develop your own website

Puuraakau Hawaii Loa

Hawai‘iloa and the Discovery of Hawai‘i

Samuel M. Kamakau and Z. Kepelino

Hawai‘i Loa, or Ke Kowa i Hawai‘i, was one of the four children of Aniani Ka Lani.1 The other three were Ki, who settled in Tahiti, Kana Loa, who settled the Marquesas, and Laa-Kapu. The ocean was called Kai Holo-o-ka-I‘a (Ocean where the fish run). Only two islands existed and both were discovered and settled by Hawai‘i Loa. The first he named Hawai‘i after himself; the second Maui, after his eldest son. (The other islands were created by volcanoes during and after the time of Hawai‘i Loa. [See note 5.] Hawai‘i Loa and his brothers were born on the east coast of a land called Ka ‘Aina kai melemele a Kane (the land of the yellow or handsome sea of Kane).2

Hawai‘i Loa was a distinguished man and noted for his fishing excursions which would occupy months, sometimes the whole year, during which time he would roam about the ocean in his big canoe (wa‘a), called also an “island” (moku), with his crew and his officers and navigators (poe ho‘okele and kilo-hoku). 

One time when they had been at sea for a long time, Makali‘i, the principal navigator said to Hawai‘i Loa, “Let’s steer the canoe in the direction of Iao, the Eastern Star, the discoverer of land [Hoku hikina kiu o na ‘aina]. There is land to the eastward, and here is a red star, hoku ‘ula (Aldebaran), to guide us, and the land is there in the direction of those big stars which resemble a bird.” And the red star, situated in the lap of the goats [a constellation], was called Makali‘i after the navigator. Some other red stars in the circle of the Pleiades were called the Huhui-a-Makali‘i (“Cluster of Makali‘i”).

So they steered straight onward and arrived at the easternmost island of the Hawaiian chain.3 They went ashore and found the land fertile and pleasant, filled with ‘awa, coconut trees, and so on, and Hawai‘i Loa, the chief, gave that land his name. Here they dwelt a long time and when their canoe was filled with vegetable food and fish, they returned to their native country with the intention of returning to Hawai‘i-nei, which they preferred to their own country.

They had left their wives and children at home; therefore, they returned to get them. When Hawai‘i Loa and his men arrived at their own country and among their relatives, they were detained a long time before they set out again for Hawai‘i.

At last Hawai‘i Loa sailed again, accompanied by his wife and his children. He settled in Hawai‘i and gave up all thought of ever returning to his native land. He was accompanied on this voyage by a great crowd of men, steersmen, navigators, shipbuilders, and others.4 Hawai‘i Loa was chief of all these men. He alone brought his wife and children; all the others came singly, without women, so he was the progenitor of this nation. On their voyage here, the Morning Star (ka Hoku Loa) was the special star the y steered by. And Hawai‘i Loa called the islands after the names of his children and the stars after his navigators and steersmen. [The island of Maui was called after Hawai‘i Loa’s first born son. The island of O‘ahu was called after Hawai‘i Loa’s daughter, and her foster parent was Lua, and hence the name O‘ahu-a-Lua. Kaua‘i was called after Hawai‘i Loa’s younger son; his wife’s name was Waialeale, and they lived on Kaua‘i, and the mountain was called after her because there she was buried. And thus oth er islands and districts were called after the first settlers.]5

After Hawai‘i Loa had been some time in Hawai‘i-nei, he made another voyage to find his brothers to see if they had any children who might become husbands or wives to his own. They left from Lae o Kalae, in Ka‘u, and followed the stars Ke Ali‘i-o-Kona-i-k a-Lewa [Canopus] and the stars of Hoku-kea o ka Mole Honua [“Star-cross of the bottom of the earth,” or Southern Cross] to Tahiti and other islands to the south. On Tahiti, he found his brother Ki who had settled there and called the island after one of his own names. They sailed together southward (i ka mole o ka honua), and found an uninhabited island, which Hawai‘i Loa gave his name, and another smaller island, which he named for his daughter O‘ahu.

When they had finished their business here, they returned to Hawai‘i, to Lae o Kalae, steering by the Hoku-‘Iwa stars and the Hoku Poho ka ‘Aina. On this return voyage, Hawai‘i Loa brought Tu-nui-ai-a-te-Atua, the first born son of his brother Ki, who bec ame the husband of Hawai‘i Loa’s favorite daughter O‘ahu. The couple had a child called Kunuiakea, who was born at Keauhou in Puna, Hawai‘i. Puna was a fertile and fine land and it was called Puna by Kunuiaiakeakua [Tu-nui-ai-a-te-Atua] after his own birt hplace, Puna-Auia, in Tahiti.

Kunuiakea, on both father’s and mother’s side, became a chief of the very highest rank (kapu loa). From him sprang the race of chiefs here in Hawai‘i (welo ali‘i) and from Makali‘i sprang the race of common people (welo kanaka). The first has been kept se parate from the most ancient times, and the second has been kept separate from the time of chaos (mai ka Po mai). But the priestly race (welo kahuna) was one and the same with the race of chiefs from the beginning.6

Hawai‘i Loa’s Descendants

Kunuiakea’s son Ke Lii Alia, and his grandson Kemilia, were born at Tahiti along with the Aoa, the royal tree; but his great grandson, Ke Lii Ku (Eleeleualani), was born on Hawai‘i.
Eleeleualani was the grandfather of Papa-Nui-Hanau-Moku (w). His wife was called Ka Oupe Ali‘i and was a daughter of Kupukupunuu from Ololoimehani (supposed to be either a name for the island of Nu‘uhiwa, or of a place on that island). They had a son call ed Kukalani‘ehu, whose wife was Ka Haka-ua-Koko, the sixth descendant from Makali‘i, and they two were the parents of Papa-Nui (w).

Papa-Nui-Hanau-Moku (w) first married Wakea, who was the son of Kahiko (k) and Tupu-rana-i-te-hau (w), who was a Tahitian woman. Papa’s first child with Wakea was a daughter called Hoohokukalani.
Papa, having quarreled with Wakea on account of their daughter [i.e., Wakea slept with their daughter], went to Tahiti and there she took to Te Rii Fanau for husband and had a son called Te Rii i te Haupoipoi. She afterwards returned to Hawai‘i under the name of Huhune and had a son with Waia and called him Hinanalo. Domestic troubles now made her crazy and she returned to Tahiti where she had another son with Te Ari‘i Aumai, who was said to be the fourth generation of the Tahiti chiefs, and she called his name Te Ari‘i Taria, and he became chief over that part of Tahiti called Taharu‘u.
Because she was the mother of chiefs, both here and in Tahiti, she is called Papa Nui Hanau Moku [“Great Papa, the Mother of Islands”]. She is said to have been a comely, handsome woman, very fair and almost white.7

Papa is said to have traveled eight times between Tahiti and Hawai‘i, and died in a place called Waieri, in Tahiti, during the time of Nanakelihi the fifth descendant from her and Wakea.
Wakea was a wicked and bad man. He instituted the bad and oppressive kapu, such as that men and women could not eat together; that women could not eat red fish, hogs, fowl or other birds, and some kinds of bananas. These kapu were put on to spite and worry Papa, on account of her growling at and reproaching him for his wickedness. Wakea also departed from the ancient worship and introduced idol worship, and many people followed him, because they were afraid of him.

Other Travels of Hawai‘i Loa

Hawai‘i Loa was born on the eastern shore of the land of Kapakapaua-a-Kane. One of Hawai‘i Loa’s grandchildren was called Keaka-i-Lalo (w) whom he married to Te Ari‘i Aria, one of his brother Ki’s grandchildren, and he placed them at Sawai‘i [Samoa?], whe re they became the ancestors of that people, Sawai‘i being then called Hawai‘i-ku-lalo [Hawai‘i rising downwind].

Afterwards Hawai‘i Loa revisited Tahiti and found that his brother Ki had forsaken the religion in which they were brought up, that of Kane, Ku and Lono, and adopted Ku-waha-ilo [maggot-mouthed Ku], the man-eating God (ke akua ‘ai kanaka), as his God. Aft er quarreling with his brother on this account, Hawai‘i Loa left Tahiti and brought with him Te Ari‘i Apa as a husband for Eleeleualani, his mo‘opuna (grandchild) From these two was born Kohala (w), a girl, from whom the Kohala people sprang.

Afterwards Hawai‘i Loa went again to Tahiti and Hawai‘i-ku-lalo (Sawai‘i) and held a meeting with those peoples at Tarawao, but finding that they persisted in following after the God Ku-waha-ilo and that they had become addicted to man-eating, he reproved and repudiated them, and passed a law called “he Papa Enaena,” forbidding anyone from Hawai‘i-Luna (upwind Hawai‘i) from ever going to the southern islands, lest they should go astray in their religion and become man-eaters.

When Hawai‘i Loa returned from this trip he brought with him Te Ari‘i Tino Rua (w) to be a wife to Kunuiakea, and they begat Ke Ali‘i Maewa Lani, a son, who was born at Holio in North Kona, Hawai‘i, and became the Kona progenitor.

After this Hawai‘i Loa made a voyage to the westward, and Mulehu (Hoku Loa) was his guiding star. He landed on the eastern shore of the land of the Lahui-makalilio (the people with the turned up, oblique eyes, i.e., Asians). He traveled over it to the nor thward and to the westward to the land of Kuahewahewa-a-Kane, one of the continents that God created, and thence he returned, by the way he had come, to Hawai‘i nei, bringing with him some white men (po‘e keokeo kane) and married them to native women (a h o‘omoe i ko‘onei po‘e wahine). On this return voyage the star Iao was his guiding star to Hawai‘i.

After this Hawai‘i Loa made another voyage to the southern and eastern shore of Kapakapaua-a-Kane and took with him his grandchild Kunuiakea in order to teach him navigation, etc. When they had stayed there long enough they returned and Kunuiakea brought with him “he mau ha‘a elua” (two stewards), one called Lehua and the other Nihoa, and they were settled on the two islands which bear their names, as konohiki (land stewards) and put under the charge of Kaua‘i, the youngest son of Hawai‘i Loa.

When Hawai‘i Loa returned from the conference with his brother Ki and his descendants, his wife Hualalai bore him a son who was called Hamakua, and who probably was a bad boy (keiki ‘ino‘ino), for so his name would indicate. Ten years later, Hualalai died and was buried on the mountain of Hawai‘i that has been called after her name ever since.

After Hawai‘i Loa was dead and gone, in the time of Kunuiakea, came Tahitinui from Tahiti and landed at Ka-lae-i-Kahiki (the southwest point of Kaho‘olawe, a cape often made by people coming from or going to Tahiti.) Tahiti-nui was a mo‘opuna of Ki, Hawai ‘i Loa’s brother, and he settled on East Maui and died there.
The descendants of Hawai‘i Loa and also of Ki (which are one, for they were brothers) peopled nearly all the Polynesian islands. From Ki came the people of Tahiti, Borabora, Huahine, Taha‘a, Ra‘iatea and Mo‘orea [the Society Islands].

From Kanaloa [brother of Hawai‘i Loa] were peopled Nukuhiwa, Uapou, Tahuata, Hiwaoa and those other islands [the Marquesas Islands]. Kanaloa married a woman from the man-eating people, Taeohae [Taiohae, on Nukuhiwa], from whom spring those cannibals who l ive on Nukuhiwa, Fiji, Tarapara, Paumotu [the Tuamotus], and the islands in western Polynesia--so is it reported in the Hawaiian legends and prayers--but the people of Hawai‘i and the Tahiti (properly speaking) did never addict themselves to cannibalism.

NOTES

This English version of the Hawai‘i Loa story is from Fornander, Vol. VI, 278-281. Another version entitled “Hawaii-nui,” in Hawaiian and English, appears in Kepelino’s Traditions of Hawaii (Honolulu: Bishop Museum, 1932, 74-77). The authenticity of the Hawai‘i Loa tradition has been questioned:

The legend seems to be a summary of statements contained in many other Hawaiian legends and genealogies. At the time it was recorded in writing, many Hawaiian had become Christianized and were familiar with Biblical history. The temptation to interpret certain incidents similar to those in Biblical history as being in fact the Hawaiian rendering of Biblical events seems to have influenced the translators. This unfortunate condition has more or less discredited the ancient legends on which the legend of Hawaii-loa is based, branding them, in the opinion of many modern students as doctored accounts, influenced by Christianity. (Cartwright 105)
Both Kamakau and Kepelino, the authors of the tradition of Hawai‘i Loa, were Chrisitian converts The tradition includes the notion that Hawaiians worshipped one God formed by a trinity of gods (Kane, Ku, and Lono). It also contains an account of the creat ion of the first man (Kumuhonua) out of clay and the first woman (Lalo Honua) out of the rib of the first man. Kanaloa, angry that he was denied ‘awa, rebelled against God and later seduced the first woman, after which the first man and woman broke the la w of Kane and fell from grace. The Hawaiian Noah in this tradition is called Nu‘u; he survived a flood in a large vesssel with a house on it; after the flood subsided, he landed on top of Mauna Kea, etc.

Cartwright points out, however, that “many of the persons mentioned [in the genealogy] are and have been accepted by Hawaiians of chieftain rank as their ancestors.” He concludes that the tradition is authentic, though the Hawai‘i in the story is actually Ra‘iatea (formerly called Hawaiki) rather than the Big Island of Hawai‘i. He offers no evidence for this conclusion.

Randie Fong notes “the Hawai‘ii Loa portion [of the tradition of Hawai‘i Loa] bears no resemblance to any Biblical account. The names, places, settings, and plots give us no reason to question their age and authenticity. Further, Patience Bacon of the Bis hop Museum remembers kupuna being interviewed by Tutu Puku‘i. The kupuna spoke of Hawai‘i Loa as their ‘reality,‘ and this was somewhere in the 1920’s and 30’s. Mrs. Bacon feels that the tradition is sound.” (Unpublished commentary on Hawai‘iloa; the name has been used for a Hawaiian voyaging canoe that will retrace in 1995 an early settlement route to Hawai‘i from the Marquesas Islands.)

1. The story begins with the genealogy of Hawai‘i Loa for many generations, from the first man, Kumu Honua, and his wife Lalo Honua, who lived in a land called Kalana i Hauola, down to Aniani Ka Lani, Hawai‘i Loa’s father and Ka Mee Nui Hikina, his mother.

2. Kepelino’s version: Hawai‘i-nui sailed from a land called Kahiki-Honua-Kele.

3. Kepelino’s version states that the canoe made landfall at the western end of the archipelago: “First he saw the island of Kaua‘i, but he kept on sailing and found O‘ahu and then the islands of the Maui group, then, seeing the mountains of Hawai‘i, he k ept on until he reached that island. There he lived and named the island after himself. The other islands from Maui to Kaua‘i were named for his children and for some who sailed with him. Here are the names of this children: Maui was the eldest, O‘ahu yo unger, and Kaua‘i the youngest. These names he gave to the three large islands, but the smaller islands were perhaps named for those who accompanied him.”

4. Kepelino’s version: Hawai‘i-nui sailed to Hawai‘i with his eight steersmen: Here are their names: Makali‘i, a famous steersman and great farmer; Iao; Kahiki-Nui; Hoku ‘Ula [perhaps the star Aldebaran]; Maiao; Kiopa‘a [“fixed,” one name for Polaris, the north star; also called Hokupa‘a]; Unulau; Polohilani [perhaps the star Schedir in Cassiopeia]. And because of their skill in observing the stars, each one called the star he observed after his own name. One steersman, Kahiki-Nui, has a land district on Maui named after him.

5. Another passage in Fornander says “When Hawai‘i Loa arrived here, there were only the two islands of Hawai‘i-Loa and Maui-au-Ali‘i; but during his time and close afterwards the volcanoes on Hawai‘i and on Maui began their eruptions; and earthquakes and convulsions produced or brought to light the other islands” (279).

6. Earlier in the story we are told that only Hawai‘i Loa came with a wife and children so he was “the special progenitor of this nation” (278). Kepelino concludes, “Hawai‘i-nui was perhaps a chief or perhaps not; he was a man of high standing (ke kanaka ko‘iko‘i), as I see it. He had a granddaughter Ku-ka-lani-ehu, who lived in ancient times.” A note at the end of the Fornander version states, “In the first age, from Hawai‘i Loa to Wakea, the royal authority and prerogative were not very well defined. The chiefs were regarded more in the light of parents and patrons (haku), than as moi and ali‘i-kapu, although they enjoyed all the honor and precedence due to their rank. This state of things was considerably altered by Wakea, his priest and successors, yet even so late as the time of Kanipahu, who refused the government, it is evident that the royal authority was not well settled in the olden times (‘aole he ano nui o na ali‘i i ka wa kahiko loa ‘ku)” (281).

7. See Kamakau, Tales and Traditions (133-135) for one version of the story of Papa and Wakea. Papa and Wakea are considered by many as the first female and male ancestors of the Hawaiian people: “Wakea, from whom all Hawaiian genealogies stem as the anc estors of the Hawaiian people, ‘both chiefs and commoners,‘ is regarded as a man in Hawaiian tradition, not as a god as in southern groups [of Polynesia]” (Beckwith 294)

THE LEGEND OF HAWAII-LOA.

BY BRUCE CARTWRIGHT, PH.B. Associate in Ethnology, Bernice P. Bishop Museum.

IN studying the legend of Hawaii-loa as translated by Fornander, (B. P. Bishop Mus. Mem., Vol. 6, No. 2, 1919) several things become apparent that may have an important bearing on the history of the Hawaiian race.

Judge Fornander says that the translation of the legend of Hawaii-loa was “compiled and condensed in English from Kepelino and S.M. Kamakau.” This legend seems to be a summary of statements contained in many other Hawaiian legends and genealogies. At the time it was recorded in writing many Hawaiians had become Christianized and were familiar with Biblical history. The temptation to interpret certain incidents similar to those in Biblical history as being in fact the Hawaiian rendering of Biblical events seems to have influenced the translators. This unfortunate condition has more or less discredited the ancient Hawaiian legends on which the legend of Hawaii-loa is based, branding them, in the opinion of many modern students, as “doctored accounts, influenced by Christianity.” On the other hand the fact that many of the persons mentioned are and have been accepted by Hawaiians of chieftain rank as their ancestors, warrants a thorough study of the history of these chiefs and of whatever ancient definite statements can be gathered, eliminating all suggestions of Biblical history and statements apparently of a later origin.

The frequent mention of Tahiti and of chiefs of Tahitian origin, and the fullness with which they are discussed, is very noticeable. The fact that not one of the Hawaiian islands except Hawaii is mentioned likewise seems significant; it suggests that the other islands were not then known. The paucity of references to Hawaii suggests that the legend has been transplanted to the islands, and that the events mentioned actually happened somewhere else. The thought presents itself that “Hawaii” was the name of some island other than that in the Hawaiian group, that the legend is dealing with events and persons connected with that other Hawaii, and that during the course of time, as the happenings receded into the distant past, local Hawaiian narrators began to believe that the Hawaii mentioned was their Hawaii, as they knew of no other. The memories of the other Hawaii had grown very dim with age and had become surrounded by the mist of tradition, until only the names of certain chiefs and their actions were retained, mainly in genealogies.

The lack of any evidence of material culture in the Hawaiian islands indicating a race of pre-Hawaiians, and the lack of ancient traditions relating to such a race other than references to the Menehune people, has been a puzzle. There seem to be indications that Hawaii was inhabited before the islands became thoroughly occupied by Polynesians. The Menehune were legendary people who lived separately from the Hawaiians, fought with them and finally were absorbed by them; but there are no evidences of a separate culture. Possibly the Menehune had essentially the same culture as the Hawaiians, and the features which distinguish the very ancient forms from those attributed to Hawaiians have not been recognised.
According to the legend of Hawaii-loa, the first man was Kumu-honua (k) and the first woman was Lalo-honua (w). The next name is Laka (k). The statement is made: “from Kumu-honua (k) to Laka (k) was one kau-apaapa and from Kumu-honua (k) to Moolewa (k) were two kau-apaapa. Moolewa (k) is the third name in chronological sequence.

The definition of kau-apaapa is given as “comprises 12 generations, ” which indicates that the so-called genealogy from the first man Kumu-honua (k) down, proceeded with 12 generations as the measure of time between each name.

This system is followed at some length, during which time the race lived in many lands, and either migrated or were driven from time to time towards the east until they arrived at the easternmost shores of a continent called Kapa-kapaua-a-Kane, apparently the last continental home of the race.

At this time Aniani-ku (k) was born in a chieftain family and became the ruler of the people. Whether the whole or only part of the Polynesian race was under his rule is not clear.

The Hawaii-loa legend describes the race as “an industrious, agricultural and fishing people.” They were religious and worshipped the gods Kane, Ku and Lono, either separately, or under the joint name and symbol of Ku-kauakahi. What this “symbol” was is hard to decide. The word may have been used by the translators to mean “title, ” as there are no known “symbols” in Hawaii other than petrographs, regarding which little is known.

The race under Aniani-ku (k) was known as Lahuiakua, while those who worshipped images were called Lahuilaa-luau. Aniani-ku (k) and Ke-kai-pahola (w) had a son, Aniani-ka-lani (k). Aniani-ka-lani (k) and Ka-mee-nuihikina (w) had Hawaii-loa (k) also known as Ke-kowa-i-Hawaii. He may have had other names as has always been customary among Polynesians. Aniani-ka-lani (k)…“is quoted by both Tahitian and Hawaiian legends as the progenitor kupuna of their nations.”

Hawaii-loa is the ancestor of the Hawaiian family. “He was one of four children of Aniani Ka Lani (k). The other three were Ki (k), who settled in Tahiti, Kana Loa (k) and Laa-Kapu (k). In his time this ocean [the Pacific] was called Kai Holo O Ka la. 1 It was so called by Hawaii-Loa… Hawaii-Loa (k) and his brothers were born on the east coast of a country called Ka Aina Kai Melemele A Kane (the land of the yellow or handsome sea of Kane).” This seems to indicate that at that time the Polynesian race did not know of the Pacific Ocean and that Hawaii-loa discovered it and named it “Kai Holo O Ka Ia.” It also implies the existence of a sea between the home of Hawaii-loa and the Pacific Ocean, and separated from it by some division line, possibly a string of islands or a land mass, otherwise the Pacific would have been considered a part of the “Kai Melemele a Kane” mentioned as being on the boundary of the homeland.

“Hawaii-loa was a distinguished man and noted for his fishing excursions, which would occupy sometimes months, sometimes the whole year, during which he would roam about the ocean in his big (wa'a)… with his people, his crew and his officers and navigators (Poe Hookele and Kilo-Hoku)… One time when they had thus been long out on the ocean, Makalii (k) the principal navigator, said to Hawaii-loa, ‘Let us steer the vessel in the direction of Iao, the Eastern Star, the discoverer of land (Hoku Hikina Ku O Na Aina).

There is land to the eastward, and here is a red star, Hoku Ula [Aldebaran] to guide us, and the land is there in the direction of those big stars which resemble a bird (e kapa mai nei me he manu la);’ and the red star, situated in the lap of the goats 2 (i ka poli o na kao) was called Makalii after the navigator's name… So they steered straight onward and arrived at the easternmost island (ka moku hikina loa). They went ashore and found the country fertile and pleasant, filled with awa, coconut trees, etc., and Hawaii-loa, the chief, called that island after his own name… and the second was named after his oldest son (Maui). These two islands were then uninhabited…. Hawaii-loa and his followers were the first inhabitants…. They had left their wives and children at home; therefore, they returned to fetch them.”

In analyzing this account it becomes evident that the home of Hawaii-loa was on the shore, or very near the shore, of the Pacific, which he calls Kai-holo-o-ka-ia, also that it was a land suitable for the agriculture that this race followed.

The legend states that Hawaii-loa and his companions often spent months, sometimes a year, away from home on fishing trips, in a large canoe. In order to do this they must have been able to obtain food and water, for they could not have taken a large enough supply with them. They could have lived for a while on the fish that they caught and on rain-water, but this diet for months would not encourage them to repeat the experience. The logical and probable explanation is that they used certain islands comparatively near their home as a base, and from there made excursions. This supposition seems to be warranted, as in his conversation with Hawaii-loa, Makalii refers to the Eastern Star as “the discoverer of land, ” indicating that someone at sea had steered towards it and found land (probably themselves when they found some island large enough to use as a base but not otherwise worth mentioning).

The conversation of Makalii with Hawaii-loa shows that he knew or at least suspected that there was land to the east. What, then, caused Makalii to suspect it and to state to Hawaii-loa—“Let us steer [the wa'a] in the direction of Iao [the eastern star], the discoverer of land…. There is land to the eastward, and here is a red star, Hoku Ula [Aldebaran] to guide us, and the land is there in the direction of those big stars which resemble a bird.”

There is no indecision about this statement. He spoke as one possessed of certain knowledge which warranted stating what he knew to be facts. The only conclusion to draw is that Makalii had been to this eastern land or that someone else who had been there presented the news in such a manner as to cause belief without question. The only alternative is that he had observed some natural phenomena which indicated the existence and direction of land. Drifting seeds and trunks of trees indicate land but not its direction, and schools of migrating fish give even less information. It is possible, however, that observation of such migrating birds as the plover led Makalii to a belief in the existence of “land to the eastward.” Polynesians have always been close observers of nature.

There is no question that a steady departure of plover or other shore-birds in one direction and their return from the same direction would be noticed. The Polynesians would know that these birds could not live on the open sea, as they are not water-fowl, and therefore that they went to some land and later returned from it. They would naturally reason that if birds could fly to this land in one flight, they in a large wa'a certainly could sail to it. When once they had proved the theory it would not be long before they were following migrations of shore-birds in different directions until all the islands to which these birds migrated would be discovered. The only barrier to voyages of discovery would be climatic conditions which they could not endure, such as low temperatures, or their inability to obtain food and water for a prolonged voyage.

The migratory routes and winter home of the golden plover are interesting in this connection. In the fall-migrations from its breeding grounds in Alaska and Siberia the plover reaches Hawaii as early as August and proceeds southward for at least two months. The spring-migration from southern Polynesia starts north in early spring, and the last flocks leave Oahu in May. I frequently saw the golden plover during late August and early September, 1927, while en route on the Sierra from Honolulu to Pagopago, 3 Samoa; they apparently were following the course of the ship. Also, while a member of the Tanager Expedition in September and October, 1925, I many times saw plovers flying southward between Hawaii and Howland and Baker Islands.

Hawaii-loa agreed to the suggestion of Makalii. They sailed on, and arrived at the “easternmost” and largest of two islands. This island Hawaii-loa named “Hawaii” after himself, and the other island west of it “Maui” after his eldest son. “They went ashore and found the country fertile and pleasant, filled with awa, coconut trees, etc. These islands were uninhabited.”

The above description does not seem to fit the Hawaiian islands. In Hawaii the island of Hawaii is the easternmost island, but the island of Maui is north, not west, of it. Furthermore, other Hawaiian legends state that awa and coconuts were brought to Hawaii by Tahitians, or Hawaiians who had gone to Tahiti and returned. To have recognised these plants, Hawaii-loa and his followers must have been familiar with them in their continental home, which suggests that their continental home was tropical. The description of these two islands seems to fit the islands of southern Polynesia more closely than it does Hawaii.

The legend continues:—“Here they dwelt a long time and when their vessel was filled with food and fish, they returned to their own country with the firm intention to come back to “Hawaii-nei, ” which they preferred to their own country… They had left their wives and children at home; therefore they returned to fetch them. And when they arrived at their own country and among their relations, they were detained a long time before they set out again for Hawaii.” The expression Hawaii-nei- means “this Hawaii” in which the speaker is living, and suggests that the term came into being when it became necessary to distinguish between Hawaii in the Hawaiian islands and some other Hawaii. They are said to have remained a long time on the newly discovered island of Hawaii; not necessarily months, but long enough to fill their wa'a with vegetable food and fish (‘dried’ fish presumably), to allow them to return home. Here they were detained a long time before they set out again for the newly discovered island of Hawaii. This would be necessary to enable them to provide ocean transportation and food sufficient to last while transporting many people to the new islands.

The legend continues:—“At last Hawaii-loa started again, accompanied by his wife and his children and dwelt in Hawaii and gave up all thought of ever returning to his native land. He was accompanied also in this voyage by a great multitude of people, ka lehulehu, steersmen, navigators, ship builders and this and that sort of people. Hawaii-loa was chief of all this people, and he alone brought his wife and children. All the others came singly without women. Hence, Hawaii-loa is called the special progenitor of this nation. On the voyage hither the Morning Star (Ka Hoku Loa) was the special star that they steered by. And Hawaii-loa called the islands after the names of his children and the stars after his navigators and steersmen, ”

This account seems to indicate that the whole tribe did not accompany Hawaii-loa to the newly discovered islands—practically all of the women and children were left at home, with probably many of the men to provide for and protect them, including the brothers of Hawaii-loa, Ki (k), Kanaloa (k) and Laa-kapu (k), who otherwise would have been mentioned. Hawaii-loa probably brought his immediate family, accompanied by a fleet of canoes manned by his male retainers, many of whom probably were to remain and help him to become established in the new home, while others possibly were to return to the old home for the purpose of bringing more settlers from time to time.

The legend continues:—“After Hawaii-loa had been some time in this country… he made another voyage to find his brothers, and see if they had any children who might become husbands or wives of his own.”

This would seem to indicate that his children by this time had matured and that his brothers had left the continental home and also come into the Pacific and settled on other islands which had been discovered. Hawaii-loa evidently had not been in constant communication with them or else he would have known about their families.

The legend continues:—“On this voyage he fell in with his younger brother, Ki (k), on the island of Tahiti, where
Ki (k) had settled and called it after one of his own names. Then Hawaii-loa and Ki (k) sailed together to the southward (i ka mole o ka honua), there they found an uninhabited island which Hawaii-loa called after his own name, and another smaller island which he called after his daughter, Oahu [showing clearly that Hawaii-loa was the highest chief and in command, otherwise Ki (k) would have left his name on one of the islands discovered, as he did at Tahiti]. When they had finished their business here they returned to Hawaii and the Hoku-Iwa stars and the Hoku-poho-ka-aina, were those that they steered by. On the outward voyage from Hawaii the star called Ke Alii O Kona I Ka Lewa and the stars of the Hoku Kea O Ka Mole Honua (Southern Cross) were those by which he shaped his course for Tahiti and those other islands.”

There are no traditions in Hawaii that Ki (k) ever visited the Hawaiian islands. The account seems to indicate that Hawaii-loa and Ki (k) returned from their voyage to the south-west to another island called “Hawaii, ” and not to Hawaii of the Hawaiian group.

The legend continues:—“When Hawaii-loa thus returned he brought with him Tu Nui Ai A Te Atua (k), the first-born son of his brother Ki (k), and he became the husband of his favourite daughter, Oahu (w).

These two had afterwards a child called Ku Nui Akea (k) who was born at Keauhou, in Puna, Hawaii. Puna was then a fertile and fine country, and it was called Puna by Ku Nui Ai A Ke Akua (k) after his own birthplace, Puna Auia, in Tahiti.”

This statement is rather puzzling: Hawaii-loa (k) and his brother Ki (k) of Tahiti returning to Hawaii, then Ki (k) is dropped and Hawaii-loa arrives in Hawaii with Tu-Nui-Ai-A-Te-Atua (k), the eldest son of Ki, and an important Tahitian chief of the highest blood whose name is frequently met with in Tahitian traditions, where he became a demi-god (see “Ancient Tahiti, ” B. P. Bishop Museum, Bull. 48, pp. 76, 164, 255, 265, 1928). A man of this name was father of Pomare I. of Tahiti.

The mention of Ku-nui-akea gives, for the first time in this legend, a definite connection with the Hawaiian islands, as the birth of Ku-nui-akea at Keauhou, in Puna on the island of Hawaii, is an accepted event in Hawaiian history, and the name Ku-nui-akea is an Hawaiian ancestral name,

Albert Ku-nui-akea, who died in Honolulu in 1903, was of a high chieftain family and bore the name of an ancestor.

This seems to indicate that after Hawaii-loa returned from Tahiti, Tu-nui-ai-a-te-atua (k), son of Ki (k) of Tahiti, married Oahu (w). A voyage was then actually made to the Hawaiian islands, and their first child was born on the island of Hawaii—the first chief to be born on Hawaiian soil.

The legend continues:—“Ku Nui Akea on both his father's and mother's side became a chief of the very highest rank (kapu loa). From him sprang the race of chiefs here in Hawaii (welo alii), and from Makalii sprang the race of the common people (welo kanaka). The first [race of chiefs] was kept separate from the most ancient times…. But the priestly race (welo kahuna) was one and the same with the race of the chiefs from the beginning.”

That Hawaii-loa and his daughter Oahu with her husband and son remained in the Hawaiian islands seems improbable. They may have left an under-chief or chiefs with retainers here to hold the land for them and thoroughly explore it, and then returned to the other “Hawaii, ” somewhere near Tahiti, whence they came. His later history and that of his children and grand-children are intimately connected with the history of Tahiti and its vicinity, but the Hawaiian islands or places in them are scarcely mentioned. The lowest class of retainers in Tahiti were Manahune. These retainers left in Hawaii may have been the Menehune.

“One of Hawaii-loa's grand-children was called Keaka I Lalo (w) whom he married to Te Arii Aria (k), one of his brother Ki's grand-children, and he placed them at Sawaii, where they became the ancestors of that people, Sawaii being then called Hawaii Ku Lalo…. Afterwards Hawaii-loa revisited Tahiti and found that his brother Ki (k) had forsaken the religion in which they were brought up, that of Kane, Ku and Lono, and adopted Ku Waha Ilo, the man-eating god (ke akua ai kanaka) as his god.”

This seems to be the first statement of a definite contact between Tahiti and Hawaii of the Hawaiian islands, and if accepted as correct, suggests a way of clearing up many questions that have puzzled students of Hawaiian history and ethnology.

The theory is that Hawaii-loa (k) with his daughter Oahu (w) and her husband Tu-nui-ai-a-te-atua (k) of Tahiti, came to Hawaii, possibly following the migrations of such shore-birds as the plover and curlew, in search of a new land where they could settle and start a dynasty. Makalii possibly was navigator, as he is claimed to be the ancestor of the common people in Hawaii. He may have transported the common people (Menehune) to Hawaii. They probably brought retainers to help them become established, as was customary. The chief Ku-nui-akea (k) was born on the island of Hawaii, then the great high chiefs, Hawaii-loa (k), Oahu (w), Tu-nui-ai-a-te-atua (k), and the baby Ku-nui-akea (k) returned to the other “Hawaii” in the south, leaving their retainers behind. These became the traditional Menehune people under a few chiefs left to over-see their work.

Women no doubt were brought, and the two classes increased as time went on. As there is no indication that Hawaii-loa or any of the great southern chiefs, including Ku-nui-akea (k), ever returned to Hawaii of the Hawaiian islands, it is probable that those left on Hawaii increased and became a nation. The original Hawaiians, as the generations passed without communication between Tahiti and the Hawaiian islands, forgot the islands to the south or retained only a faint memory of them in traditions.

The legend continues:—“After quarrelling with his brother on this account, Hawaii-loa left Tahiti and brought with him Te Arii Apa as a husband for Eleeleualani, his moopuna (grandchild). From these two was born Kohala (w), a girl from whom the Kohala people sprang.”
[This is clearly a fabrication invented in later times to account for the settlement of the district of Kohala on the island of Hawaii.]
“Afterwards Hawaii-loa went again to Tahiti and Hawaii Ku Lalo (Sawaii) and held a meeting with those people at Tarawao, but finding that they persisted in following after the god Ku Waha Ilo and that they had become addicted to man-eating, he reproved and repudiated them, and passed a law called ‘he papa enaena, ’ forbidding anyone from Hawaii-Luna (this present Hawaii) from ever going to the southern islands, lest they go astray in their religion and become man-eaters.”
 
[Hawaii-luna was probably the name of that other Hawaii, not among the present Hawaiian islands, the adjective luna being used when comparing it to Hawaii-ku-lalo, which was south and west of it.]
“When Hawaii-loa returned from this trip he brought with him Te Arii Tino Rua (w) to be a wife to Ku Nui Akea, and they begot Ke Alii Maewa Lani, a son, who was born at Holio, in North Kona, Hawaii, and became the Kona progenitor.”
[This last statement is probably another fabrication, as the Tahitian chiefs are not, as far as I know, mentioned in Hawaiian genealogies.]

“After this, Hawaii-loa made a voyage to the westward, and Mulehu (Hoku Loa) was his guiding star. He landed on the eastern shore of the land of the Lahui Maka Lilio (the people with the obliquely turned up eyes). He travelled over it to the northward and to the westward to the land of Kua Hewa Hewa A Kane [a continent] …. and thence he returned, by the way he had come, to Hawaii nei, bringing with him some white men (poe keokeo kane) and married them to native women (a hoomoe i koomei poe wahine). On this return voyage Iao was his guiding star to Hawaii.

“After this, Hawaii-loa made another voyage to the southern and eastern shore of Kapa-Kapaua-A-Kane [where he was born], and took with him his grandchild Ku Nui Akea in order to teach him navigation, etc. When they had stayed there long enough they returned and Ku Nui Akea brought with him “he mau haa elua” (two stewards), one called Lehua and the other Nihoa, and they were settled on the two islands which bear their names as konohiki (land stewards) and put under the charge of Kauai, the youngest son of Hawaii-loa. [Probably a fabrication to account for place-names in more recent times.]

“When Hawaii-loa (k) returned from the conference with his brother Ki and his descendants, his wife, Hualalai, bore him a son who was called Hamakua and who probably was a bad boy (keiki inoino), for so his name would indicate. Ten years after this (ke au puni) Hualalai died, and was buried on the mountain of Hawaii that has been called after her name ever since. [Probably an explanatory invention in more recent times.]

“The descendants of Hawaii-loa and also of Ki (which are one, for they were brothers) peopled nearly all the Polynesian islands. From Ki came the Tahiti, Borabora, Huahine, Tahaa, Ra'iatea and Moorea [chiefs].

“From Kanaloa were peopled Nukuhiwa, Uapou, Tahuata, Hiwaoa and those other islands. Kanaloa married a woman from the man-eating people, Taeohae, from whom sprung these cannibals who live on Nuuhiwa, Fiji, Tarapara, Paumotu [Tuamotu] and the islands in western Polynesia—so it is reported in the Hawaiian legends and prayers—but the Hawaiian islands and the Tahiti islands (properly speaking) did never addict themselves to cannibalism.

“The island of Maui was called after Hawaii-loa's first born son.
“The island of Oahu was called after Hawaii-loa's daughter, and her foster-parent Lua, and hence, the name Oahu A Lua.”

“Kauai was called after Hawaii-loa's younger son; his wife's name was Waialeale, and they lived on Kauai, and the mountain was called after her because she was buried there.
“And thus other islands and districts were called after the first settlers.

“In this first age, from Hawaii-loa to Wakea, the royal authority and prerogatives were not very well defined. The chiefs were regarded more in the light of parents and patrons (haku), than as moi and alii kapu, although they enjoyed all the honour and precedence due to their rank.”

The following genealogy is constructed from data accompanying the Hawaii-loa legend:—

1. Aniani-ku (k)—born in Kapakapaua-a-kane and probably died there as there is no further mention of him or his wife, Ke-kai-Pahola (w). Their son was

2. Aniani-ka-lani (k)—who was also born and died in Kapakapaua-a-kane as did his wife, Ka-mee-nui-hikina (w). He is quoted in both Tahitian and Hawaiian legends as the progenitor (kupuna) of their nations. Their children were:—

3. Hawaii-loa (k) also known as Ke-kowa-i-hawaii
 Ki (k)
Kanaloa (k)
Laa-kapu (k)

3. Hawaii-loa (k)—born on the east coast of a country called Ka-aina-kai-melemele-a-kane (land of the yellow or handsome sea), 4 which may be considered as the last continental home of the Polynesians. He led the migration into the Pacific. He had the following children:—
Maui (k)
Oahu (w)
Kauai (k)

4. Ki (k)—born in Ka-aina-kai-melemele-a-kane and migrated into the Pacific, settling on Tahiti. His children were:—
Tu-nui-ai-a-te-atua (k)—eldest son.

5. Oahu (w)—favourite daughter of Hawaii-loa. Married (10) Tu-nui-ai-a-te-atua (k). Had a son

6. Ku-nui-akea (k) born at Keauhou, in Puna, Hawaii, Hawaiian islands.

7. Ku-nui-akea (k)—by birthright was chief of the very highest rank—from him sprang the welo alii of the Hawaiian islands. He married Te-arii-tino-rua (w) of Tahiti or Samoa. They had a son—
Ke-lii-alia (k)

8. Ke-lii-alia (k)—born in Tahiti. He had a son:—
Kemilia (k)

9. Kemilia (k)—born in Tahiti. He had a son, Ke-lii-ku (k).

10. Ke-lii-ku (k)—also called Eleeleualani—born on “Hawaii, ” probably that other “Hawaii” not in the Hawaiian islands. He married Ka-oupe-alii (w) who was a daughter of Kupukupunuu (k) from Ololoimehani in Tahiti. 5 They had a son:—
Kukalani-ehu (k)

11. Kukalani-ehu (k)—birthplace not given. He married Ka-haka-ua-koko (w) the 6th in descent from Makalii (k) the famous navigator of Hawaii-loa. They were parents of the celebrated Papa-nui (w)

12. Papa-nui (w)—alias Papa-nui-hanau-moku alias Huhune, alias Haumea. She married—

(1) Wakea (k) the son of Kahiko (k) and Tupu-rana-i-tehau (w) who was a Tahitian woman. They had a daughter, Ho-oho-ku-kalani (w). Papa-nui (w) quarrelled with Wakea (k) because he committed incest with this daughter and went to Tahiti, where she married

(2) Te-rii-fanau (k) a Tahitian chief, and had
Te-rii-i-te-haupoipoi (k). She returned to Hawaii (not in the Hawaiian islands) under the name Huhune and married

(3) Waia (k) and had a son—
Hinanalo (k). Domestic troubles made her crazy, and she returned to Tahiti, where she married

(4) Te-rii-aumai (k) who was said to have been of the fourth generation of Tahitian chiefs. They had Te-arii-taria (k) who became chief over that part of Tahiti called Taharuu. “It is thus on account of her being the mother of chiefs, both here [Hawaii] and in Tahiti, that she is called Papa Nui Hanau Moku. She is said to have been a comely, handsome woman, very fair and almost white. Papa is said to have travelled eight times between Tahiti and Hawaii, and died in a place called Waieri, in Tahiti, during the time of Nanakehili, the fifth in descent from her and Wakea.”

In the published account (B. P. Bishop Mus. Mem., vol. 7, No. 2, p. 280) Wakea is said to have originated the tapu relating to women in order to irritate Papanui (w) with whom he was quarreling.
The only suggestion as to the location of the “Hawaii” which is so often mentioned in the Hawaii-loa legend and which Hawaiians believed to be their island of Hawaii, is contained in a recent publication of Bernice P. Bishop Museum (Ancient Tahiti, by Teuira Henry, Bull. 48, p. 116, 1928).

“Havaii (Invoked-space-that-filled) was of undisputed prestige among the islands in ancient times and is still the proudest island in all the Society group, being the centre of their history, their religion and their heraldry. Formerly, as is shown in pure archaic records by its ancient bards, which are corroborated by its sister island groups, Havai'i exercised a political and moral sway as the emporium of all the Maori tribes of Polynesia.”

By taking Ra'iatea as the Hawaii often referred to in the Hawaii-loa legend, and applying the legend to it, the whole story seems to clear up immediately. What would appear to be exaggerations such as Papa-nui (w) making eight voyages to Hawaii become reasonable statements.

The Hawaii-loa legend seems then in fact to be a scrap of the ancient history of Ra'iatea and Tahiti which has been preserved in Hawaii although apparently lost in Tahiti and Raiatea.

Many puzzling points in Hawaiian history seem to be explained, such as the incident of Paao (k), the Tahitian priest bringing Pili (k) the Tahitian chief to the island of Hawaii where he replaced Kapawa (k), the ruling chief, without any apparent opposition, the reason probably being that Kapawa (k) was also a Tahitian of probably lower rank than Pili (k), having been a descendant in Hawaii of the minor chiefs left here by Hawaii-loa with his common people (the Menehune) to supervise their work of exploration, etc., during his absence in Tahiti.

If this theory is correct we may then have the following account of the settlement of the Hawaiian islands:—

1. Discovered by Hawaii-loa, who left minor chiefs as overseers to his workers, the Menehune. These people were left alone here until they had increased to such numbers as to occupy the whole group. Some of the Menehune possibly rebelled and took up their residence on the northern islands, Molokai, Oahu and Kauai, with their stronghold on Kauai under King Ola.

2. Generations afterwards, Nanaulu, the son of Kii (k) of Tahiti set out for a visit to the fatherland, but hit the northern Hawaiian islands and settled on Kauai, Oahu and Molokai, establishing the Nanaulu line, probably seizing Menehune women as wives.

3. Fresh invasions from southern Polynesia, headed by such chiefs as Maweke, Olopana and Moi Keha.

4. The end of the migrations from the time when Laa-mai-kahiki (k) returned to Tahiti, until 1778, when Captain James Cook discovered the Hawaiian islands and named them the Sandwich Islands.
It is a well-established fact that most Polynesian tribes claim descent from Wakea (k) and Papa-nui (w). 6 As shown in the genealogy, Papa-nui (w) had several sons who undoubtedly held the highest rank. It is possible that Wakea (k) also had many children, although a list of them is not given. It is also probable that these children spread throughout Polynesia, settled on the different islands, and became the high chiefs which their rank would assure them. It is very doubtful in my mind if Papa-nui-hanau-moku (w) and Wakea (k) ever resided in the Hawaiian islands or even visited them. It seems probable that they were ruling chiefs on that other “Hawaii, ” which I believe to be now called Ra'iatea. There are several Hawaiian chants which credit Papa (w) with actually giving birth to the Hawaiian islands, but these were composed or recited in much later times, and were probably inspired by the translation of the name of Papa-nui-hanau-moku, which literally means, “Great Papa who gave birth to islands.”

1 - As this is a quotation, probably the objectionable capitalization is in the original where names in this narrative are concerned. The capital should be used only in the first letter of the name, and the component parts hyphened, as in the printing of this name on p. 108, 1. 22—Kai-holo-o-ka-ia (? i'a, as the Maori equivalent is Tai-horo-o-teika). Capitals should also be used for any proper name included as part of the longer name, as in Ka-aina-kai-melemele-a-Kane (not kane) on p. 118, 1. 2.—EDS.

2 -Th e author does not draw attention to this intrusion of goats into ancient Polynesian matter. Kao is apparently the biblical rendering of ‘goat’ but with this meaning can it be a true Hawaiian word?—and what is its significance in the present connection? Does the term refer to the constellation known to us as the Bull, in which Aldebaran is the brightest star?—EDS.

3 - Pagopago=Maori Pangopango, pronunciation of both being the same.

4 - The included proper name, Kane, should be capitalized Ka-aina-kai-melemele-a-Kane, and if a translated meaning be given (though such literal translations are dangerous as the form of transmitted names is so often more or less corrupt) then the full meaning, “the land of the handsome or yellow sea of Tane” should be given, as on p. 107. The Maori equivalent of this name is Te Kainga-tai-meremere-a-Tane.—EDS.

5 - Both Ra'iatea and Tahiti have been known as Hawaiki in the past. Tahiti was probably the Hawaiki-nui-a-Ruamatua of the Maori.—EDS.

6 - The names Wakea (Maori Atea or Watea), Papa, etc., in the genealogy, should probably be regarded, as in Maori, as mythological beings, and not real persons.—EDS.



© Copyright 2009-2018 TE WHARE WAANANGA AUTUROA - All Rights Reserved.