Gods and Godesses of Hawai`i

     
 
Hawaii's ancient beliefs contained gods and goddesses revered throughout all the Islands, as well as many locally important gods. To Westerners it seemed that the ancient Hawaiian gods were a mix of Christian and ancient Roman and Greek gods, though by the time Missionaries arrived in the Islands from New England in the USA, Hawaii's royal rulers had officially cast the ancient Hawaiian religious system aside.

For centuries the belief system in Hawaii was enforced by priests (kahunas) and the notion of chief and priest privilege called "kapu," which simply meant "do this or die," ruled secular and religious life in Hawaii. But in 1819 Prince Lilolilo, who had just been crowed Kamehameha II, broke the kapu by dining in public with his mother and other women of the royal court.

All kapu were abolished, but they also destroyed Hawaii's temples (heiau), relics and artifacts because kapu had been so inextricably intertwined with the Islands temples, priests and beliefs. The burning of the temples was urged by the high priest to Hawaii's royal family.

However Hawaii's rich cultural heritage is still alive in the Islands, binding oral tradition, archeological science, history and the ecology of the Islands, and there are many historic sites around the Islands that can help visitors and natives better understand the history and the legacy of the ancient Hawaiians.

And though all this talk of ancient gods may seem like ancient history, visitors to the volcanoes continually hear about tourists mailing back volcanic rocks and artifacts, originally taken as souvenirs from Kilauea, in order to appease Pele and end their streak of bad luck. Despite everything, the gods live on within their people.

Here's a list to help introduce you to Hawaii's ancient deities, along with a set of Web site links covering Hawaii's rich culture.

Major Deities
     
K
āne the creator
     Kū
the architect and maker of war
     Lono
God of peace and prosperity, wind and rain
     Kanaloa
God of the ocean.

Pele - Goddess of the Volcano
     Pele had five brothers and eight sisters who did her bidding, among them:

          Kamooalii
King Moho, the God of steam
          Keuakepo
God of rain of fire
          Hiiakawawahilani
the cloud holder
          Keoahikamakaua
the child of war.

Gods in the Realm of Death (Po)
     Akea
first Hawaiian king who founded a kingdom in the afterlife
     Milu
suceeded Akea
     Manua
supreme soverign of Po, the spirits of chiefs and priests live within him

Celestial Dieties
     Kaonohiokala
dead chiefs are brought to him in the eyeball of the sun
     Kuahairo
Kaonohiokala's messenger
     Olopue
a God on Maui who brought the dead chiefs to Kaonohiokala

Gods and Goddesses of the Natural World
     Laamaomao
God of winds, lives on Molokai
     Hinakuluiau
Goddess of rain
     Mooaleo
a gnome who lives on Lanai
     Kuula
God of fishermen - his wife is Hina
     Ukanipo
the shark God of Hawaii
     Moaalii
the shark God of Molokai and Oahu
     Apukohai
shark God of Kauai
     Haulili
God of speech
     Koleamoku
God of the art of healing - patron of the kahunas
     Lakakane
God of the hula
     Mokualii
God of canoe makers
     Ulaulekeahi
God of distillers

Gods and Goddesses of Arts and Professions
     Kalaipahoa
Goddess who harms trees
     Kuahana
God who kills men
     Lie
Goddess of the mountains
     Kiha
a Goddess of Maui
     Uli
God of sorcerers
     Hiaka
a mountain God on Kauai
     Ouli
God who could kill people if prayed to
     Mahulu
names of Gods in Lono's temples
     Puea
a God worshipped in darkness
     Kaluannuunohonionio
a God of a temple's sacrificial house

Source:  http://www.royalelephant.com/hawaii/local/hawaiiangods.htm

 
     
     
 

Back to Mo`olelo (myths/stories)

 
             
             
   
  History  Atlas  Culture Language Links  

donch.com home     photos     ukulele     lucky u live hawai'i