Tuvaluan Legends

Legends of the Islands Names: Vaitupu

The legends of Vaitupu contain many stories of how the island was created, but they differ almost as much from each other as they do from modern scientific explanation.

In regard to the settlement of the island, however, they generally agree that the first settler was Telematua, who arrived by canoe from Samoa. With him were his son Foumatua and his grandson Silaga.

According to some stories Telematua, who had earlier visited Funafuti, where he landed his wife Futi, placed his second wife Tupu on Vaitupu. He then divided his time between the two islands.

Often the people of Funafuti would inquire why Telematua went away so often, and where he had gone. Futi would reply, in Samoan, voai ia Tupu, "to see Tupu." Eventually the phrase became shortened to one word "Vaitupu" - and that is how the island got its name.



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