Atua are the gods and spirits of the Polynesian peoples such as the Māori or the Hawaiians (see also Kupua); the Polynesian word literally means "power" or "strength" and so the concept is similar to that of mana. Today, it is also used for the monotheistic conception of God. Especially powerful atua included:[1]

In Samoa, where atua means "god" in the Samoan language,[2] traditional tattooing was based on the doctrine of tutelary spirits.[3] There is also a district on the island of Upolu in Samoa called Atua.

In other Austronesian cultures, cognates of atua include the Polynesian aitu, Micronesian aniti, Bunun hanitu, Filipino and Tao anito, and Malaysian and Indonesian hantu or antu.[4]

The term appears in the first line of the Māori version of the New Zealand national anthem.

In popular cultureEdit

In the video game Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, the character of Angie Yonaga is a follower of a god named Atua. Her devotion becomes of key importance during the third chapter, as the nature of the cult-like group she forms causes a locked-room mystery.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ George, Vensus A. (2008), McLean, George F. (ed.), Paths to The Divine: Ancient and Indian, Indian Philosophical Studies, XII, pp. 22–23, ISBN 9781565182486
  2. ^ Pratt, George (1984) [1893]. A Grammar and Dictionary of the Samoan Language, with English and Samoan vocabulary (3rd and revised ed.). Papakura, New Zealand: R. MacMillan. p. 270. ISBN 978-0-908712-09-0. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  3. ^ Ratzel, Friedrich (1896), The History of Mankind, MacMillan
  4. ^ Funk, Leberecht (2014). "Entanglements between Tao People and Anito on Lanyu Island, Taiwan". In Musharbash, Y.; Presterudstuen, G.H. (eds.). Monster Anthropology in Australasia and Beyond. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 143–159. doi:10.1057/9781137448651_9. ISBN 9781137448651.