Maui, Tangaroa and Kanaloa

 

The Hervey Island legends state that Maui's father was "the supporter of the heavens" and his mother "the guardian of the road to the invisible world."

In the Hawaiian chant, Akalana was the name of his father. In other groups this was the name by which his mother was known. Kanaloa, the god, is sometimes known as the father of Maui. In Hawaii Hina was his mother. Elsewhere Ina, or Hina, was the grandmother, from whom he secured fire.

The Hervey Island legends say that four mighty ones lived in the old world from which their ancestors came. This old world bore the name Ava-iki, which is the same as Hawa-ii, or Hawaii. The four gods were Mauike, Ra, Ru, and Bua-Taranga.

It is interesting to trace the connection of these four names with Polynesian mythology. Mauike is the same as the demi-god of New Zealand, Mafuike. On other islands the name is spelled Mauika, Mafuika, Mafuia, Mafuie, and Mahuika. Ra, the sun god of Egypt, is the same as Ra in New Zealand and La (sun) in Hawaii. Ru, the supporter of the heavens, is probably the Ku of Hawaii, and the Tu of New Zealand and other islands, one of the greatest of the gods worshiped by the ancient Hawaiians. The fourth mighty one from Ava-ika was a woman, Bua-taranga, who guarded the path to the underworld. Talanga in Samoa, and Akalana in Hawaii were the same as Taranga. Pua-kalana (the Kalana flower) would probably be the same in Hawaiian as Bua-taranga in the language of the Society Islands.

Ru, the supporter of the Heavens, married Buataranga, the guardian of the lower world. Their one child was Maui. The legends of Raro-Toaga state that Maui's father and mother were the children of Tangaroa (Kanaloa in Hawaiian), the great god worshiped throughout Polynesia. There were three Maui brothers and one sister, Ina-ika (Ina, the fish).

One legend says that Maui fished up apparently from New Zealand the large island of the Tongas. He used this chant:

O Tonga-nui!
why art Thou
Sulkily biting, biting below!
Beneath the earth
The power is felt,
The foam is seen,
Coming.
O thou loved grandchild
Of Tangaro a-meha. "

This is an excellent poetical description of the great fish delaying the quick hard bite. Then the island comes to the surface and Maui, the beloved grandchild of the Polynesian god Kanaloa, is praised.

It was part of one of the legends that Maui changed himself into a bird and from the heavens let down a line with which he drew up land, but the line broke, leaving islands rather than a mainland. About two hundred lesser gods went to the new islands in a large canoe. The greater gods punished them by making them mortal.

Turner, in his book on Samoa, says there were three Mauis, all brothers. They went out fishing from Rarotonga. One of the brothers begged the "goddess of the deep rocks" to let his hooks catch land. Then the island Manahiki was drawn up. A great wave washed two of the Mauis away. The other Maui found a great house in which eight hundred gods lived. Here he made his home until a chief from Rarotonga drove him away. He fled into the sky, but as he leaped he separated the land into two islands.

Other legends of Samoa say that Tangaroa, the great god, rolled stones from heaven. One became the island Savaii, the other became Upolu. A god is sometimes represented as passing over the ocean with a bag of sand. Wherever he dropped a little sand islands sprang up.

Another group of Hawaiian legends, very incomplete, probably referring to Maui, but ascribed to other names, relates that a fisherman caught a large block of coral. He took it to his priest. After sacrificing, and consulting the gods, the priest advised the fisherman to throw the coral back into the sea with incantations. While so doing this block became Hawaii-loa. The fishing continued and blocks of coral were caught and thrown back into the sea until all the islands appeared. Hints of this legend cling to other island groups as well as to the Hawaiian Islands. Fornander credits a fisherman from foreign lands as thus bringing forth the Hawaiian Islands from the deep seas. The reference occurs in part of a chant known as that of a friend of Paao-the priest who is supposed to have come from, Samoa to Hawaii in the eleventh century. This priest calls for his companions:

"Here are the canoes. Get aboard.
Come along, and dwell on Hawaii with the green back.
A land which was found in the ocean,
A land thrown up from the sea-
From the very depths of Kanaloa,
The white coral, in the watery caves,
That was caught on the hook of the fisherman."

The god Kanaloa is sometimes known as a ruler of the under-world, whose land was caught by Maui's hook and brought up in islands. Thus in the legends the thought has been perpetuated that some one of the ancestors of the Polynesians made voyages and discovered islands.

...In the time of Umi, King of Hawaii, there is the following record of an immense bone fish-hook, which was called the "fish-hook of Maui:"

..."In the night of Mukti (the last night of the month), a priest and his servants took a man, killed him, and fastened his body to the hook, which bore the name Manai-a-ka-lani, and dragged it to the heiau (temple) as a 'fish,' and placed it on the altar."...

...Rongo (Hawaiian god Lono) the "father of food plants," attempted to lift the sky, but could not tear it from the earth. Then Tangaroa (Kanaloa), the "father of fish and reptiles," failed. Haumia Tiki-tiki (Maui Kiikii), the "father of wild food plants," could not raise the clouds. Then Tu (Hawaiian Ku), the "father of fierce men," struggled in vain, But Tane (Hawaiian Kane), the "father of giant forests," pushed and lifted until he thrust the sky far up above him. Then they discovered their descendants-the multitude of human beings who had been living on the earth concealed and crushed by the clouds. Afterwards the last son, Tawhiri (father of storms), was angry and waged war against his brothers. He hid in the sheltered hollows of the great skies. There he begot his vast brood of winds and storms with which he finally drove all his brothers and their descendants into hiding places on land and sea. The New Zealanders mention the names of the canoes in which their ancestors fled from the old home Hawaiki.

while trees were shaken by fierce winds.

In studying the Maui myths of the Pacific it is necessary to remember that Polynesians use "t" and "k" without distinguishing them apart, and also as in the Hawaiian Islands an apostrophe (') is often used in place of "t" or "k". Therefore the Maui Ki-i-k-i'i of Hawaii becomes the demi-god Tiki-tiki of the Gilbert Islands-or the Ti'i-ti'i of Samoa or the Tiki of New Zealand-or other islands of the great ocean. We must also remember that in the Hawaiian legends Kalana is Maui's father. This in other groups becomes Talanga or Kalanga or Karanga. Kanaloa, the great god of most of the different Polynesians, is also sometimes called the Father of Maui. It is not strange that some of the exploits usually ascribed to Maui should be in some places transferred to his father under one name or the other. On one or two groups Mafuia, an ancestress of Maui, is mentioned as finding the fire. The usual legend makes Maui the one who takes fire away from Mafuia. The story of fire finding in Polynesia sifts itself to Maui under one of his widely-accepted names, or to his father or to his ancestress-with but very few exceptions. This fact is important as showing in a very marked manner the race relationship of a vast number of the islanders of the Pacific world. From the Marshall Islands, in the west, to the Society Islands of the east; from the Hawaiian Islands in the north to the New Zealand group in the south, the footsteps of the fire finder can be traced.

A legend of the Society Islands is somewhat similar. Ina (Hina) promised to aid Maui in finding fire for the islanders. She sent him into the under-world to find Tangaroa (Kanaloa). This god Tangaroa held fire in his possession-Maui was to know him by his tattooed face. Down the dark path through the long eaves Maui trod swiftly until he found the god. Maui asked him for fire to take up to men. The god gave him a lighted stick and sent him away. But Maui put the fire out and went back again after fire. This he did several times, until the wearied giver decided to teach the intruder the art of fire making. He called a white duck to aid him. Then, taking two sticks of dry wood, he gave the under one to the bird and rapidly moved the upper stick across the under until fire came, Maui seized the upper stick, after it had been charred in the flame, and burned the head of the bird back of each eye. Thus were made the black spots which mark the head of the white duck. Then arose a quarrel between Tangaroa and Maui-but Maui struck down the god, and, thinking he had killed him, carried away the art of making fire. His father and mother made inquiries about their relative-Maui hastened back to the fire fountain and made the spirit return to the body-then, coming back to Ina, he bade her good bye and carried the fire sticks to the upper-world. The Hawaiians, and probably others among the Polynesians, felt that any state of unconsciousness was a form of death in which the spirit left the body, but was called back by prayers and incantations. Therefore, when Maui restored the god to consciousness, he was supposed to have made the spirit released by death return into the body and bring it back to life.

In the Samoan legends as related by G. Turner, the name Ti'iti'i is used. This is the same as the second name found in Maui Ki'i-ki'i. The Samoan legend of Ti'iti'i is almost identical with the New Zealand fire myth of Maui, and is very similar to the story coming from the Hervey Islands from Savage Island and also from the Tokelau and other island groups. The Samoan story says that the home of Mafuie the earthquake god was in the land of perpetual fire. Maui's or Ti'iti'i's father Talanga (Kalana) was also a resident of the under-world and a great friend of the earthquake god.

MAUI AND THE TWO GODS.

This history of Maui and his grandmother Hina begins with their arrival from foreign lands. They dwelt in Kane-ana (Kane's cave), Waianae, Oahu. This is an "ana," or cave, at Puu-o-hulu. Hina had wonderful skill in making all kinds of tapa according to the custom of the women of ancient Hawaii.

Maui went to the Koolau side and rested at Kaha-luu, a diving place in Koolaupoko. In that place there is a noted hill called Ma-eli-eli. This is the story of that hill. Maui threw up a pile of dirt and concealed rubbish under it. The two gods, Kane and Kanaloa, came along and asked Maui what he was doing. He said, "What you see. You two dig on that side to the foot of the pali, (precipice) and I will go down at Kaha-luu. If you two dig through first, you may kill me. If I get through first I will kill you," They agreed, and began to dig and throw up the dirt. Then Maui dug three times and tossed up some of the hills of that place. Kane and Kanaloa saw that Maui was digging very fast, so they put forth very great strength and threw the dirt into a hill. Meanwhile Maui ran away to the other side of the island. Thus by the aid of the gods the hill Ala-eli-eli was thrown up and received its name "eli," meaning "dig." "Ma-eli-eli" meant "the place of digging."

The Hawaiian legend of the death of Maui is to the effect that he offended some of the greater gods living in Waipio valley on the Island of Hawaii. Kanaloa, one of the four greatest gods of Hawaii, seized him and dashed him against the rocks. His blood burst from, the body and colored the earth red in the upper part of the valley. The Hawaiians in another legend say that Maui was chasing a boy and girl in Honolii gulch, Hawaii. The girl climbed a breadfruit tree. Maui changed himself into an eel and stretched himself along the side of the trunk of the tree. The tree stretched itself upward and Maui failed to reach the girl. A priest came along and struck the eel and killed it, and so Maui died. This is evidently a changed form of the legend of Maui and the long eel. Another Hawaiian fragment approaches very near to the beautiful New Zealand myth. The Hawaiians said that Maui attempted to tear a motintain apart. He wrenched a great hole in the side. Then the elepaio bird sang and the charm was broken. The cleft in the mountain could not be enlarged. If the story could be completed it would not be strange if the death of Maui came with this failure to open the path through the mountain.

The Hervey Island legends state that Maui's father was "the supporter of the heavens" and his mother "the guardian of the road to the invisible world."

In the Hawaiian chant, Akalana was the name of his father. In other groups this was the name by which his mother was known. Kanaloa, the god, is sometimes known as the father of Maui. In Hawaii Hina was his mother. Elsewhere Ina, or Hina, was the grandmother, from whom he secured fire.

The Hervey Island legends say that four mighty ones lived in the old world from which their ancestors came. This old world bore the name Ava-iki, which is the same as Hawa-ii, or Hawaii. The four gods were Mauike, Ra, Ru, and Bua-Taranga.

REF: http://www.sacred-texts.com/pac/maui.htm