Storied Places

By learning place names and their traditions, even if only fragmented accounts remain, one begins to see a rich cultural landscape unfold on the lands of Honouliuli Ahupua‘a. There are a number of place names that have survived the passing of time. The occurrence of place names demonstrates the broad relationship of the natural landscape to the culture and practices of the Hawaiian people. Through place names, many wahi pana (storied and sacred places) are found to exist, and for Hawaiians today, those wahi pana remain important.

In ancient times, named localities served a variety of functions, telling people about (i) places where the gods walked the earth and changed the lives of people for good or worse; (ii) heiau or other features of ceremonial importance; (iii) triangulation points such as ko‘a (ceremonial markers) for fishing grounds and fishing sites; (iv) residences and burial sites; (v) areas of planting; (vi) water sources; (vii) trails and trailside resting places (o‘io‘ina), such as a rock shelter or tree-shaded spot; (viii) the sources of particular natural resources/resource collection areas, or any number of other features; or (ix) notable events which occurred at a given area. Through place names, knowledge of the past and places of significance were handed down across countless generations.

A Lamentation Citing Noted Places of Honouliuli and the ‘Ewa District

With the advent of writing and the publishing of native-language newspapers in the islands, the Hawaiian people began sharing their grief at the loss of loved ones with others across the islands. These kanikau and uwē helu (lamentations, dirges, and wailing), such as the kanikau of Aupuni, describe the cultural attachment that people of old shared with their environment, and are significant sources of cultural knowledge.

Ka‘uluakāha‘i (The Breadfruit Tree of Kāha‘i) at Kuālaka‘i

As cited in the tradition of Nāmakaokapāo‘o, Ka‘uluakāha‘i was the true father of Nāmakaokapāo‘o. In Fornander’s account, following his victory over the king of O‘ahu, Nāmakaokapāo‘o traveled to Kuālaka‘i where a supernatural breadfruit tree grew in a sinkhole-cave, and where royal gifts left to him were hidden by his father. Retrieving the items from Kuālaka‘i, Nāmakaokapāo‘o then traveled to Hawai‘i:

Tradition of Nāmakaokapāo‘o (Eyes of the goby fish)

There are several traditions pertaining to a youth by the name of Nāmakaokapāo‘o that have been published in the Hawaiian-language newspapers, with lengthy accounts in print between 1894 and 1917. The earliest reference identified while preparing this study was published in a short rebuttal by a native of Honouliuli to another writer in the Hawaiian newspaper Ka Lahui Hawaii. While the February 17, 1877 account is a short one, it references the sweet potato fields of Nāmakaokapāo‘o, observing that Nāmakaokapāo‘o is the skilled fighter of the cliffs of Līhu‘e.

A Hawaiian Tradition of Keliikau o Kau

Keli‘ikau-o-Ka‘ū was a shark god who traveled to Pu‘uloa, ‘Ewa from the island of Hawai‘i. The tradition, entitled “He Moolelo Kaao Hawaii no Keliikau o Kau,” appears only in the short-run Hawaiian-language newspaper Home Rula Repubalika and is incomplete. The narratives are also different in relationship to the events and their outcome, than those found in more widely reported narratives. There is no specific reference to the source of the account, and only two articles in the series are available.

A Hawaiian Tradition of Laukaieie

Hawaiian historian Moses (Mose) Manu penned several lengthy traditions for the native newspaper Nupepa Ka Oiaio in which he included detailed accounts of a wide range of practices, including those associated with fisheries and deified guardians of the ocean and freshwater fisheries. This account, “He Moolelo Kaao Hawaii no Laukaieie…,” was published between January 5, 1894 and September 13, 1895.