Volume 48 1939 > Volume 48, No. 189 > A note by Captain James Cook on the Tahiti creation myth, by A. H. Carrington, p 30-31
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- 30

AN interesting account of the Tahitian creation myth occurs in a manuscript in Captain Cook's holograph, in the British Museum, Add. Ms. 27,889, folios 73 and 74. The volume is entitled “Cook's Second Voyage, Fragments,” and a very apt title it is.

The pages referred to give briefly the story of Maui separating Rangi and Papa, and then go on with “Creation, original cause of things.” It will be found that Cook gives the name of the creator most commonly used as “Tarroa,” which can be no other than Tangaroa, that he was told of the embracing of “the rock,” and makes attempts to write the names of Tangaroa's descendants.

It is interesting, not only because it is without doubt the only first hand pre-missionary account of the myth, but, as confirming the general authenticity of the traditions written after contact with Christianity. It is only to be regretted that Cook was unable to make fuller use of the material then at his disposal.

The attached transcript was done myself and has been carefully checked.

Extract from British Museum Add. Ms. 27,889, ff. 73 and 74.

Creation origl cause of things by many names:

Tarroutahitoomoo Tarroa origl stock—most commonly Tarroa or Tettoomoo—existed before everything except of a rock (Te papa) which he compressed and begat a daughter (Aone) that is Vegetable Mole. After he begot the earth the sea fresh water sun moon stars etc and at last Eatuas, - 31 beings between himself and man and who afterwards begot mankind and went to heaven and left the world to his posterity.

Eothe the first was the son of Tettoomoo and Aone whennua both Eatuas. He was born in shape of a round ball which his father shaped as we now are and called him Eothe (finished) Eothe lay with his mother, after many attempts, and begot a daughter (Ohenaierre-erre-nonai) who when grown up persuaded her father, with difficulty, to initiate her in the same mysteries whence sprang Ohenaiou-wai another daughter one whom he begot Ohenaitaataa, who he was then obliged to impregnate and begot Hinarorohi from who sprang Hina-nuitaitemalama who brought him a son (Tahaitorai) who of his mother begot a son (Ourou) and a daughter Ohenaipia, who together begot Oanna, another son from these three men and the women sprang all mankind.

Eothe is said to have lived in an island (Heawaii) to the northward from which come hogs, dogs fowls etc.