Examples from New Zealand, Marshall Islands, Tahiti, Palau, and Vanuatu
New Zealand (creation of earth and sky):
There was a stong love between Rangi (Sky Father) and Papa (Earth Mother). They came from Te Kore (The Nothing) and Te Po (The Night). Te Po and Space created Rangi and Papa; Rangi and Papa clave onto each other and would not seperate. Their first children were sons called Tu-matauenga (god of war and fierce warriors), Tane-mahuta (god of the forest and all those in it), Tawhiri-ma-tea (god of winds and storms), Rongo-ma-tane (god of cultivated foods), Tangaroa (god of fish and reptiles), and Huamia-tikitiki (god of uncultivated foods). These sons got tired of being squished together with no room, light, or space so they decided to seperate their parents. Several of the sons tried but could not push Rangi and Papa apart. It was Tane-mahuta who finally succeeded by using four poles. Rangi was thrown into the heavens, and Papa remained on earth; the space between them revealed the first human beings. Rangi and Papa were heart-broken over what their sons had done. Rangi's tears became rain, dew, rivers, and oceans. Mist from the earth flow up as Papa longs for her love. Red clay and bloody sunsets come from their blood.
Interact with Rangi and Papa's story by clicking on the following link:
Marshall Islands (creation of world and tattooing):
In the beginning, four posts held up the sky. Eventually, these posts fell down. The eastern post created the eastern sky, Lokomraan. The southern post created the southern sky, Lorok. The northern post created the northern sky, Lajibwinamon. The western post created the western sky, Iroojrilik. Lokomraan, Lorok, Lajibwinamon, and Iroojrilik became the high chiefs of East, South, North, and West. Before the high chiefs were the gods, though, and they were called Lowa and Lomtal. These two gods created the earth with their voices. Lowa said, "Lowa and the rocks" and rocks appeared. Thus, Lowa created rocks, the islands, and the people. Lomtal created the sea, the fish, and the birds. They brought forth the first tatooers, who tattooed everything they came across. These tattooers colored the earth, the sea, and all inhabitants. A woman eventually came into being and gave birth to a coconut. She buried this coconut and when it finally grew, its waving palms coaxed light into the previously dark world.
Tahiti (creation of world):
Tangaroa was the ancestor of all gods. He lived in a shell - a realm of darkness and nothingness. There was nothing until one day, Tangaroa shifted in his shell and it cracked. He shifted again, and the shell broke open. When the shell broke,he stepped out and started calling out but no one would answer. This angered him. Then he lifted his former shell high above him, and it became Rumia (the Overturned, the Sky). Tangaroa used his own body to create the world. He took out his backbone and made mountains; his ribs became ridges, cliffs, and hills. He pulled out his organs and flung them up to create clouds. His flesh fertilized the earth. He offered his finger and toenails so fish and shellfish could have protective scales, so that crabs could have their own shells. On and on he sacrificed and when the world was ready, he created humans. The Tahitians believe that a man's shell is a woman since he is born of woman. A woman's shell is also a woman because it is only within her flesh that another woman can develop.
Palau (creation of living beings):
The land, ocean, and sky existed but there were no creatures. Before creatures and humans were gods and spirits, Ucheleanged being the most powerful of them. The gods and spirits were lonely and longed for something more. One day, Ucheleanged declared the world's readiness and brought forth a spewing volcano. After this volcano subsided, a huge clam named Latmikaik appeared. This clam contained living beings inside it, and the gods were eager for her to give birth. Once again, Ucheleanged took charge and caused the whole ocean to crash against the clam. She shuddered and split her two halves. Birds, crabs, bats, snakes, eels, sharks, lobsters, crocodiles, manatees, fish, and butterflies emerged - "Come! Come out. Be born!" The last being to emerge was a human child named Uab. The child had a ravenous, nonstop appetite and ate everything. He grew bigger and bigger. He did not consider others and finally, the other people decided to burn him while he slept. When the giant realized that his people had burned him, he was not angry. Instead he realized his selfishness and sacrific himself to bring them gifts. He threw himself down and his body split into a hundred different directions. His flesh and bones became Airai, Ngaraard, Aimeliik, and Angaur islands in Palau. The people of Airai are considered wise because they have Uab the giant's head. People from Ngaraard are skilled cooks because they have his stomach, and people from Aimeliik is always moist because they have his genitals. Finally, the people of Angaur are courageous and fast because they have Uab's feet.
Photo from Never and Always: Micronesian Legends, Fables, and Folklore by the students of the Community College of Micronesia
Vanuatu (creation of world):
Most Melanesian cultures have no origins story for how the world came to be...it was always in existence. However, Vanuatu offers a story for us to enjoy. A woman was kidnapped and impregnated by a magical snake. She hated him and found a way to kill him. His burial site became a clear, gentle stream and his eyes brought forth the first coconut tree. The woman loved the snakes child even though she had hated him. She made her son swear never to tell others of the conditions of his birth but then one day found out that he had confided in his friends. Furious, she smashed the sea wall that controlled the sea and the whole ocean gushed in. The water killed people but some were swept to other islands in Melanesia, along with fruits of the first coconut tree.
Learn more about Melanesian myths by clicking on the following link: