We had a very successful release of our last article on the ancient practice of Tokatufa throughout Polynesia. Tens of thousands of people have read, shared, tagged our page, and contacted me personally via email.
There were many discussions throughout social media and forums on my article, and many have discussed how Tangaloa was a god and have disputes about his origins. I wish to address these questions; but before we can discuss these important questions, we need to briefly go over how Polynesian history was first recorded and how we developed some of the erroneous ideas about ancient Polynesian history including how many view key ancient Polynesian characters such as Tangaloa, Maui, and many others.
First off, I want to thank all the missionaries from the 1800’s for the work they did to record our history, especially when compared to the little they knew or understood about ancient Polynesian history. Our responsibility as Polynesians is to take the work of the early missionaries and correct any errors in their records due to their lack of understanding of ancient Polynesian religion, science, society, and politics.
There are too many modern-day Polynesian historians and Ph.D’s in the academic world who are approaching Polynesian history with the same mistakes that plagued the early missionaries’ records. In other words, both early missionaries and modern-day historical academia view, interpret, and express their understanding of ancient Polynesian history through a western view, interpretation, and expression. I describe this issue as looking at Polynesian history through “Western Eyes” rather than through “Polynesian Eyes”.
The modern Polynesian historian almost exclusively base and express their views, interpretations, and expressions on the efforts of the early missionaries and, therefore, inherit the mistakes and misconceptions that plagued the missionaries’ historical records as well.
There may be countless reasons why current Polynesian historians have done this, but I suspect that the major reasons are that:
- Too many are not willing or able to put in the mental and emotional time and effort to dig up this history. This is true because such an undertaking would require a lifetime of commitment to re-store Polynesian history as it truly was and is.
- Too many are not willing to pay the financial sacrifice required to fund a lifetime of work, which requires a significant financial commitment to fund research, experiments, and travels throughout the world.
This is why my non-profit foundation is called Polynesian Eyes. It is a non-profit foundation that reveals ancient Polynesian history through the “Eyes of a Polynesian.”
When I first presented my work to King Tupou IV, he saw the importance of restoring our history through the “eyes of a polynesian.” Tupou IV in 1986, charged me to complete this work for these reasons:
- Because of my unique relationship to Ancient Tonga through my ancestors who are buried throughout the Langi’s in my home town of Mu’a.
- The traditional education I received through Kaliloa & Tanoa from the elders and leaders of Mu’a the ancient capital of Tonga. It is my education via Kaliloa and Tanoa that I am able to see history through Polynesian Eyes rather than through Western Eyes.
With the necessary background of where the current errors of ancient Polynesian history come from, we can now return to the question at hand.
Who is Tangaloa and where does he come from?
- To the lower right we have one picture showing two types of langi. The first being a Langi of Tangaloa / Tu’i Tonga a physical structure and the second langi meaning sky. My question is which Langi is Tu’i Manu’a’s father, Tangaloa, from? Langi the Earth Pyramid or Langi the Sky? Western Eyes will say langi as in sky because they are looking at history through a western view. My Polynesian Eyes, based off of my traditional education and the blood that flows in my veins, will choose Langi the Earth Pyramid. Why is this my choice? Because when I die, just like my ancestors for many generations before me, I will be buried in Langi. Am I a god or myth? No, I am real, I am a man just like everyone else. For more information read my article on Tangaloa and Langi.
- Tangaloa and Maui, as well, were not gods. They were ancient Polynesian titles that were held by mere mortals, but they held positions of respect, knowledge, and power throughout Polynesia. This is the reason why many have mistakenly thought they were gods because academia blindly accepted the “western eyes” of the early missionaries in recording Polynesian history. The missionaries incorrectly chose to see Langi the home of Tangaloa as sky rather than the earth pyramid. This error is because the Western Eyes could not accept that a so called uncivilized savage people could have complex knowledge and technology that was beyond the knowledge and technology of the Western World. For more information on this read my article on “Lotu”.
So we see that Tangaloa is a title held by a mortal man and that he lived in Langi. There is only one place in the world in which one can find Langis, and that is in the Kingdom of Tonga. Can we find descendants of Tangaloa in Samoa? Yes, but Tangaloa resided in Langi, in Tonga. More information can be found in my Tangaloa and Langi Article.
While we are here, we need to recognize the relationship that Polynesians have with other civilizations around the world. Tonga has a relationship with other civilizations that are referred to as mound builders. It is commonly thought of in the academic world to trace Polynesian origins through the Lapita pottery that is tracked throughout the Pacific.
We recognize that Lapita pottery is found throughout Polynesia, as this is primarily driven by the vast reach of the Polynesian Empire and the vast trading that stretched to almost every corner of the Pacific Ocean. So it expected that we would find traces of Southeast Asian pottery throughout Polynesia, but to base a whole theory of origination on this has many weaknesses as pottery would be a common trading item when Polynesians came in contact with Southeast Asian peoples.
However, a more significant evidence of the origins of Polynesians is the overwhelming evidence that Polynesians are mound builders. On Tongatapu alone, a land mass of approximately 99 square miles, we find over 10,000 man-made sias or mounds. Mounds are a higher indication of a people’s culture and origin as this knowledge and practice is unique, especially when we find tens of thousands of mounds within a small area.
The evidence of mound builders connects Tonga to civilizations in the Americas. So the Tangaloas and subsequently the Tu’i Tongas are an extension of the mound builders from the Americas as the Americas have hundreds of thousands possibly millions of mounds built throughout North and South America.
Tangaloa, Maui Gods or Men?