Fakaofo Myths and Legends

The story of two spirits: Fenu, a Fakaofo spirit and Hemoana a Nukunonu spirit.

Hemoana, the spirit of Nukunonu, lived at a place called the Kave of Hemoana. Even while staying right over there Hemoana still realized that the well off at Ha Toga was murky. Hemoana went over there to check and discovered the spirit of Fakaofo, Fenu had come and stolen Nukunonu’s water, filling up a coconut shell and racing off with it. When Hemoana discovered the theft, he took off in pursuit, overtaking Fenu at the Nukunonu islet of Motu Akea. Hemoana struck at the shell, causing a little water to fall on Motu Akea, but Fenu escaped to Fakaofo with all the rest in the shell grasped in his hand.

Not long thereafter, Hemoana thought one day of the fine kie pandanus which grew on Fakaofo but not on Nukunonu. Hemoana went off to Fakaofo and, unseen by Fenu, stole the pandanus cuttings and brought it back to Nukunonu. When Hemoana raced off with the pandanus cuttings Fenu never even knew it. The cuttings was planted and have thrived to this very day in Nukunonu where the pandanus is plaited into beautiful fine mats. The water well in Fakaofo is blessed with fresh water because of Fenu who raced off with the shell full of water. Fakaofo’s valuable resource of fresh water vai magalo is the source of life and productivity.