The Gods of Polynesia and the South Seas


Picture of TANGATA-MANU from our Oceanic mythology image library. Illustration by Chas Saunders. Read the full story here.

Oceanic God


The famous Bird-Man deity of Easter Island

He is the Earthly representative of MAKE-MAKE.

A thousand years ago, the Rapanui people were quite content to worship their ancestors, pay homage to MAKE-MAKE and build rather a lot of huge MOAI statues. But due to greed and a complete lack of ecological savvy, the flourishing forests were destroyed, the land was over-farmed, and Easter Island became a pretty tough place to live.

There were two factions at the time, the Fat Ones and the Thin Ones. No-one knows for sure, but it seems that the Fat Ones owned all the juicy bits of land while the Thin Ones toiled and scratched. Result: revolution.

The Thin Ones rose up, slaughtered their rivals, threw down the MOAI, and adopted a brand new deity. The cult of TANGATA-MANU was born and statue-building was abandoned overnight, leaving a graveyard of unfinished MOAI to puzzle future archeologists.

TANGATA-MANU the Bird-Man was supposed to be MAKE-MAKE’s Earthly ambassador, but he didn’t object to a bit of devout fun. Thus began the Great Easter Island Egg Hunt, a yearly sporting event in which daring lads would scramble over cliffs and rocks in search of the first egg of the season. This was quite a dangerous mission, and whoever found and returned the egg safely was showered with praise and crowned Bird Man of the Year.

TANGATA-MANU himself is somewhat elusive. There are many carvings of him bending over an egg and looking at it in a rather perplexed manner. We don’t know what to make of it either.


Area or people : Rapanui people of Easter Island
Location : the Pacific Islands
Gender : Male
Type : deity
In charge of :
Celebration or Feast Day : Unknown at present
Good/Evil Rating : Unknown at present
Pronunciation : Coming soon
Alternative names : BIRD-MAN, TANGATAMANU
Popularity index : 4970
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Article last updated on 11 January 2013 by the Godchecker Team.

Editors: Peter J Allen, Chas Saunders

References: Coming soon.

Cite this article:

Saunders, Chas, and Peter J. Allen, eds. "TANGATA-MANU: God from Oceanic mythology." Godchecker. Godchecker/CID, 11 Jan. 2013. Web. 22 August 2014.

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