Nuka Hiva, Hiva Oa, Ua Pou

The proudly shared stories of the creation of the Marquesa Islands are steeped in as much mystery, magic and myth as the enchanted islands themselves.

Whilst there are many stories, all rich in love, jealousy, anger, death, birth, beauty, deities and the divine, this is perhaps the most commonly shared.

One Polynesian legend has it that in the beginning there were Oatea and Atanua, the first man and woman. They ruled the oceans when the world was very young.

“It was at the time of the initial night. Oatea lived with his wife Atanua. They did not have a house.

One day, Atanua said to Oatea her husband: “What is this life without a house?”. Lit up by divine forces on what he ought to do, he was satisfied, and that very evening, the husband called to his wife: “tonight I will build our house.”

The night was drawing in, Oatea stood up and called upon his forces. Once the invocation finished, he chose the site of the house. Then, having put two pillars up, he said: “It is Ua Pou!"

Then, Oatea having taken the ridge tile beam, placed it on the two pillars and attached it with coconut fibre rope and said: “It is Hiva Oa!.”

Then, he fixed the front poles, the beam of the porch, the supporting beams and the lower beam. Oatea then fixed the front rafters, starting from the ridge tile beam up to the long beam, up to the rear stone slabs. He then said: “It is Nuku Hiva!”

What to cover the house with? With coconut palms. The cover was made according to the 9-part technique. He then said: “It is Fatuiva!”

Oatea dug a hole to perfect his work even though sunset was nigh. The voice of Atanua shouted out: “The luminous image is sparkling.” He then said: “It is Tahuata!”

She added: “we can hear the morning bird songs.” He then said: “It is Mohotani!”

Oatea was still working and did not stop. “I will collect the rubbish and will put it in the hole.” He then said: “It is Ua Huka!”

Atanua then exclaimed: “Beware! Be careful! The land, the land of Men is lighting up.” He said: “It is Eiao!”"


Myths, Legends and Stories History