Tradition ascribes to Paao the introduction of human sacrifice into the temple ritual, the walled heiau, and the red-feather girdle as a sign of rank; all typical, says Handy, of late Tahitian culture and not found in Samoa. Other institutions ascribed to him are the pulo‘ulo‘u tapu sign, the prostrating tapu (tapu moe or -o), and the feather god Kaili; some would call Paao rather than La‘a-mai-kahiki the introducer of image worship. Most of these things characterize the Ra‘iatea ritual. That Paao took his ideas from Tahiti is further indicated by reference to “Vavau” and “Upolo” as places where he owned land, probably old districts so named in northern Tahiti in the Aha-roa division of that island, and the name Aha-ula (later called Waha-ula) for the first heiau erected by his party on Hawaii suggests such a connection. Paao is said to have brought the puhala (pandanus) to Kohala. He brought soil from the hills and planted trees about the heiau, still standing, of Wahaula, some of which seem to have survived to Fornander’s day. Stones near the heiau of Mo‘okini are pointed out today as “Paao’s canoe,” his “paddles” and “fishhook,” and the fields he cultivated are called “the weeds of Paao” (na maau o Paao) and left untouched for fear of storm. To him are ascribed those severities of religious observance which built up the power of chief and priest during this later period of migration from the south. The land was revolutionized and all the old kahunas were put to death during Paao’s time, says Kepelino.
(a) Emerson version. The priest Paao and his older brother Lono-pele have a bitter quarrel. Lono-pele accuses Paao’s son of stealing tapu food and Paao insists on cutting open his son’s stomach to prove the accusation false. He broods over his son’s death and builds a double canoe to leave for other lands. Lono-pele’s son drums upon the canoes with his fingers while they are under tapu and Paao has him slain for a sacrifice for the canoes and buried beneath them, where the buzzing of flies reveals to the father the child’s dead body.
Paao acts as priest for the voyage, Makaalawa as navigator and astronomer, Halau as sailing master, Pu-oleole as trumpeter; and there are forty paddlers, besides stewards and awa chewers. Na-mauu-o-Malawa (The grasses of Malawa), sister of Paao, accompanies the party. Kanaloa-nui the canoe is called (Or Ka-nalo-a-muia, The buzzing of flies). They pass under the Kaakoheo bluff and the prophet Makuakaumana asks to be taken aboard. Paao says all the places are full except the projection of the stern. Makuakaumana leaps and gains this position (but this incident probably belongs to the return trip to Tahiti).
Lono-pele sends as storm winds Kona-ku, Kona-nui-a-niho, Moae, Kona-heapuku, Kiki-ao, Lele-ula, Lele-kuilua, followed by a north wind, Ho‘olua, and a monster bird, the Iwa, called Ke-kaha-ka-iwa-i-na-pali. Paao invokes Lono and first a school of aku fish, then one of opelu come to quiet the waves. These fish have ever since been sacred to the Paao family.
Paao lands first in Puna on Hawaii, where he builds the heiau at Pulama [now called Waha-ula (Red mouth) but formerly Aha-ula]. He goes on to Kohala and erects the famous heiau of Mo‘okini at Pu‘uepa, the stones for which are passed from hand to hand a distance of nine miles from the seacoast.
(b) Kamakau version. Upon Paao’s prayer to the god of ocean (Kanaka-o-kai, says Green), the aku and opelu fish “leaped up and skipped in the waters and quieted the waves.” At the time of the prophet’s leap, several other “gods” attempted the feat and were dashed to death. His success is heralded in a chant:”You are like the flying fishSkimming easily through the sky,Traversing the dark waters of ocean,O Halulu at the foundation house of heaven,Kane, Makua-kau-mana,The prophet who made the circuit of the island,Who circled the pillars of Kahiki.”(Paao brings with him several mo‘o kupua from Kahiki, all worshiped as sacred stones on Oahu today. These are Makapu‘u, Ihiihi-lau-akea, and Malei. Makua-kau-mana returns to Kahiki but Paao remains on Hawaii and his bones rest in the cave of Pu‘uwepa in Kohala. An early school composition makes Paao brother to Pele.) (p370-373)
Around 1250 A.D., a priest named Pa’ao came on a visit from Tahiti.
We knew Tahitians for there were many Tahitians who had come here to live. Any family who wished to come and live on these shores was welcomed and they were helped to establish themselves. They usually adapted to our way of life quickly and there was harmony among the families. All these people were considered to be Hawaiian. Where they came from was of no importance. The heart (kana’au) [my note. ka na’au actually means gut or liver not heart which makes perfect sense for Native speakers since the na’au was believed to be the seat of consciousness, emotions and culture not the heart but makes no since to an English speaker] was what we saw and heard. Pa’ao was noticed for many reasons. He came wearing white. The color was not used by us for it represented the absence of life. The men who came with him wore the Tahitian red malo (clothing) with which we were familiar. Pa’ao visited every island asking questions, always asking questions. People wanted to be helpful and so told him of harbors and tides, fertile valleys and all the things he asked about. No one thought much about it he’d ask questions, the people tried to answer. Then suddenly he was gone. The people questioned each other about him. He made many feel an unease that they were not used to. They called him the man who wore death, because of his undyed kapa. Several years later, we learned that Pa’ao did indeed wear death for he returned bringing devastation to our land.
To us, they were invaders. Pa’ao had gone back to Tahiti and gathered thousands of people to come to Hawai’i and take over the land. The men were tall fierce warriors. They did not believe in the force of light, only in the force of the closed fist, in mighty armies that killed, took and plundered. (21-23)
When the high-priest Paao arrived with Pili he introduced some new gods while recognizing the old, strengthened and enlarged the scope of the tabu, and established an hereditary priesthood independent of, and second only in authority to, the supreme political head. Different grades of priests also came into existence, such as seer, prophets, astrologers and kahuna of various function,including the power of healing and destroying. In fact, the priesthood embraced ten distinct grades or colleges, each possessing and exercising powers peculiar to it, and mastery of all of them was one of the qualifications of the high priesthood. The tutelar deity of the entire body was Uli. The form of the heiau, or temple, was changed by Paao and his successors, and the masses mingled less freely in the ceremonies of sacrifice and other forms of worship. The high priesthood became more mysterious and exclusive, and assumed prerogatives above the reach of royalty. (p38)
|Temple of Kamehameha I in the Kona District at Kamakahonu. Courtesy, Hawaii State Archives, Honolulu.|
|Tournament during the Makahiki|
The Lono order of priests in the days of Kamehameha set up heiaus to pray for rain, abundant crops, or escape from sickness and trouble. A prayer to Lono, recorded in the Fornander collection under Thrum, shows how, after the coming of Kane and Kanaloa and the establishment of the ancestral line through Kumuhonua and Lalohonua and its spread over the island through Wakea and Papa, from whom were born the chiefs, there came Lono also from the ancestral birth-place, to whom were offered the redfish, the black coconut, the whitefish, and the growing awa; to Kane and Kanaloa were made sacred the red fowl, the pig, and awa: ‘Ku, Kane, and Kanaloa are supreme in Kahiki.’ The coming of Lono is heralded by cloud signs in the heavens and finally:
Lono and Keakea-lani,Living together, fructifying the earth,Observing the tapu of women,Clouds bow down over the sea,The earthquake soundsWithin the earth,Tumbling down thereBelow Malama.
According to Kupihea the great gods came at different times to Hawaii. Ku and Hina, male and female, were the earliest gods of his people. Kane and Kanaloa came to Hawaii about the time of Maui. Lono seems to have come last and his role to have been principally confined to the celebration of games. At one time he was driven out, according to Kupihea, but he returned later. Kane, although still thought of as the great god of the Hawaiian people, is no longer worshiped, but Ku and Hina are still prayed to by fishermen, and perhaps Kanaloa–Kupihea repeating to me softly the prayer with which he himself invoked the god of fishes.
Of the coming of the gods he had explicit evidence to offer: “Ku and Hina were the first gods of our people. They were the gods who ruled the ancient people before Kane. On [the island of] Lanai was the gods’ landing, at the place called Ku-moku. That is the tradition of our people. Kane and Kanaloa [arrived there], but not Lono. Some claim that Lono came to Maui. It is said that at the time Kamehameha quartered his men at Kaunakakai on Molokai before the invasion of Oahu, he went to Lanai to celebrate the Makahiki [New Year] festival and on that occasion he said, ‘We come to commemorate the spot where our ancestors first set foot on Hawaiian soil.’ So it seems as if it must be true that the first gods who ruled our people came to Lanai.” (p11)
So Pa’ao most likely brought with him various clan legends about Kāne, Kanaloa, Wākea, Papa and a modified version of Kū in order to underpin not just the authority of the ali’i but to re-enforce that Hawai’i was as a Mo’ikeha chant puts it:
Eia Hawai‘i, he motu, he tanata
He kanaka Hawai‘i, e –He kanaka Hawai‘i
He tama na Tahiti
He pua ali‘i mai Tapa‘ahu
Mai Moa‘ulanuiakea Kanaloa
He mo‘opuna na Kahiko, laua o Kapulanakehau
Na Papa i hanau…..
|The Makahiki Festival in Waimanalo|