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Rotuman Custom as told to Gordon Macgregor in 1932
from notes archived at
Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawai'i

Legends: Uea







Macgregor's Notes


Tinrau and Sigaga, two people who lived in the sky, came to Uea and had a daughter Tagiau. At the front of the house there was a fresh water pool, but they kept the door shut. So the girl would not go out to it. She obeyed and never went out. Many days they'd go to the sky and leave her to play. She never opened door but one day she did. She saw the pool and flower trees around it. So she went down to the pool. She climbed up a flower tree and her shadow fell on the water. There was a big eel in the pool who came up when he saw her shadow and she saw the water break. So she climbed down and ran away a bit and she saw the eel coming up. She ran in the house and found her parents there. She told them a savage fish was coming after her and just then the eel came in. Her parents told her to get ready to go back to the sky to get away. So they ran in front and the eel chased after them. Her parents said "you must go to the moon to be saved," and she went to the moon. And there she is today.

Tagiau is the woman in the moon, making tapa.

  • Name of eel = Tea iroiro
  • Name of pool = Vaiparahu
  • When Tavai lived in Uea - it was one ho'ag of Itu'muta. Formerly it had two chiefs Kamu and Tui Fagman, who fought between each other. Tui Fagman won. They quarreled to be leading chief of Uea. Because of this Tavai thinks Uea was a separate district, free of the mainland.

    There were two villages on Uea: Maftoa (under Kamu), which faced the main island; and Uarata (under Tui Fagman).

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