Skip to main content



The creator god Ta'aroa appears in many myths from Polynesia, the vast region that includes hundreds of islands in the Pacific Ocean. In some parts of Polynesia, Ta'aroa is known by different names. In addition to his role as creator, he is often associated with the sea.

To the people of Tahiti, Ta'aroa is the supreme god of creation. Before the world was made, he lived inside a shell called Rumia (upset), until he tipped his shell and fell out into a dark void. He created a new shell and waited for ages before coming out again. Then he formed the earth from one of the shells and the sky from the other. He created the other deities as well as plants, animals, and people to fill the world. According to some versions of the story, Ta'aroa made the earth from his own body, forming soil from his flesh, mountains from his bones, and living things from his blood. Everything in the world came from Ta'aroa.

The people of Samoa call the god Tangaloa and say that he created the islands of Samoa by throwing down rocks from heaven.

*See Names and Places at the end of this volume for further information.

The Maori of New Zealand call him Tangaroa, one of the children of the sky god and the earth goddess. The creator of the islands, Tangaroa is also the god of the ocean and its creatures.

See also Creation Stories; Polynesian Mythology; Rangi and Papa.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Ta'aroa." Myths and Legends of the World. . 16 Aug. 2019 <>.

"Ta'aroa." Myths and Legends of the World. . (August 16, 2019).

"Ta'aroa." Myths and Legends of the World. . Retrieved August 16, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.