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The Genealogies

UP TO a certain point names listed on this latest genealogical branch of the Kumulipo chant, begun in the fifteenth section and completed in the sixteenth, not only appear on accepted genealogies of Hawaiian chief families but bear a striking similarity to some of those reported from southern Polynesia. Fornander may be right when he argues that these likenesses are due to the introduction by a new immigrant stock of its own ancestral line from the south. He fixes upon the settling of Oahu by the powerful Maweke family from North Tahiti as the source of this displacement, since the similarities cease about the time that their names appear upon the Hawaiian genealogical line.[1]

One would like to explain upon this basis the curious introduction on the genealogy of the twelfth section, at lines 1713 to 1715, of a trio of males corresponding to that named in the eighth section at the opening of the period of the Ao. The trio in both cases includes the names of Kane and Kanaloa, in this second case listed as "twins," mahoe, and a third name, the man Ki'i in the eighth section, Ahuka'i, "much younger" (muli loa), in the twelfth, where the trio follow the name of Kumuhonua. In the Moikeha saga Kumuhonua is the eldest of three sons descended from the migrating Maweke family, who, at his father's death, inherits the family lands on Oahu. Olopana and Moikeha are his younger brothers. With the rise to power of the Moikeha

[1. Fornander, Collection ("Memoirs," No. 6), p. 250.]

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ruling line, that of Kumuhonua dies out.[2] The name of Ahuka'i appears on the 'Ulu-Puna line as grandparent of Moikeha's young relative La'a-mai-kahiki, whom he summons from Tahiti to look after his bones, hence supposedly a relative of the migrating Maweke family.[3] According to custom, a chief takes the name of a distinguished ancestor.

Ahuka'i, La'a, La'a-mai-kahiki, ke li'i

begins the young chief's name song. La'a's story has already been told and the part he played in peopling the Hawaiian group.

The Moikeha saga further states that the two younger brothers live for a time at Waipi'o on the island of Hawaii until they are driven out by a freshet and return to Tahiti. There they quarrel over Olopana's wife Lu'ukia, and Moikeha sails back to Hawaii, and eventually his line succeeds to the ruling power on the two islands of Kauai and Oahu. A quite unrelated legend states that "the gods Kane and Kanaloa" accompanied by "Haumea" once came to Hawaii "in the shape of human beings," landing first at Keei in South Kona on the island of Hawaii and then living for a time at Waipi'o, where Kanaloa is described as "tall and fair," Kane as dark with thick lips and curly hair.[4] May not the brothers Olopana and Moikeha, coming with their superior culture to the simpler islanders on Hawaii, have been taken for the gods Kane and Kanaloa as was Captain Cook for the god Lono? The beneficent activities of the two gods, sung in chant and told in story and commemorated in local legend, may belong to this early period before the quarrel took place which separated the two brothers, so that Olopana, alias Kanaloa, remained in the south when Moikeha, or

[2. Fornander, Polynesian Race, II, 48-58; Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology, chap. xxv.

3. Fornander, Polynesian Race, I, 194.

4. Thrum, More Hawaiian Folk Tales, pp. 259-60; Lyons, Journal of the Polynesian Society, II, 56; Kamakau, Ke Au Okoa, March 31, 1869.]

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Kane, returned and became a great chief in the Hawaiian group, dominating the western islands. Such a hypothesis would give meaning to the association of the name of Ahuka'i in the trio with Kane and Kanaloa and all three with that of Kumuhonua on the genealogy of the twelfth section.

Not that we should even attempt to identify historically the long lists of names that make up the genealogical portions of the Kumulipo. Such lists, paired as man and wife, cover approximately eleven hundred of the fourteen hundred lines that make up the second period of the chant. They pretend to trace the family genealogy from its beginning. They claim for it descent from a single stock represented by the approximately eight hundred pairs listed on the long-lived man's genealogy of the eleventh section and on the much shorter branches of succeeding sections stemming from it. How are we to interpret such an ancestral series handed down by word of mouth alone, even if carried back before the migration to Hawaii, as later genealogists declare? Are these actual genealogies in our sense of the term? Are they intended to represent direct descent from father to son?

Many have so regarded them. The Kamokuiki book arranges the names in genealogical succession as man, wife, and child, but this may be the late recorder's idea rather than that of the genealogist from whom he learned them. The length of time they would represent on this basis must strike even an enthusiast's mind as unthinkable. Allowing only half the usual twenty years to a generation, the eleventh section would reach back some eight thousand years. Thereafter comes "the cock on the back of Wakea" whose genealogy of the sixteenth section has some traditional authority.

Most explain the series as purely rhetorical, a mere stuffing of the past for the sake of family prestige. There is

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some evidence for such a conclusion. We know that such verbal feats of memory were a delight to both audience and reciter from the fact that the early missionaries were urged not to omit in the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures those genealogical portions over which the tongue might linger as a fresh incentive to rhythmic syllabication. Moreover, names on the last half of the eleventh section follow a pattern of repeated syllables making up the name of the long-lived man as it appears in the eighth section and again at the close of the eleventh. This must be essentially a mnemonic device and can hardly be other than artificial.[5]

Designed also it would seem as an aid to memory is the listing by numerical count of the first two sections into groups of four hundred. The eleventh section breaks into two parts of approximately four hundred pairs each. An even closer count to four hundred is to be had by adding to the hundred and eighty-eight pairs of the younger brother's branch listed in the twelfth section the two hundred and fifteen pairs in the eleventh before the twelfth branches from it. Thus, as the fingers of the reciter slipped over the knotted cord on which he kept the sacred count, he must have held his memory in check by means of the "count by four hundred" upon which was woven the ancestral pattern. The whole meticulous structure of these early genealogies must have served to elaborate the symbolism inherent in the content, that of the unbroken inheritance of an entire people from a common ancestral stock. This was the main idea, the kaona once more, of such a sacred intertwining of the lives of the living with the fabric of a long, deified past, with "the forty thousand gods, the four hundred thousand gods, the four thousand gods" of temple prayers.[6]

But I believe there was something more than mere invention

[5. Beckwith, La'ieikawai, pp. 313-14; Stokes, Journal of the Polynesian Society, XXXIX, 1 ff.

6. N. B. Emerson, Unwritten Literature of Hawaii, p. 24, note d.]

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as the basis of the listing. The first four hundred names are short, often monosyllabic. So are, on the whole, the names of the twelfth section. Even the second four hundred of the eleventh, shorn of their word play, have monosyllabic values. This agrees with what is said today of the early preference for short family names before elaborate com pounds became the fashion. It is hence possible to read these names, not as representing vertical descent in time from father to son but as the horizontal spread, so to speak, of a kinship group under a single ruling lord or his direct successors, those heads of households whose reckoning would be important for land distribution or conscription for war. When Kepelino writes, "All the days of Kumuhonua's life were almost four hundred hanauna or more," although he is obviously under the influence of biblical phrasing and uses the word as if in its ordinary sense of "generation," he probably thinks of it in its meaning of "kinsfolk," and the statement becomes literally acceptable. It is possible, that is, that the lists once had relevance. When the line died out and a new stock took its place, the ancient numbering became memorialized among the deified dead, and their names were passed down by oral transmission in behalf of the family honor and glory by those who knew the "pathway of chiefs."

Nevertheless, it is not to be denied that the case for a straight genealogical descent from father to son for these Kumulipo listings is strong. Hawaiians certainly consider this their intent. The extremely tenacious memories of trained reciters in Hawaii and their special fondness for catalogues of names make a traditional record possible, even though at some point along the line invention filled in the numerical count. One must not forget the analogous testimony of Herodotus, to whom the priests at Thebes declared the count of 341 priest-kings who had succeeded from father to son from the beginning of the race, to prove

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which they showed him rows of wooden images of these kings coresponding {sic} in number to that claimed for them. It is true that the Egyptians were a literate people, but the fact remains that both peoples felt the importance of keeping a record of descent from the beginning--the Kumu-lipo of the race.

Another feature, common not only to the Kumulipo chant but to all similar prayer chants to the ancestral gods handed down from Hawaiian sources, is the variety of names used for these deities as expressive of their function in the process of generation, so that a single deity may appear under different titles according to the particular aspect under which he or she is worshiped by a given family branch. "Each island had a separate tree," notes Fornander[7] and the attempt to synchronize genealogies on a historical basis alone without reference to this possessive urge to poetic invention would be barren of results. Such names are preserved in a family as titles of honor. Thus the child of a chief owned a sacred name bestowed by a god in a dream and not to be revealed beyond the immediate family. He might also take the name of a famous ancestor. He was given nicknames to mark important events in his career or traits of character that he developed. How much more readily, then, might a common ancestral deity be marked off for worship under a particular attribute according to the function he was called upon to fulfil or the special relation that he held to the family of the petitioner.

The Kumulipo is full of such instances. The name Li'aikuhonua which opens the genealogy of the fourteenth section replaces that of Huli-honua in the more common version and explains a puzzling invocation quoted by Emerson, "E Ku, e Li," opening a prayer for fertility on land, in the sea, and in offspring to man, developed along quite similar lines to the Kumulipo and probably possessing, although in

[7. Collection ("Memoirs," No. 4), p. 406.]

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little, like incantational value.[8] Li's wife Ke-aka-huli-honua, on the other hand, may most certainly be equated with Ata-(huli-ho)nua, wife of Tagaroa in Mangareva, and of 'Atea in the Marquesas. Wela-ahi-lani, named just at the close of the twelfth section with his wife Owe, a contraction of Owehewehe meaning "to open," is Malo's W(ela-)ahi-lani who "opens" the heavens and comes down to the beautiful La'ila'i on earth,[9] she here synonomous {sic} with Owe and both with Wakea and Papa under special family titles, perhaps those played upon in the two opening lines of the ninth section. Again, 'Ipo'i, wife of Mulinaha on the genealogical branch of the thirteenth section, just before the birth of Haumea, may be identical with Uhiuhi-ka-'ipo-i-wai born with the gods Kane, Lono, and Kanaloa in the "Genealogy of the First from Intense Darkness" reported by the Committee of 1904, from whom, through her union with the god Kanaloa, were descended "the generations of Hawaii from the beginning of Heaven and Earth."[10] Such elaborations upon the functions of a deity are honorific and no more imply plurality than the epithets attached to the supreme deity of the Hebrews.

The unique place given to Haumea on the genealogy of the fifteenth and sixteenth sections of the chant in place of Papa, commonly named on the same genealogy, has already been noticed. The birth from this union of the god Kaua-kahi, "First-strife," or Ku-kaua-kahi, "Arising-of-first-strife," and of Kaua-huli-honua, "Strife-overturning-earth," seems to imply some kind of revolutionary movement as a result of Haumea's match with Kanaloa. It is in Mangareva. alone that Haumea occupies the place of wife to Tagaroa comparable to that given her here in the Hawaiian Kumulipo.

[8. Fornander, Polynesian Race, I, 184; J. S. Emerson, The Lesser Hawaiian Gods, pp. 17-20.

9. Malo, p. 23.

10. Kepelino, Appendix, p. 182.]

{p. 147} In Mangarevan myths of beginning Tagaroa holds the leading place among "primary gods without a known origin" belonging to "the long period of darkness." Some call him creator, "a god who made all the things in the world," but Dr. Buck, whose report on Mangarevan ethnology I am following, thinks this a late rationalization influenced from Tahiti.[11]

The Mangarevan myth gives to Haumea eight children by Tagaroa. Tu, the first-born, is god of breadfruit and "principal functioning god of Mangareva." She then leaves Tagaroa, and he takes to wife the daughter of the "fisherman" Tine. The girl hesitates to bear a child because it is the custom to cut open the mother at childbirth, but Tagaroa teaches her natural delivery. Haumea takes a husband named Pia and has eight more sons. Her story then turns upon the familiar theme of the cannibal wife. She becomes a maneater and attempts to kill Pia. Her sons flee with their father by boat, and when she follows they slay her and leave her body to be broken to pieces by the sea. Tagaroa desires her again and recovers her broken parts. Out of her body he forms "Atanua," who seems to be the same lady whom we have equated with Ke-aka-hull-honua, wife of Li'a-i-ku-honua of the Kumulipo. From the blood and afterbirth born of the union with the reincarnated goddess come the spawn of fish in March and the jellyfish of the sea. From members of her body he forms wives for other Tagaroa gods.

Several elements in this Mangarevan myth bear a striking likeness to the Kumulipo story. Not only is Haumea mated with Tagaroa, who is Kanaloa in Hawaii, and bears to him "Ku" as her eldest son, but she also leaves her husband to become mated with one who seems to be no god but a human being. In changed form she takes many husbands, in the Kumulipo by changing from age to youth, in Mangareva

[11. Buck, Ethnology of Mangareva, pp. 419-22, 508-9.]

through the fertilizing power of the parts of her body; in both cases she becomes wife and mother to the family of the god. After the distribution of her fertile members, however, the likeness passes to the Wakea myth, where the parent of mankind, deserted by Papa, takes into his canoe the shape-shifting bailing gourd, and from the beautiful woman who emerges from it are born strange sea creatures. Certainly the composer of this portion of the Kumulipo chant and the Mangarevan mythmaker must have drawn from a common source.

There is no suggestion in the Mangarevan myth that the function of warrior was attached to Ku, god of breadfruit and child of Haumea, nor is Haumea concerned with a popular folk tale told in Hawaii of the god Ku's change into a breadfruit tree, although her own conversion into such a tree must not be forgotten. Ku-kauakahi as god of war has no place on other Hawaiian genealogies of beginning, nor is he named in either Malo's or Fornander's rather full description of ceremonies attending the consecration of a luakini or heiau erected to the war god Ku for the purpose of petitioning for success in war. His may have been a sacred name forbidden to common usage, hence replaced on the Hawaiian theocracy by the all-embracing Ku.

In popular romance, however, the name is kept alive in the person of the high taboo chief Kaua-kahi-ali'i ("Kaua-kahi-the-chief") who lives in a sacred pleasure garden of the gods on the island of Kauai high up near the source of the north fork of the Wailua River and lures to him by his pipe-playing a pretty chiefess from the seacoast. Complications follow, notably in some versions a fight with the girl's former suitor. The story has much in common with the Kumulipo theme of Wakea's affair with Hina-kawe'o-a, especially the euphemistic version told in a note to Malo of Kauakahi's wooing of a water maiden by means of an image of a girl behind which he hides, pretending it is she who

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invites companionship. After winning the water nymph's favor he disappears, and the girl is obliged to follow him to his home and pick out from a number of identical images (ki'i) the particular one in which he is hidden.[12]

Is Wakea an equivalent, then, not of Kanaloa but of Kauakahi, who introduces war through an alien alliance, or of Kaua-huli-honua, who overthrows an old divine hierarchy and sets up a new? The answer is that he is all three. I think the idea must be abandoned that these earlier genealogies represent a succession of generations rather than of events arranged under whatever symbolic titles belong by tradition to the family who are memorializing those events in the name of divinities believed concerned in their achievement. Names thus become interchangeable. Relationships disappear. Parents become telescoped into sons or brothers or into descendants, and each takes on any one of a number of honorific family titles appropriate to the place assigned in the succession. Especially in storytelling, deeds once related of a parent shift into the name song of son or grandson or are transferred to a popular figure belonging to a quite unrelated period. Historical accuracy just does not exist as we understand the term, and the painstaking toil of our own scholars in calculating dates far into the past from these oratorical recitations must certainly be abandoned as a case of virtue its own and only reward. It was enough that the family understood and applauded each allusion. Never may we outsiders rob them of their "sole treasure."

[12. Malo, pp. 117-19; Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology, pp. 538-42.]

Next: Hawaiian Accounts of Creation