Momo (Tonga)

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Momo (meaning: crumb) was the 10th Tui Tonga, a dynasty of mighty kings in Tonga, and lived somewhere in the 11th, maybe 12th century AD. He was named after one of the original gods of Tonga, a trio known as Kohai, Koau, mo Momo. It was under his reign that the Tui Tonga maritime empire started to blossom.

King Momo had his court in Heketā, near the village of Niutōua (doubly planted coconuttrees), so named because a red and a white palm grew from the same hole. His people were known as the Haa-mene-uli (dirty bottoms tribe), because in order to honour him they had to keep their head lower than his, and thus shuffled around on their bottoms instead of their feet.

One day the king fell in love with a beautiful girl and sent his envoy, Lehauli, to her father, Loau, the Tui-Haamea (Haamea king) with the request to beg him for a yam for his plantation. Loau understood the real meaning of the request and answered that he was unable to help as one yam was still immature and the other had already sprouted. He meant to say that his youngest daughter was still too young while his older daughter, named Nua, had already brought forth a child and was therefore an old woman. (Once a yam starts to sprout the tuber is no longer edible). Her husband was Ngongokilitoto from Malapo, chief of the Haangongo tribe.

Momo had to think for a moment, but next day he sent his envoy back to Loau with the famous words: Fena kā ko Nua (sprouted, but still it is Nua). And so Loau had to go to Malapo to...
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