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Moʻolelo Monday

Moʻolelo Monday

On the first Monday of the month a traditional or modern moʻolelo depicting the culture, values, language or traditions of Hawaiʻi, will be shared through a virtual platform. These mo‘olelo promote literacy within the classroom and home, and encourage ʻohana to read and learn together. Moʻolelo are shared by staff and guest storytellers.


In the 1820’s, Kauikeaouli, Kamehameha III was the catalyst for the rise of literacy in Hawaiʻi. He stated, “ ʻO Koʻu Aupuni, he Aupuni palapala koʻu.  My kingdom shall be a kingdom of literacy”. Within our moʻokalaleo, we share a literacy component that extends our moʻolelo journey. 

Kāne and Kanaloa

In the beginning, the akua Kāne and Kanaloa came to Hawaiʻi from Kahiki. Moʻolelo passed down from our ancestors tell us that Kāne is the god of creation, including fresh water. Kanaloa is the god of the deep ocean. The two bring harmony to nature allowing all to exist together. One valuable gift that Kāne and Kanaloa give us is wai.
Kāne and Kanaloa balance each other although they argue constantly. Kāne is gruff and impatient, so the water that he releases from the earth rumbles and roars. Large streams and rivers are his creations. Kanaloa has an easy-going manner. He is responsible for still waters, such as springs and pools, as well as fresh water which flows underground. The water these gods provide feeds the ʻāina, the ahupuaʻa, and all within it.
One day Kāne and Kanaloa searched the Hawaiian Islands for the ʻawa plant. When they arrived on Maui, they landed at Hāmākua-loa. The akua traveled into the mountains behind Ke-ʻanae, for they heard that the ʻawa there was delicious. When Kāne and Kanaloa arrived, there was no ʻawa because the water that fed it had dried up. Could wai even be found here? Kāne challenged Kanaloa to locate some wai.
Directed by Kanaloa, Kāne raised his mighty ʻōʻō and brought it down into solid rock. From that spot, water gushed forth into the valley, giving it life. The akua celebrated together with a drink made from the root of ʻawa mixed with the sweet water they had brought to this ʻāina.
Over time, the aliʻi of Maui noticed ʻawa was growing abundantly, and began using it for ritual ceremonies. The makaʻāinana also observed this and started enjoying the ʻawa drink.Too much time was spent drinking. The people no longer cared for the land. Soon, the valley and the village became barren. The kāhuna and aliʻi did not know what to do. The water the akua Kāne and Kanaloa blessed them with was drying up. They prayed to the akua for help. After many heated arguments, the akua settled on an answer. The aliʻi were to immediately place a kapu on the ‘awa root, restricting its use only for themselves and the kāhuna for ceremony.
Time passed and the ʻāina flourished again. Kāne and Kanaloa were pleased and searched for ʻawa on other islands. These akua brought sweet waters flowing at many places including Wai-kāne on Lānaʻi and Puna-kou on Molokaʻi. What can we learn from this moʻolelo? When people pay proper respect to the kapu and akua, the land prospers from the waters of life.

He ui, he nīnau–

E ui aku ana au ʻiā ʻoe

Aia i hea ka wai a Kāne?

Aia i ka hikina a ka lā

Puka i Haʻehaʻe,

Aia i laila ka wai a Kāne.

Lelekamanu Program
April 2021

A query, a question–

I put to you,

Where is the water of Kāne?

At the Eastern Gate

Where the sun comes in at Haʻehaʻe,

There is the water of Kāne.

Moʻo ʻŌlelo

Weekly, a Mo‘o ‘Ōlelo, a succession of Hawaiian words or phrases will be shared.  The mana‘o behind each word or phrase relates to the mo‘olelo being presented.  This component will enhance cultural awareness and knowledge through Hawaiian language.

Aia ʻelua kau ma Hawaiʻi — Kau wela a me Hoʻoilo.

There are two seasons in Hawaiʻi — Summer and Winter. Kane and Kanaloa are associated with the changing of the seasons and are represented by the Solstices: Ke Ala Polohiwa a Kāne: the Black and Shining path of Kane — the Summer Solstice.

Ke Ala Polohiwa a Kanaloa: the Glistening Path of Kanaloa — the Winter Solstice

ʻO wai la ʻo Kanaloa? Who is Kanaloa?

Kanaloaʻs red foot prints can be found in the heavens.

Ke alanui maʻawe ʻula a Kanaloa is a poetic reference to the western sky where the sun sets.

ʻO wai la ʻo Kāne? Who is Kāne?

ʻŌlelo Noeʻau # 2861

ʻUʻina pōhaku a Kāne

The stone of Kāne rolled with a rumble.

Said of thunder

ʻO wai la ʻo Kāne? Who is Kāne?

ʻŌlelo Noeʻau # 1316

Ka honua nui a Kāne i hōʻinana a ʻahu kīnohinohi

The great earth animated and adorned by Kāne.

Kāne is associated with the forces of nature that brings forth and sustains human life. There are many forms, or kino lau, that Kāne embodies, e.g. fresh water, sunlight, and rainbows.


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