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Mo‘ōlelo Chapter 7: A New Journey Begins

Updated: Jul 23


Hi‘iaka and Pele by Douglas Poʻoloa Tolentino

Pele called for her youngest sister Hi‘iaka to Kīlauea on Hawai‘i Island. It was here that Pele, after trials and tribulations upon other islands and battles with her older sister Nāmakaokaha‘i, created a new home for her family. While this quest was complete, there was still one promise Pele had to fulfill. She had promised Lohiau, ali‘i of Kaua‘i, that they would be together once she had found a suitable home.


Hi‘iaka had been surfing in the company of her friend, Hopoe. A vision came to Hi‘iaka and she turned to Hopoe and said, “I perceive that I am about to undertake a long journey. During this journey, you will remain here and wait upon my return.”


Aghast, Hopoe exclaimed, “No! What would put such a notion in your head?”


“I must go,” was Hi‘iaka’s only reply as they returned to the beach where Pele’s messenger awaited to take Hi‘iaka to Kīlauea for an audience with her sister.


Upon Hi‘iaka’s arrival to Kīlauea, Pele told her sister, “I want you to go on an errand for me.”


“My sister, no doubt I shall agree to go when you have told me what it is,” was Hi‘iaka’s reply.


“Go to Kaua‘i and escort my husband back to me. Bring me Lohiau, ali‘i of Kaua‘i. While on the way, you are not to lie with him; you are not to touch noses with him; you are not to fondle him or snuggle close to him. If you do such a thing, I will kill you both. Be gone no longer than forty days.” This was the command of Pele as she reached out and bestowed her with supernatural powers.


As Hi‘iaka prepared for her journey, she sang while she worked. Within her song and voice, she conveyed the long lonely journey which caught the ear of Pele. Impatience began to frustrate Pele as her sister had not yet departed to fetch her husband, but as sisterly love would have it, she bade Hi‘iaka to depart and that she would indeed find company on her journey.


Hi‘iaka looked to Pele and said, “I am going to bring your lover and husband, Lohiau ali‘i of Kaua‘i, while you remain here at Kīlauea. Promise me, that during my absence you will watch over my beloved forests of Lehua. And, if you go forth on one of your raids, and must ravage and destroy, look to it that you do no harm to my friend Hopoe.”


Upon Pele’s promise, Hi‘iaka began her journey to retrieve Pele’s lover and husband, Lohiau.

“Na Kau a Hi‘iaka” - Hi‘iaka performs an oli as she begins her journey.

Playwright and Director – Kau‘i Kaina

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