MU AND MENEHUNE PEOPLE
Lua-Nu'u (Second Nu‘u, or cycle of time), called
also Kane-hoa-lani, Lalo-kona, Pua-Nawao, Ku-ma-menehune, Ku-hooia, Ku-iiki,
is placed as the twelfth name from Nu‘u on the Kumuhonua genealogical
line. Laka (Kupulupulu) and Pili are his sons. Maui, Kanaloa and
Kaneapua, Waha-nui, and Makali‘i are the mythical names belonging to his
period. The names Pua-Nawao and Ku-ma-menehune refer to him as ancestor
of the Nawao and Menehune people. Ho-oia is an epithet applied to one
who confirms the truth (oiai‘o), i-ike to one who is keen-witted (ike).
The name of Lalo-kona and the wife's of Honua-po-ilalo are said to be
derived from his migration "to a remote country called Honua-ilalo to
the south." The name Kane-hoa-lani, Malo equates with Kane-wahi-lani and
calls him a god who rules the heavens. It is the name given to the
phallic stones called "stones of Kane" set up at the place of family
worship, where prayer and sacrifice are offered to an ancestral deity
for help in time of need. A legend is told of Lua-nu‘u to explain why
the highest peak rising cone-shaped from the ridge back of Kualoa on the
north side of Oahu has the name of Kane-hoa-lani and the two lower peaks
those of Ku-pulupulu and Pili-lua-nu‘u.
The god Kane orders Lua-nu‘u to perform a
sacrifice, and as he finds no suitable place for this offering in the
mountains of Kahiki-ku where he is then living, he is told to travel
eastward until he finds "a sharp-pointed hill projecting precipitately
into the ocean." He sails in his canoe with "his son Ku-pulupulu and his
servant Pili" to the ridge back of Kualoa on Oahu and here performs the
On the Kumuhonua genealogy Lua-nu‘u becomes the
father by a slave wife of the Nawao (The wild people), a Mu race living
on bananas in the forest (ka-lahui-mu-ai-maia-a-laau-haeleele), and
described by Fornander as "a people of large size, wild, [who] did not
associate with kanakas (men). . . . Hunting people (lahui alualu
holoholona). . . numerous in former times, but now . . .
disappeared." The Nawao are ancestors of the Mu (silent) and Wa
(shouting) people listed as Namu and Nawa among the aumakua, and all
three are invoked as Ku-a-mu, Ku-a-wa, Ku-a-wao by those who go to the
upland forest for tree felling and by the multitude at the ohia-ku
procession when bringing down a tree for the god of a newly dedicated
heiau. Any man who comes into the path of such a procession may be
seized for sacrifice. A sorcerer's invocation to such an aumakua runs:
O Ku-a-mu, go thou to [name of victim],
Enter him, head and tail,
Let him become your bread and meat,
Return not again until he is devoured of worms.
By his chiefess wife Mee-haku-lani (Mee heavenly
lord) or Mee-hiwa (-black), Lua-nu‘u becomes the father of the Menehune
people, "a numerous and powerful race from whom the present race of
Hawaiians is descended." The older branch of the Menehune are descended
from Aholoholo, a wanderer, the younger branch from a son called Ka-imi-puku-ku
or Kinilau-a-Mano (Many descendants of Mano). There are twelve "sons" in
all of whom Luanu‘u becomes ancestor (equated by Fornander with the
twelve sons of Toho [Toko] in Marquesan legends 7
from two of whom, Atea and Tane, the Marquesans count descent). From one
of these twelve descends Hawaii-loa the navigator.
It is evident that we have here to do, in the
legend of Luanu‘u and his forest-dwelling, banana-eating progeny, with
that period of early settlement noted in the chant of Kumulipo as
directly following the dawn of day (ao) and the appearance of Kane, Ki‘i,
and Kanaloa, when the ancestors dwelt in the uplands on the edge of the
damp forests favorable to the planting of bananas, which were their
principal food--the period expressed in the names "Vast expanse of
forest" (Moanaliha-i-ka-waokele) and "Dwelling in cold uplands of the
first chiefs of the dim past" (Ku-polo-liili-ali‘i-mua-o-lo‘i-po).
During this period and under Lua-nu‘u, according to Fornander, the use
of incision was introduced, and from such a reference to the rite as
occurs in the Palila legend it is at least possible to infer that
incision began during this time to distinguish the Kane people from the
"wild" and was regarded as a necessary step to becoming a marriageable
member of the ancestral stock. Ku-pulupulu, the son of Lua-nu‘u, is
Kolo-i-ke-ao or Laka on the Kumuhonua genealogy and the name itself
refers to the wild fern growth of those damp forests of which Laka is
patron. The word pili is a term applied to an indirect relation, a sort
of hanger-on. The Kumuhonua genealogy descends from Pili to Papa, the
Kumuuli from Laka to Wakea, husband of Papa.
On the side of mythology, Stokes thinks that
Wakea's infidelity to Papa in the affair of Ho‘ohoku is a misplaced
episode belonging to Tiki in the south islands and should be related of
Ki‘i, who appears twelve generations down the line on the Wakea
genealogy as father of Ulu and Nana-ulu from whom descend the high
chiefs of the Hawaiian group. It is in fact likely that the whole
Kumuhonua line down to Wakea is a mere threefold duplication of the
Wakea line down to Ki‘i. Kolo-i-ka-po and Kolo-i-ke-ao, born to
Kumuhonua's wife after the two were driven out of their home by Kane's
bird, duplicate Haloa the taro plant and Haloa the son, born from the
unfortunate affair of Wakea with Ho‘ohoku, from which, however, sprung
the line of ruling chiefs. If Kumu-honua as the fallen chief who brought
death into the world is the equivalent of Wakea, then the "death" for
which he was responsible is not natural death, which to a Hawaiian could
occur only in extreme old age when a man "withered up and flattened out
like a lauhala mat," as they express it, but to premature death as a
punishment for transgression against a law of the aumakua. Wakea's sin
was not one of incest, but of breaking the tapu upon intercourse with
women during the tapu of the god. This it was that caused Kane's anger
and drove the race down to death. This may be the explanation of the
"excellent laws" made by Kumuhonua, alluded to by Kamakau, which were
the cause of his being driven out of the land. They were laws of Kane
and as such any infringement was punishable by death.
Stories of the Mu and Menehune forest livers, who
are placed by genealogists among the early generations of Kumuhonua's
offspring, also include a legend of migration, but generally not
pictured as compulsory, away from their home on this group to some
mysterious other world of the gods. Besides this tradition of migration
there have gathered a number of traditions about these Mu and Menehune
people, most of them from Kauai and Oahu, all of which represent the two
(or three) groups as former inhabitants of the islands, sometimes as
aborigines but more often as introduced from abroad and living in upland
forests. The Menehune are called "human" as distinguished from the
"wild" Nawao people, most of whom they are said to have exterminated. To
the Menehune, or sometimes to the Mu, is ascribed the building of old
heiaus, fishponds, and other stonework found about the island. The
legend of the Kauai chief Ola is connected with these people, and that
of the Oahu chief Ka-hanai-o-ke-akua, the ward of Kane and Kanaloa at
It is hazardous to attempt to untangle from these
legends the actual interweaving of fancy and fact which has gone to
their shaping. The "wao" is that part of the mountainside inhabited by
spirits alone and it is tempting to regard the Mu and Wa of the Nawao
family as nature spirits represented in the silent and noisy living
creatures who dwell there, like the rat and the gecko (mo‘o) who play so
important a part in Hawaiian aumakua legends. But these aumakua
creatures had their human offspring as well from whom Hawaiian families
count descent, and it is possible that certain short, stocky family
types of very primitive culture were referred to such ancestry. Hawaiian
families count the Menehune as
their ancestral spirits and helpers, and these little people
play the part of benevolent godparents to their descendants. On the
other hand, Hawaiians speak of eepa spirits who are tricky rather than
helpful to mankind. A family story told in Kau district on Hawaii
illustrates the benevolent activities of the Menehune spirits and many
examples occur in old legends like those of Laka, Hainakolo, and Kawelo.
STORY OF KEAHIALOA
Ke-ahi-aloa (Eternal fire) is adopted by an older
sister of her mother and taken to Kauai, where she is neglected, until
finally she is taken in by an aged couple who find her nibbling raw
potatoes in their garden patch and pity her starving condition. When she
arrives at marriageable age her parents in Kau are made aware of her
aunt's neglect and the father goes to seek his child, encouraged by a
propitious dream in the form of his guardian shark who assures him of
protection. Meanwhile the land agent of the district has chanced to see
the beautiful girl and fallen in love with her. The night before the
marriage mysterious sounds are heard. The Menehune people, her family
gods, are preparing a sumptuous marriage feast. Her father arrives in
time to give his blessing, and she decrees that never again shall an
older sister be allowed to adopt a niece, but only a younger sister, and
this rule is observed in the family to this day.
LEGEND OF THE MU PEOPLE
(a) Rice (Kauai) version.
After the deluge there were left three peoples who made their home on
Kauai, the Mu (Rena-mu), the Wa (Ke-na-wa), and the Menehune.
Kualu-nui-kini-akua (Kualu of the little gods) and his son
Kualu-nui-pauku-mokumoku (Kualu of the broken rope) are chiefs of the Mu
people in Kahiki. They travel from Ka-paia-ha‘a (New Zealand) to Ka-ma-wae-lua-lani
(Kauai) and there Ola is born. The Menehune are then summoned back from
Ka-paia-ha‘a to serve Ola. They live for some time at Lumahai, then at
Wainiha, then at Lanihuli, then they migrate in order to preserve the
purity of the race, because the people are found to be inter-marrying
with the "Hawaiians."
(b) Kanehunamoku (Oahu)
version. The Mu are banana-eating people of Kuaihelani, one of the
divisions of the floating land of Kane-huna-moku. They are sent for to
Kauai to help Ola with his building. A few of them divide from the
Menehune at Pele-i-holani on Kauai and travel over the ridges to a rocky
gulch called Laau in the mountains of Wainiha where they live with their
wives and find water in abundance and till the soil of the uplands. They
are dwarf people, banana planters and hairy, with round stomachs as
distinguished from the Menehune, who are smooth people with distended
stomachs. After the work is completed for their chief Ola, all return to
the floating land of Kueihelani and never return, but two Mu are left
asleep under banana leaves.
(c) Green version. When Paao comes
to Hawaii he first visits Kahiki and brings thence the
Manahune-nuku-mu-ai-maia (Bug-mouthed Menehune banana eaters), so called
because of their small mouths, and they land in Puna.
(d) Lydgate version. The Mu-ai-maia
(Banana-eating people) are aborigines of Kauai, already there when "the
first people" come to the island. They are a short stocky race with
bushy hair, beards, and eyebrows, active runners, and with a guttural
way of talking different from the Hawaiian. They know nothing of cooking
food and live on wild plants. They live at Laau at the headwaters of the
Wainiha where the wild bananas still grow which were their food. Campers
must be on their guard lest these little people steal up and make off
with food that is cooking by piercing it with sharp sticks. Hawaiians
still fear to camp on the small plateau above the valley where the Mu
made their home, believing it to be still haunted by their spirits.
LEGEND OF THE MENEHUNE
(a) Rice (Kauai) version.
Menehune are a pygmy people "about two feet in height." Their food is a
pudding of the starch plant (haupia), squash (pala-ai) made from a wild
plant in the forest, sweet-potato pudding (koele-palau), and cooked taro
leaves (luau). They live in caves. Their trails along the Kauai cliffs
can still be seen and the hollows where they planted.
The sports in which they indulge are top spinning
(olo-hu), quoits (maika), shooting arrows (ke‘a-pua), hide-the-thimble (puhenehene),
foot races, sled races, hand wrestling (uma or kulakulai), and diving
off a cliff. Kahunas, soothsayers, astrologers belong to the company of
the chief. "Story-tellers, fun-makers, minstrels, and musicians" furnish
him amusement. The nose-flute and the ti-leaf trumpet, the ukeke
stringed instrument, and the shark-skin drum are their accompaniments.
The Menehune migrate under their chief
Maoli-ku-laiakea with Hema to New Zealand, hence the name Maori for the
New Zealanders, and Raiatea for a place there. They are accompanied by
the chief Aliikiola and his wife Lepoa. They return to Kauai to serve
Ola as expert builders and craftsmen when he becomes ruling chief in
Waimea, and increase in such numbers that the grown men can form two
rows from Makaweli to Wailua. Papa-enaena is the guard who lays out the
work required by the chiefs. A "bow-legged, deep-voiced" Menehune named
Weli is sheriff for the chief and planted the breadfruit trees on the
plain of Lumahai. A Menehune named Maliu once lingered in a Hawaiian
house and was missed from work, but escaped punishment because he was
able to report the discovery of a new spring of fresh water.
After living some time in the Lanihuli valley the
Menehune are commanded to migrate because they are being troubled by
thieving and the men are taking wives among the Hawaiians and destroying
the purity of the race. Not a single expert craftsman is allowed to
remain behind. Along the route they traveled, offerings of leaves are
still made to certain rocks which mark the petrified body of one or
another of their number who was so changed because of disobedience or
folly, and who is still supposed to have control over the weather.
(b) Fornander (Oahu)
version. Mewa-lani (Lewa-lani, Heavenly space) has two sons,
Lonohoonewa, father of Paumakua, and Kahano-a-Newa, Paumakua's uncle.
Kahano introduces the Menehune people from Kahiki and establishes them
on Oahu as laborers at Kailua in Koolau, and at Pauoa and Puowaina in
Kona as servants for his mistress Kahihi-ku-o-ka-lani (identified by
Fornander with Kahihi-o-ka-lani, wife of Nanakaoka and mother of Kapawa
[or Hele-ipawa]). He "stretched out his hands to the farthest bounds of
Kahiki and on them came the Menehune people to Oahu," and "when the sun
vanished and the earth became dark Kahano brought the sun back again. .
. ." Ku-leo-nui (Ku loud voice) is their leader "whose voice was heard
all over the island" summoning them to work.
(c) Migration (Oahu)
legend. (1). Waha-nui, ruling chief of Honua-ilalo, oppresses the
Menehune, and their god Kane sends Kanaloa and Kaneapua to lead them
away from Kapakapaua-a-Kane, the place where Kumuhonua's sons Laka and
Pili have taken refuge, to the Aina-momona-a-Kane (Fat land of Kane), or
Ka-one-lauena-a-Kane, or Ka-aina-i-ka-houpo-a-Kane, the original
continent which once connected all the island groups before it was
overwhelmed and broken up by inundation. The four Ku days are to be kept
as a memorial of this deliverance.
(2). The Menehune have a heiau at Kukaoo. The "owl
god" at Pu‘u-pueo (Owl hill) summons the owls of Kauai and drives the
Menehune out of the valley (or Kuali‘i the great chief of Oahu is their
(a) Rice version. Ola is the son of
Kualu-nui-pauku-mokumoku (a chief of the Mu people) and the chiefess
Kuhapu-ola from Pe‘ape‘a on the Waimea side above Hanapepe, whom the
chief meets clandestinely. His name Ola is given when he is recognized
by his father and thus "saved from death" (ola) for breaking the chief's
tapu. He succeeds his father in the rule over the Waimea district.
Desiring to bring water to the taro patches of the Waimea flats, he is
advised by his kahuna Pi to proclaim a tapu and summon the Menehune
people to his aid. Each brings a stone and the watercourse (Kiki-a-Ola)
is laid in a single night. These people also build the heiau of Hauola
named "after the famous city of refuge of his father at Kekaha." They
camp on the flats above called Kanaloa-huluhulu, plant taro (which is
still growing on the cliffs of Kalalau), and build a big oven (Kapuahi-a-Ola)
between Kalalau and Waimea. They also make a road of sticks (Kiki papa a
Ola) through the swamps of Alakai to the height above Wainiha.
(b) Knudsen version. The chief
priest of Ola's father's time is a powerful and designing man who causes
any nominee from the chief's party to be assassinated. Ola is therefore
brought up in retirement as if under the displeasure of his father and
only at the age of twenty-four when he is able to defend himself by
warlike skill is he publicly elected for the succession. The chief
priest recognizes the youth as he appears before the people and hurls at
him the sacred javelin, but Ola wards it off and the priest takes his
own life. It is because of this event that the heiau at Waiawa on Kauai
is called Hau-ola (Stricken with a spear).
(c) Thrum version. Pi is the chief
of Waimea who gets the Menehune to construct for him a dam across the
Waimea river and a watercourse leading from it to a place above Kiki-a-ola.
The Menehune are brought from the mountains of Pu‘u-ka-pele and the
sound ("hum") of their voices gives rise to the saying, "Wawa ka
Menehune i Pu‘u-ka-pele ma Kauai, puoho ka manu o ka loko o Kawainui ma
Koolauloa, Oahu" (The noise of the Menehune at Pu‘ukapele on Kauai
startles the birds on the fish-pond of Kawainui at Koolauloa, Oahu). It
is Ola who builds the three-stepped heiau called Ahu-loulu at the foot
of Pu‘u-ka-pele crater cone on Kauai.
(d) Kanehunamoku version. Kiki-a-ola
is the chief of Waimea. Hulukuamauna the priest hears from Kane that
only through Kanehunamoku and his people can the dam and water-course of
Waimea be constructed. The chief seems to be the sacrifice to be offered
at its completion. The services of the little people are requested.
Kanehunamoku receives from Kane a branch of red fruit as a token of the
god's consent and grants the request. The Waimea chief also asks for the
sacred chiefess Namaka-o-ka-hai for his wife, but this request is
refused. After the completion of the work, Namaka and Kanehunamoku
depart with the Menehune and the Mu from Laau to the floating land of
Kueihelani and never return.
A curious resemblance between some of the
incidents in these Kauai stories and episodes in the legend of Umi on
Hawaii may be merely fortuitous or may point to interchange of legends
between the two islands. The story of the birth of Umi, although more
fully elaborated, resembles that of Ola.
On a journey into the country, Liloa finds a
beautiful woman at her bathing pool and makes her his wife. He gives her
his loincloth, whale-tooth necklace, and war club as tokens for the
child. Umi becomes a nuisance to his supposed father because he gives
away food lavishly, and his mother sends him to Liloa wearing the
tokens. The chief makes him a favorite and eventually Umi usurps the
place of the legitimate heir.
Ola's father has an affair with a chiefess from
Pe‘ape‘a on the Waimea side above Hanapepe and leaves his malo and
whale-tooth necklace for the child who is to be born. The child grows up
mischievous and the mother sends him to the father living in Waimea. She
follows with the tokens, tossing and catching nuts as she walks,
according to the kahuna's instructions, and since none falls she is
successful in freeing her child, whom she finds bound and about to be
sacrificed for breaking the chief's tapu, and later she secures his
succession to the ruling power.
An incident in Rice's story of the "Bird-man of
Wainiha" who handles invaders at a narrow pass resembles the account of
how Nau held back Umi when he came to invade Hilo.
Seeing the water muddied as it flows into the sea,
Nau goes up into the hills to investigate. There he hides at the defile
and thrusts each man with his spear until Pi‘imaiwa‘a leaps down from
above and kills him.
Lahi and his uncle Kane-alohi live in the Wainiha
valley and go up to Kilohana to catch uwa‘u birds for food, a kind of
bird that seeks its nest in the cliffs by day, blinded by the light.
Their first enemy is a "giant" whom they lure into a hole and kill.
Their next is the chief with "four hundred" soldiers who objects to the
depredations among the birds. They sit on a rock eating birds and watch
the rippling of the water below for men approaching [hence a popular
proverb]. The boy hides at the pass and throws all four hundred men over
the cliff. The chief comes last and, recognizing Lahi as his own son,
invites him to the village. He prepares a trap, but this the boy
discovers and, burning down the house with his treacherous father and
followers within, takes over the rule of the land.
LEGEND OF THE TRAPPED
(a) Lydgate version. A band of
banana eaters settle above the Wainiha Valley. A bird catcher from the
village below becomes friendly with them and marries a pretty banana
eater. Their beautiful daughter is sought as wife by the chief from her
father's village, but is too wild to consent to leave her old home. The
chief organizes a boar hunt. At Ipu-wai-nui he bids his followers
approach silently as he hears the sound of tapa beating. Her father, who
desires the match, conceals the chief in the house, rolled up in a mat.
When the girl enters she is caught by both father and lover, bound, and
conveyed to the sea in a litter (manele). She becomes the chief's wife
and mother of a beautiful daughter.
(b) Rice version. In a cave below a
waterfall at Holua-manu in the mountains above Makaweli lives a mo‘o. A
child of the family is fretful and is told to "Go to the mo‘o and live
with her." She obeys, the mo‘o treats her kindly and the girl is happy.
The family however wish to recover her and succeed in trapping her in a
net. She is carried to Waimea where she becomes gradually reconciled,
grows into a beautiful woman, and marries the ruling chief.
OAHU CANOE LEGENDS
(a) Kahanai-o-ke-akua (Adopted by the gods)
is brought from a foreign land and reared by the gods Kane and Kanaloa
who live at Waolani heiau, Kahanai lives at the heiau of Kaheiki built
by the Menehune and presided over by the kahuna who founded the
priesthood called Mo‘o-kahuna.
Kahanai wants canoes to visit his former home.
Both Mu and Menehune set to work to furnish them. The Menehune get the
work done first, hence the Na-mu-na-wa leave their canoes in the ditch,
where they long remain. On his return, both classes of little people
welcome him with shouts, the eepa in the uplands, the Menehune at the
shore to lift the travelers from the canoe and later to prepare them
houses. When the fish tree Makalei is brought to Oahu the little people
shout so loud that the tree falls where it stands and cannot be brought
up to Waolani. Hence the Menehune and eepa people (Na-mu-na-wa) are
banished from Waolani.
(b) Kakae's wife wants a canoe to go in
search of her brother and Kakae sends Ke-kupua to find a suitable koa
tree for the purpose. Since Kakae is a descendant of the Menehune, the
little people set to work to make the canoe, but day breaks before they
can get it dragged down to the shore and it is left in the ditch at
Kaalaa near Wai-ka-halulu where it goes by the name of Ka-wa‘a-kekupua
(The canoe of the kupua).
The Kahanai story may be compared with a similar
situation in a Samoan boat-building legend:
Mata-iteite comes seeking a husband and finally
finds one to her liking. She begs to have a boat built and asks Tagaloa
to send her boat builders. They work in the woods and are to be fed
daily without being seen. One day the women, when they bring them food,
slip in upon them secretly and they fly back to heaven. They are naked
and have no axes but work with their teeth.
Heiau said to be "built by the Menehune" are to be
found among the oldest temple structures on each island. On Molokai they
built a heiau on the cliff at Waikolu valley near Kalaupapa which no one
has been able to reach either from above or below, and the Luakini heiau
of Pakui between Ualapue and Manawai, said to be dedicated to Hina. On
Maui the Pihana heiau at Wailuku was built by the Menehune "in a single
night" from stones brought from Paukukalo beach. Hale-o-kane and
Pu‘u-kini are other Maui heiaus built by the Menehune. It is said that
in constructing a heiau it was the custom for a chief over a large
district to line up all the men under him and pass the stones from hand
to hand until all was in place, much like our own barn raisings in
pioneer life. The time element is important in these Menehune
structures, especially as the workers themselves become purely mythical
beings and night is the time of their activity. Raffles reports a
similar tradition from Java where, he says, "The temples themselves were
conceived to have been the work of a divinity, and to have been
constructed in one night." In Tonga a space between what was once two
islands is filled in and trees are planted "in a single night."
A Menehune class is known in other groups,
especially in Tahiti, where the first migration from "Havai‘i" (Ra‘iatea)
which settled Tahiti was composed of commoners alone and hence the
island was known as Tahiti-manahune. Those manahune who remained
agriculturists later formed the lowest social class of plebeians and
were used for sacrifice. The warriors became chiefs and their families
intermarried with the royal family of Opoa in Ra‘iatea. Archaeological
remains preserve the records of these changes in population. Two types
of marae exist: the inland belonging to an earlier culture and
represented on Necker island and occasionally on Hawaii by the platform
structure; the later, the walled marae, common on coastal Tahiti and
introduced there from Ra‘iatea "by the lath or 13th century" and from
Tahiti into Hawaii between 1100 and 1400 when the great migrations took
place which introduced the culture that prevailed in the Hawaiian group
at the time of its discovery by Cook. In the western Tuamotus the "Manahune"
are known as ancient people of Tahiti, and former adversaries of the
Tuamotuans, say the eastern Tuamotuans. They are sometimes spoken of as
giants, as at Tatakoto and Vahitahi, but in Tatakoto as friendly
giants. In Rarotonga, among the clans of Tangiia's people over whom he
makes Iro chief are the Mana-une, said to be found also in Mangaia and
"known traditionally to the Maoris."
Stories of spirit races who have relations with
human beings are reported from Polynesian groups. In New Zealand the
Patu-paierehe (or -paiarehe) are a wild race of spirits who inhabit the
mountains. When Maui fished up the south island of New Zealand he left
Kui in charge. The Tutumai-ao people from the other side of the ocean
annihilated his people. The Turehu, a fairy-like people, came over the
ocean and annihilated the Tutu-mai-ao people. The descendants of Maui
now came to the island and lived among the Turehu and after ten
generations exterminated them and today they are the Patu-pai-a-rehe
(wild men) dwelling in the mountains. They have reddish skin, hair with
a golden tinge called uru-kehu (Hawaiian ehu), eyes black or blue. Pipi,
wife of Ira the son of Uenuku, is famed as an urukehu. Albinos are
considered the offspring of Maori women with fairy lovers. The
Patu-paiarehe may be seen in the early morning. They are full-sized,
dress in white, are not tattooed, and nurse children in their arms. They
are a very numerous people, merry, cheerful, singing like crickets. They
work at night and cease working when the sun rises. Their skin is light
like that of a European. They do not bend down the reeds when they walk.
Their canoe is a stem of flax. From them Kahukura learns to make netting
for fish nets. They are a peaceful folk and have guardianship of the
sacred places (wahi tapu). They use wooden and bone flutes called
putorino and koauau. Their path is in the drifting clouds and the
low-lying banks of cloud. Of the double rainbow, male and female, the
upper, which is male, is called Turehu.
Moorea in the Tahitian group is the island of
"fairy folk" with golden hair. The little lizard called mo‘opuapua,
which lives on flowers, is the shadow form of these spirits among the
In Mangaia, "fairies" of the underworld associated
with Miru come through special apertures from Avaiki to take part in a
dance performed in honor of Miru's son Tautiti. They bathe at sunset in
the stream Aupara in the northern part of the island or in the stream
Vaipau or Vaikaute in the southern, and dress their hair on the height
above. When they dance upon the fresh-cut banana leaves prepared for
them at one end of the dance floor the leaves are not disturbed.
When the morning star arises they return to Avaiki.
They are associated with the worship of Tane. The Tapairu or "peerless
ones" are the four daughters of Miru, sisters of Tautiti. Four male
fairies also appear. In the sky are other fairies of whom Ina is the
most famous. Ngaru learned from the fairies of the underworld the art of
ball playing which he taught in Mangaia.
In Fiji, spirit people, invisible save to
worshipers, pygmies with "fuzzy mops of hair" like themselves of former
days in miniature, live in the woods and caves on wild bananas and kava.
Akin to them are the Luve-ni-wai, who are "water spirits." Young people
of Fiji formed a sect who were supposed to become votaries of these
spirits and learn song and dance from them. At their dance places a
votary would sweep the place with fans and hang garlands in hope of a
vision. Miscarriages of women of rank were supposed to become such
spirits. They were friendly folk skilled in conjuring. Maui was regarded
as one of these little people.
Two classes of spirits are described on San
Cristoval, distinct but sometimes confused with each other. The Kakamora
are said to be from six inches to three or four feet in height, from
fair to dark, go naked with long straight hair to their knees, are
strong as three or four men, and fond of dancing and singing. They do
not use cooked food. They have a ruler, male or female. They are
described as harmless but tricky, or as malicious and dangerous, and are
differently named all along the coast. The Masi are strong and stupid,
easily tricked, but otherwise like people. Their descendants are skilled
craftsmen and canoe makers and carvers in stone. Their work may be left
unfinished because the craftsmen are called away by some trivial matter.
The stories strongly resemble Hawaiian Menehune traditions.