How the ohelo plant came to be, 1930.


The parents of Kaoheloula were from Kauai, the father was Manuakepa and the mother was Hooleia.

The two of them begat their daughter and she was called by their name, Kaoheloua; the name of the father is very famous to the present, and it is set down in poetic composition with the words below:

Ka limu kaha kanaka o Manuakepa,
Ka pekupeku iluna ka ua o Hanalei, and so forth.

They all lived together, when the daughter was beset by illness; her parents went in search of someone to treat the sickness of their daughter and they found a kahuna named Kumakaohuohu and asked him for medicine.

“E! Might you please give us some medicine for our daughter, for she is sick;” and the kahuna replied:

“I have no medicine for you two until you give something to offer for my kapu plant, and then will your daughter be saved.”

The daughter was fetched and laid upon the plant while the parents hoped that she would be cured; but no, the kahuna caused her to die.

At the death of the girl, it grew on upon that plant and scattered here and there and spread all over Hawaii nei, and that is how the ohelo was dispersed from Kauai to everywhere.

There are others who say that it was because of some women; one was a woman with inflamed eyes and the other was a woman that moved about by fits and starts; and because they were constantly reviled, they were ashamed and killed themselves.

What the women did was juggle rocks, two or three and so on; they did this while accompanied by a mele; when they threw the rock up, that was when they sung:

Puili, puili ohelo ai a ka manu,
Ke ai holoholo la i ka uka o Puna, and so forth.

And when they died, the woman with inflamed eyes turned into ohelo ula and the crawling woman turned into ohelo papa. Those are some things that I was told.


(Alakai o Hawaii, 8/8/1930, p. 3)


Ke Alakai o Hawaii, Buke 3, Helu 14, Aoao 3. Augate 8, 1930.


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