Article: The Story of ʻAukelenuiaʻīkū (ʻAukele) is one of a Hero’s Quest...


The waters of Kāne surround us constantly and provide life for all living things. The story of ʻAukelenuiaʻīkū (ʻAukele) is one of a hero’s quest to find these waters and to learn what every young man must know to be mature in this coming-of-age tale. (MACC)

Iku was the father, a great chief, and Kapapaiakea was the mother, from whom twelve children were born. Kuaihelani was the country in which they lived. The names of the children were: Kekamakahinuiaiku, Kuaiku, Nohoaiku, Heleaiku, Kapukapuaiku, Heaaiku, Lonoheaiku, Naaiku, Noiaiku, Ikumailani and ʻAukelenuiaʻīkū, aIl males; and Kaomeaaiku, a female.

From the first-born child to the one just ahead of ʻAukele, Iku never took them up in his arms, never spoke of leaving the kingdom to any of them, nor did he make much of any of them.

But at the birth of ʻAukele, Iku took the greatest interest in him, took care of him, took him up in his arms, and to him he willed all his honor and glory and the kingdom. Because of this show of favoritism on their father’s part toward ʻAukelenuiaʻīkū, his brothers and sister hated him and they tried to devise some way of getting rid of him.

He wanted to join his brothers in a wrestling match, but was forbidden by the father, who fears their jealousy. He steals away and shoots an arrow into their midst; it is a twisted arrow, theirs are jointed.

The brothers are angry, but when one of them strikes the lad, his own arm is broken. The younger brother takes up each one in turn and throws him into the sea.

The brothers pretend friendship and invite him into the house. Then, they throw him into the pit of the ancestress Kamo‘oinanea who eats men, but she spares her young relative, and described to him the land ruled over by Namakaokaha‘i (The eyes of Kaha‘i.)

She gives him a food-providing leaf, an axe, a knife, a bit of her tail which contains her “real body” (kino maoli), her feather skirt (pāʻu) and kahili which have the power to protect him from flames and to reduce his enemies to ashes, and a box containing the god Lonoikouali‘i to warn him of approaching danger.

When his brothers see him return safe from the pit they determine to flee to foreign lands. They make one more attempt to kill him by shutting him into a water hole, but one soft-hearted brother lets him out. ʻAukele then persuades the brothers to let him accompany them.

On the way he feeds them with “food and meat” from his club, Kaiwakaapu. They sail eight months, touch at Holaniku. where they get awa, sugar cane, bananas, and coconuts, and arrive in four months more at Lalakeenuiakane, the land of Queen Namakaokahai.

The queen is guarded by four brothers in bird form (Kanemoe, Kaneapua, Leapua and Kahaumana) by two maid servants in animal form, and by a dog, Moela. The whole party is reduced to ashes at the shaking of the queen’s skirt, except Aukele, who escapes and by his quick wit wins the friendship of the queen’s maids and her brothers.

The next adventure is after the water of life to restore the brothers to life. The first trip is unsuccessful. Instead of flying in a straight line between the sky (lewa) and space (nenelu—literally, mud) ʻAukele falls into space and is obliged to cling to the moon for support.

Meanwhile his wife thinks him dead and has summoned Night, Day, Sun, Stars, Thunder, Rainbow, Lightning, Water-spout, Fog, Fine rain, etc., to mourn for him. Then, through her supernatural knowledge she hears him declare to the moon, her grandfather, Kaukihikamalama, his birth and ancestry, and learns for the first time that they are related.

On the next trip he reaches a deep pit, at the bottom of which is the well of everlasting life, the property of Kamohoalii.

It is guarded by two maternal uncles of ʻAukele, Kanenaiau and Hawewe, and a maternal aunt, Luahinekaikapu, the sister of the lizard grandmother, who is blind.

ʻAukele steals the bananas she is roasting, dodges her anger, and restores her sight. She paints up his hands to look like Kamohoalii’s and the guards at the well hand him the water gourd.

His own attempt to use the water to restore his brothers and nephew is unsuccessful, but, with the few drops remaining, his wife brings them all to life and he shares the rule with them and even gives them his wife as well.

As time passes, ʻAukele is attracted by his wife’s young cousins Pele and Hiʻiaka and pretends to go fishing in order to meet them. His wife discovers this and drives them from the country.

They migrate first to Kauai, and flee from island to island until they finally reach Hawaii. Soon after, ʻAukele decides to return to his old home, Kuaihelani.

Kuaiheilani, suggested as a mythical place, is the traditional name for what we refer to as Midway Atoll. The origin of this name can be traced to an ancient homeland of the Hawaiian people, located somewhere in central Polynesia. (Kikiloi)

The image shows the Hawaii archipelago. (Lots of Information from Fornander, Beckwith, Westervelt and Smithsonian)

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