Tuvaluan Legends

Legends of the Islands Names: Nukufetau

Legend has it that a party of Tongans were the first people to settle on Nukufetau. It is said that when they landed there they found but one fetau tree growing there and so they called the place Nukufetau, "the island of the fetau".

Shortly afterwards they sailed back to Tonga to obtain some coconuts to plant on the sandbanks of the newly discovered land, and on returning to Nukufetau settled at Fale on the western part of the island. As time passed, the population increased and there arose men of outstanding character who were recognized as chiefs.

In order to more effectively protect the island from sea-raiders the early chiefs divided the inhabitants into three main clans which live in different areas. Fialua, one of the chiefs was put in charge of Lafaga the biggest of the eastern islets. Tauasa was placed on the northern islet of Motulalo while Lagitupu and Laupapa remained at Fale. In later years, after the coming of missionaries, the whole population reassembled at Fale, before shifting to nearby Savave, an islet on the lagoon side of the Fale settlement.



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