Hawaiian Myths and Legends

Hawaiian Myths and Legends

The ancient Hawaiians, like most indigenous cultures, felt a deep connection with nature and explained the natural phenomenon around them with Hawaiian myths and legends that live on today. From the creation of the Earth, to the lava flowing from the volcanoes, and the flowers that you’ll see along some Oahu hikes, there is a story to explain just about everything. There are supposedly over 4,000 Hawaiian legends, but we’ll just highlight a few here!


Pele, Volcano Goddess

Probably one of the most famous dieties in Hawaiian culture is Pele, the goddess of the volcano. The story of her legend is long, but her volcano powers came to be known during a bad break-up with lover, Kamapua’a. When he came looking for her after she hid in the tunnels and caverns of Kilauea, legend has it that he called and called out to her. Then in answer to him, the earth shook, and Kamapua’a looked up the slope to see hot, molten lava slithering towards him. Although he escaped to the ocean, the bushes, trees, and local neighborhoods were set ablaze. According to local legends, to really get on Pele’s good side, you have to visit her at the Halemaʻumaʻu crater and give offerings of food, flowers, and her favorite alcohol gin.


Now you probably won’t see any of these little guys on your Hawaii vacation, but never say never! These small, dwarf-like people, who have lived in the forests and hidden valleys of Hawaii since before the Polynesian settlers, hide from humans. Legends of the menehune say that they were excellent craftsmen, completing astounding engineering feats like building the the Menehune Fish Pond on Kauai. They’re also, according to Hawaiian legends, said to have constructed an aqueduct called the Menehune Ditch, which i