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Kaihuopala'ai in Pu'uloa is the original name of West Loch, Pearl Harbor, a spawning ground for the famous 'anae-holo, the running mullet of O'ahu. According to this tradition, in October-November, shoals of mullet swam from Pu'uloa to La'ie and Malaekahana, on the opposite side of the island, stopping at Kumumanu, Kalihi, Kou (Honolulu Harbor), Kalia (Ala Wai), Waikiki, Ka'alawai (Diamond Head) and onward around Makapu'u and up the windward coast. In March-April, the mullet returned along the same route to Kaihuopala'ai.


Kaihuopala'ai is a fish goddess--the sister of Maikoha, the god who turned into the first wauke plant, used in making kapa (tree bark cloth). Kaihuku'una, their sister, married Laniloa, a land jutting into the sea at La'ie. These three deities were children of Hina'aimalama, a goddess of the undersea land of Kahikihonuakele, and Konikonia, an ali'i of an island called Kawaluna ("the space above"). "Hina'aimalama" means "Hina feeding on the moon," a name which suggests the waning moon. Hina'aimalama was said to have "turned the moon into food and the stars into fish" (Fornander, Vol. V 266). The children of Hina'aimalama and Konikonia, nature gods associated with fertility, were the sons Kane'aukai, Kanehulikoa, Kanemilohai Kane'apua, and Maikoha; and the daughters Kaihuko'a, Ihuanu, Kaihukoko, Kaihuku'una, Kaihuopala'ai. The story of Maikoha, Kaihuko'a, Kaihukoko, Kaihuku'una, Kaihuopala'ai follows: (a)

Maikoha was a very brave and fearless young man. He broke the sacred posts (na pahu kapu), the sacred towers (na 'anu'u), the sacred sticks (na pulo'ulo'u) and all the other sacred things (na mea kapu). His father, Konikonia, became very angry, but he wasn't sure who had committed these unholy acts. He pondered deeply about how to discover the guilty one. After several days, he decided on a test: he got two long poles and tied one of them on the backs of the necks of his ten children and the other under their chins; the one who did not weep would be guilty and would have to be banished. Only Maikoha didn't weep. This satisfied the father that Maikoha was guilty, so Maikoha was exiled.

Maikoha left Kawaluna and landed at Kaupo, Maui, where he made his home. Here he changed into the first wauke plant. Because Maikoha's body was very hairy the wauke plant is also very hairy.(b)

Maikoha's sisters Kaihuopala'ai, Kaihuko'a,Ihukoko, and Kaihuku'una came in search of him. They traveled to Kaupo, and found him already changed into the wauke plant; they searched for his umibilical cord (piko). First, they looked in the branches from the top to the bottom of the plant, but they were unable to find the piko; so they dug into the ground, and there they found it there, where Maikoha had hidden it. Shortly after this the sisters left Maikoha in Kaupo, and continued on to O'ahu.

On O'ahu, Kaihuopala'ai met a goodly man named Kapapaapuhi ("The eel flats"), who was living at Honouliuli, 'Ewa; she fell in love with him and they were united, so Kaihuopala'ai has remained in 'Ewa to this day. She was changed into that fish pond near Kapapaapuhi, in which 'anae (mullet) are kept and fattened.

After Kaihuopala'ai decided to stay in 'Ewa, her sisters proceeded on to Wai'anae, where Kaihuko'a decided to make her home. She was married to Ka'ena, a very handsome chief of Wai'anae. She changed into that fishing ground directly out from the Ka'ena Point, and the fish that came with her were the ulua (crevalle), the kahala (amberjack), and the mahimahi.


After Kaihuko'a decided to stay in Wai'anae, the remaining two sisters continued on to Waialua, where Ihukoko met Kawailoa. Kawailoa was single and fell in love with her; the two became husband and wife. Ihukoko remained here, and the fish that accompanied her from their home was the aholehole. (c)


After Ihukoko decided to remain in Waialua, the last sister, Kaihuku'una, continued on to La'ie where she met Laniloa, a goodly man, and they lived together as husband and wife. The fish that came with her was the 'anae (mullet) and it remains abundant there to this day. (d)

After the sisters were all married and had been living with their husbands on O'ahu for some time, Kane'aukai ("Kane, Ocean Traveler"), their oldest brother, came in search of them. His body was in the form of a piece of wood, and after he had drifted on the surface of the ocean for several days, he came ashore at Kealia in Mokule'ia, Kawaihapai, Waialua, where he was carried in and out by the tide. After a while, he changed into a human being and journeyed to Kapaeloa (just south of Waimea Bay on the North Shore of O'ahu), where two old men lived.

When Kane'aukai approached the home of the two old men, he saw them preparing an umu (underground oven), and after it was covered up, they went to the beach to fish. After they fished for some time without success Kane'aukai called out to them: "E old men, to what god do you make offerings?"

The old men replied: "We offer food to a god whose name we don't know."

Kane'aukai then said: "Here is his name. When you make an offering, say, "E Kane'aukai, Here are vegetables and fish."

The old men agreed to do this. Thus is Kane'aukai worshiped to this day. The two old men, along with others who so desired, took Kane'aukai as their fishing god. (e)

(a) The genealogy of Hina'aimalama and the story of Maikoha andKaihuopala'ai were published in Hawaiian and English in Fornander, Vol. V, 266-273. The transformation of people or gods into useful plants is a common theme in Hawaiian traditions. Taro is said to have grown from the first still born child of Wakea, the sky father, and his daughter Ho'ohokuikalani. The god Ku is said to have turned into the 'ulu, or breadfruit tree. Many of the gods have both human and plant or animal forms.

(b) The wauke plant was used for making kapa (bark cloth). Another version of the Maikoha story is found in William D. Westervelt's "Hawaiian Legends of Old Honolulu" (63-60). This version places his transformation into Wauke at Nu'uanu, O'ahu, rather than Kaupo, Maui:

At Pu'iwa, in Nu'uanu, O'ahu, by the side of the stream, a farmer named Maikoha lived with his daughters, raising whatever food they needed for themselves and for their tribute to the king and their offerings to the gods.

Years passed by and Maikoha became weak and ill. On his deathbed he called his daughters and told them: "When I die, bury my body close to the waters of our stream. A tree will grow from the grave. From the bark of this tree, you will make kapa, for clothing as well as covering when you sleep or are ill."

After his death, the daughters buried their father by the stream, and a tree grew from the grave, one they had never seen before. It was not tall and large, but threw out a number of small, spreading branches. This was the wauke (Broussonetia papyrifera). The body of their father had become the tree, a gift to them.

The daughters broke off some of the branches, stripped off the bark, and pounded and pounded until the pieces were fused together into cloth. Thus was invented kapa, "the beaten thing."

Wherever the daughters cut or broke the branches of this new tree the broken pieces took root, or, if the fragments were caught by the swift-flowing stream, they were tossed on the bank or carried and scattered over the plain. Thus wauke spread until it grew even to the sea.

Branches were carried to the other islands, and the wauke became a blessing to all the people. This tree under the name "aute," which is the same as wauke, was a blessing to many Polynesians, from Tahiti to New Zealand. In after years other trees, such as the mamaki (Pipturus Albidus), the ma'aloa and po'ulu (young breadfruit shoots), were found to have bark from which kapa could be made; but the old people said, "Wauke makes the best kapa for fine, soft clothing."

Maikoha became the chief 'aumakua, or ancestral god, of the Hawaiian kapa-makers, and has been worshipped for generations. When they planted the wauke branches, or shoots, prayers and incantations and sacrifices were offered to Maikoha. Before branches were cut and placed in bundles to be carried to a field set apart for kapa-making, the favor of Maikoha was again sought.

One of the daughters of Maikoha, whose name was Lauhuiki, became the 'aumakua of all those who pounded the prepared bark, for to her was given the power of finding kapa in the bark of the wauke, and she had the power to teach how to pound the bark as well as of to bless the labor of those who worshipped her.

The other daughter, La'ahana, was also worshipped as an 'aumakua by those who used specially marked clubs while beating the bark to impress patterns or marked lines into the finished product. She had learned how to scratch the clubs with sharks' teeth so that markings would be left in the pounded sheets. She was also able to teach those who worshipped her to mark figures or patterns on the pounded kapa.

Thus Maikoha and his daughters became the chief gods of the kapa-makers.

(c) Pili'ama was a fisherman "who surfs to the mouth of the stream of Ihukoko, who catches aku fish at Kapahu and Kapapaiki," was the konohiki (overseer) of Ihukoko. When Hi'iaka, Pele's sister, asked him at Pupukea what kind of fish he was catching, he replied kala (unicorn fish), moi (threadfish), 'o'io (bonefish), aholehole (flagtail), uhu (parrot fish), 'opelu (mackerel scad), manini (striped tang), hinane [hinana? young 'o'opu or gobey fish], and crabs. When she asked him for fish, he ran away and hid (Sterling and Summers 144).

(d) Laniloa is said to be a mo'o god, slain by the hero Kana (Sterling and Summers 158). Kaihuku'una is a palce on the Hau'ula side of Laniloa Point. There used to be a fishing shrine there, where mullet was offered (Sterling and Summers 159).

(e) A longer version of the story of Kane'aukai is included under "Stories of Waialua." A fishing shrine to Kane'aukai was located at Keahuohapu'u, the bluff on the south side of Waimea Bay. It consisted of a stone and later the log which embodied the god. The fish attracted to the bay by this shrine included the 'anaeholo (mullet) and the kala (unicorn fish), abundant from April to July. More traditions concerning this fishing shrine can be found in Sterling and Summers, Sites of O'ahu.


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