Flood Myths - Oceania


During the Dreamtime flood, woramba, the Ark Gumana carrying Noah, Aborigines, and animals, drifted south and came to rest in the flood plain of Djilinbadu (about 70 km south of Noonkanbah Station, just south of the Barbwire Range and east of the Worral Range), where it can still be seen today. The white man's claim that it landed in the Middle East was a lie to keep Aborigines in subservience.


Naga-Padoha, the giant snake on which the earth rests, grew tired of its burden and shook it off into the sea. But the God Batara-Guru caused a mountain to fall into the water to preserve his daughter. From her, the human race is descended. Later, the earth was replaced onto the head of the snake.


The woman Gulbin killed a snake, began cooking it, and slept while it cooked. But the snake was the daughter of She Who Lives Underground. That snake made water rise, drowned the woman, and at last came up and ate her. Later the Snake vomited her bones, which became like rock. The first people were living in what is now the middle of the sea. In panic, the people swam around trying to get to dry land. There was no place they could go except for the rock Aragaladi, but Aragaladi was not a real rock; Snake had made it rise up for them. A man came from the mainland in a canoe, but he drowned in the middle of the sea. Snake came and swallowed the people and later vomited their bones. She made the place deep with sea water. Those first people became rocks. Nobody goes to Aragaladi now.


A Hawaiian legend tells of a flood (Kaiakahinalii) in which all beings were killed except for Nuu and his family who repopulated the earth when the ark landed on top of Mauna Kea.

Mangaia (Cook Islands)

The rain god Aokeu ("Red Circle" for the red clay he washes around the island), who was lowly born of the drippings from stalactites, disputed with the ocean god Ake to see which was more powerful. Ake summoned help from the wind god Raka and his twin children Tikokura, who is seen in the line of curling billows which break over reefs, and Tane-ere-tue, who manifests in storm waves. They attacked the coast, reaching the height of the Makatea, a raised barrier reef plateau surrounding the island, hundreds of feet high. Proof of their deeds may be seen in seashells embedded in high rocks. Meanwhile, Aokeu caused five days and nights of rain, washing the red clay and small stones into the ocean and carving deep valleys. Rangi, the people's first chief, had been forewarned and led his people to Rangimotia, the central peak. Soon water covered everything except a long narrow strip of soil, and the tide continued rising. Rangi waded through water up to his chin to reach the temple of the supreme god Rongo, and appealed to him. Rongo looked at the war of the waters and cried "Enough!" The sea subsided and the rain stopped, leaving the island with its present landscape. Aokeu was judged the victor, because the sea had been stopped by the rocky heights, but but the rains flowed far into the ocean, carrying red clay to mark their progress.

Maung (Goulburn Islands, Arnhem Land, Australia)

People dividing fish always gave the man Crow the poor quality ones. Crow cut down a big paperbark tree, which fell across a creek. Crow sat on the tree crying out, "Waag. . . Waag!" As he did, the creek grew wider and wider, dividing the island into two islands. Crow turned into a bird and flew over the people. The splash from the tree caused the water to rise, and the people, who were all on the bank of the creek, all drowned. On hearing what happened, Blanket Lizard swam towards South Goulburn Island in search of his wife, but halfway across he drowned and turned into a reef.

Palau Isles

Before humans, one of the Kaliths (deities) visited an unfriendly village and was killed by its inhabitants. His friends, searching for him, were met with unkindness except from the woman Milathk, who told them of the death. They resolved vengeance by flooding the village, and suggested Milathk save herself on a raft. Milathk perished in the flood, but was recalled to life and became the mother of mankind.


In a battle between Fire and Water (offspring of the primeval octopus), everything was overwhelmed by a "boundless sea," and the God Tangaloa had the task of re-creating the world.


A sea God, angered because a fisherman had lowered hooks which got entangled in his hair, caused a flood which covered all but the tops of the mountains.

Wiranggu (Australia)

Djunban was hunting kangaroo rat with his magic boomerang, but he hit his "sister" Mandjia instead and wounded her leg. Some time later he taught his people how to make rain. The next day Mandjia died from her injury. Djunban performed the rain-making ceremony again, but he was grieving his sister and not concentrating on his task, and the rain came too heavily. He tried to warn his people, but the flood came and washed away all the people and their possessions.