Hawaiian Traditions - Moolelo

Hawaiian moolelo, or traditions express the attachment felt between the Hawaiian people and the earth around them. In Hawaiian culture, natural and cultural resources are one and the same. Native traditions describe the formation (literally the birth) of the Hawaiian Islands and the presence of life on and around them, in the context of genealogical accounts.

Hoku o Hawaii

Portion of Hawaiian Language Newspaper "Ka Hoku o Hawaii" issue date July 10, 1928; including Moolelo no Makalei a me Hiiaka-i-ka-poli-o-Pele

All forms of the natural environment, from the skies and mountain peaks, to the watered valleys and plains, and to the shore line and ocean depths were the embodiments of Hawaiian gods and deities. One Hawaiian genealogical account, records that Wakea (the expanse of the sky) and Papa-hanau-moku (Papa--Earth--mother who gave birth to the islands)--was also called Haumea-nui-hanau-wa-wa (Great Haumea--Woman-earth born time and time again)--and various gods and creative forces of nature, gave birth to the islands. Hawaii, the largest of the islands, was the first born of these island children. As the Hawaiian genealogical account continues, we find that these same god-beings, or creative forces of nature who gave birth to the islands, were also the parents of the first man (Haloa), and from this ancestor, all Hawaiian people are descended (cf. David Malo 1951:3; Beckwith 1970; Pukui and Korn 1973).