Tangia and Karika

This page relates the myth of Tangia and Karika. The text is in English, the language of the original translation of the myth.

Tangia and Karika

Tangiia and Karika, the two warriors

Once there were 2 warriors, Tangia from Tahiti and Karika from Samoa who were at sea in search of the island which we now know as Rarotonga. In the past, Rarotonga was also known as Tumu-Te-Varovaro and before that Nukutere (these names have stories that go with it, but i will explain another time). Anyway, they saw each other approaching on the horizon, and Tangiia told the men on his canoe to go below deck. I was told that Tangiia had about 200 people on his canoe. So as they drew closer to each other, Karika noticed that there was only women on Tangiia's canoe. 

When they discovered that each was in search of the same island, they engaged in what we call 'putoto' which is sort of like tug-o-war, but instead of pulling a rope, they pushed each others canoes. As you would expect Karika was winning. Tangiia waited until Karika's men had used up a lot of their strength, then he called his men to get up and paddle and so they did. And as I was told they almost pushed Karika back to Samoa. In resignation, Karika gave Tangiia the directions as to how to get to Rarotonga. 

So off Tangia went in search of Rarotonga. They further the went the more Tangiia noticed that it was getting much cooler, so he dipped his hand in the sea and it was cold indeed, much colder than he expected where Rarotonga would be, so he knew he had been duped, they had gone too far south. 

That is where the name Rarotonga (which means down south) came from. So he quickly ordered his crew to turn around and they went north again only to come across Karika again and in view of Rarotonga. So they engaged in another pushing war and after several days, neither winning, they decided to split Rarotonga in half. So they decided that Tangiia would get the half which had Takitumu (includes the villages, Titikaveka, Ngatangiia and Matavera) and Karika would get Te-Au-O-Tonga which is on the town side of Rarotonga.

 I am unsure as to who was to get the other big village, Arorangi. But note that Rarotonga was already inhabited when these two arrived. But I was told that Tangiia and Karika were welcomed by the native Rarotongan's and even married chiefs daughters.