Latest In

Travel

Oceania Myths - Exploring The Fascinating Myths And Legends Of The Pacific

Let's embark on a journey through the captivating world of Oceania myths, where gods and legends intertwine in a rich tapestry of cultural heritage.

Jane Resture
Jun 06, 202348853 Shares669213 Views
The mythology and pantheon of the Pacific region are rich and diverse, encompassing a multitude of gods and deities. While some gods are widely worshipped across multiple island groups, others are specific to certain islands or even individual islands. The roles and manifestations of these gods often overlap, as they may appear in various places under different names and forms.
Presented here is an alphabetical compilation of key deities from Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Notably, Australia, although technically part of Oceania, has not been included in this particular list as its mythology differs from the identified categories. However, Hawaii, as part of Polynesia, is included. This approach is consistently adopted in Oceania-focused resources.
Let's embark on a journey through the captivating world of Oceania myths, where gods and legends intertwine in a rich tapestry of cultural heritage.

Oceania Myths - The Primary Deities Of Oceania

Here is an alphabetical compilation of The Primary Deities Of Oceania:
  • Abeguwo- Melanesia/New Guinea, Rain goddess whose urine turns to moisture.
  • Abere- Melanesia, Evil demoness who attacks males.
  • Adaro- Polynesia and Melanesia, Sea spirit in the shape of a fish-man that can travelalong rainbows and kill men by shooting poisonous flying fish at them.
  • Afa- The Samoan Storm-God.
  • Afekan- Melanesia/New Guinea, The creator goddess.
  • Ahoeitu- King Tonga, born from the union of the Sky-God Eitumatupua and earth-goddess Ilaheva.
  • Ahu- A burial platform on Easter Island.
  • 'Aiaru- (Polynesia) One of the seven guardians of the world, her function is to predict death.
  • Ai Tupua'i- (Polynesia) Goddess of healing and of war.
  • Ala Muki- (Polynesia) A river goddess who takes the form of a dragon.
  • Alalahe- (Polynesia) Goddess of love.
  • Alii Menehune- (Hawaii) Chief of the Little People, the aboriginal little people of long, long ago were called menehune.
  • Aluluei- (Micronesia) God of knowledge.
  • Amai-te-rangi- A Polynesian deity of the sky who 'angles' for mortals on earth, pulling them up in baskets to devour them.
  • Ao- The God of Clouds.
  • Apu Hau- A god of storms, God of the 'Fierce Squall'.
  • Apu Matangi- The Maori god of storms, God of the 'Howling Rainfall'.
  • Arahuta- The daughter of Tawhaki and Tangotango.
  • Ara Tiotio (or Awhiowhio)- The Polynesian God of the Whirlwind and Tornado.
  • Aremata-rorua and Aremata-popoa- 'Long-wave' and 'Short-wave', two ocean demons who destroy mariners.
  • Areoi- In the mythology of the Tuamotu (Society) Islands, a religious order first organized by the gods Oro-Teteta and Uru-Tetefa, two brothers living in heaven but later settling on earth.
  • Arohirohi- The Maori Goddess of Marages.
  • Ata- An island in the Tongan archipelago, the story runs that Ata was thrown down from heaven.
  • Atanea- A dawn goddess in some South Pacific islands, who created the seas when she miscarried and filled the hollows of the earth with amniotic fluid.
  • Atea- ('Space') Atea was the Sky-God in the cosmology of the people of Tuamotu.
  • Ati- The Maori chief who managed to catch a lovely fairy in a net and married her.
  • Atonga- In Samoan myth, a hero who is half-human, half-spirit.
  • Atu- Name of the first man on Fiji and the first man on Tonga, according to Samoan myth.
  • Atua- An ancestor's spirit revered as a god.
  • Atutuahi (or Autahi)- The south star, Canopus, Alpha Carinae, God of the Heavens, which guided Polynesian navigators on their voyages lasting many months.
  • Auahi-Turoa and the Fire Children- According to Polynesian myth, Auahi-Turoa was the son of the Sun-God Tama Nui-Te-Ra, who sent him down to earth as a comet, carrying the Seed of Fire.
  • Audjal- (CarolineIslands) The earth goddess.
  • Aumakua- (Hawaii) Means "Ghost of Your Ancestors," believed to ascend to the heavens to rejoin the deceased ancestors.
  • Auraka- ('The All-Devouring') A deity of death in Polynesian mythology.
  • Auriaria- A king in Kiribati mythology.
  • Awha- The Maori Storm-God.
  • Babamik- (New Guinea) A cannibalistic ogress, who became the crocodile ancestor upon her death.
  • Bakoa- A Kiribati demi-god.
  • Bue- In Kiribati, there is a myth of the Sun-God in which he sent a ray of light to a woman on earth and made her pregnant.
  • Dakuwanga- The Fijian Shark-God, eater of lost souls.
  • Dengei/Degei- (Melanesia/Fiji) The Serpent-God, a judge in the Land of the Dead.
  • De ai- (Micronesia) Mother of the sun, moon, and sea.
  • Dogai- (Melanesia) A malignant spirit who tried constantly to frustrate human enterprise.
  • Ele'ele- The Samoan first woman.
  • Eleio- In Hawaiian mythology, a kabuna, a diviner who can see the spirits, cure diseases, and return the dead to life.
  • Enda semangko- (Melanesia) Both a war goddess and a fertility goddess.
  • Fa'atiu- The Samoan Wind-God.
  • Faumea- (Polynesia) Goddess of fertility.
  • Fe'e- In Samoan mythology, he is the War-God, described as a huge octopus.
  • Goga- In Melanesia-Papua New Guinea and nearby islands, the primal being was an ageless old woman named Goga, who nurtured fire within her.
  • 'Hau Maringi- God of Mists and Fog.
  • Haumea- (Hawaii) Goddess of childbirth.
  • Haumia Tiketike- The God of Wild Roots and ferns.
  • Hiiaka'- Sister to Pele and her helper in keeping the fires of Kilauea burning.
  • Hina- (Hawaii) Goddess of the moon.
  • Hine- (Polynesia) Goddess of darkness.
  • Hine-keha, Hine-uri- The Moon-Goddess, wife of Marama the Moon-God.
  • Hine-nui-te-po- Goddess of the Night, of Darkness and Death.
  • Hine-te-ngaru-moana- The Lady of the Ocean Waves. Hine in her fish form.
  • Hine-tu-whenua- A benevolent goddess of the wind who blows vessels to their destination.
  • Hoa-Tapu- (Tahiti) God of war.
  • Hua-hega- The mother of the trickster demi-god Maui.
  • Imoa- (Polynesia) The first woman.
  • Io- Polynesian myth tells how their supreme god, Io, created the world.
  • Kanaloa- (Hawaii) God of the sea.
  • Kane- (Hawaii) God of fertility, fresh water, and the woodlands.
  • Kapo- (Hawaii) Goddess of abortions, childbirth, and fertility.
  • Konori- (New Guinea) Creator of the world.
  • Ku- (Hawaii) The god of power and war.
  • Kukailimoku- Hawaiian god of war.
  • Kuklikimoku- (Polynesia) God of war.
  • Kulu Lau- Goddess of mirages.
  • La'a Maomao- The Polynesian God of the Winds.
  • Laka- (Hawaii) Goddess of fertile land and dance.
  • Laulaati- (Loyalty Islands) Creator of the world.
  • Limu- The Polynesian God of the Dead.
  • Lingadua- The one-armed Fijian god of drums.
  • Ligoupup- In Micronesian mythology, she is the great goddess who was never born.
  • Loa- According to the myths of the people of the Marshall Islands, Loa was the name of the Creator.
  • Lona- The Moon-Goddess in north Polynesian mythology.
  • Lono- (Hawaii) God of the sky, rain, and agriculture who descended on a rainbow to marry a Hawaiian girl who was the goddess Laka.
  • Lugeilan- In the mythology of some Caroline Islands peoples, Lugeilan was the God of Knowledge.
  • Maariki- (Polynesia) Ruler of the underworld, and as Mahuika is goddess of fire and earthquakes.
  • Maomao- The great wind-god, father of the many storm-gods.
  • Marama- God of the moon, husband of Hine-keha, Hine-uri.
  • Marikoriko- First woman and divine ancestor, wife of Tiki.
  • Marruni- (Melanesia) God of earthquakes.
  • Maui- The most famous folktale character of Polynesia, the trickster hero who steals fire for man, fishes up the islands of the South Pacific, traps the sun to lengthen the day, and helps raise the sky.
  • Menehune- The "little people" of Polynesian folklore.
  • Milu- Ruler of the underworld.
  • Moeuhane- (Hawaii) God of dreams.
  • Moko- The lizard-god.
  • Nangananga- Goddess of punishment, who waits at the entrance to the land of the dead for bachelors.
  • Nareau- The spider-god.
  • Ndauthina- (Fiji) God of adultery, fire, and fishing.
  • Ne Te-reere- (Micronesia) Goddess of trees.
  • Nevinbimbaau- (Melanesia) Initiation goddess.
  • Nganga- The god of sleet.
  • Ngendei/Degei- (Fiji) The creator and head god of all the original Fiji gods.
  • Nobu- (Vanuatu) In part of Vanuatu, in the New Hebrides group, there is a local tale about a Great Flood, in which it is said that a man called Nobu came out of a huge bamboo.
  • Nügeliar- The Tolai god of light.
  • Nuia- (Tahiti) The primary god.
  • Numakulla- (Papua New Guinea) Earth goddess.
  • Oboroten- The Polynesian vampire, who hides in the form of a bat, but may also take the shape of a human.
  • O'eke- The Polynesian God of the West Wind.
  • Okeania- The Polynesian God of the East Wind.
  • Olopana- A legendary chief of Maui.
  • Orangi- In the mythology of the Gilbert Islands, Orangi was the god who made the first woman.
  • Oro- (Tahiti) The principal deity of the Society Islands, Oro was known in some parts of Melanesia.
  • Papa- (Hawaii) Goddess of the earth.
  • Paratei-metua- God of the winds.
  • Pe'e-pe'e-mai-ma- In Melanesian mythology, he is the King of Heaven, the husband of the earth goddess.
  • Pele- (Hawaii) Goddess of volcanoes.
  • Po- The South Seas' idea of Chaos, the abyss of Nothingness from which life emerged.
  • Poi- The Polynesian God of Snakes.
  • Poloa- (Tahiti) First woman.
  • Pounamu- A greenstone found only on the South Island of New Zealand, regarded as a sacred stone.
  • Ranginui- (New Zealand) The Sky-Father.
  • Rata- In Polynesian mythology, Rata was a hero of divine birth who grew up in Samoa, fought great battles, and finally became king of Tonga.
  • Ruatapu- God of the dead.
  • Rudra- (Fiji) The creator.
  • Rurutu- The first woman.
  • Samamea- The Maori supreme god.
  • Sava- The Supreme Being of certain peoples of Micronesia.
  • Sedi- In some parts of Melanesia, a person who died without offspring became a witch, and eventually a devil.
  • Sina- (Polynesia) Goddess of the moon and the stars.
  • Sinilau- The Samoan god who swam beneath the ocean to the Fiji Islands to fetch his wife, the goddess Tigi.
  • Sisisi- The Polynesian God of Thunder.
  • Tagaloa- (Samoa) The supreme god.
  • Taitala- God of rainbows.
  • Ta'aroa- The Supreme Being, creator of all things.
  • Tahiti-Fiti- In Tahitian myth, Tahiti-Fiti was the first-born of the first humans.
  • Talaini- (Melanesia) A baby-eater god.
  • Tali-Kahakaha- (Polynesia) God of vengeance.
  • Tama Nui-Te-Ra- The Polynesian Sun-God.
  • Tane Mahuta- (New Zealand) The god of forests and birds.
  • Tangaloa- (Tonga) The god of Tonga, a Polynesian hero who became divine.
  • Tangiia- (Cook Islands) In legend, the birth of a triplets, their mother said to have gone to the top of a cliff and gave birth to the triplets into the sea.
  • Tangiia- (Samoa) The first man, husband of Avaiki.
  • Tangik- (Fiji) The underworld god.
  • Tangaloa- The supreme god of the Polynesians, the creator.
  • Tangaroa- (Maori) The sea-god.
  • Tangata-Manu- The bird-man of Easter Island.
  • Tangato-Manu- The Maori bird-god.
  • Tapairu- In Polynesian myth, Tapairu was a woman who went to the underworld to bring back her dead husband.
  • Tara- (Hawaii) Creator of heaven and earth.
  • Taranga- The mother of Maui.
  • Taroa- In some of the Caroline Islands there is a tradition of the creation of the first man, Taroa, by the sea-god.
  • Tataro- In Polynesian myth, Tataro was a trickster deity who played a major role in the creation of the world and of mankind.
  • Tate- In the mythology of the Tolai, Tate was the first man, the ancestor of the Tolai people, who lived on the slopes of Tavurvur volcano.
  • Ta'unga- The Polynesian equivalent of a high priest, wizard, magician, or expert.
  • Taumata- The first human.
  • Tauu- In Polynesian myth, Tauu was the first man, the husband of a woman who came from the heavens.
  • Tawhaki- (Maori) The demigod who visited the heavens to obtain immortality and to bring back the knowledge of healing.
  • Tawhiri- (New Zealand) The god of winds and storms.
  • Te Apo- (Polynesia) The night.
  • Te Ika-Roa- (Polynesia) The long fish.
  • Te Rauparaha- (Maori) The god of birds.
  • Te Rupe- (Polynesia) The bird.
  • Te Tapairu- (Polynesia) The woman who went to the underworld to bring back her husband.
  • Te'iri- The Polynesian creator of the world.
  • Te'iti-utu- In Polynesian myth, Te'iti-utu was the first woman, who fell from the sky to earth and married a man.
  • Telemat- (Micronesia) The great god of the Babeldaob people, who are the indigenous inhabitants of the island of Babeldaob.
  • Ten-ro- The ruler of the western side of the world, according to the mythology of the Tolai.
  • Tiliwe- In the mythology of the Baining people of New Britain, Tiliwe is the creator god.
  • Tinirau- (Maori) The god of fish.
  • Tio- (Hawaii) A sacred god.
  • Tonga- The name of a deity in the mythology of the Gilbert Islands.
  • Tongan-Aro- (Tahiti) God of the air.
  • To'olal- (Micronesia) God of storms and disaster.
  • Tui Fiti- The ruler of Fiti, the underworld, according to the mythology of the Tolai.
  • Tulafale- (Samoa) A village orator.
  • Tuli- The Polynesian God of Thunder and Lightning.
  • Tuna- (Tonga) The eel.
  • Tungata- (Polynesia) First man.
  • Tu- (Hawaii) The first man.
  • Turehu- The mythical fair-skinned people of New Zealand.
  • Turi-Ara-Moana- (Hawaii) God of the winds.
  • Turia- The god of night.
  • Tuti- In Polynesian myth, Tuti was a trickster deity who played a major role in the creation of the world and of mankind.
  • Uenuku- (Maori) The god of rainbows.
  • Uira- (Polynesia) The lightning god.
  • Ulgen- (Turkic) The supreme god.
  • Unaupu- The Polynesian God of Thieves.
  • Upolu- The first woman.
  • Uranita- The Polynesian God of the South Wind.
  • Urien- The Polynesian God of Death.
  • Uru- (Polynesia) The god of the underworld.
  • Urukehu- The red-haired people of New Zealand, a term used in traditional Maori genealogies.
  • Utatao- (Tahiti) A fish-god.
  • Utukalat- (Micronesia) The spirit of rainbows.
  • Vagaga- The Polynesian God of Lust.
  • Vaihiria- In Polynesian myth, Vaihiria was the first woman, the wife of a man who came from the heavens.
  • Wahu- The Polynesian God of Rain.
  • Wahutini- In Polynesian myth, Wahutini was a woman who went to the underworld to bring back her dead husband.
  • Wai- (Hawaii) God of the ocean.
  • Watea- (Maori) The first light.
  • Whaitiri- (Maori) Goddess of thunder.
  • Whiro- (Maori) The god of darkness.
  • Wini- In the mythology of the Tolai, Wini is the creator of mankind, who also controls the earth and the moon.
  • Wiro- (Maori) God of darkness and evil.
  • Witchetty Grub- The ancestor of some Polynesian tribes.
  • Xuxu- (Micronesia) A girl who was carried off by spirits.
  • Yamamayu- (Polynesia) The spider-woman.
  • Yonoi- (Micronesia) A sea god.
  • Yorobe- In Polynesian myth, Yorobe was a trickster deity who played a major role in the creation of the world and of mankind.
  • Yua- The Polynesian God of Hurricanes.
  • Yuki-Onna- (Micronesia) The snow woman.
  • Yumeno- (Micronesia) The god of dreams.
  • Yutu- The Polynesian God of the North Wind.
  • Zicara- (Polynesia) The sea serpent.
  • Zitana- (Polynesia) A wood spirit.
The depicted artifacts showcase a staff god from Rarotonga, a significant figure in the local culture. These staff gods typically measured approximately thirteen feet long, with the central section adorned with tapa cloth.
Staff god from Rarotonga
Staff god from Rarotonga
Surviving remnants often consist of the upper portion, as seen in the image. While many experts attribute these images to Oro, the son of Tangaroa, there is also speculation among researchers that they may actually represent Tangaroa himself.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the realm of Oceania myths is a captivating and intricate tapestry of diverse gods and deities. From shared gods across multiple island groups to unique figures specific to individual islands, the mythological landscape of Oceania is rich with complexity.
These myths and legends have shaped the cultural fabric of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia, offering insights into the beliefs and traditions of the region's inhabitants. The exploration of Oceania myths provides a fascinating glimpse into the spiritual and cultural heritage of this enchanting part of the world.
Jump to
Latest Articles
Popular Articles