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Mokarran and traditional mythology: "Te M'ao the shark lord of our islands"

Published by Bold Commerce Collaborator le

Mokarran and traditional mythology: "Te M'ao the shark lord of our islands"


At the time of the origins, in traditional Polynesian mythology, the great blue shark Te Ma'o purotu was god's favorite sacred shark Ta'aroa, master of the deep sea. He lived in Purotu, original sacred land located in the ocean depths which gave the deep blue of the ocean its name in the Tahitian language. He used to come to the surface and swim near the beach to feed on algae and play with the children. But one day, alerted by the sea gods, humans began to distrust the tame shark of Ta'aroa who could have the bad intention of devouring them. During a hunt led by two courageous warriors determined to kill him, the shark was wounded then he gave the impression of having succumbed. It was then that suddenly he found himself lifted up into the sky by the gods Ta'aroa et You, angered by this unjust fate. This is how the shark found its life saved in the original sacred waters of the celestial domain. Te-vai-ora of the god Tane, of which he became the guardian, under his new name Fa'arava-i-te-ra'i. From then on he retained a status in the eyes of men Tapas (forbidden), which means that it was not consumed and, by virtue of the prohibitions that hovered over sacred names, its name should not even be pronounced ...

On the other hand, it is with a respect marked by fear that the term
Parade was pronounced in the XNUMXth centurye century to mention the fierce warriors of Anaa atoll in the Tuamotu archipelago. The latter ruled without concession over the Tuamotu and even on the island of Tahiti, with attacks as sudden as violent, most often taking advantage of storms they faced in canoes for several hundred kilometers before melting away by surprise. on their unfortunate victims. They killed (and often devoured) men and brought back women and children as slaves. These bloodthirsty warriors had inherited this nickname which is none other than the vernacular name, that is to say in reo Ma'ohi, given to the longimane shark (the offshore white fin, Carcharhinus longimanus). It is undeniably by similarity with the behavior of this shark known for its mobility in the high seas, its tenacity and its aggressiveness towards men who have the misfortune of finding themselves in the water after a shipwreck.

All of this
kaito (warriors) even wore armor made from sharkskin and reinforced with shark teeth, as well as knives and spears using those razor-sharp appendages. An incredible example of behavioral and quasi-aesthetic convergence between man and animal ...


Text: Eric Clua & Frédéric Torrente

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