Crawford House Publishing
Ritual and Belief on Taku Polynesian Religion in Practice

This book examines a living practice from arguably the last location where traditional Polynesian religion continues as an integral part of daily life.

Surviving a devastating 19th-century epidemic and resisting multinational religious organisations in the 20th century, Taku? continue to use ritual to manage and neutralise their isolated atoll’s many vulnerabilities, contacting the spirit world through invocations, dreams, trance, singing and gifting to marshall their benign counterforces to work for private benefit and public good. By examining the religious procedures, the artefacts, the principal actors and the many categories of spirit beings, Moyle portrays a small community strategising to preserve pride of self-identity amid the hardships of remoteness, and a determination to perpetuate the beliefs underpinning their extensive ritual life which alone, they believe, allow them to continue to exist.

Taku express themselves candidly about their own understandings and ignorances, pride and fears, confidence and concerns – contextualised by the all-enveloping presence of what is believed but not seen.

Richard Moyle is Honorary Research Professor at the Centre for Pacific Studies, The University of Auckland, and Adjunct Professor at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music Research Centre. His research experience spans half a century, including more than six years of fieldwork throughout Polynesia and a further four years in Aboriginal camps in Central Australia.

His publications have included monographs on the music of Samoa and Tonga, a trilogy on the music of Central Australia, and bilingual compilations of Polynesian fables.



Richard Moyle


New Release




39 photographs, 2 maps


Soft cover


235 x 150 mm



© Copyright 2024 Crawford House Publishing Australia