KAUA'I CULTURAL RESOURCES
The purpose of this page is to offer myths, legends, stories and history both ancient and modern about the island of Kaua'i as well as information on current events. I am indebted to Brenda Turville and Aunty Sarah for most of the material on this page(s), if you want to see the videos you need to download the free vivoactive player.
Legend of Kaua'i
Listening and hearing the many different pronunciations of our island, Kaua'i, no doubt brought about the question - which is the right way?
This answer was given by Lilia Wahapa'a, one of the oldest residents of Waimea many years ago.
"What I am going to tell you is a legend that has been told to me by my ancestors," she said.
"Wakea and Papa had a daughter, a beautiful child and she became more beautiful each day. Her father, Wakea, was very fond of her and he used to carry her on his shoulders, straddling his neck. He told her that this was called "Kau" (to ride) a'i (the neck). So when anyone wanted to carry her, she would say "Kau a'i." She was such a pretty child, everyone wanted to carry her, but if you didn't let her ride straddling the neck she would refuse to be carried. People began calling her Kau a'i and everyone knew her by that name.
As she grew up, her beauty continued to increase - and the gods, Ku and Lono, became very interested in this beauty. Finally Ku said to Lono, "It would be a shame to see such beauty lost one day, so why don't we turn her into a beautiful island. We shall give the island her name and it will be the most beautiful island in this group of islands. This way her beauty will never be lost. And so it was done."
As a young child, I often, with my grandparents, traveled to Waimea to spend a weekend with our relatives, the Naumus. I remember going far up the valley, Waimea Uka, along side the banks of the river where the home was located. It was so much fun fishing in the river instead of the ocean and then after a good nights' rest attend church the next day being Sunday.
The little Mormon church was situated in the Waimea Valley and there we would meet with more relatives - it seemed everyone was related. There we would meet with Tutu Wahapa'a, the only name I knew her by. She lived up in the Makaweli Valley, across the Waimea River and although she was about 100 years old at the time, she continued to walk about a mile from her home, crossing the Waimea River over the suspension bridge to attend church every Sunday morning. She lived to be 118 years old.
I remember hearing an old Hawaiian saying - "Hei lani ko luna, a he honua ko lalo." The heaven above us, the earth beneath us - that is the whole of life.
Many of our kupunas believed this -- we came from the heavens above - sent to walk and work this earth.
(Auntie Sarah knows that there is at least one other legend about the
name of Kaua'i, one being that when Hawaii-Loa came here, he had another wife named
"Waialeale" for the ponds of water that sparkle up above the top ridge of the
Mt. She bore him a son, and they named him Kaua'i. However, she has always liked this
story because it was given by one so much older than herself. I believe that this TuTu was
born somewhere around 1832.)
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"He Olelo Ho'ohiki I Malama 'Ia" - "A Promise Kept."
Last year some 6000 people attended the performance of a pageant on Kaua'i called "He Olelo Ho'ohiki I Malama 'Ia" -(A Promise Kept). Shown from Aug. 1st, 2nd, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th. 1997. (1998 Dates to be announced - If you would like more details on the 1998 pageant please feel free to email Brenda Turville the director of the page) and with a cast of about 225 people from baby keiki to Kupuna. The pageant is now in its fifth year and looks set to continue.
About 600 BC, shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon,
which was being foretold at that time by Jeremiah the Prophet, a man named Lehi was
commanded by God to flee Jerusalem with his family. Taking with him the sacred records of
his forefathers and the family of another, they fled through the wilderness to the west
and south and built a ship to escape the hoards of Babylon.
About 88 years later, following Christ's crucifixion, resurrection, and
ascension, He visits some of His "other sheep" around the world. He visits the
Americas and the islands of the Pacific. During His visits He teaches the gospel,
astronomy, nature, medicine, and much more. He raises the dead, heals the sick, and
departs with a "promise" to one day return.