Polynesian Mythology

The Gods and Spirits of Polynesia

LO-AU

Tonga Education God

Also known as Loau

Deity who taught humans how to make Kava cocktails

He’s known as the Great Carpenter but he is more of a woodwork teacher than a builder. In fact Lo-au is a wise figure who offers practical knowledge and advice. Perhaps his most celebrated achievement was introducing the potent Kava drink to humans.

He came down to Earth one day to see how humans were coping. Everywhere he went people thought he was a king at the very least. He was feted and feasted using the very best turtleshell tureens, but the booze was pretty rough.

Wanting to use a humbler approach, he visited a poor couple named Fefafa and Fevanga who were living in a shack with their leprosy-suffering daughter Kava-onau. It was no use — they still wanted to bestow him with extravagance. He was a visitor and must be given the best. The trouble was, there was no best. Just a vegetable patch.

Not knowing what else to do, they killed their small daughter and cooked her instead. By burying her head and serving up some delicious sauce they hoped to pass her off as chicken or something. But Lo-au was most upset and didn’t take a single bite. It wasn’t just the leprosy putting him off. He pointed out that murder was a terrible thing and insisted the poor little corpse be properly buried.

He now needed a strong drink to help him cope with the shock but there wasn’t any. This caused even more shock. Realizing he was a god and ought to remedy the situation, Lo-au blessed the little corpse and from it sprang the Kava plant. This is a kind of pepper, the fermented roots of which make the Kava drink. It’s potent stuff, if not utterly toxic, but is very good as an anesthetic. So the daughter did not quite die in vain — she produced a drink which became used throughout Oceania to this very day.

Lo-au Facts and Figures

Name: Lo-au
Pronunciation: Coming soon
Alternative names: Loau

Gender: Male
Type: God
Area or people: Tonga
Celebration or Feast Day: Unknown at present

In charge of: Education
Area of expertise: Education

Good/Evil Rating: GOOD, quite approachable
Popularity index: 92

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Article last revised on May 25, 2019 by the Godchecker data dwarves.
Editors: Peter J. Allen, Chas Saunders

References: Coming soon.

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