Glossary of Terms found in Tongan Stories
Plover: A plover is a shore bird. It generally has a round head, straight bill, and large pointed wings. In Tonga it is known as the ‘kiu’.
Kao and Tofua: Kao and Tofua are two islands formed from volcanic activities. The two islands are part of the Ha’apai Group. The island Tofua is elsewhere known in maritime history as the island off which the crew of the British ship “Bounty” mutineed and cast overboard their ignomious leader, Captain Bligh.
‘Eua: ‘Eua is a mountainous island South East of Tongatapu.
Tongatapu: Tongatapu is today’s government centre for the Kingdom of Tonga.
Pulotu: Pulotu was a mythical place where the gods resided. Pulotu is often mentioned as the underworld, and in other references it is a spirit world lying to the far north west of Tonga (possibly at the edge of sight where the sea meets the clouds). Pulotu was a much larger island than the whole of Tonga put together and was filled with all manner of good things.
Only the Hou’eiki (nobles) and their matapules made it to this spirit world. Since common people did not have spirits (laumalie) they did not get to Pulotu.
Rutherford, Noel. Friendly Islands a History of Tonga.
Revised: March 5, 1996
Copyright © 1996 Samiuela Taufa