Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hāpuʻu and Kalaʻihauola

Hiʻiaka, looking towards the uplands, where she saw Hāpuʻu and Kalaʻihauola – “I do not want you to say I did not acknowledge you, so here are the chanted regards from the traveler.” Then Hiʻiaka offered up this kanaenae (chant of praise.)

O Hāpuʻu and Kalaʻihauola
O women who dwell on the Koʻolau range
Residing upon the pathway
I offer this chant for those who pass that way.

Hāpuʻu and Kalaʻihauola were supernatural grandmothers of Piʻikea, wife of ʻUmi-a-Līloa.  They wanted to have a grandchild to take back to Oʻahu to raise, because the mother of Piʻikea, Laieloheloheikawai, belonged to Oʻahu. (Laieloheloheikawai sent Hāpuʻu and Kalaʻihauola to the Island of Hawaiʻi to bring back one of Piʻikea’s children.)  ʻUmi refused.

Then, people in the village started to die at night; the supernatural personages of Hāpuʻu and Kalaʻihauola murdered the people … this continued every night, the people dying without cause.

Piʻikea then said to ʻUmi-a-Līloa: “There is no other cause of death. My grandmothers, Hāpuʻu and Kalaihauola, did the killing. They were sent by my mother to bring one of our children, but you have withheld it, and that is why the people are murdered.”

Then, when Hāpuʻu and Kalaihauola were at the house with Piʻikea, the latter being pregnant with child, the old women slapped on Piʻikea’s knees and the child was delivered in front of one of the old women.

The child being a girl, it was taken away by the deities and lived in Oahu. Thus the child Kahaiaonui-a-Piʻikea, or Kahaiaonui-a-ʻUmi, became the adopted of Laielohelohekawai.  (Fornander)

“Within a few yards of the upper edge of the pass, under the shade of surrounding bushes and trees, two rude and shapeless stone idols are fixed, one on each side of the path, which the natives call ‘Akua no ka pali,’ gods of the precipice”.

“They are usually covered with pieces of white tapa, native cloth; and every native who passes by to the precipice, if he intends to descend, lays a green bough before these idols, encircles them with a garland of flowers, or wraps a piece of tapa round them, to render them propitious to his descent”.

“All who ascend from the opposite side make a similar acknowledgment for the supposed protection of the deities, whom they imagine to preside over the fearful pass. This practice appears universal for in our travels among the islands, we have seldom passed any steep or dangerous paths, at the commencement or termination of which we have not seen these images, with heaps of offerings lying before them.”  (Ellis, 1834)

“At the bottom of the Parre … offerings of flowers and fruit are laid to propitiate the Akua Wahini, or goddesses, who are supposed to have the power of granting a safe passage.” (Bloxam, 1826)

“… the old people said that their ancestors had been accustomed to bring the navel cords of their children and bury them under these stones to insure protection of the little ones from evil, and that these were the stone women …”  (Westerfelt)

The two stones, believed to embody two kupua goddesses, Hāpuʻu and Kalaʻihauola, on each side of Kalihi Stream, are also associated with the ‘E‘epa (small folks related to the Menehune,) that would cause rain if the proper offerings were not left near these stone.

“They (Hāpuʻu and Kalaʻihauola) were said to be mysterious people from this side of the valley of Nuʻuanu. They left Nuʻuanu with others of their kind because there was a war in Nuʻuanu and some fled.  Some settled in the uplands of Kalihi.”  (Joseph Poepoe; Cultural Surveys)

Mary Kawena Pukui states that the latter should be pronounced “Kala‘iola,” because of the word ola (‘life’) reflects that those who placed navel cords here were seeking life for their babies.   (pacificworlds)

The stones stood in an area of pools of spring water. One pool was icy cold, others warm, Hawaiian mothers brought their newborn babes to the spot and bathed them in the warm spring.  (Clarice Taylor, Honolulu Star Bulletin, August 18, 1954)

Travelers to the area placed lei and flowers upon the stones, at the same time asking the ʻEʻepa not to play tricks on them.  A favorite lei offering was made of the sweet smelling pala palai fern.

The pools marked the spot where the great god Kane struck the earth and brought forth water. It is called Ka puka wai o Kalihi, the water door of Kalihi.

The two famous stones were destroyed by bulldozers in October 1953 when the men first cleared the area for the approach road for the Wilson Tunnel.

“Their destruction was probably the cause of the drought which gripped this Island during the Fall months and the heavy rains which have been falling this summer (1954) and caused the Wilson Tunnel cave-in, the Hawaiians say.”  (Clarice Taylor, SB, August 18, 1954)

The image shows general former locations of Hāpuʻu and Kalaʻihauola (prezi.)  In addition, I have included other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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