EKEITEHUA – (Also called Singano) This major deity was the god of the northwest wind and was also the main district deity of the Iho (Taupongi) Clan, the archrivals of the Kaitu’u Clan since those two clans are the last survivors of the original eight traditional clans.
Ekeitehua’s celestial home was the far-off land called Mungingangi. This home lay on the horizon to the northwest of Bel-Ren and was the source of the Nohotonu Wind, which Ekeitehua controlled. The Bel-Ren people were undecided on whether or not Mungingangi was above the horizon, below it or on some plane equivalent to it.
Ekeitehua was the son of the god Sikingingangi, having been born from Sikingingangi’s feces, which were yams. Ekeitehua’s sister Teu’uhi the goddess of insanity was also born from their father’s feces/yams and their adopted mother was the goddess ‘Iti’iti.
Ekeitehua’s two wives were the goddesses Moeanga and Teungitaka, the latter the mother of all his children (the lesser district deities of the Iho Clan). Neither goddess was his sister. His favorite animal form to assume was the white-breasted frigate bird.
After death the spirits of the Iho Clan would travel to Mungingangi to stay with Ekeitehua, just as the spirits of dead Kaitu’u Clan members would travel to stay with Tehu’aingabenga and Tehainga’atua.
The rivalry and warfare between the Iho Clan and the Kaitu’u Clan has spawned much historic and mythic lore. The origin of their mutual hostility went back to the initial nautical migration to Bellona and Rennell Islands. The Iho Clan claimed their canoes were the first to arrive because of the divine help they received from Ekeitehua and the winds he controlled.
Naturally the Kaitu’u Clan claimed THEY were truly the first to arrive and the rivalry grew from there. The intensity of their enmity was moderated a little when the goddess Ngeipau, a daughter of Ekeitehua, married the god Nguatinihenua, a son of Tehu’aingabenga – the main patron god of the Kaitu’u Clan.
This made the romantic couple a sort of divine version of Romeo and Juliet and brought an uneasy peace between the rival clans. This uneasy peace – more like a Cold War, actually – lasted until 1961 when the violence broke out again over a border dispute.
A prominent myth features Ekeitehua coming to the protection of an Iho Clan member – Baiango – who had blasphemed against the goddess Sikingimoemoe. Baiango’s younger brother Patiange was out on his canoe catching flying fish when Sikingimoemoe rode by on a shark and carried Patiange off with her.
When Patiange’s empty canoe washed ashore at Ahanga on Bellona Island his brother Baiango consulted a medium, who informed him Sikingimoemoe was responsible. Baiango cursed Sikingimoemoe then angrily went out and desecrated those portions of temples featuring sacred icons of the goddess and even went so far as to wipe his butt-crack with the ceremonial loincloth of Sikingimoemoe.
After that Baiango appealed to his clan’s main deity Ekeitehua to help him understand why his brother was gone and to protect him from Sikingimoemoe’s revenge. Ekeitehua sought out the goddess at her home and found her preparing a meal of welcome for Patiange. Ekeitehua asked why she had made off with this man from the Iho Clan.
She replied it was because she had immediately become very, very fond of him and NOT because she wanted to eat his life-force (the usual reason for gods to abduct humans). Ekeitehua eased Baiango’s mourning by relaying this information about his brother’s fate and protected Baiango from any attempted revenge by Sikingimoemoe over his irreverent acts.
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