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Stories From Kiribati


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Nabureiwa and the traditional dance known as Te Karanga (Part 1)

Posted by Amota Eromanga on January 15, 2016 at 4:30 AM

There was once a young man by the name of Nabureiwa who lived at Kauake village on the island of Aranuka. One day he went out fishing in the ocean. While fishing he suddenly felt a strong tug onto his line so he pulled back in return. As he was busy pulling the line, he saw the long human hair beside his canoe. Curiosity made him forgot all about his catch and instead started pulling onto the hair. He pulled and pulled until a lady appeared onto the water surface. Nabureiwa couldn’t believe what swimming with a smile beneath him, the most beautiful young lady he hadn’t ever seen in his life. He instantly loved her.


The lady began speaking,“Well, I also feel the same. When I was down at the bottom of the sea combing my hair beside the maneaba, I saw you on the canoe and straight away my heart fell for you . I sent some of my hair up to the side of your canoe so you will be able to pull me up. My name is Tetaake and my father is Bakoa. And what’s yours?”


“My name is Nabureiwa.” his voice was shaky and affectionately shy of what he heard. As they sat starring and admiring each other, both seemed to believe they were destined to live together. Nabureiwa stopped fishing and headed back to the island. On the trip home, his heart was filled with joy to have found the most beautiful lady of the sea.


Nabureiwa’s family members were filled with wonder to see two people on the canoe. “Hey, a strange thing has happened. Look, there are two people on Nabureiwa’s canoe. He went fishing alone, but he is returning with someone. Who could it be?”


Meeting them at the shore, they indeed witnessed how beautiful Tetaake was. “Nabureiwa is lucky to have found the prettiest lady!” said they and helped them home.


At the house, Tetaake assured Nabureiwa, “If you truely love me, then promise to stay away from me for three days.” Nabureiwa did so. With the help of his relatives, he was able to finish building a small hut for Tetaake. After securely putting the curtain made of coconut leaves around the hut, he invited Tetaake inside then left her all alone. At the end of the third day, he came back to take his wife home. Their wedding was known to be the biggest and memorable one ever held on the island!


Tetaake lived happily among her husband’s relatives at Kauake village. After few years, Tetaake surprised her husband, “Nabureiwa, we’ve been living here for quite a long time so I think it’s time to visit my father’s homeland. I’m certain my father is longing to see both of us.”


“No problem, my dear. We have to ask permission from our elders,” said Nabureiwa. The elders agreed, however added, “How are you going down there?”


“It’s super easy! We just need to swim a little westward towards the ocean and in jiffy we shall be in my father’s land!” was Tetaake’s answer. So hand in hand they set off together.

Nabureiwa and the traditional dance known as Te Karanga (Part 2)

Categories: Legends & Myths

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