The Curse of the Matahina Islands

Beginning Matahina Island (16)

It wasn’t that Matahina was not a beautiful place. It was, in fact, one of the loveliest island chains in the South Pacific. The waters surrounding the islands sparkled a clear, warm blue. The land was all lush green hills and glistening white beaches – any tourist’s paradise.

Beginning Matahina Island (10)

However, the tourists did not come. The white beaches lay empty, crystal blue waves pounding the lonely shores. The only people to enjoy the breathtaking vistas of the Matahina Islands were the residents, who, luckily, had discovered other ways to bring money to the island, thanks to the convenience of the internet. Still, they longed for the rest of the world to see for themselves just how special their home was.

Beginning Matahina Island (7)Beginning Matahina Island (3)

“It is because of the wrath of Tangaroa,” the old ones whispered to the children of Matahina as they tucked them into bed at night. “Our people displeased the great Tangaroa by taking too much from these waters – great amounts of fish which went to waste and depleted the schools. And so Tangaroa cursed our land. He took away the fish and caused visitors to be smashed against the rocks and drown. Now their spirits forever haunt the islands.”

Matahina (2)

Of course, most of the island people did not believe this myth. Nor did they believe the myth about the mysterious sea people who lived beneath the waves, nor the myth about Pahuanui, the great sea monster placed by Tangaroa to keep outsiders from reaching the island. They were only stories to entertain people around beach bonfires, or to make unruly children settle down and go to sleep. Weren’t they?

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