The distinct culture of Polynesians has created some of the most interesting monuments in the world. A true wonder of the world is the Moai sculptures on Easter Island but not less intriguing are the mysterious Tikis statues of Hiva Oa.
The temple of Taputapuatea Marae is an ancient pyramid built on the Leeward Islands, French Polynesia. It is considered one of the most important sacred complexes in Polynesia. Established around 1000 AD, the marae was a place of learning where priests and navigators from all over the Pacific would gather to offer sacrifices to the gods and share their knowledge of the genealogical origins of the universe, and of deep-ocean navigation.
Image Credit: Simon E. Davies
During the 15th century CE, the Maori of New Zealand constructed a hill fort known as Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill) in Auckland. It is the largest Maori fort ever built. These Earth workers literally carved a fortified complex out of the hill, considered to be the most impressive systems in the world. Many of the Maori can also trace their ancestry back to this hill, which is said to have the spirits of their elders.
The island of Hiva Oa is home to a ceremonial site with houses some of the largest prehistoric statues in French Polynesia, up to 2.6 m high. They are positioned on an ancient monument known as the me’ae, a sacred site arranged for ceremonies and gatherings. The old stone figures were based on gods and legendary figures from the islander’s history.
One of the most interesting fortifications of Polynesia can be found on the small island of Rapa Iti. These pyramid-shaped towers were built along the highest peaks of the island, a realm where the island gods were said to live. It is believed that the depletion of natural resources on the island resulted in warfare, and the inhabitants lived alongside these fortified settlements for protection.
One of the most significant petroglyph sites in the world can be found in Rapa Nui (with more than 1,20 valuable carvings). The ‘Orongo’ glyphs were based on the birdman cult, which hosted an annual race to bring the first bird egg from the islet of Motu Nui to ‘Orongo’. The site has many petroglyphs, mainly of the birdmen, carved out of large volcanic blocks.
One of the most unusual megalithic monuments in the Pacific is the Ha’amonga ‘a Maui in Tonga. Each stone weighs some 20 tons and is some 6 m high. This massive trilithon was composed of three giant stones – two upright and a lintel uniting them. It was built-in the beginning of 13th century, possibly as a royal gateway. Nearby is large upright stone slab – Maka Fa’akinanga – a legendary throne of the king. The local legends of Tonga suggest that this monument was made by a god because no mortals would be able to handle such giant slabs of stone.
Hale O Pi’ilani Heiau is an ancient temple complex built on the Hawaiian Island of Maui. This huge shrine was used to treat the sick, make offerings to the gods, start rain, stop rain, increase the population, ensure the health of the nation, achieve success in distant voyaging, reach peace, and achieve success in war.
This Article was written by Simon E. Davies, contributor to ancient-code.com