“Beach of Tuitui’a Tamale”- A Tongan Legend

Our first legend of 2022 comes from Tonga. It is about how a Tongan beach became so beautiful. Enjoy…

There was a man of Niutoua named Tamale who went on a fishing trip. The boat he was on sank, and Tamale went straight down to the bottom of the sea. There he found a woman who was weaving. The woman started at once to decorate Tamale; she gave him some navu tuitui (shampoo made of coral lime and candlenut oil), and she plaited for him a sisi sialetafa (waist garland of gardenia flowers).

Then she told Tamale that when he reached land, he must shake off all his navu and leave his sisi there. The path, which this woman chose to take Tamale back to the world, was lined with many different kinds of flowers, so she picked them as they went and made a kakala (neck garland) for him. This garland is now known as the Tuitu’u (Threading while walking); it is so called because the woman made it while walking.

Beach of Tuitui’a Tamale(Tonga)

“Beach of Tuitui’a Tamale,” illustration by Tara Bonvillain, copyright 2022.

They entered the world of humans and the woman returned to her watery domain.

When Tamale reached the shore, he remembered the instructions the woman had given him, and shook off all his navu at the beach. He also took off his sisi and left it there before going inland.

It is said that the reason the sand of this beach is so fine is because of the tuitui (candlenut oil) from the navu that Tamale shook off there. The beach is known today as Tuitui’a tamale. The gardenias that are in abundance as that place grew from the sisi that Tamale left there.

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