Encounters with the West introduced Polynesian mythology to the world—and sealed its fate as a casualty of colonialism. But for centuries before the Europeans came, that mythology was as vast as the triangle of ocean in which it flourished, as diverse as the people it served, and as complex as the mythologies of Greece and Rome.
Students, researchers, and enthusiasts can follow vivid retellings of stories of creation, death, and great voyages, tracking variations from island to island. They can use the book’s reference section for information on major deities, heroes, elves, fairies, and recurring themes, as well as the mythic implications of everything from dogs and volcanoes to the hula, Easter Island, and tattooing (invented in the South Pacific and popularized by returning sailors).
- An annotated bibliography of the major introductory commentaries on Polynesian mythology and culture as well as an annotated listing of websites on a broad range of topics related to Polynesian mythology
- An extensive glossary focusing on English translations, equivalents, and interpretations of Polynesian words and phrases