The Gods of Polynesia and the South Seas


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The Gods Of Oceanic Mythology

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The trouble with Oceanic legends is that there are more islands and peoples than fishes in the sea. And every culture has its own twist on the legendary themes. Gods from one island pop up in another. They change their names. They hide and sneak about. They impersonate one another. It's a nightmare for dedicated Godcheckers.

Where do we start? Well, we have already cut Australia adrift because that is a whole continent with its own Gods and traditions. We have tried to keep track of all the Oceanic Gods, even if we have to nail them to the seabed. Every time we see waving palms we shall wave back and examine the coconuts. Maps are being flapped and boundaries are being pushed and lots of skirting and scouting has been invoked.

Once upon a time it was just the South Seas and a setting for ripping yarns involving pearls, buried treasure, typhoons, a thrilling battle with a giant octopus and escape from sacrifice and the cannibal cooking pot as a volcano erupted.

How was it the white heroes always escaped whilst the 'savages' perished? How we longed for Captain Cast-iron to be rent asunder by the Octopus, his parts cooked in volcanic ash, and then thrown away as being totally tasteless...

REGIONS COVERED: Oceania, including Fiji, Hawaii, Melanesia, Micronesia, New Guinea, Polynesia, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga - plus a zillion islands such as Banks Island, Caroline Island, Cook Island, Easter Island, Gilbert Islands, Society Islands and Solomon Islands.

Many Gods are spread across different regions, cultures and tribes. We've tried to pin them down to a particular area if possible. But corrections are always welcome, especially from people with first-hand knowledge. So if you know the region and would like to comment, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us here.

TRIBES, CULTURES AND PEOPLES COVERED: Fijians, Hawaiian, Samoan, Rapanui, Maori, etc etc etc.. More detailed info always welcome.

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Introduction to the Oceanic section

Browse our entries on Oceanic mythology

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List of deity names from Oceanic mythology