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Atua are the gods and spirits of the Polynesian peoples such as the Māori or the Hawaiians. The Polynesian word literally means power or strength and so the concept is similar to that of mana. Today, it is also used for the monotheistic conception of God. Especially powerful atua included:[1] 5

  • Rongo – god of agriculture and peace
  • Tane – the creator of all living things such as animals, birds and trees
  • Tangaroa – god of the sea
  • Tu – the god of war
  • Whiro – god of darkness and evil

In Samoa, where atua means "god" in the Samoan language,[2] traditional tattooing was based on the doctrine of tutelary spirits.[3] There is also a district on the island of Upolu in Samoa called Atua.

In other Austronesian cultures, cognates of atua include the Polynesian aitu, Micronesian aniti, Filipino and Tao anito, and Malaysian and Indonesian hantu or antu.[4]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ George McLean, Vensus A. George, Paths to The Divine: Ancient and Indian 
  2. ^ Pratt, George (1984) [1893]. A Grammar and Dictionary of the Samoan Language, with English and Samoan vocabulary (3rd and revised ed.). Papakura, New Zealand: R. McMillan. p. 270. ISBN 0-908712-09-X. Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  3. ^ Friedrich Ratzel (1896), The History of Mankind, MacMillan 
  4. ^ Leberecht Funk (2014). "Entanglements between Tao People and Anito on Lanyu Island, Taiwan". In Y. Musharbash & G.H. Presterudstuen. Monster Anthropology in Australasia and Beyond. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 143–159. ISBN 9781137448651. 


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