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Kohala is often mentioned in Hawaiian legends. Publication of the "Legends and Myths of Hawai'i" by His Majesty Kalakaua, for example, mentions Kohala 61 times. Unfortunately, there was not a single complete story which could be considered belonging exclusively to Kohala. 


 Three of the most outstanding legends are repeated below.

- Dolly Loo and Clarence Keawe


The Legend of  Pupukea

Pupukea was a high chief of Hawai'i, being the younger brother of Lonoikamakahiki, the renowned King of Hawai'i, and was of royal ancestry. Although his body was stout, he was wiry and muscular. He became famous because of his bravery.

On account of Pupukea's boldness he was entrusted with the whole of the island of Hawai'i to dispossess or to reinstate the chiefs and to do with as he pleased. Lonoikamakahiki was only to exercise royal authority. 

Makakuikalani was a high chief of Maui, being the younger brother of Kamalalawalu, the King of Maui.

Pupukea traveled with Lonoikamakahiki as his steward and was much respected for his performances of these duties even though he had no experience. When Kamalalawalu observed the skill and promptness of Pupukea in preparation of food, he asked Lonoikamakahiki for him but was refused due to the fact that Pupukea was high chief of Hawai'i. This caused some jealousy on the part of Makakuikalani and perpetuated a feud between him and Pupukea which lasted all their lives.

Kamalalawalu had a favored son, Kauhiakama, whom he sent to the island of Hawai'i to spy on the land, the people, and the government of Lonoikamakahiki. Kauhiakama sailed quickly up and down the Kona coast, spent two days at Kawaihae then returned to Maui to report to his father. Being an exceedingly careless and ignorant man, his cursory survey of the land led to a wrong impression of the Kona and Kohala districts. Although the seashore borders were completely covered with standing houses, there were no people to be seen. Since it was early morning, the dwellers had gone into the uplands to till the soil and some had gone fishing. Even at Kohala, where he had seen some people and many houses, Kauhiakama reported it was only populated with weaklings. He recommended that his father take the whole army and make war on Hawai'i - victory would be easy.

Kamalalawalu's Maui men had so many canoes that it was said the Alenuihaha channel was covered from Maui to Kohala and Kawaihae, and that the waves and sea were invisible. They landed at Kawaihae, made war against the Waimea chief, Kanaloauo, and defeated him.

Kanaloauo had two crafty assistants who preteded to defect to the Maui King in order to save their own leader's life. They suggested to Kamalawalu that he destroy all his canoes in order to prevent Lonoikamakahiki's army from escaping after their defeat.

By assuring that Lonoikaakahiki would be defeated at a battle in the uplands of Waimea, Kokuula by name, these two defectors planned the battle strategy. It went as follows:

Hokuula is located in Waimea, on the south of North Kohala. On that hill, there are no stones, nor trees, only grass and dirt. Th Maui army was assured there were stones on the top. Kamalalawalu was told it was refuge where he might be unmolested, that the stones, javelins and men from below could not reach it because it was a very high bluff, about a half a mile in height. 

When Kamalalawalu arrived at the top of Hokuula and found that there were neither stones nor trees there, he sent messengers to Lonoikamakahiki and Pupukea requesting the battle be fought there since the Maui forces were trenched in and Kanaloauo was a captive. This was the Hawaiian way of making war - the time and place was always carefully discussed, decided upon and inflexible.

Lonoikamakahiki sent his overseers to muster all the men of Kona, then sent word to Pupukea in Ka'u ad to the chiefs of Puna, Hilo and Hamakua. All were instructed to meet in Kohala. There were so many soldiers marching that the dust rose in huge clouds and could be seen for miles. It is recorded there came 32,000 from Kona, 112,000 from  Ka'u, 160,000 from Puna, Hilo and Kamakua and 96,000 from Kohala. From south of Puako to above Waimea, there were so many men that the dirt, stones, and trees were obscured by them.

Kamalalawalu realized his spies had given him misinformation about the population of he Island of Hawai'i. He was convinced they would all perish in defeat. Therefore, he suggested a meeting with Lonoikamakahiki and they decided that the war should be fought man-to-man with only two participants - Pupukea and Makakuikalani. Settling the war question between themselves would avoid much slaughter through the wide difference in their numbers. The winner was to claim total victory for his island.

Pupukea and Makakuikalani fought with their pololus (long spears) and Pupukea was victorious. As it turned out, however, the contest was only the preliminary to the battle. The fighting was so savage that the Maui forces fled to the for a means of escape. Since their canoes had earlier been dismantled they were forced to board them in unseaworthy condition and all the Maui men were sunk and drowned or killed on the spot.

In this battle, Kamalalawaluand Makakuikalani were slain by Lonoikamakahiki and Pupukea, thus making Hawai'i victorious. 



The Legend of  Punia

     Punia lived in Kohala with his mother, Hina. Their occupation consisted of the cultivation of sweet potatoes which supplied them with food, but they had no fish or meat.

     Punia wished to go down to his father's lobster cave and get some lobsters, but Hina reminded  him it was a dangerous place because of the sharks who had already eaten his father. One shark especially, named Kaialeale, was a very large shark who was king and lived near this cave with ten sharks under him.

     Punia devised a method of deceiving Kaialeale thereby keeping himself safe and also allowing time to successfully catch lobster for his meals. Cunningly, he caused the death of the ten sharks - by their own doing, until only Kaialeale was left.

     Punia trapped Kaialeale and entered its stomach by propping its jaws open. He fired its innards and caused it to swim around for 10 days. Finally, weak and starving, the shark got stranded on a sandy shore near Kona. When the people on the beach cut the shark open, Punia walked out. He was in pretty good shape except that he was completely bald.

     Heading home toward Kohala, Punia came to a place inhabited only by ghosts. The ghosts were trying to fish but were not having much luck so they asked Punia to show them where the fish were. He knew they would kill him as soon as he revealed his secret fishing places so he resolved to eliminate the ghosts first. By following Punia's instructions, the ghosts swam out to two large lava rocks where Punia had stationed himself. They came out one or two at a time and as each arrived, Punia would anchor them to the ocean floor so they could not be seen from the shore. Punia continued to call for one and two at a time until all but one of the ghosts were killed. Since only one ghost is not a real threat to a strong and cunning man like Punia, he continued on his way back to Kohala unmolested.

The Legend of  Halemano

     Halemano was born in Waianae on the island of O'ahu, the youngest of his family and very handsome of face and form. Halemano was one of thos lucky people who are subject to dreams. He fell in love with Kamalalawalu after he saw her in many of his dreams. She was very beautiful and she lived in Puna, on the island of Hawai'i. By enlisting the aid of his entire family, Halemano was able to go to Puna and kidnap Kamalalawalu and make her his bride.

     Kamalalawalu was so beautiful that every chief wanted her and consequently Halemano had a constant battle to keep her to himself. For years the couple would flee from islnd to island. One of their more peaceful times was the six months they were living as castaways in Kohala at Uniwai. 

     After a time, Kamalalawalu left Halemano and want to live with the king of Puna. The knowledge that his wife was unfaithful made Halemano sad - he went to live in Kukuipahu and took up farming. His farm was at Ihuanu, the heights looking down at Kauhola Point and the surf of Maliu (the favorite surfing place of the whole district). The field where Halemano cultivated is famous to this day,, for it is so said that the covering of Ihuanu was palaholo (an unrecognized plant, probably a running fern) and the watchman of the field was Kekuaualo. 

     While surfing at Maliu, Kamalalawalu, only recently returned to Halemano (but long enough for her roving eye to fo wandering( was seen by Kumoho, a high chief. He was so taken with her beauty that he asked her to become his wife. She agreed and went to live with him. Halemano was heartsick again at the actions of his unfaithful wife. He looked for ways to win her back. On the advice of his sister, he overruled farming and fishing in favor of singing and chanting. The fame of Halemano as a singer and chanter was carried all over Kohala. 

     Being lonely, Halemano began courting Kikikaala, the daughter of Nunulu, one of the high chiefs of Kohala. Kamamlalawalu hear of Halemao's chanting and when she heard him she longed to return to him because he looked so handsome. But she had not reckoned with the high chief's daughter!

      Kikikaala sponsored a kilu contest. This contest was held at a popular kilu place, on the hill looking to the west, close to Puuonale and Hokukekil, with the winner to get the other as prize. This was a sort of "heads I win, tails I lose" contest between Kikikaala and Halemano, but he agreed to the terms and the competition between them began.

     Kamalalawalu attened the contest and Halemano, seeing her there, did not really play his best game. In an effort to entice him back, she kept reminding him of their many good times together. Halemano, superbly chanting between each kilu throw, won the contest 15 hits. So, Kikikaala lost to Halemano and she became his prize.

      The couple lived as husband and wife but Kikikaala was a very possessive woman and he chafed under her yoke.  Finally one day, in revolt, Halemano insisted on going to Maui to fish and after may stormy sessions finally got his wife's consent. He sailed away, alone, knowing full well that Kamalalawalu would follow him. 

      She did, and when they reached Maui she convinced him to take her back, but their life together was never quite the same. The experiences each had undergone had unfitted them for the mutual love they one enjoyed, which was now only a memory. 

The Story of Ka-Miki

       Perhaps one of the most detailed native traditions which includes rich accounts of place names and practices of native families, covering Waiki‘i, the Waikōloa–Waimea lands, and the larger ‘āina mauna (mountain lands) surrounding Waiki‘i, is a historical account titled "Ka‘ao Ho‘oniua Pu‘uwai no Ka-Miki" (The Heart Stirring Tale of Ka-Miki). The story of Ka-Miki was published in the Hawaiian language newspaper Ka Hoku o Hawaii (1914-1917). It is a long and complex account that was recorded for the paper by Hawaiian historians John Wise and J.W.H.I. Kihe with contributions by local informants. While "Ka-Miki" is not entirely an ancient account, the authors used a mixture of local traditions, tales, and family accounts in association with place names to tie together fragments of site specific history that had been handed down over the generations.

       The complete narrative include historical accounts of more than 800 place names (many personified, commemorating particular individuals) around the island of Hawai‘i. While the personification of individuals and their associated place names may not be entirely "ancient," such place name-person accounts are common throughout Hawaiian traditions. The selected narratives below, translated by Maly, are excerpted from various sections of the tradition, and provide readers with descriptions of the land, resources, areas of residence, and practices of the native residents, as handed down by kama‘āina (those familiar with the land). Of particular interest, specific documentation is given pertaining to the place name of Waiki‘i, and also to many places in Waikōloa and neighboring lands.

   Ka-Miki: An Overview of the Tradition

       The tradition of Ka-Miki is about two supernatural brothers, Ka-Miki (The quick, or adept one) and Maka-‘iole (Rat [squinting] eyes) who traveled along the ancient ala hele and ala loa (trails and byways) that encircled the island of Hawai‘i. Born in ‘e‘epa (mysterious-premature) forms, Ka-Miki and Maka-‘iole were the children of Pōhaku-o-Kāne and Kapa‘ihilani, ali‘i of the lands of Kohana-iki and Kaloko. Reared by their great grandmother, Ka-uluhe-nui-hihi-kolo-i-uka (The great entangled growth of uluhe fern which spreads across the uplands), the brothers were instructed in the uses of their supernatural powers. Ka-uluhe, who was also one of the manifestations of the earth-mother goddess and creative force of nature, Haumea (also called Papa), who dwelt at Kalama‘ula on the heights of Hualālai, was also a goddess of competitors.

Following completion of their training, Ka-uluhe sent Ka-Miki and Maka-‘iole on a journey around the island of Hawai‘i to challenge disreputable ‘ōlohe (experts, skilled in all manner of fighting techniques and competing in riddling, running, leaping, fishing and debating contests, etc.) and priests whose dishonorable conduct offended the gods of ancient Hawai‘i.

       The narratives are set in the time when Hīkapōloa and Kapa‘au-iki-a-Kalana were the two primary chiefs of Kohala (ca. thirteenth century). During their journey, Ka-Miki and Maka-‘iole competed along the ala loa and ala hele and on the kahua le‘ale‘a (contest arenas) associated with the royal courts of the chiefs of the islands‘ six districts. In this account, the nature and boundaries of Kohala District are as follows:


  • O Kohala nui, o Kohala iki, o Kohala loko, o Kohala waho, o Kohala makani ‘Āpa‘apa‘a, o Pili o Kalāhikiola, o Na-pu‘u-haele-lua. ‘Oia ho‘i! ‘Oia la! O nā ‘okina iho la ‘ia o ka ‘āina ha‘aheo i ke kahili a ka makani ‘Āpa‘apa‘a e ho‘ola‘au mai ana me he ipo ala ka nē hone i ka poli o ke aloha —



  • Large Kohala, little Kohala, inner Kohala, outer Kohala, Kohala of the ‘Āpa‘apa‘a wind, of Pili and Kalāhikiola, the two traveling hills. Indeed! They are the combined districts of this proud land brushed by the ‘Āpa‘apa‘a wind, maturing like a love nestled fondly in the bosom of love (Ka Hoku o Hawaii, March 22, 1917).



       For generations, sayings like the one above, have been spoken in praise of Kohala and its various land divisions which extend from Honoke‘ā on the Hāmākua boundary to Ke-ahu-a-Lono on the Kona boundary. The lands from Kawaihae to Waikoioa and ‘Anaeho‘omalu are within the region called Kohala waho (outer Kohala).

Narratives Describing Waiki‘i, South Kohala and the Mountain Lands

When the brothers completed their training and tests of their skills had ended, Ka-uluhe instructed Ka-Miki to journey to the hālau ali‘i (royal compound) of Poli‘ahu, one of the elder relatives of the brothers. Poli‘ahu and her companion Lilinoe, were the guardians of Waiau and the sacred water of Kāne. She then instructed Maka-‘iole to go collect the ‘awa (Piper methysticum) of the god Luanu‘u at Waipi‘o. The water and the ‘awa were to be used in an ‘ai-lolo (ceremony of graduation), commemorating the sacred nature of the brothers and completion of their training in ‘ōlohe skills. Ka-uluhe instructed the brothers —


  • …You, Maka-‘iole, are to fetch the yellow barked ‘awa which the gods drink till they are drunk, and bleary eyed, till their eyes are reeling, it is the ‘awa that is there along the sacred cliff of Waipi‘o in the breast (the ledge) of Ha‘iwahine -at the long plain of‘Āpua…"



  • Maka-‘iole stood up straight, prepared to fly like the ‘iwa bird soaring upon the winds… Ka-uluhe then called to Ka-Miki, telling him:



  • …e kii oe i ka wai a Kāne, aia i luna i ka piko o ke kuahiwi i ka hālau alii o Poliahu a me Lilinoe, me ka hanai a laua o Ka-piko-o-Waiau. Aia malalo mai o kaulu o ka paepae o Pohaku-a-Kane e nana iho la ia Pohakuloa, o ka ohana ‘ia o ko makuakane. E kii oe i ka wai no ka awa o olua…"



    • You are to fetch the sacred water of Kāne which is there atop the summit of the mountain (Mauna Kea), at the royal compound of Poli‘ahu, Lilinoe, and their ward, Ka-piko-o-Waiau. The water is there below the ledge of the platform of Pōhakuakāne, from where you may look down to Pohakuloa; they are your family through your father‘s genealogy. You are to fetch the water that will be used to make the ‘awa for you two…"


  • Telling Ka-Miki to travel with all swiftness, Ka-uluhe then offered a traveling chant, to keep Ka-Miki warm while traveling the trail to the hālau ali‘i of Poli‘ahu—


  • Ala hele mauka laThe path goes to the uplands

    Ala hele makai laThe path goes to the lowlands

    Ala hele mehameha i ke kualonoIt is a lonely path to the mountain

    Ala hele kuo-u koekoeA damp dreary path

    He ahi kou kapa e mehana aiA fire will be the wrap which warms you

    E lata ai i ke ala kapu laWarming you along the sacred trail

    A ko kupuna wahine kino manamana[Fire] of your ancestress with many body forms

    Manamana ke ala nui ou e kuu kamaYour path will have many branches my child

    E Nana-i-ka-ulu-o-KamalamaO Nana-i-ka-ulu-o-Kamalama (Ka-Miki)

    Ku ana hoolono i ka leo ouStand and heed my voice

    O ko kupuna wahine nei laIt is I your ancestress

    Ku—e, ku laStand, make ready

    Ku hoolono, lono e!Stand and hear, listen!



  • Ka-uluhe also told the brothers that they were to go to the place of their ancestress Lani-ku‘i-a-mamao-loa (whose name is commemorated in the place name Lani-mamao at Waimea); for she had the kānoa (‘awa bowl), called Hōkū‘ula and the mau‘u ‘awa (strainer) Ka-lau-o-ke-Kāhuli, which would be used in preparing the ‘awa ceremony.



  • Ka-uluhe then told Ka-Miki:


  • “…e ukuhi ai i ka wai kapu a Kane ma laua me Kanaloa, a e hii ae i ka poli a huli hoi mai. Maluna mai oe o na kualono, kuahiwi, kuakea, e lehei ana ma na kuamauna, mauna kapu kameha‘i hoopaee i ke kanaka, a moe luhi ka leo—e, ae…”



    • “…dip into the sacred water of Kāne and Kanaloa and hold it close to your breast while returning. You shall be at the heights of the mountainous region, at the whitened peaks, leaping on the mountain top, the sacred and astonishing mountain [Mauna Kea], that causes people to go astray, and the voice is wearied by calling out—indeed it is so…”

  • Ka-Miki and Maka-‘iole then set out to complete their tasks, first traveling to meet their ancestress Lani-mamao on the windward plains of Waimea (in the region of Mahiki) (February 5, 1914).



  • The brothers greeted their kupuna with genealogical chants, and gained her recognition of their descent. When Lani-mamao inquired of their journey and quest, Maka-‘iole called out to her with a mele (chant), explaining the nature of his task.



  • Lani-mamao exclaimed — "What is your kupuna thinking of, sending you to fetch the cherished ‘awa of Luanu‘u-a-nu‘u-pō‘ele-ka-pō-loa, king of the hordes of ghosts who dwelt at Waipi‘o?" She then inquired. "Where is the water that she told you to fetch?" Ka-Miki answered —



  • “I ka wai kapu a Kane ma laua me Kanaloa, i ka paepae kapu o ka Pohaku-a-Kane, ke nai ia ala e ka ohu Kakikepa, e ka uwahi noe a ka wahine o ka lua…"


    • “It is the sacred water of Kāne and Kanaloa at the sacred platform of Pōhaku-a-Kāne, overcome by the mists Kākīkepa, that is like the steaming mists of the woman [Pele] who dwells at the crater…"


  • Because of the great challenges the brothers would face while going to fetch the ‘awa and water of the gods, Lani-mamao tested their knowledge of the skills necessary to make sure that they were prepared to meet the challenges which lay ahead of them. Lanimamao set out the supernatural net Ku‘uku‘u which was also called Kanikawī – Kanikawā [the thick rainbelt fog] that trapped and ensnared many travelers. She told Ka-Miki and his brother to leap into the net, which they did, she then pulled the net closed and placed high overhead in the rafters of her house. In no time, Ka-Miki had pulled on the lines and caused the net to ho‘omōhala (to blossom or open), thus the brothers were freed. Lani-maomao then told Nana-i-ke-kihi-o-Kamalama (Ka-Miki):



  • Great is your alertness, bravery, skill, cleverness, strength, and wisdom; indeed if you possessed only half of your abilities you would not have been able to free yourself. No one has ever escaped from this net, and if you had not been able to free yourselves, your training would not have been adequate. Because of this sign, it is you Ka-Miki who must fetch the ‘awa of the ghost king Luanu‘u, for only you could succeed (February 12, 1914).




  • Thus, Ka-Miki agreed to go to Waipi‘o. Lanimamao then told Maka-‘iole, that he was to go to fetch the strainer Ka-lau-o-ke-kāhuli [a native sedge] from the plain of Waikōloa…



  • Ka-Miki departed and arrived at the compound of Luanu‘u. Unknown to Luanu‘u, Ka-Miki took the ‘awa, and then gave the king a tap before departing… Outraged, Luanu‘u instructed his retainers, Mū-kā and Mū-kī, to seek out the thief. On their journey to find the culprit, they circled the island and traveled to the heights of Humu‘ula, where they inquired of ‘Ōma‘okoili and ‘Ōma‘okanihae if either of them knew who this rascal thief was. They also traveled to the heights of Ka-piko-o-Waiau, the ward of the chiefesses Poli‘ahu and Lilinoe, where they peered down upon the multitudes, and watched the sacred water of Kāne mā, to where the ‘auwai (water channel) was dug…. (February 19, 1914). (mā is a Hawaiian word that means “and companions, friends” or “and others.”)



  • …Ka-Miki returned to Lanimaomao and presented the sacred ‘awa container Kapāpāiaoa and ‘awa of Luanu‘u to his ancestress. She bathed him in her rains, and caused lightning and thunder to praise his accomplishments.




  • Lanimamao then gave Ka-Miki the kānoa ‘awa (‘awa bowl), Hōkū‘ula—with the kapu of Lono-Makahiki—so that he could go get the wai kapu (sacred water) of Kāne and Kanaloa (at Mauna Kea). (March 5, 1914).


Ka-Miki then leapt and disappeared in the mists that seem to crawl upon the forest growth. Arriving at the spring (of Waiau), Ka-Miki began dipping the ladle into the sacred water of Kāne, to fill the ‘awa bowl Hōkū‘ula —


  • “…A ia wa i ike mai ai ua wahi akua kiai i ka ale o ka wai a hu ae la mawaho o ka punawai. A ia laua i holo mai ai, o ka maalo o ke aka ka laua i ike a nalo aku la. A ua kapa ia ka inoa o ua punawai ala o "Ka Wai Hu a Kane," a hiki i keia la. No ka hu ana i ke kioe ana a Ka-Miki i ka wai iloko o ke kanoa awa o ke akua."



    • “…At that time, the guardians, Pōhakuakāne and Pōhakuloa, saw the water rippling, and overflowing from the spring. As they went to investigate, they saw a shadow pass them by. Because of the overflowing of the water, the spring came to be called Ka-wai-hū-a-Kāne (The overflowing waters of Kāne), and so it remains named to this day. It overflowed because Ka-Miki scooped the water, filling the ‘awa bowl of the god."

       Lālāmilo gained fame as an expert ‘ōlohe and fisherman. And through his wife Puakō, he came to possess the supernatural leho (cowry octopus lure) which had been an ‘ōnohi (cherished) possession of Ha‘aluea, a goddess with an octopus form… How this octopus lure came to rest on the reefs fronting this land remains a mystery.

    • Ka-Miki then joined Maka-‘iole at Holoholoku on the plain of Waikōloa. And as they traveled across the plains on their way back to Hualālai, the wind goddess Wai-kō-loa (Water carried far) caused the water to splash over the brim of Hōkū‘ula. Some of the water was carried afar by the wind and fell, forming a new spring. When the spring appeared, Pōhaku-a-Kāne fetched some of the water. Because Pōhaku-a-Kāne fetched some of the water, that place is called Wai-ki‘i (Fetched-water) to this day. This happened near the hills of Pu‘u Keke‘e.

      • Pōhaku-a-Kāne took the water he retrieved to the base of the cliffs of Mauna Kea and dug into the earthen plain of Pōhakuloa and placed the water there. From Pōhakuloa, the water flowed under ground and appeared as springs at several other places, including Ana-o-Hiku at Hanakaumalu, Honua‘ula, and Kīpahe‘e-wai on the slopes of Hualālai (March 12, 1914).

    • Following completion of the ‘awa ceremonies with Ka-uluhe, Ka-Miki and Maka-‘iole began their journey around Hawai‘i, traveling south through Kona. While at Kapalilua, South Kona, Ka-Miki was described as the skilled ‘ōlohe from the lands of Nāpu‘u (the Pu‘u Anahulu–Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a vicinity). In describing Nāpu‘u, the wind of Waikōloa was mentioned—

      • Napuu (pu) Alu Kinikini i kuia e ke ao-lewa i ka makani i ka hoohae a ka Naulu, i ka hoelo ia e ka Waikoloa a me ke Kaumuku kuehu lepo i ke kula pili — The many gullied or folded hills where the wind borne Nāulu rain clouds appear, [land] moistened by the Waikōloa wind, with the Kaumuku winds which stir up the dust on the pili grass covered plain… (December 3,1914)

    • When the journey around Hawai‘i Island was completed, Ka-Miki entered into contests at Pua‘a, Kona, before the chief Pili-a-ka-‘aiea. It was in the events associated with these contests that traditions of the people and places of the


      • Waikōloa

      region and neighboring lands were once again described. The narratives describe several places on the Waikoioa plain including Po‘opo‘o, Pu‘u ‘Iwa‘iwa and Pu‘u Hīna‘i, below Waiki‘i; and Kanakanaka, Lālāmilo, and lands makai of Waikoioa.

    • …The region of Lālāmilo was named for the young chief Lālāmilo, grandson of Kanakanaka. an expert lawai‘a hī-‘ahi (deep sea tuna lure fisherman) and Pili-a-mo‘o, a powerful priestess and ‘ōlohe. Kanakanaka and Piliamo‘o were the parents of Nē‘ula (a fishing goddess), and she married Pu‘u-hīna‘i a chief of the inlands, and they in turn were the parents of Lālāmilo. Kanakanaka‘s sister was the wind goddess, Waikoioa, for whom the lands are now named.



  • The leho was so powerful that if it was only shown to the he‘e (octopus), they would climb upon the canoe and be caught. Lālāmilo carefully guarded this lure and even slept with it. When Lālāmilo did leave the lure, he stored it in the hōkeo aho hī-‘ahi (tuna lure and olonā line storage gourd) of his grandfather Kanakanaka, and this was hidden, tied to the ridge pole of his house.



  • Lalamilo‘s grandmother Piliamo‘o, discerned the nature of the lure, and instructed Lālāmilo to kill all people who inquired about the lure or sought to see it. Because the fame of this lure spread around Hawai‘i and people were curious about it, many people were killed.



  • Pili-a-Ka‘aiea, the chief of Kona, greatly loved octopus fishing, and had sent several messengers to inquire of Lālāmilo how he might acquire the lure. All of the messengers were killed by Lālāmilo and Piliamo‘o. While at the contest field called Hinakahua, Ka-Miki agreed to fetch the lure for Pili as one of the conditions he needed to fulfill in order to become the foremost favorite of Pili. Now as these events at the court of Pili were unfolding, Lālāmilo decided to visit his father Pu‘u-hīna‘i, his sister Pu‘u ‘Iwa‘iwa, and his grand-aunt Waikoioa, who was Pu‘u ‘Iwa‘iwa‘s guardian. To this day, places are named for all of these people as well.




  • Lālāmilo arose and told his wife Puakō and his mother Nē‘ula that he was going to the uplands to visit his father, sister, and the people who worked the upland plantations. Lālāmilo desired to eat the sugar cane and bananas and drink the ‘awa which grew on the hill of Po‘opo‘o. Po‘opo‘o was also the name of a makāula (seer) who saw to the continued peaceful dwelling of the people. Lālāmilo placed the lure in Kanakanaka‘s gourd and secured it near the ridge pole of his house. Lālāmilo then asked Puakō and Nē‘ula to go and look after the gourd in which the ‘ōnohi (eyeball or cherished possession) of Ha‘aluea was kept.



  • Lālāmilo then departed and traveled up towards the residences and agricultural lands of Pu‘u Hīna‘i mā. As he drew near his destination, his thoughts returned to the lure. Lālāmilo looked towards the ocean, and his desire to see the lure was very great (July 5, 1917). At the same time, Lālāmilo also had a premonition, so he returned to the shore without visiting his father and sister. During the time when Lālāmilo was gone, Ka-Miki had traveled to Lalamilo‘s land and met with a man of the area named Niīheu. Ka-Miki inquired, "Where is the chief Lalamilo‘s house?" Nīheu said, "It is there above the canoe landing." Ka-Miki then asked, "And where is the chief?" Nīheu responded by saying, "I don‘t know, perhaps he is in the house." Ka-Miki then went to Lalamilo‘s house, and peering in he saw the gourd container and he lowered it, removing the cordage. Ka-Miki then took out the lure and departed from Lālāmilo without incident.



       The narrator then breaks from this part of the traditions, and explains to readers how Puakō and ‘Anae-ho‘omalu and other places in the regions came to be named:


  • Puakō was the daughter of Wa‘awa‘a (kāne) and Anahulu (wahine), and the sister of: ‘Anaeho‘omalu (wahine); Pū‘āla‘a (kāne); and Maui-loa (kāne). Puako‘s great desire was to eat he‘e (octopus), and Pū‘āla‘a was kept continually busy acquiring he‘e for Puakō, and getting pa‘ou‘ou fish for ‘Anaeho‘omalu. When he could no longer provide sufficient numbers offish for his sisters they left Puna and set out in search of suitable husbands who could provide for their needs.



  • Because of their great love for ‘Anaeho‘omalu and Puakō, Anahulu, Wa‘awa‘a, their relatives and attendants also moved to the Kona – Kohala region and dwelt at sites which now bear their names; only Pū‘āla‘a remained in Puna. This is how Pu‘u-Huluhulu, Pu‘u-lki, and Mauiloa came to be named; and Pu‘u Anahulu (Ten day hill [ceremonial period]) was named for Anahulu, the chiefess wife of Wa‘awa‘a (Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a).



  • Arriving at Kapalaoa in the Kekaha lands of Kona, ‘Anaeho‘omalu married Nāipuakalaulani, son of the chiefess Kuaīwa of Kapalaoa. Puakō went on to Waimā where she met with natives of that area, and was introduced to the chiefess Nē‘ula, mother of Lālāmilo. When Nē‘ula learned that Puakō greatly coveted he‘e, she told Puakō that her son was the foremost lawai‘a ‘ōkilo he‘e (octopus fisherman) of the region. And because Puakō was so beautiful, Nē‘ula introduced her to Lālāmilo. Lālāmilo saw Puakō, and compared her to the foremost "he‘e" which he could catch.



  • One day after Lālāmilo and Puakō were married, Puakō went to the shore to gather fish and seaweeds. It was low tide at Waimā, and she was able to go far out upon the flats where she saw a he‘e (octopus) spread out upon the reef, which she speared and took it towards the shore. This he‘e was so heavy she could barely carry it, and Nē‘ula saw Puakō and inquired who had given it to her. Puakō told Nē‘ula how she found the octopus on the coral out cropping. Nē‘ula responded that she was native of this place and had never seen such an octopus at this area. (July 19, 1917)



  • While Puakō and Nē‘ula were talking, Lālāmilo returned from octopus fishing and saw Puako‘s octopus. Lālāmilo asked Puakō where she had gotten that octopus from and she related the events to him. Lālāmilo accused her of lying, and asked how an ocean octopus could be found on the reef. Lālāmilo then struck Puakō, thinking that she had gotten her octopus from some other man. He struck her so hard that her skin darkened, and Nē‘ula interceded saying that they should go to the place where the octopus came from. Nē‘ula told Lālāmilo that perhaps what Puakō said was true, and that they should go look upon the reef. Indeed there was an octopus upon the reef, and Lālāmilo caught it. Coming before Puakō, Lālāmilo apologized for thinking that someone else had taken the – restricted fish of the chief (implying that Puakō was restricted to Lālāmilo).



  • Lālāmilo then went to investigate why the he‘e were attracted to that site on the reef. He looked and found a small hole with something red like an ‘ōhi‘a blossom inside it. He realized that it was a beautiful leho (cowry lure) which had attracted the he‘e, indeed it was the foremost lure of all Hawaii broke the reef and took the cowry, and from that time, no more he‘e appeared on the reef. Lālāmilo took the leho to his house and cleaned the meat from it. He then fastened it with rope, making the lure, and he kept it close to him. Lālāmilo placed the lure in a container and went octopus fishing. When he got to the lūhe‘e (octopus fishing) site, Lālāmilo removed the lure from the container and secured it to his hand. At the same time, a he‘e came up and climbed upon the canoe, but when the lure was covered the he‘e stopped coming into the canoe. Lālāmilo had gotten some 120 he‘e in a short time, and he returned to show his wife and mother the results. Nē‘ula suggested that Lālāmilo take the lure and an offering of he‘e to his grandmother, the seer Pili-a-mo‘o.



  • Lālāmilo went to Pili-a-mo‘o and showed the lure to her. Pili-a-mo‘o discerned the nature of the lure and told Lālāmilo that this was not an ordinary cowry lure, but a god, the ‘ōnohi (favorite or cherished one) of Ha‘aluea, the mysterious supernatural octopus being of the ocean depths. Ha‘aluea and her family came from Kāne-hūnā-moku (The hidden land of Kāne) and settled at Makaīwa in the land of Kapa‘a, Kaua‘i. Ha‘aluea was the wife of the wind and ocean god Halulu-ko‘ako‘a, and grandmother of ‘lwa-nui-kīlou-moku (Great ‘Iwa the island catcher).



  • The shore line of Nē‘ula where the octopus lure was found was described with the saying—The shore where salt is gathered at Nē‘ula who is the Kū‘ula on which salt grains are placed by the wind Kuehulepo which scatters dust, land where the three canoe sailing winds Haehae, Nāulu, and Ho‘olua blow.



  • Pili-a-mo‘o consecrated the leho and the he‘e which it attracted. She also told Lālāmilo that the first he‘e caught must always be brought to her as an offering. Piii-a-mo‘o then told Lālāmilo that no one should be allowed to see the leho, and that anyone who sought to see it had to be killed. As the fame of the lure spread through the land, people were curious about it, and many people were killed by Lālāmilo (July 26, 1917).


       It is at this point, that the narrative returns to Ka-Miki and his successful acquiring of the lure.


  • Because of his premonition that something was amiss with the lure, Lālāmilo returned to his home from the uplands and found that the leho had indeed been stolen. Lālāmilo went empty-handed to Pili-a-mo‘o, and she ignored him, thinking he had forgotten to bring her the offering of the first caught he‘e. Lālāmilo called in a chant (mele kahea) to Pili-a-mo‘o lamenting the loss of the prized possession of Ha‘aluea —



    • Arise o Ho‘olua [Piliamo‘o, like the strong wind]
      O lashing gusts of the Kiu [northern winds] of the Nāulu [southern rain storms]
      The sea is agitated and the clouds fly by
      The waves rise to the land
      Throwing the coral pieces upon the pōhuehue growth [
      The lure] has fled [vanished], the prize of Ha‘aluea‘s eye has been removed
      I am overcome with grief
      It is I, Lālāmilo
      The offspring of Kanakanaka and my mysterious ancestress Piliamo‘o who sleeps here,


  • Thus, learning of the theft, Pili-a-mo‘o commanded that Lālāmilo seek out a black pig; a white cock; ‘awa from Po‘opo‘o — ka ‘awa kīpulu a Po‘opo‘o (the mulched ‘awa growth of Po‘opo‘o); an ‘āhuluhulu (red fish); and a red malo before the setting of the sun.



  • Lālāmilo acquired all of the items and returned to the house of Pili-a-mo‘o overlooking the shore of Kauna‘oa. Pili-a-mo‘o told Lālāmilo to release the pig and chicken, and both of them entered the canoe which Pili-a-mo‘o had prepared as the path on which Lālāmilo would travel to Kaua‘i-o-Kamāwaelualani, where he would find ‘lwa-nui-kīlou-moku at Makaīwa, Kapa‘a.



  • Pili-a-mo‘o called to Lālāmilo saying, "The gods have approved your offerings, and here is your path (canoe) to present the offerings to ‘Iwa, the mysterious rascal of the land which snares the sun, ‘Iwa the sacred ward of Halulu-ko‘ak‘oa." With the offerings set in the canoe, and the sail raised, Pili-a-mo‘o then prepared, an ‘awa ceremony.



  • The pig was at the mast, the ‘awa and fish were set on the platform, the rooster sat on the outrigger end, and the malo was placed at the stern of the canoe. After Pili-a-mo‘o and Lālāmilo drank ‘awa they slept and when half the night passed the rooster crowed. Pili-a-mo‘o arose and went out of the house where she saw the navigators‘ star high above. Pili-a-mo‘o then called to Lālāmilo, "Arise great shark of the sea, o offspring of Hulihia-ka-lani, o flippers of the turtle Kamilo-holu-o-Waiākea. Awaken for the light of the star Hīki‘i-maka-o-Unulau, the Kualau (shower bearing wind) blows and the traveler will touch Kaua‘i." Lālāmilo arose, entered the canoe and prepared to sail to Kaua‘i… (August 2, 1917)


       Lālāmilo traveled safely to Kaua‘i and befriended the youth, ‘lwa-nui-kīlou-moku, the two then returned to Kohala, where —


  • The ‘Āpa‘apa‘a wind carried them past Hā‘ena, Awalua, and Kapa‘a. ‘Iwa asked Lālāmilo, ‘What land is this which rises above?", and Lālāmilo told him it was Kohala. The ‘Apa‘apa‘a then carried them past Kawaihae of the whispering sea to the sandy shore of Kauna‘oa where they landed and went to Pili-a-mo‘o‘s house. Pili-a-mo‘o had prepared food and ‘awa, and when they had eaten, the two friends fell asleep. When they awakened, Lālāmilo and ‘Iwa swam in the ocean and then went to meet with Nē‘ula and Puakō (August 16, 1917).



  • ‘Iwa then told Lālāmilo mā, "tomorrow we will retrieve the leho from Kona, and on the following day I will return to Kaua‘i." Though Lālāmilo and Pili-a-mo‘o asked ‘Iwa to stay for a while and visit Hawai‘i, ‘Iwa told them that he had a vision that he must return to Kaua‘i quickly.



  • On the following morning, ‘Iwa awakened Lālāmilo, calling to him — E ala ua ao e, ua mālamalama , ua ‘ohi ka pili o Makali‘i, ua li‘ili‘i ka pō, ka hauli ka lani lele ka hōkū ke pi‘i nei ka ‘ula wena o ke ao ia (Arise the light shines, the Makali‘i has passed, the night lessens, the heavens recede and the stars fly as the red glow arises, it is light). ‘Iwa then said, "Let us go fetch the pride of our grandmother…"


       Lālāmilo and ‘Iwa departed from Kohala and traveled to the shore of Pālau‘eka at Hōlualoa. There, arrangements were made for the two companions to join the chief and his fishermen. At the opportune time, ‘Iwa chanted to his ancestress, and took his cowrie lure "Mulali-nui-makakai" bound with a hook and ‘ōahi stone sinker and tossed it into the sea —


  • When ‘Iwa finished his prayer, a he‘e like none other pulled at the lure and rose to the canoe. ‘Iwa killed the he‘e, Kapakapaka and Ka‘aha‘aha were astounded, and ‘Iwa then told them this is not the biggest octopus yet. He then cast his lure again, and this time the lure was held firmly in the ocean as though stuck in the coral. Pili‘s double-hulled canoe drew near, and ‘Iwa suggested that Kapakapaka mā ask Pili to use his lure at this site, so he could secure the largest octopus. Pili‘s lure was set into the water and ‘Iwa called once again to Ha‘aluea…



    • O Ha‘aluea
      Here is our lure
      Hold it tightly
      And let your tentacle
      Reach to cling to that which is above… (August 30, 1917)


  • A large he‘e rose and embraced Pili‘s canoe, this he‘e was killed and Pili set the lure into the ocean again. This time the goddess Ha‘aluea rose in her octopus form and held tight to the canoe and lure. ‘Iwa dove into the ocean and swam along Ha‘aluea‘s tentacles, he found the lure and secured it in the folds of his malo. ‘Iwa then tied the chiefs line to a coral outcropping and returned to the surface where he joined Lālāmilo. Ha‘aluea let go of Pili‘s canoe, and ‘Iwa told Lālāmilo to paddle the canoe towards Maui. In a short time, they arrived along the shore of Waimea (also called Kauna‘oa), where they were greeted by Pili-a-mo‘o.



  • Lālāmilo and ‘Iwa ate and drank ‘awa, and ‘Iwa then returned to Kaua‘i. Thus Lālāmilo reclaimed his lure (September 6, 1917). Puako‘s brother Pū‘āla‘a arrived from Puna and Lālāmilo divided the leho with him. Because the divided shells looked like portions of baked taro, the lure came to be called Kalo-kunu (broiled taro). And so told is the story of Lālāmilo and Kalokunu of Puakō in the wind, Kuehulepo… (September 13, 1917)


       While conducting oral history interviews as a part of the present study, another tradition associated with the lands of Waiki‘i was shared by members of the Ka‘apuni-Phillips family, former residents of Waiki‘i Village. It was related to the family that the menehune undertook construction of a water channel that passed through Waiki‘i. But while working, a rooster crowed, leading the menehune to believe that the sun was rising, thus they abandoned their work. The water channel bears the name ‘Auwaiakeakua (Water channel of the gods) to this day (see interview of June 29, 2002).

Ka ‘ao Ho ‘oniua Pu‘uwai No Ka-Miki
(The Heart Stirring Story of Ka-Miki)

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