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Polynesian mythology
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Polynesian mythology

Polynesia is a triangle of islands in the Pacific Ocean. It was settled by voyagers from the Polynesian heartland of Tonga and Samoa, who fanned out to island groups to the east, such as Tahiti, the Marquesas, New Zealand, and Hawai'i. The various Polynesian languages are still close and there are many cultural similarities between the various groups. Their mythologies in particular tend to be local reworkings of commonly shared tales.

There is often a supreme god, Kanaloa or Tangaroa, who is of less real importance than the subordinate gods who cater to human interests. There is usually a story of the marriage of Sky and Earth, who give birth to the world and all things in it. There are stories of islands being pulled up from the bottom of the sea by a magic fishhook, or thrown down as rocks from heaven. There are stories of voyages and migrations, as one might expect. There is a trickster god, Maui.

In addition to these shared tales, each island group also had its own stories of demi-gods and culture heros, shading gradually into the firmer outlines of remembered history. Often such stories are linked to various geographic features, which may be described as the petrified remains of the supernatural beings.

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