The Kid Should See This

The Fijian myth of greedy Dakuwaqa, the shape-shifting shark god

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“Long ago, the ancestral gods of Fiji settled on the Pacific archipelago. They eventually metamorphosed into various forms, with the god Dakuwaqa transforming into a shark. But he was unsatisfied. He became proud and greedy and wanted to establish himself as the mightiest god, and dominate all of Fiji’s islands.”

In his rampage, this TED-Ed lesson explains, he defeats powerful adversaries like a cunning eel-shaped vu in Rewa and a mischievous shark vu near Beqa Island.

battle with the eel vu
But his encounter with Rokobakaniceva, a giant octopus vu guarding Kadavu, proves humbling.

Dakuwaqa is adroitly subdued by the eight-armed island protector, leading to a transformative realization. In exchange for mercy, Dakuwaqa pledges to protect Fijian fishers, abandoning his aggressive ways and embracing a role as a guardian of the seas, honored with offerings of yaqona and fish heads as gestures of mutual respect and protection.

The myth of Dakuwaqa is deeply rooted in Fijian culture and serves as a reminder of the interconnectedness between humans and the natural world, as well as the consequences of greed and disrespect for the environment.

This TED-Ed, written by Raiana McKinney and Esther Wozniak, was animated by Kero Animation. More from TED-Ed’s Dig Deeper:

“Sharks play a key role in maintaining the health of marine life in the ocean, including populations of commercially important fish species. Unlike other fish, sharks grow slowly, mature late, and produce few young over the course of their long lives. This puts them at high risk of overexploitation and makes them slow to recover from depletion. Many shark populations are threatened by commercial fisheries, targeted for their valuable fins, and incidentally caught as bycatch. It is now up to our generation to ensure sharks live on, and not just through our stories. ”

a changed Dakuwaqa

“To learn more about recovery efforts, please read how the Pacific islands have played a key role in shark conservation, the Guardian’s article on Fiji’s collaborative conservation work, and Dr. David Shiffman’s book Why Sharks Matter.”

Watch more videos about fables, myths, sharks, and conservation, including:
β€’Β Five big sharks that help keep our oceans healthy
β€’Β How do sharks hunt in forests?
β€’ Kapaemahu, the Native Hawaiian story of four legendary māhΕ« healers
β€’Β Giant Minotaur and spider robotic puppets in Toulouse
β€’Β The Story of the Two Wolves
β€’Β Chief Oshkosh and a history of Menominee Forest conservation
β€’Β Wangari Maathai – β€œI will be a hummingbird”

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