Where the "First Hawaiian" Was Born

I was asked a question about where the “first Hawaiian” was born according to the Papahānaumoku, Wākea and Hoʻohōkūlani epic.

The answer is:

At a place called Moʻo-kapu-o-Hāloa which is the main ridge of Kāne-hoa-lani at Kua-loa, Oʻahu. This can be looked up in Abraham Fornander, Martha Beckwith and even in “Place Names of Hawaiʻi” by the eminent Mary Kawena Pukui.

From the first part of the place name, Moʻo-kapu, we derive two translations.
Moʻo can mean lizard or supernatural dragon or in succession. Kapu means sacred.
The moʻo has long been one of the ancient guardians of Kama-lala-walu line of chiefs. Papahānaumoku, the earth mother, was of that line and thus all chiefs all derive from that line through her and her daughter, Hoʻohōkūlani. It is interesting to note the ties between royalty, lizards (moʻo or nagas), and dragons is something that is not just found among Hawaiians but among the our cousins throughout SE Asia and the Pacific but as well as throughout East Asia. There are also stories about kupua moʻo, dragon or lizard women, who would act as midwives to chiefly babies. It is said that one such powerful moʻo wahine was a midwife to Hoʻohōkūlani when she gave birth to Hāloanaka (which was the son that became the kalo plant) and Hāloa (which became the ancestor of the Hawaiian people).
Moʻo can also mean in succession. Moʻo aliʻi means succession of chiefs. Moʻolelo means a succession of stories. Moʻo kapu could therefore mean in succession of sacredness. Sacred lizard or the succession of sacred ones would all therefore make sense as a translation.
Therefore, next time one goes to Kualoa and sees that high Ridge, one can nod in acknowledgement that is where the “first Hawaiian” was born. That is where Wākea lived with Hoʻohōkūlani at one time. That is where the lines of chiefs and of the lehulehu had sprung down to the earth.

Hinaikamālama and Kaʻōnohiokalā

I had a conversation with someone and I brought up this saying “Ka-lā-i-ke-kilipue-ʻo-Hina” or the sun in the embrace of Hina. I forgot that some may not know some of these stories so I thought I would share this one.

There are several Hawaiian stories about the sun. One is that the sun is the kite of Māui . Another is that the sun is a person chasing the moon around the world. One of the most poetic stories I ever heard from a kūpuna from Waiʻanae was about Hinaikamālama or Hina in the Moon.

Kaʻōnohiokalā–lit the eye of the sun–was said to be the child of Hina, the mother of Māui and the personification of eternal sacred female. Everyday, Hina would give birth to Kaʻōnohiokalā and as the day went by, Kaʻōnohiokalā would age until the child was no longer a child but an elder. Kaʻōnohiokalā would then seek to return to the bosom of his/her mother. Hina would slowly appear to embrace Kaʻōnohiokalā tenderly (hence the term kilipue which means to ardently embrace) until Kaʻōnohiokalā would disappear in Hinaʻs arms only to be reborn the next day.
Symbolically, this story was told to me that women are so tough that they can embrace the sun. It is also a reminder of our own fragile mortality and not to forget oneʻs parents for when one is young, one sometimes seeks to push them aside and take them for granted but as one grows older, one realizes how important they were in oneʻs life.

Māui and Hina

Māui is a consider a trickster hero throughout Polynesia. In Hawaiian legends, the first solar eclipse was said to have been caused by Māui slowing the sun so that his mother, Hina, could finish her kapa. Māui, out of his devotion as a son, literally moved the heavens in order that Hina may finish her kapa. Kapa or tapa cloth in Polynesia is a high value object, something that is a work of art and something that is passed on from generation to generation. Feather work, kapa, lauhala, wood work, tattooing and shell work are the six major forms of traditional Hawaiian art. But kapa was a kapu art; an art that could only be produced by females because of itʻs ancient association with Hina.

In Hawaiʻi, Hina is both an ancestor figure and an eternal figure. According to Molokaʻi tradition, Kū and Hina were the only two venerated akua (gods) before the coming of Paʻao and Lono. Indeed, the name Hina is very ancient and is found in some form in Austronesian languages as Hina, Ina, Sina, Tina, Hine, etc. Ina for example in Tagalog means mother. In the Marquesas, Hina becomes Hine and is believed to be one the root for the Hawaiian word, wahine. Consistently, the term refers to the idea of a mother and female figure throughout the Pacific or as James Campbell might say a prototype of the Feminine Divine in Pacific mythology.

In the old Hawaiian religion, Ka Wahine Manawakolu, the Eternal Woman or Eternal Female, refers to Hina and her various 40,000 forms such as Hinaikapō (Hina of the Night), Hinaokekapaloa (Hina of the Long Kapa), Hinakīnaʻu (The Red Streaked Hina), Hinaikekapu (Hina of the Sacredness), Hinaikamālama (Hina in the Moon), Hinaikeahi (Hina in the Fire), Hinakekā (Hina the Canoe Bailer), Hinanuiakalana(ola) (Great Hina the Life Giver, the Mother of Molokaʻi). etc. Chiefs often carried sacred names of deities thereby invoking the akua through the name. So some of the Hina legends may have been actual female chiefs that were the namesake of the Eternal Woman. In some Hawaiian traditions, Pāpā and Haumea are both forms of Hina while in other traditions, Papa and Haumea and daughters of Hina. There is another form of Hina that also brings to mind the solar eclipse. While Kū, her male partner, represents political order, law and order, and conquest, there is a form of Hina called Hinakekeʻehi (Hina the Rebel), the woman that stamps and pushes the political order or some might say Hina the activist or Hina the free thinker.