Volume 44 1935 > Volume 44, No. 175 > Reviews, p 184-185
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- 184

J. F. STIMSON, “Tuamotuan Religion,” Bernice P. Bishop Museum Bulletin 103.

“The Cult of Kiho Tumu,” Bernice P. Bishop Museum Bull. 111.

“Legends of Maui and Tahaki,” Bernice P. Bishop Buseum Bulletin 127.

Mr. Stimson is an indefatigable among the islands of the Pacific, and has, through the Bernice P. Bishop Museum, made students of these islands his debtors for much valuable information.

Of the Bulletins under review the first is the most important. In it Mr. Stimson presents to us native texts collected from the Islands of Anaa, Vahitahi, and Reao, through five native informants, and translations of the same.

These texts disclose an ancient cult of the deity known in the Tuamotu islands as Kiho or Kio, whom Mr. Stimson identifies, with apparent justification, with the Maori Io; the parallels he adduces being very striking.

There is an exhaustive discussion on the various forms for the name of the god, and the observances prescribed by the cult. Tentative views are offered on the bearing of the wide basis of this cult upon the theory of the peopling of the Pacific, but Mr. Stimson defers his final conclusions until he shall have made a more complete collation of the material now available. An interesting table sets out the god-names in the Tuamotus, Tahiti, Maori, Easter island, Marquesas, Hawaii, Rarotonga, Mangaia, Pukapuka, Samoa, and Tonga. There are copious notes referring to the text; and finally a glossary, which we venture to hope may prove to be merely the forerunner to a complete dictionary of the Tuamotu dialect.

The printing is good, though misprints have crept in in the native text. The translation is painstaking, though occasionally one might suggest alterations. The glossary is very carefully treated, but the diacritical marks used will not be of much use except to the very advanced student.

Mr. Stimson found in the Tuamotus the same reticence in regard to the mention of Kiho which Best and other enquirers in New Zealand had found with regard to Io. Bulletin 111 is a supplement to the preceding and contains additional native texts, with translations and notes on the same. This contribution was obtained from Fariua-a-makitua of Lagatau, and confirms the conclusions drawn from the matter previously obtained. The subject of the cult in general is not further elucidated, but the copious notes are often very suggestive. The two bulletins taken together offer a mine of information to anyone who is interested in the esoteric lore of the Polynesian race.

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Bulletin 127 gives a Tuamotu version of the legends of Maui and Tahaki. It is connected with the previous item in that the information was obtained from Fariua-a-makitua. There are naturally many differences between these legends and the versions current with the Maori of New Zealand. For example, Maui-tikitiki-a-Ataranga has in Tuamotu Ataranga as his father. In New Zealand Taranga, the mother, gives the name Maui-tikitiki-a-Taranga. Several incidents recorded in Tuamotu have not been found in Maori legend, while the details of the incidents given vary much as between Tuamotu and New Zealand. The translator has endeavoured to give the sense of everything contained in the legends and accompanying songs, but has occasionally been obliged to resort to euphemism. A number of explanatory notes are appended.

In all three of the bulletins there is evidence of the painstaking thoroughness with which Mr. Stimson pursues investigations in the ancient lore of the islands of the Pacific.—H. W. W.