Welina Mānoa



One of the hills that we can see from Kūka‘ō‘ō heiau is Pu‘upueo, the hill where the heiau was built for the pueo (owl) god. Mānoa is a place where lots of pueo would be seen flying high in the sky spreading their great long wings. Pueo were known to watch over all the people, plants, and animals as they soared through the sky. For example, pueo is the ‘aumākua of Kahalopuna, the rainbow akua of Mānoa. We see Kahalaopuna as the beautiful rainbow that appears throughout Mānoa.

Listen to the audio version of this moʻolelo below, retold by Punihei Lipe:
Pueo Moʻolelo

Ka Ua Kuahine

The Kuahine is the name of the famous misty rain of Mānoa Valley and is often accompanied by an arching rainbow and light breezes.

According to a mo‘olelo, Kahalaopuna is the daughter of Kauakuahine and Kahaukani. The tiny windblown droplets of the Kuahine rain sometimes reach beyond the valley walls and are felt at Kulaokahu‘a, an area in Honolulu seaward of Punchbowl, not to be mistaken for the sea-spray of nearby Māmala bay.

The Kuahine rain is also known as the Tuahine rain today.

Listen to the audio version of this moʻolelo below, retold by Jon Yasuda:
The Moʻolelo of Ka Ua Kuahine


Kūka‘ō‘ō is a heiau. This is not the only heiau in Mānoa. We know of 13 other heiau in Mānoa as well. But, this heiau is very special because when you stand at Kūka‘ō‘ō, you can see the entire ridgeline and valley floor of Mānoa. So, it is a great place to look out and re-tell the mo‘olelo of Mānoa.

Listen to the audio version of a moʻolelo about Kūkāʻōʻō Heiau below, retold by Aloha McGuffie:
The Moʻolelo of the Kūkāʻōʻō Heiau

Ka Punahou

Long ago, an old couple living near Punahou School had no water to grow crops. They had to go to the mountains in search of food and travel to the lowlands for water.

One night, an answer to this problem came to the woman in a dream, and her husband had a similar dream the following night. They made offerings to their family deities and then the man pulled up a hala tree and water oozed out from a spring under the tree.

Ka puna hou, or the new spring, brought water to the numerous lo‘i in the area. It is from these events that the area was blessed with a sufficient supply of food and water.

Listen to the audio version of this moʻolelo below, retold by Jon Yasuda:
The Moʻolelo of Ka Punahou

Another Version of Ka Puna hou Spring

Kapunahou watched over by stern Kahaakea, Rocky Hill, of fabled caverns, and embraced by lovely Manoa, valley of rainbows-no wonder that legends from the dim past cling to her. In that remote time the brother gods Kane and Kanaloa came to Oahu on a pointed cloud from land of Kuaihelani, one of Kane’s twelve islands in the heavens. As the sun went down, they set out for Manoa Valley, on their way resting at Keapapa (now called Punahou, full name Kapunahou). Kanaloa teased Kane for water. Kane, a kindly god, courteous in all his ways, smiled because he could hear the noise of water. He thrust his staff into the ground, and the water gushed forth in abundance. The water of Kane was called the new spring, or Punahou.

[Alexander and Dodge: Punahou School 1841-1941, pp 35-36]

[Nakuina, Mrs. E.M.E.: The Punahou Spring, a legend (Hawaiian Annual, 1893, p 104]

Click on the image below for three additional moʻolelo from Mānoa Heritage Center. Some of these moʻolelo were originally found in the old Hawaiian language newspapers. They were translated into English and now they are used in the Mānoa Heritage curriculum. The moʻolelo will open into a PDF document.