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This is a recording from Silas Tilikohu about a legendary invasion of Sikaiana people from a people from "Tona" recorded by Bill Donner as part of ethnographic research on Sikaiana from 1980-1993. It recounts the arrival of people from Tona who slaughtered the Sikaiana people. These invaders went on to Taumako where they were killed.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.


This is a recording from Silas Tilikohu about the legendary “Tongan” invasion.

Sikaiana legends record an invasion from “Tona” about 12-14 generations ago in their genealogies (from the 1980s). They associate Tona with Tonga, although Tona is a common Polynesian word for “south” and many Western Polynesian societies have similar legends of people from the “south.”.

The people of Tona were led by a man named Vaeoma. They were tired from their voyage and initially pretended to be friends so that they could recoup their strength. A Sikaiana person named Leitaka distrusted them and secretly went to islet where they were staying and began slowly killing Vaeoma’s men. Vaeoma noticed that his numbers were dwindling and had a fight with Leitaka. Leitaka was about to kill Vaeoma but one of Vaeoma’s crew members got behind Leitaka and speared him to death. Afterwards Vaeoma’s men killed many Sikaiana people. There is a break in most genealogies at this point, often associated with this event.

Vaeoma took a Sikaiana man, Semalu, as he sailed on. Semalu convinced Vaeoma to stop ashore at Taumako, a people who were known to the Sikaiana people. Semalu warned the Taumakaons about Vaeoma and they killed Vaeoma and his crew members.

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