks about his son's coming to him when he was right up where all the world could be witnesses of their conversation the old gentleman drew a cloud across between them and the eyes of prying mortals, and they had a cosy secluded chat, with no doubt results satisfactory to Jinilau. Hence arise the light clouds which frequently fleck the horizon at sunrise.
There is also an old myth in which Jinilau figures as lord of Akana in Samoa (Folk-Lore,” Vol. I., page 94). The Mangaian and Maori Tinirau is lord of fishes, and this Samoan Jinilau has also special connection with the fish, the Tongan story agreeing with the Maori in representing him as lending a whale to Kae, which Kae treacherously killed, and was afterwards slain himself to expiate the crime. In the Tongan story there are two whales, called Tonga and Tununga, relatives of Jinilau, which are lent to Kae to take him to his home in Tonga. By the treachery of Kae, Tununga is killed but Tonga, sadly scarred, returns to Jinilau, and relates the fate of his companion. The attendants of Jinilau thereupon go to Tonga and bear Kae back to Samoa whilst he is asleep, and there he is slain. Tununga had - 236 been eaten, but all the scraps obtainable were put into a bowl, and the defunct whale thus restored to life. One tusk, which had been presented to the Tui Tonga, was not recovered, but Jinilau comforted him with the observation that nobody would notice its absence unless he opened his mouth very wide.
Toki-langa-fonua, a great god of Eua, wont to appear in a shark, called the Tui-Fai-Ana, i.e., King of the Fai Cave. Myth relates that Toki-langa-fonua swam to Samoa, and that Tui-fai-ana guarded him throughout the journey. This shark was not an ordinary fish, but quite a species to himself. His stump tail was a distinguishing feature, as was the variability of his colour. His home was the cave called Fai-ana on the coast of Eua. He was reputed to be girded about with a shoal of the fish called in Tongan hofoli. Approach to the god's cavern was impossible to anyone wearing a sweet-smelling leaf girdle, or having the head whitened with lime, and the prohibition seems to have extended to persons in whom were physical or moral defects. (A boat can never be successful in shark-fishing unless sincere harmony exists between the members of the crew). No noise must be made near his home. Anyone at all unfitted for proximity to the god who attempted to approach the cave fell from the narrow rock path along which he must go, but apparently escaped any penalty more serious than a wetting, for falling into the sea he had no difficulty in swimming back a little way, and there scrambling ashore. It is said too that a great wave used to arise at the mouth of the cave and prevent the approach of the wrongly-disposed person. I have not yet met anyone who claims to have seen this remarkable shark, though I have talked with a young man who says that he has seen in the cave the shoal of hofoli said to be the leaf-girdle of Tui-fai-ana.
Toki-langa-fonua (Land-building Axe) is said to have come down from heaven as king of Eua. He begot by his sister Hina twin daughters, Tobukulu and Nafanua, who in their turn bore to their father Hemoana and Tafakula. These incests were unwittingly committed, the parties to them being ignorant of each other's identity.
The people of Eua are said to be immune from attack by the species of shark called anga. As a matter of fact the anga has more reason to fear Tongans than they to fear him. It is rarely that one hears of a Tongan being injured by a shark, but the shark furnishes many a meal for the Tongan. The native of these islands displays remarkable intrepidity and skill in the water. In the shark-fishing, the shark is enticed alongside the boat by singing and calling out and rattling with coconut shells strung on a stick, and a running noose is then slipped over his head. If matters are not going smoothly a member of the crew does not hesitate to jump overboard and attend to the noose at close quarters.- 237
Sharks' teeth were a regular part of the furnishing of temples dedicated to shark deities.
Tobukulu and Nafanua, the twin sisters mentioned above, daughters of Toki-langa-fonua and Hina, and the mothers of Hemoana and Tafakula. They were turned into two rocks to which prayers were made for good seasons and big hauls of fish.
Hemoana, literally Sea-Wanderer, has already been noticed in the brief notes of the creation myth as one of the original gods. Another account regards him as the son of Tobukulu, born whilst his mother, with her twin sister, was swimming home to Eua after the incest with their father. Toki-langa-fonua had abandoned Eua in horror at the discovery of the close relationship that subsisted between himself and Hina, but the desire of the twins to see their father had added fresh blots to the family history.
Hemoana was abandoned in the sea by his mother as soon as he was born. He was wont to appear in the sea-snake (tuku-hali).
Tafakula, literally Red-Edge, a female divinity, born soon after Hemoana as their mothers were swimming from Samoa to Eua. Tafakula's mother, Nafanua, refused to abandon her in the sea, although strongly urged by Tobukulu to do so, and took the child home with her to Eua. In process of time Hemoana came to Eua to visit his relatives there, and he and Tafakula added another to the family's record of unwitting incest, but the unholy succession was stopped by Tafakula's battering the fruit of this union to death with a stone. Offerings were brought to Tafakula, and intercession made, to ensure fruitful seasons, and protection against hurricane and drought.
The suggestion is made by an intelligent Tongan that the name may refer to the red horizon at dawn and sunset. She is the goddess of the light. The island of Eua is high and stands towards the sun-rising from Tongatabu. It would be the first to catch the ruddy glow of the sun as he rose, and would also reflect his last beams as he disappeared below the horizon. Red things are particularly associated with Tafakula, the red varieties of several objects being spoken of as hers. In Eua there is a mound about which are growing two sorts of coconuts, whose Tongan names mean the red nut and the white nut, which is still called the demesne of Tafakula. This mound is probably the site of a house sacred to her.
Hina, a goddess widely known throughout Polynesia. Although the body of lore concerning her is not uniform there are numerous and close parallels between the accounts of the various Polynesian peoples. She occurs in several distinct connections in Tongan tradition, each of them presenting points of similarity with accounts from other parts of Polynesia. It will be well to summarise these.- 238
She is generally regarded as the Moon-goddess, and this view was spontaneously put forward by a Tongan in conversation with me.
Tregear, in his Maori Comparative Dictionary, speaks of her as being connected in the Maori accounts with the Ocean-lord, Tinirau, in a very mythical manner. The Tongan myth of her marriage with Jinilau has been mentioned above.
The tradition of Hina as the sister-wife of the Shark god, Toki-langa-fonua, has already been noticed. This is not her only association with the shark. A Tongan native has told me that in shark-fishing the sharks are often addressed as Hina. In Eueika (Little Eua), an island not far from Eua, Hina is said to be the daughter of the first Tui Tufu, the chief of Eueika. She was very lovely, but one day, whilst sporting in the surf she disappeared, and nothing could be discovered of her fate, till at length she inspired in her father a dream, telling him that through the ill-will of a Samoan god she had been swallowed by a shark, into which the malevolent deity had entered to compass her destruction. Her father thereupon told his people that they need never more fear the shark, as nobody of Eueika would ever more be endangered by one. It is said that as a matter of fact there is no known instance of an Eueika man or woman having been injured by a shark, although both sexes freely and fearlessly swim long distances in the open sea.
In Vavau Hina is the daughter of Maunga-koloa and Tama-tang-kia, and sister of Ngatai (Sea, or Seawards) and Fanua (Land). She had a pet shark, which she kept in a pool ashore, till one day, during an exceptionally high tide, which overflowed the pool, it made good its escape to the open ocean. Hina was inconsolable at the loss of her favourite, and started off to seek it, with her parent, rowing three in the canoe. When the shark was at length discovered out at sea Hina, in order to remain near her pet, jumped into the water and became a reef. Her parents commenced to return to shore, but, unwilling to leave their daughter, they too leapt into the sea, and became two rocks. The three-oared canoe flew up into the sky, and became part of the constellation of Orion. Hina's two brothers, Ngatai and Fanua, later set off to seek their father and mother and sister, and became two other rocks or reefs.
Sinailele, the Fijian mother of Tui Motuliki, is probably another appearance of Hina.
The Shark is also the god of the clan of the Tui Tofua, i.e., King, or Chief, of Tofua, a high volcanic island in Haapai, historically interesting as being the island on which Blight landed after the mutiny of the “Bounty,” and from which commenced his wonderful open-boat voyage. Tofua is not now inhabited, but people lived there within the memory of living men.- 239
There is a tradition that an early Tui Tofua was about to kill his son in a fit of jealous anger, but the youth obtained his father's permission to sail away with some of his people. When they got well out to sea he told the crew to jump one by one into the water. As each man leapt into the sea he became a shark, of the more harmless variety called anga. The young chief himself was last, and he was turned into one of the great man-eating sharks called tenifa. A Samoan on board, not relishing the metamorphosis, refused to participate, and returned and told the tale on shore. Since then the shark has been sacred (tabu) to the Tofua people, and must not be eaten by them, on account of the relationship subsisting between them. There is still extant a song referring to this exploit.
I have received a brief note regarding the gods of Niua Fo'ou, one of the most distant islands of the Tongan Group, lying midway between Vavau and Samoa. This is a hilly, volcanic island, with a lake in an old crator in the middle. It has been the scene of volcanic outbreak within very recent years.
The note states that the gods of Niua Fo'ou were three in number, namely Pig's Liver, the Octopus, and a large lump of Coral (Bunga). Neither the pig's liver nor the octopus could be eaten by their worshippers. Throughout Tonga the liver is a very special portion of the pig, and when on important occasions cooked food is presented to a chief the liver of a pig is taken and ceremoniously placed before him. Bunga (Coral) is the name of the chief of eastern Tongatabu from whom Motuku-vae-valu, the father of Muni, was hiding when his son discovered him. Bunga was overcome by that hero in a wrestling match. This Bunga was the possessor of two enormous kava plants, and of a white flying-fox from whose movements he read auguries.
When Niua Fo'ou became Christian the people threw their coral god into the lake.
There are several gods mentioned by Mariner of which I have not been able to get any independent account. Mariner was best acquainted with Vavau, whereas the foregoing notes deal mainly with Tongatabu. As a whole, however, the Tongan people fit into a frame-work which may be constructed in Tongatabu. The chieftainships of the two northern groups have well understood relations with Tonga-tabu, all deriving ultimately from the Tui Tonga. It is not clear what was the first home of the Polynesians in the group, or what they found on arrival. Tradition points to their having come from Samoa, a conclusion which is supported by the general evidence of geographical distribution, and to their first settlements having been in the southern part, though the farthest from Samoa, in Eua and Ata. It is not impossible, that these southern settlers may have been pre-Polynesian, and that the acclimatisation of Polynesian myths amongst them was - 240 of later date. The Maui stories may indicate a later wave of immigration. If the Vavau of myth could be identified, at least as far as the Tongan islands are concerned, with the present Vavau in the north of the group, it may be the stopping-place of a wave of Polynesian settlers who found the southern parts of the group already occupied by earlier Polynesian immigrants, or by non-Polynesian people. It is evident that free communication with Fiji is of old date. Various relationships with Fiji are manifest. The language shows layers or words which have come by way of Fiji, of which some have undergone the orthodox morphological modification, and some have not. Possibly the whole question will never be capable of other than conjectural solution. In concluding this very important note on Tongan religion I desire to express my obligations to Tangi, the Tui Haa-takalaua and Consort of Queen of Tonga, to Tuivakano, the Premier, to the chiefs Ata, Ahomee, and Tamale, to the Revs. J. Havea, J. Taufa, H. Talia, and E. Tubou, all of the Methodist Mission, to Buleti, Havili, Fatai and many others who have gladly given such information as they were able about matters of which the recollection is fast fading. I have constantly used also the valuable, but all too small, collection of material in the late Dr. Moulton's Magazine, of which a large part was written by the late David Tonga. I desire also to express my obligations to the Rev. R. O. G. Pape, Chairman of the Methodist Mission, and to Mr. E. W. Gifford, of the University of California, who visited Tonga under the auspices of the Bishop Museum, Honolulu, from August 1920, to May, 1921.
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1 Ata has since told me that he has several times seen a white flying-fox, most recently within the last two or three years.