In the style of Balladeer’s Blog’s separate examinations of Hawaiian and Samoan myths as a subset of Polynesian Mythology comes this look at the deities worshipped on the Polynesian outliers Bellona Island and Rennell Island. Despite its much smaller size Bellona had a larger population for much of their history.
NGE’OBIONGO – The goddess of the stone ovens used by the people of Rennell and Bellona. The ovens were shown such reverence that it was forbidden to eat near them or to scatter firewood or even to speak in raised voices in their vicinity. Nge’obiongo would punish anyone who violated those taboos, just as she punished women who were bad or lazy cooks or who prepared meals without first properly cleaning their hands.
Undercooking the food would also invite this deity’s wrath. On rare occassions some of the prepared food would be left in the ovens as an offering to Nge’obiongo.
MAHUIKE – The earthquake god of Bellona and Rennell Islands (henceforth Bel-Ren). Like his counterparts in Hawaii and Samoa, Mahuike lived far underground and caused earthquakes by pushing at the earth with both of his arms.
Once, after a particularly destructive earthquake, the god Tehu’aingabenga fought Mahuike for injuring his worshippers and broke off one of the earthquake god’s arms. After that the quakes caused by Mahuike were never as severe. (In Hawaiian versions it is Maui who breaks the earthquake god’s arm off and in Samoan versions it is Ti’i Ti’i who does it. Bel-Ren myths do feature the figure Mautikitiki but he is less prominent than Tehu’aingabenga.)