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[Kama Pua'a - The Pig Child] [Poisionous Limu]
[Birth of Iao Needle] [Story of Maui] [Naupaka & Anemone Flowers]
[Ohi'a and Lehua] [Legend of Black Rock]

KAMA PUA'A - The Pig Child

A long time ago on the Island of Oahu, lived a powerful king whose son was named Kama Pua'a. This child was difficult, to say the least. He was always chasing away his father's livestock and tearing up the royal taro patches. His father swore that if he ever caught him, he would kill him. To save himself, Kama Pua'a fled Oahu and moved to Maui and married Madame Pele, the fiery goddess. They were in love and soon had a son.

A sad event occurred; the son died. Madame Pele, as fiery as she was, went into a rage and started chasing Kama Pua'a. To escape, he started running down the slopes of Haleakala, towards the sea. When he did this, he turned into a giant hog. With Madame Pele gaining, Kama Pua'a called to his grandmother on Oahu, "Grandma, Grandma,what should I do?"

His grandmother answered his call, "Leap into the ocean and you shall save yourself." When he got to the bottom at Pa'uwela, he leaped into the ocean and changed into a fish. This ended his emotional experience with Madame Pele. Thus Pa'uwela, which means "calming of emotions", was named. The fish that Kama Pua'a turned into was a Humuhumunukunukuapua'a; a fish with a pig snout. And today,that fish is the Hawaiian state fish.

This is the same fish that "goes swimming by", in that catchy "Little Grass Shack" song.



A long time ago, children liked to swim and surf at a bay at the northern end of Haleakala. In order to reach the bay, they had to pass the house of Nanaue, a strange man who always wore a mysterious cloak on his shoulders, lived by himself and had a sinister expression on his face.

Sometimes he called out to the children walking by, "Where are you going?" Frightened, they would answer, "Swimming" and he would predict that they would find a body floating in the bay with it's head cut off or its legs cut off or its arms cut off. Every time he made a prediction, a body would be found just as he had said, with its head or arms or legs cut off.

People began to wonder how Nanaue knew that someone would die while swimming and that part of his body would be cut off. The more they thought about it, the more frightened they became. Finally a group of villagers were determined to find out the mystery. They went to his house, but he wasn't there.

A man was sitting by a bench repairing his fishnet. "Who are you looking for?", he asked, "Nanaue?"

"Yes", they replied, "Do you know where he is?"

The man pointed into the lava tube. It was dark and opened out to the ocean, but no one was there. They waited in the dark. Soon they saw a large wave bringing a figure up into the tube. It had a humpback shape, and as it got close, they saw that it was Nanaue. Protuding from his back, without the cape he always wore, was the jaws of a shark.

Now they knew his secret. Nanaue was a shark man. On land, he was a man, but as soon as he was in the water, he became a shark. It was Nanaue who had been attacking people as they swam and that's how he knew who was dead. As soon as he climbed up into the lava tube, the men grabbed him and carried him to the edge of the bay where they dug an Imu, a fire pit, to burn him up. Nanaue wriggled like a fish and slipped away, running towards the ocean. The men dashed after him to get him before he reached the water and turned into a shark. Just at the edge of the sea, one man caught his leg and pulled him back. They hit him with their clubs until he was dead and threw his body into the Imu to burn up. As his ashes were still glowing, a breeze sprang up and carried them over the bay where they were scattered over the water.

Not long after, a new sort of sea-moss was noticed on the water floor, silvery and different than any other kind. One man picked it and fed it to his pig and his pig died. It is said that this silvery limu is the ashes of Nanaue that had fallen into the sea and to this day this silvery limu is considered poisonous and never eaten by those who find it in the ocean by the bay.



Once in Old Hawaii, in the days when anything was possible, Maui, the most powerful God, had a beautiful daughter. Maui loved her very much and as he watched her grow up, he vowed that only the most worthy King in all the islands would marry her.

But without her father knowing, the beautiful maiden fell in love with Puuokamoa, a Merman God. She knew that her father wouldn't approve, so they kept their romance secret. Every day the beautiful maiden sneaked off to meet her love and every night she returned home, radiant. One day, a townsperson saw the two of them together and ran back and told Maui of his daughter's secret lover.

Maui was furious. He flew into a rage and his screams of anger were heard by Madame Pele, the volcano Goddess. She flew in her supernatural way to where Maui was and suddenly appeared in front of him.

"What is so horribly wrong to put you in such an uproar?" Madame Pele asked.

"My beautiful daughter has fallen in love with a God and I disapprove. When I see him, I am going to have him condemned to a fiery death", Maui said.

"Who is this God?", Pele asked.

"His name is Puuokamoa".

Madame Pele frowned at the mention of his name. "Oh no, Puuokamoa is my friend. Spare him, Maui. I beg you. Do not have him killed".

But Maui would not listen. Madame Pele was still pleading with him when his beautiful daughter returned. She heard her father's death sentence on her lover and burst into tears.

"Oh Father", she sobbed, "I cannot live without the sight of Puuokamoa".

The Father's heart softened at the sight of his daughter and thinking that she would be unhappy for the rest of her life if she could not see the man she loved. Finally, after much thought, Maui put his arms around his daughter and lifted up her beautiful face. Tears soaked her unhappy eyes.

"Daughter dear, I cannot bear to see you unhappy", Maui said tenderly. "But I cannot allow this romance to continue. You cannot marry this Merman God".

His daughter waited to hear what her powerful father had decided. Madame Pele stood quietly, waiting to hear the fate of her friend.

"I will not reduce him to ashes", Maui said.

"Oh, father dear", the daughter cried out, hugging him.

"I will turn him into stone. Then you may gaze upon him, but your romance will be pau (over)".

And that is how the mountain, known as the Needle, at Iao Valley came to be. It is the Merman God turned to stone for all to gaze upon.


Naupaka and Anemone Flower

Pele, who was the Hawaiian goddess of fire, loved a man who was a commoner, named Kaui, but he did not return her love; he loved her sister, Naupaka, instead.

In a fit of anger, rage, and envy, Pele sent boiling, hot lava to torment the man and her sister. Kaui ran down to the beach, but the lava killed him before he could enter the water. Meanwhile, Naupaka ran up the mountain, thinking that the lava could not flow upwards. But, she was mistaken, and where she was killed, a flower began to grow strangely--it was only half of a flower. Down by the beach, where Kaui lay dead, another half of a flower began to grow.

The Hawaiians say when you put these half-flowers together, the man and Pele's sister are reunited.


Ohi'a and Lehua (Pele's Revenge)

Ohi'a and Lehua loved each other from the moment they first saw each other at a village dance. Ohi'a was a tall strong man with a handsome face and lithe form. He was something of a trickster and was first in all the sports played by all the young men. Lehua was gentle and sweet and as fragile as a flower. Her beauty was the talk of the island, and her father was quite protective of his only child.

When Lehua saw the handsome, bold Ohi'a speaking with her father beside the bonfire, she blushed crimson, unable to take her eyes from the young man. At the same moment, Ohi'a glanced up from his conversation and his mouth dropped open at the sight of the beautiful maiden. He was not even aware that he had stopped speaking right in the middle of his sentence, so overwhelmed was he by the sight of the fair maiden across the fire from him.

Lehua's father nudged the young man, recalling him to his duties as a guest. Ohi'a stuttered and stammered apologies, trying to continue his conversation while keeping one eye on the fair Lehua. Lehua's father was amused by the young man's obvious infatuation with his daughter. He quite liked this bold trickster, and so he offered to introduce Ohi'a to his daughter. The young man almost fell over in his haste as they walked across the clearing to where Lehua stood with her friends.

From that moment, there was no other woman for Ohi'a but Lehua. He had eyes only for her, and courted her with a passion and zeal that swiftly won her heart. Her father gave his only daughter gladly into the keeping of the strong young man, and the young couple lived quite happily for several months in a new home Ohi'a built for his bride.

Then one day the goddess Pele was walking in the forest near the home of the handsome Ohi'a and spied the young man at work. Pele was smitten by him, and went at once to engage him in conversation. Ohi'a spoke politely to the beautiful woman, but did not respond to her advances, which infuriated Pele. She was determined to have this young man for herself, but before she could renew her efforts, Lehua came to the place her young husband was working to bring him his midday meal.

When he saw his lovely wife, Ohi'a's face lit up with love. He dropped everything at once and went to her side, leaving a fuming Pele to stare in jealous rage at the young couple. Dropping her human disguise, the goddess transformed into a raging column of fire and struck Ohi'a down, transforming him into a twisted ugly tree in revenge for spurning her advances.

Lehua fell to her knees beside the twisted tree that had once been her husband. Tears streaming down her lovely face, she begged Pele to turn him back into a man or else turn her into a tree, as she could not bear to be separated from her beloved. But Pele ignored the girl, taking herself up to the cool heights, her anger satisfied. But the gods saw what Pele had done to the innocent lovers and were angry. As Lehua lay weeping in despair, the gods reached down and transformed the girl into a beautiful red flower, which they placed upon the twisted Ohi'a tree, so that she and her beloved husband would never more be apart.

From that day to this, the Ohi'a tree has blossomed with the beautiful red Lehua flowers. While the flowers remain on the tree, the weather remains sunny and fair. But when a flower is plucked from the tree, then heavy rain falls upon the land like tears, for Lehua still cannot bear to be separated from her beloved husband Ohi'a.



Eons ago, there was born the Demigod Maui. His father was the holder of the heavens and his mother was the guardian of the path to the Netherworld. Maui was the only one of the children who possessed the powers of magic and miracles.

Maui was the smallest of the family. He had the quickest of mind and had an extremely rascally nature about him. Maui would take any advantage of both his friends and the gods in his quest to fulfill his schemes.

It is said that Maui was not a god fisherman. His brothers were much more skilled. They would often laugh at him for his poor success. In revenge, Maui used his cunning to fill his boat with catch at his brothers expense. Maui would position his boat so that when one of his brothers began to pull in a fish, he would distract them so that he could pull his line across theirs stealing their fish.

Maui's brothers could only marvel at their younger brother. However they soon caught on and refused to take him fishing with them. Maui's fortune turned against him. His mother then sent him to his father to obtain a magic hook.

"Go to your father. There you will recive the hook called Manaiakalani, the hook fastened to the heavens. When the hook catches land, it will raise the old seas together."

Maui returned with his hook. He joined his brothers in another fishing expedition. They jeered him and threw him out of the boat. When they returned, they were empty handed. Maui berated them. He stated that if they had allowed him to join them, they would have had better success. The brothers decided to allow him to join them in their canoe for another chance.

They paddled far into the deep ocean and threw their lines overboard. To their dismay, they only caught sharks. The brothers ridiculed Maui asking "Where are the fish you promnised?"

Maui then rose and threw his magical hook into the ocean.Chanting a spell of power, he commanded the hook to catch the Great Fish.

At once the sea began to move. Great waves rose around the canoe. Maui commanded his brothers to paddle with all their might and to not look back. For two days, Maui held taut the magic line and hook while his brothers kept paddling furiously. Suddenly from below the depths arose the tops of great mountains in a series of peaks that broke the surface of the ocean. Maui reminded his brothers to keep paddling mightly. Maui pulled mightly against the line and forced the peaks even farther out of the water.

One of his brothers then broke the command and gazed back in awe at the sight of the rising land. He stopped paddling and quickly the magic line began to slacken in Maui's hands. Before he could call out to his brothers, the line snapped and the magic hook was lost forever beneath the sea.

Maui chastised his brothers for their failure to paddle as he had commanded. "I had endeavoured to raise a great continent but because of your weakness I have only these islands to show for all my efforts."

And this is how the Islands of Hawai'i came to be...



Long ago, a beautiful young princess came to the island of maui in search of the most powerful Kahuna. She was being pursued by three evil suitors and was desperate to flee. The Kahuna had taken pity on the young princess and her parents and had turned them into the West Maui Mountains. Two of the suitors were transformed into a place called Napili. The most evil suitor became Pu'u Keka'a or what is now called, Black Rock. Standing only to gaze upon her knowing she would never be his.


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