Taaroa or Ta'aroa is one name assigned to the high god of certain Polynesian polytheist practices. The origins of this deity are lost to the shifting sands of time, originating as he does (and yes, by tradition this one is a him) in a culture of oral tradition. Of him , it has been written:

In the islands of the Pacific, the idea of Supreme Deity is especially manifested in that great mythologic divinity of the Polynesian race, whom the New Zealanders call Tangaroa, the Hawaiians Kanaroa, the Tongans and Samoans Tangaloa, the Georgian and Society islanders Taaroa. Students of the science of religion who hold polytheism to be but the mis-development of a primal idea of divine unity, which in spite of corruption continues to pervade it, might well choose this South Sea Island divinity as their aptest illustration from the savage world. Taaroa, says Moerenhout(?), is their supreme or rather only god; for all the others, as in other known polytheisms, seem scarcely more than sensible figures and images of the infinite attributes united in his divine person. The following is given as a native poetic definition of the Creator.

"He was; Taaroa was his name; he abode in the void. No earth, no sky, no men. Taaroa calls, but nought answers; and alone existing, he became the universe. The props are Taaroa; the rocks are Taaroa; the sands are Taaroa; it is thus he himself is named."

According to Ellis(?), Taaroa is described in the Leeward Islands as the eternal parentless uncreate creator, dwelling alone in the highest heaven, whose bodily form mortals cannot see, who after intervals of innumerable seasons casts off his body or shell and becomes renewed.


Tylor, Edward Burnett, in Primitive culture: researches into the development of mythology, philosophy, religion, art, and custom, 1871, 312-313. And so would it appear that this ancient Polynesian deity concept independently arrived at either a form of pandeism or (perhaps more likely) an emanationism-based panentheism.

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