There was once this guy who came to Mangareva from Te Po, the night world. His name was Tonga and all the young women wanted to marry him. Because all the young women wanted to marry this man from Te Po they decided to have a beauty contest and the winner was going to marry this man.

There was this one girl named Ugaru-Teganagana who was the youngest girl in her family. Ugaru-Teganagana was ugly and she had short frizzy hair. One night she dreamt that the staff of this young man, Toga, was pointing towards her. This was a symbol that she was going to win the beauty contest.

She told this to her family and her sisters laughed at her. But her father loved Ugaru-Teganagana best of all. So he took her out onto a beach and he told her to wade into the sea. Then he told her to dive down in the sea and tell him what she saw. She dove in and she reported that she saw coral and sand. So he told her to wade out further and to dive and then to again report what she saw.

This time she saw a house in the sea with a coconut tree growing beside it and a fishing pole beside the house. So Ugaru’s father told her to dive down and to pick a coconut from the tree and to bring him the fishing pole. She did this.

By diving down in the magic waters in the sea she became beautiful. But her hair was still frizzy and short. So her father took the meat of the coconut and rubbed into her hair which made her hair straight. Then he rolled the fishing pole over and over on her hair and that made her hair grow down to her waist.

Then she was beautiful and she won the beauty contest and married Tonga, the man who had come from Te Po, the night world.

from Ethnology of Mangareva by Te Rangi Hiroa [Peter H. Buck].

Revised: March 26, 1997

Copyright © 1996 Daniel (Taniera) Longstaff