Polynesian mythology

TANGATA-MANU

Picture of the Oceanic Tutelary God Tangata-manu from our Oceanic mythology image library. Illustration by Chas Saunders.

Rapa Nui Tutelary God

Also known as BIRD-MAN, TANGATAMANU

The famous Bird-Man deity of Easter Island

He is the Earthly representative of MAKEMAKE.

A thousand years ago, the Rapanui people were quite content to worship their ancestors, pay homage to MAKEMAKE 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 MAKEMAKE’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.

Tangata-manu Facts and Figures

Name: Tangata-manu
Pronunciation: Coming soon
Alternative names: BIRD-MAN, TANGATAMANU

Gender: Male
Type: deity
Area or people: Rapa Nui people of Easter Island, Polynesia
Celebration or Feast Day: Unknown at present

In charge of: Patronage
Area of expertise: Tutelary, Patronage

Good/Evil Rating: NEUTRAL, may not care
Popularity index: 22981

Article last updated on 30 November 2018 by the Godchecker data dwarves.
Editors: Peter J. Allen, Chas Saunders

References: Coming soon.

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