The name of a valuable dog sacrificed to the marine deities by the crew of the Ririno canoe at Rangitahua, an island mid-ocean between Hawaiki and New Zealand. They cut up the animal as an offering to the gods, and laid it cut open in every part before them. Then they built a sacred place, and set up pillars for the spirits, that they might entirely consume the sacrifice; and they took the enchanted apron of the spirits, and spread it open before them, and wearied the spirits by calling on them for some divine omen, saying:

"Come, manifest yourselves to us, O gods; make haste and declare the future to us. It may be now, that we shall not succeed in passing to the other side of the ocean; but if you manifest yourselves to us, and are present with us, we shall pass there in safety."

Afterwards they roasted with fire the dog which they were offering as a sacrifice, and holding the sacrifice aloft, called over the names of the spirits to whom the offering was made; and having thus appeased the wrath of the offended spirits, they again stuck up posts for them, saying as they did so:

"'Tis the post which stands above there;
'Tis the post which stands in the heavens,
Near Atutahimarehua."

They removed all ill-luck from the canoes, by repeating over them prayers called Keuenga, Takanga, Whakainuinumanga, etc. When all these ceremonies were ended, they continued their journey.

The first valuable dog they killed was callled Tanga-kākariki, but this one they cooked and shared amongst them.



  • Grey, Sir George. (1855). Polynesian Mythology. Auckland: Brett, p. 133-134.

This article incorporates text from Polynesian Mythology (1855) by George Grey, which is in the public domain.