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Papa and Wakea

WAKEA in the form of Atea or Vatea, replaced in New Zealand by Rangi (Lani) meaning "Sky," appears as a primary male generative force throughout eastern Polynesia, the name a symbol of the upper regions of air, whence descend sunshine and rain to fertilize earth. The wife Papa, a word applied in Hawaii to a flat surface or layer, symbolizes the warm upper layer of earth, where lies the fertilized seed awaiting the period of maturity to spring into life. But to the Polynesian these functions of sky and earth are themselves direct analogues of the process of human reproduction. Animate nature manifested in the physical universe is equally potent, if properly approached, to insure human fertility. Father Sky and Mother Earth are the first parents of human life on earth as they are of plant life that springs living from earth under the influence of sun and rain from heaven and of animal life that feeds upon it.

At the time of foreign contact Hawaii, too, counted its stock from Wakea and Papa as the official parent-pair. Their names occur on the earliest genealogy of the race given out by Hawaiian students at the mission high school in 1838 and repeated forty years later by Judge Fornander in his Account of the Polynesian Race. They are quoted by Malo and incorporated into the report made in 1904 by a committee of native scholars appointed by the legislature to inquire into the true native tradition of "the beginning of the Hawaiian people."[1]

[1. Mo'olelo Hawaii, p. 36; Fornander, Polynesian Race, I, 188-90; Malo, p. 311; Kepelino, Appendix, p. 182.]

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Equally on the common tongue, although stoutly repudiated by the Mo'olelo Hawaii and called "doubtful" by Malo, was the story of Wakea's desire for his youthful daughter, the plan to allay Papa's suspicions by instituting taboo nights when men should live apart from their wives, Papa's discovery, her repudiation of Wakea and her taking a mate in another land, finally her return to Wakea upon hearing that he, too, had solaced himself with another wife.[2] A famous chant of Kamehameha's day tells the story under the figure of the "birth of islands," symbolizing by means of the various alliances of the two parents in the myth the actual rise of ruling chief families on the islands of the Hawaiian group.[3] The sly sobriquet of "Wakea" said to have been attached to the Ka-'I-'i-mamao to whom the Kumulipo chant was allegedly dedicated, who took his own daughter to wife, further shows the myth to have been current at the time that the prose note to the Kumulipo was written down. More obscurely but with equal consistency was repeated the name of Haloa, the first living child born to Wakea, some said by his own daughter, and named from the "long-stalk" (ha-loa) of the taro plant that grew from the body of an earlier embryo child buried beside the house.[4]

Thus heading the genealogy of chiefs, their story woven into chant and applied to contemporary court life, Wakea and Papa seem to have been in historic times at least the officially accepted progenitors through Haloa of the Hawaiian people, if not of the whole race of humankind. The Mo'olelo Hawaii reads, "Wakea and Papa were the first ancestors of the Hawaiian people, both chiefs and commoners."

[2. Mo'olelo Hawaii, pp. 37-40; Malo, pp. 314-15; Kepelino, pp. 62-67; Kamakau, Ke Au Okoa, October 14, 1869; Fornander, Collection "Memoirs," No. 6), p. 250; Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology, chap. xx.

3. Fornander, Collection ("Memoirs," No. 4), pp. 15-16, 17.

4. Malo, p. 320; Kepelino, Appendix, pp. 192-93; Fornander, Collection ("Memoirs." No. 6), p. 319.]

{p. 119} "This is the genealogy of the Hawaiian people; that is, from Kumulipo-ka-po to Wakea and Papa," concludes the committee report of 1904. Malo calls Haloa "progenitor of all the peoples of the earth." "Now you must understand that the children born from Haloa, these are yourselves," reads a passage from the manuscript notes kept by the Hawaiian Naua Society, organized during the period of the late monarchy. It is not difficult to see that by the name "Haloa" the Hawaiian genealogist is merely symbolizing the male sex organ. It is the genius of the storyteller, probably stimulated by the habit of concealing under cover of myth some court incident of his own day, that has woven so rich a background of fiction about these ancient impersonations of the sex function invoked to insure permanence in the family succession.

Important as the two seem to be as parent-pair in modern Hawaiian tradition, in the Kumulipo, Wakea and Papa play an apparently minor part. Always their names and story come at the end of a section as if possibly inserted as an afterthought or introduced late into the family tradition. Still less is the name of Haloa important. The Opu'upu'u branch of the twelfth section closes with his birth: "Wakea lived (noho) with Haumea, with Papa, with Haohokakalani [commonly written Ho'ohokukalani], Haloa was born," reads the passage. Only in a brief peroration to Papa at the close of the thirteenth section is the story noticed of Wakea's deception of Papa, the taboos imposed, and the birth of the embryo Long-stalk and the living son Haloa. At line 1951 Haloa's name is thrust into the list of grandchildren with whom Haumea "slept" (moe). Otherwise he has no important place upon the final genealogy leading to the chief stock with which the chant concludes. Papa and Wakea do not appear there at all. Papa's traditional life as a woman in the land of Lua is transferred to Haumea or perhaps originally told of La'ila'i. Altogether we must suppose

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that Wakea and Papa as parent-pair responsible through Haloa for the spread of mankind over earth had no initial importance for the family whose divine ancestors were commemorated in the Kumulipo prayer chant.

In the genealogy of the fourteenth section, certainly, Wakea is rather fully represented, but here again his story stands at the close rather than the beginning of the genealogical listing with which the chant opens. This breaks off at line 1840 with the birth of Wakea under the name of Pau-pani-a[wa]kea, "End-of-the-shutting-out-of-light." Hawaiians call midday Awakea and the eulogistic title may herald the light of the midday sun when no shadow is cast and a magician's power is greatest. It further suggests the myth so fully developed in Tahiti and New Zealand of the separation of Sky Father and Earth Mother in order to give light and space for life to expand on earth, or that told in Mangaia of Vatea carried upward by the wind with his wife Papa into the upper world of light.[5]

Born with Wakea are two others, Lehu'ula, generally written Lihau'ula and sometimes identified with Kanaloa, and Makulukulu. The three, according to a perhaps late tradition, represent the ancestors of the three classes of Hawaiian society: chiefs, priests, and commoners.[6] The chiefs held the land under a single ruling chief who apportioned it, and each farmed out his share to a succession of overseers whose duty it was to see that a proportionate share of the produce was brought in as tribute to his overlord.[7] Makulukulu in the trio I take to represent this function of the commoners, and the "stars hung in the heavens," enumerated at length in the lines following to symbolize the "bundles" brought in as tribute at the Makahiki or some

[5. Henry, pp. 405-7, 409-13; White, I, 161-62; Smith, pp. 121-22; Gill, pp. 6-8.

6. Fornander, Polynesian Race, I, 112.

7. Malo, pp. 78-90, 96-101; Kepelino, pp. 140-51; Hobbs, chap. i.]

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other great festival of the clan, the whole representing, according to Pokini, the procession arriving with their gifts to lay before the young heir, made up into a pair of bundles and "swung" over a shoulder pole as was the customary way of carrying loads in Hawaii.

The Makahiki itself takes its name from the rising of the Pleiades, known throughout Polynesia as Makali'i, and Makulukulu may perhaps be a chant name for Makali'i. In the migration legend of the great fisherman Hawaii-loa, who discovers and renames the islands of the group, Makali'i is said to be navigator of the fleet and to become ancestor of commoners as Hawaii-loa is ancestor of a chief stock.[8] In fiction Makali'i is a popular character and always represented in connection with food supply. He is a chief living on the island of Kauai, or at South Cape on the island of Hawaii, or "in Kahiki," or in the upper heaven as seer and caretaker of the vegetable garden of the gods Kane and Kanaloa. His men have special arts in fishing. He controls vegetable food and is niggardly with it, "hangs it up in the heavens," as the saying is, when a drought burns up a crop. Always in the stories there is a thief who robs the patch or cuts the cords of the net in which his foodstuffs have been stored away. A string figure called "net of Makali'i" shows the net, its several divisions, and the exact point where, with a single cut, the whole figure falls to pieces. One of the ceremonies of the Makahiki festival was the shaking of a loose-meshed net filled with all kinds of vegetable foods in order to deter mine by the amount that fell through the meshes the success of the crop for the coming year.[9]

For the identification of stars named in the next fifty lines I am indebted to Dr. Maud Makemson, who obtained her information from living Hawaiians or from previously recorded

[8. Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology, pp. 363-65.

9. Makemson, pp. 75-84, 129-32; Malo, pp. 197-98; Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology, pp. 365-69, and see Index.]

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sources.[10] Their appearance in the heavens directly after the birth of Wakea has ended the "shutting out of light" agrees with the New Zealand myth, where the covering of the naked expanse of Sky with the heavenly bodies and of Earth with vegetation follows the Pushing upward of the sky to let in the light. The list may further be regarded as a kind of genealogy, since Hawaiians claim that stars are called after chiefs, although the exact connection has never been fully explained. The genealogy of beginning quoted by the Committee of 1904 notes the birth of "men" who "flew to heaven ... after all of whom stars are named." So in Tahiti an obscure passage in the story of the "Birth of the Heavenly Bodies" tells how Ta'ura "The red one," a name given to the star Sirius, took a wife of whom "princes" were born, Matari'i (Makali'i) being one; then were "created kings of the chiefs of earthly hosts on one side, and of chiefs in the skies on the other side. All were royal personages in Fa'ahiti ... from the period of darkness (Po) and they each had a star. They bore the names of those stars, and those names have been perpetuated in their temples in this world.[11]

Following the star lists comes a passage touching upon the adventures of Wakea with a goddess celebrated in Hawaiian story as "Hina-of-the-moon," she who is known in Tahiti as "Hina-who-stepped-into-the-moon," or, in Hawaii again, as Lonomuku, "Maimed-Lono" because, if the myth is correctly interpreted, when she fled to the moon from her earthly companion she left in his hand as he grasped after her one of her legs, from which grew the potato. Directly after, Hina-kawe'o-a is named, but whether the same Hina or another is not made clear. This Hina is certainly identical with "Hina-of-the-fire" who is mother of Maui in the chant of the fifteenth section. A Fornander

[10. Makemson, chap. vii.

11. Henry, p. 363.]

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genealogy gives Maui's mother the name of Kawea. The name of Hina-of-the-fire, Hina-a-ke-ahi, according to one old Hawaiian, is the fire goddess Pele's sacred name as controlling fire from the earth. In Tahiti Pere is called "goddess of the heat of the earth, a blond woman" (atua vahine no te vera o te fenua, e vahine 'ehu). The word we'a or its equivalent we'o is applied in Hawaii to a red coloring matter, but I take the name Kawe'oa to come directly from the Tahitian by elision te-ve (r)a-(a te fenu)a.[12] The whole treatment of the Wakea story here suggests a late handling influenced from Tahiti.[13]

The first Hina comes floating to Wakea in the form of a bailing gourd, a trick familiar in South Sea story but there, so far as I know, always employed by a male shape-shifter to secure passage in a canoe already refused him.[14] Taken into the canoe the bailer becomes a beautiful woman, hence called "Hina-the-bailer." When he takes her home and "sets her by the fire," a euphemism for the sex act, strange sea creatures are born. Next Hina-kawe'o-a "craves food," and Wakea sets up a row of images (ki'i), conceals himself in one of them, and from this union is born the same "cock on the back of Wakea" whose birth so radically upsets the established social order at the close of the eleventh section. This Hina is the "Underseas-woman" or "Woman-born-below" (Wahine-lalo-hana[u]) of myth, who nibbles the bait from a chief's fishhooks and is lured to shore by the same trick of the images; to whom her brother brings the stars and moon for food, or, in another version, whose family overwhelms the land with a flood to avenge her abduction.

[12. Ibid., p. 359.

13. Ibid., p. 407; Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology, pp. 241-44, and chap. xv; Fornander, Collection ("Memoirs," No. 5), pp. 266-69; ("Memoirs," No. 6), p. 318; Malo, pp. 307-10.

114. Thrum, More Hawaiian Folk Tales, p. 249; Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology pp. 449-51.]

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It is hardly necessary to repeat that both canoe and "image" (ki'i) are perfectly understood male sex symbols and are to be so understood in the folk-tale versions here noticed. The word moa, "cock," is used for a high chief, especially in connection with a struggle between competing aspirants, as witness the famous description of a cock fight in the chant describing Kamehameha's victorious campaign on the island of Hawaii.[15] Since it is death for an inferior to allow even his shadow to fall upon the sacred head of a taboo chief, the perch of the cock upon the ridgepole here means that the son claimed higher rank than that of his parent. The story seems to point to a union with some family of high rank, either after the migration to Hawaii or somewhere along the way, whereby an interloping branch gained the position of ruling stock on the family line. The name song of Hina's son Maui, born in the shape of a cock, as told in the chant of the next section, certainly represents such a struggle for position by one born of an alien strain. This "seed of the High One begotten in the heavens" shakes heaven and earth "even to the sacred places."



1795. Papa lived with Wakea
Born was the woman Ha'alolo
Born was jealousy, anger
Papa was deceived by Wakea
He ordered the sun, the moon
1800. The night to Kane for the younger
The night to Hilo for the first-born
Taboo was the house platform, the place for sitting

[15. Fornander, Collection ("Memoirs," No. 6), pp. 382-86; Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology, pp. 427-29.]

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Taboo the house where Wakea lived
Taboo was intercourse with the divine parent
1805. Taboo the taro plant, the acrid one
Taboo the poisonous 'akia plant
Taboo the narcotic auhuhu plant
Taboo the medicinal uhaloa
Taboo the bitter part of the taro leaf
1810. Taboo the taro stalk that stood by the woman's taboo house
Haloa was buried [there], a long taro stalk grew
The offspring of Haloa [born] into the day
    Came forth


[The birth of Li'a-i-ku-honua at the "Appearing-of-heaven-and-earth," with whose name the genealogy opens, is mentioned at line 1754 of the preceding branch. The genealogy of that branch is continued through a younger brother, that of the fourteenth through the older. By his wife Ke-aka-huli-honua Li'a has a son Laka. Thirty pairs, husband and wife, precede the birth of Wakea.]

Born was Pau-pani-a[wa]kea
This was Wakea; [born was) Lehu'ula; [born was] Makulu-kulu-the-chief
Their youngest, a man of great bundles
Collected and placed with Makali'i; fixed fast
1850. Fixed are the stars suspended in the sky
[There] swings Ka'awela [Mercury], swings Kupoilaniua
Ha'i swings that way, Ha'i swings this way
Kaha'i swings, swings Kaha'iha'i [in the Milky Way]
Swings Kaua, the star cluster Wahilaninui
1855. Swings the flower of the heavens, Kaulua-i-ha'imoha'i
Puanene swings, the star that reveals a lord
Nu'u swings, Kaha'ilono swings
Wainaku [patron star of Hilo] swings, swings Ikapa'a
Swings Kiki'ula, swings Keho'oea
1860. Pouhanu'u swings, swings Ka-ili-'ula, The-red-skinned
Swings Kapakapaka, [and the morning star) Mananalo [Jupiter or Venus]
Swings Kona, swings Wailea [patron star of Maui]

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Swings the Auhaku, swings the Eye-of-Unulau
Swings Hina-of-the-heavens, Hina-lani, swings Keoea
1865. Ka'aka'a swings, swings Polo'ula [star of Oahu]
Kanikania'ula swings, Kauamea swings
Swings Kalalani [of Lanai], swings [the astrologers' star] Kekepue
Swings Ka'alolo [of Ni'ihau], swings the Resting-place-of-the-sun [Kaulana-a-ka-la]
Hua swings, 'Au'a [Betelgeuse] swings
1870. Lena swings, swings Lanikuhana
Swings Ho'oleia, swings Makeaupe'a
Swings Kaniha'alilo, swings 'U'u
Swings Wa [Sirius], swings 'Ololu
Kamaio swings, swings Kaulu[a]lena
1875. Swings Peaked-nose, swings Chicken-nose
Swings Pipa, swings Ho'eu
Swings Malana, swings Kaka'e
Swings Mali'u, swings Kaulua
Lanakamalama swings, Naua swings
1880. Welo swings, swings Ikiiki
Ka'aona swings, swings Hinaia'ele'ele
Puanakau [Rigel] swings, swings Le'ale'a
Swings Hikikauelia [Sirius of navigators], swings Ka'elo
Swings Kapawa, swings Hikikaulonomeha [Sirius of astrologers]
1885. Swings Hoku'ula, swings Poloahilani
Swings Ka'awela, swings Hanakalanai
Uliuli swings, Melemele swings [two lands of old]
Swings the Pleiades, Makali'i, swings the Cluster, na Huihui
Swings Kokoiki [Kamehameha's star], swings Humu [Altair]
1890. Moha'i swings, swings Kaulu[a]okaoka
Kukui swings, swings Konamaukuku
Swings Kamalie, swings Kamalie the first
Swings Kamalie the last
Swings Hina-of-the-yellow-skies, Hina-o-na-leilena
1895. Swing the Seven, na Hiku. [Big Dipper], swings the first of the Seven
The second of the Seven, the third of the Seven
The fourth of the Seven, the fifth of the Seven
The sixth of the Seven, the last of the Seven
Swings Mahapili, swings the Cluster

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1900. Swing the Darts [Kao] of Orion
Sown was the seed of Makali'i, seed of the heavens
Sown was the seed of the gods, the sun is a god
Sown was the seed of Hina, an afterbirth of Lono-muku
The food of Hina-ia-ka-malama as Waka
1905. She was found by Wakea in the deep sea
In a sea of coral, a turbulent sea
Hina-ia-ka-malama floated as a bailing gourd
Was hung up in the canoes, hence called Hina-the-bailer [-ke-ka]
Taken ashore, set by the fire
1910. Born were corals, born the eels
Born were the small sea urchins, the large sea urchins
The blackstone was born, the volcanic stone was born
Hence she was called Woman-from-whose-womb-come-various-forms, Hinahalakoa
Hina craved food, Wakea went to fetch it
1915. [He] set up images on the platform
Set them up neatly in a row
Wakea as Ki'i [image] slept with Hina-ka-we'o-a
Born was the cock, perched on Wakea's back
The cock scratched the back of Wakea
1920. Wakea was jealous, tried to brush it away
Wakea was jealous, vexed and annoyed
Thrust away the cock and it flew to the ridgepole
The cock was on the ridgepole
The cock was lord
1925. This was the seed of The-high-one
Begotten in the heavens
The heavens shook
The earth shook
Even to the sacred places

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