NGUATUPU’A AND TEPOUTU’UINGANGI – The parents of many of the major gods and goddesses in Bel-Ren myths, like Izanagi and Izanami in Shinto beliefs. Nguatupu’a and Tepoutu’uingangi were revered AND feared by ALL of the clans of the two islands. They were represented by two large black stones in the region of Bellona Island called Ngabenga.
These two deities were sister and brother respectively as well as being spouses. Incest was forbidden to mortals but the gods engaged in it. In fact it was SO taboo among humans that sisters and brothers maintained a very strict and formal and – most importantly – limited – relationship with each other through adulthood.
The goddess Nguatupu’a was always mentioned first and was above her brother/husband Tepoutu’uingangi in prestige. The erosion of regard for the male deity began early on, in the Bel-Ren migration myth. Like other Polynesians the Bel-Ren people traveled by sea from other islands to reach their eventual home. The Bel-Renners claimed their island of origin was called Uvea or Ubea, depending on who’s spelling it.
Approximately 1400 A.D. the Bel-Renners arrived on the pair of islands and proceeded to slaughter the original inhabitants, called the Hiti. Again we see that such atrocities are a HUMAN failing and are not limited to a few particular groups.
At any rate, enroute to Bellona and Rennell Islands the travelers had brought with them two large black stones representing Nguatupu’a and Tepoutu’uingangi. The stone representing Tepoutu’uingangi fell overboard and was later replaced by a stone found in a cave on an uninhabitable island along the way to Bel-Ren. Step one in the process of “devaluing” the male deity Tepoutu’uingangi.
Kaitu’u, the ancestor of one of Bel-Ren’s two surviving clans (out of the eight original clans) first considered settling on Rennell since it was much larger than Bellona. He and his party of Chiefs from the other seven clans set up the pair of stones representing the gods and returned to their ships, only to find the pair of stones awaiting them there.
Kaitu’u and his fellow aristocrats accepted this miracle as a sign that the two deities did not want that location as their home. After exhausting all possible locations on Rennell Island only to find the two stones always awaiting them back at the shoreline Kaitu’u and company set off to try nearby Bellona Island instead.
On Bellona, Nguatupu’a and Tepoutu’uingangi signaled their displeasure with unacceptable locations for their stone representatives by causing the tides to come so far inland that Bellona would have been just a fraction of its size. Finally the two stones were established at Ngabenga and the god and goddess demonstrated their satisfaction by causing the ocean to withdraw to its former position.
Even after the Tonga Clan – the main clan that had worshipped the pair of deities – died off, the area of Ngabenga was still revered and regarded with superstitious awe. In dire emergencies N’guatupu’a and her brother were still invoked by the Bel-Ren people.
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