Counter Arts
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Counter Arts

The Moʻolelo of Kaululaʻau: A Native Hawaiian Story

A tale about the son of Maui chief and chiefess, Kakaʻalaneo and Kelekeleiokaula.

Photo by Flavio Gasperini on Unsplash

After becoming a citizen, he married Piano Alanakapu, a Maui chiefess, and eventually became a major figure in early Hawaiian print culture. Throughout his life, Fornander was considered one of the foreigners who valued and respected Hawaiian culture. He wrote the “Story of Kaululaʻau” in Hawaiian and Thomas G. Thrum translated it into English. Thomas G. Thrum, who immigrated to Hawaii as a child, worked in the Kauaʻi sugar industry, became a publisher, and did extensive archaeological work regarding heiau throughout Hawaii.

In Fornander’s “Story of Kaululaʻau,” its namesake, who is the son of the King of Maui, is forcibly exiled to Lānaʻi because of his trickery and mischievous behavior. In the ahupuaʻa of Lele, Kaululaʻau and his friends were known to uproot all of the ʻulu trees, which would negatively affect the agricultural productivity of the makaʻainana. In an attempt to stop this naughty behavior he sent all of Kaululaʻau’s companions back home, leaving his son alone.

Photo by Studio Kealaula on Unsplash

Unfortunately, his wrongdoings didn’t stop, causing Kakaakaneo to banish him to Lānaʻi, the island of man-eating spirits. This moʻolelo later explains that Kaululaau outsmarted the dangerous spirits by sleeping in a hidden cave, which prevented the spirits to eat him. As a result, the overworked spirits starved to death, which allowed Lānaʻi to be inhabited and was then considered safe for the makaʻainana.

Please follow me, Mackenzie Plunkett, for more articles about all things kanaka maoli! Mahalo nui!

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Mackenzie Plunkett

A Young Native Hawaiian Woman Passionate About Indigenous Sovereignty & Life In Hawaiʻi Nei