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This pre-missionary wooden statue of Kamapua'a was found in a cave in up-country Maui. It is on display at the Bailey House Museum.

In Hawaiian mythology, Kamapuaʻa ("hog child")[1] is a hog-man fertility superhuman associated with Lono, the god of agriculture. The son of Hina and Kahikiula, the chief of Oahu, Kamapuaʻa was particularly connected with the island of Maui.[2]

A kupua (demigod), Kamapuaʻa is best known for his romantic pursuit of the fire goddess Pele, with whom he shared a turbulent relationship. Despite Pele's power, Kamapuaʻa's persistence allows him to turn her lava rock into fertile soil.

He is linked with the humuhumunukunukuapua'a, also known as the reef triggerfish and presently the state fish of Hawaiʻi.[3]

Lilikalā Kameʻeleihiwa describes him as “defiant of all authority, bold and untamed, he recalls the pig nature that is dormant in most people….Treacherous and tender, he thirsts after the good things in life--adventure, love, and sensual pleasure….”[4]

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Kamapua’a was born to human parents, Kahikiula and Hina, on Oahu. He is recorded as having one brother, Kahikihonuakele.[5] There are also many stories involving his grandmother, whom he seems to be very close to. There is not a lot of information on his childhood.

Adult lifeEdit

He is said to be very attractive as an adult and had many romantic exploits. He also is recorded as having many run ins with other chiefs and other influential people, so was often at odds with and engaged in warfare with them. The most known battles are with Olopana and Pele, the volcano goddess.

MythologyEdit

In Maui the kukui is a symbol of enlightenment, protection and peace. It was said that Kamapua'a could transform into a kukui tree.[6] One of the legends told of Kamapua'a: one day, a man beat his wife to death and buried her beneath Kamapua'a while he was in tree form. Because he saw that the woman had been a good person, he raised her to new life, but damned her husband to death.[citation needed] One well known myth involves Olopana and some birds. Being the Trickster that he was, one day Kamapua’a stole some chickens from Olopana, who was enraged at the theft. Olopana sent his warriors after Kamapua’a, who, along with his own followers, fought back, until it became clear they could not win. Kamapua’a took his followers and fled until they came up against a waterfall where they were seemingly cornered. It was at this point that Kamapua’a shifted into a hog which his followers used to climb to the next level of the falls and to freedom. His pig-form dammed up the water of Kaliuwa‘a where they were. Olopana's men pursued. As they trekked up Kaliuwa‘a, Kamapua‘a released the water killing all but Olopana. Olopana flees to Wai‘anae where he ultimately loses to Kamapua‘a.

<Kamapua’a and Pele> There are contradictory stories depicting the relationship between Kamapua’a and Pele. In some versions they are described as enemies (Hawaiian Romance), in others they are depicted as lovers or husband and wife (Hawaiian folk tales). One story of how Pele and Kamapua’a met starts off with Kamapua’a on a journey to Pele’s home. Kamapua’a tried to impress Pele and her sisters by looking like a handsome man. He impressed her sisters but Pele is not impressed, instead she insults Kamapua’a by calling him a pig. This upsets Kamapua’a, which then turned their conversation into an argument of insults to each other. Kamapua’a tried to get closer to Pele but Pele sent her flames to him leaving him in a pit of fire. Kamapua’a strikes back by summoning his sister Makahanaloa; she puts out the fire with fog and rain, and hogs run all over the place. All that is left are the fire sticks; Pele accepts her defeat. Kamapua’a takes the sticks and divides the districts giving Pele the districts overrun with lava flows; he takes the Windward districts with the most rain. Kamapua’a leaves Hawaii and starts a family in the ocean where he belongs; Pele now loves Kamapua’a and tries to get him back with a love chant.[7] As Kamapua’a lives his life in the ocean, he still watches over his side of the island. He ventures through the ocean in his new form the humu-humu-nuku-nuku apua’a. He never steps foot on the island again because he doesn’t want to run into Pele.[8] Kamapuaʹa later returned to the island as a handsome man and made love with Pele.[9] Their union produced a baby girl whom Pele named Kaʹowakaikalani.[10]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Beckwith, p. 201.
  2. ^ Beckwith, p. 201.
  3. ^ Alameida, p. 20.
  4. ^ Mindess, Harvey. "Humor in Hawaii: Past and Present" (PDF). 
  5. ^ "Scene of the Demigod Kamapuaa’s Escape from Olopana". The Hawaiin Spectator. 
  6. ^ Mower, Nancy Alpert (2001). "Kamapuaʻa: A Hawaiian Trickster". In Jeanne Campbell Reesman. Trickster Lives: Culture and Myth in American Fiction. University of Georgia Press. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-8203-2277-3. 
  7. ^ Martha Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology (University of Hawaii Press, 1940), 205-206.
  8. ^ “The Legend of Kamapua’a,” LBD Coffee Winter Newsletter, http://www.coffeetimes.com/kamapuaa.htm, 2006, retrieved on 16 November 2016, last modified 2006.
  9. ^ Lilikalā K. Kameʹeleihiwa, The Legendary Tradition of Kamapuaʹa, The Hawaiian Pig-God, (Honolulu: Bishop Museum, 1996), 112.
  10. ^ Lilikalā K. Kameʹeleihiwa, The Legendary Tradition of Kamapuaʹa, The Hawaiian Pig-God, (Honolulu: Bishop Museum, 1996), 116.

ReferencesEdit

  • Kame'eleihiwa, Lilikala (1996) A Legendary Tradition of Kamapua'a, The Hawaiian Pig-God, Bishop Museum Press, ISBN 0-930897-60-9
  • Alameida, Roy (1997) Stories of Old Hawaii, Bess Press, ISBN 978-1-57306-026-4.
  • Martha Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology (University of Hawaii Press, 1940), 205-206.
  • Dio C.A.N.E.!
  • “The Legend of Kamapua’a,” LBD Coffee Winter Newsletter, http://www.coffeetimes.com/kamapuaa.htm, 2006, retrieved on 16 November 2016.
  • Lilikalā K. Kameʹeleihiwa, The Legendary Tradition of Kamapuaʹa, The Hawaiian Pig-God, (Honolulu: Bishop Museum, 1996), 103,112,116.