|Polynesian / Maori
|moon goddess. She equates with the Tahitian goddess HINA, daughter of TANGAROA. Tradition has it that her body wastes away with each lunar cycle but is restored when she bathes in the sea from which all life springs....
|The god who broke out of the darkness within the cosmic egg. Tahitian
|Polynesian / including Maori
|Sea and creator god. The deity responsible for the oceans (moana) and the fish (ika) within them. In Hawaiian belief he was the primordial being who took the form of a bird and laid an egg on the surface of the primeval waters which, when it broke, formed the earth and sky. He then engendered the god of light, ATEA (cf. TANE). According to Tahitian legend, he fashioned the world inside a gigantic mussel shell. In a separate tradition Tangaroa went fishing and hauled the Tongan group of islands from the depths of the ocean on a hook and line. He is the progenitor of mankind (as distinct from TUMATAUENGA who has authority over mankind). His son Pili married SINA, the tropic bird and they produced five children from whom the rest of the Polynesian race was born. In Maori culture Tangaroa, like all deities, is represented only by inconspicuous, slightly worked stones or pieces of wood and not by the large totems which are depictions of ancestors....