Skip to Main Content

Traditions of Oʻahu: Winds of Oʻahu

Stories of this island before high-rises, freeways and hotels, before sugar plantations and pineapple fields, before churches and the Bible.

Winds of Oʻahu

The Wind Gourd of La'amaomao, from which the following chant is excerpted, tells the story of Paka'a and his son Kuapaka'a, descendants of the wind god La'amaomao. They control the winds of Hawai'i through a gourd which contains the winds, and chants which call out the winds by name. Each wind name is associated with an ahupua'a (land section) or place and represents perhaps the characteristic or most famous wind of that area. Memorizing the dozens of wind names and associated place names would have been part of the training of a navigator.

Seeking revenge against his enemies at court, Paka'a passes on the gourd and chants to his son. When Paka'a's enemies arrive at Moloka'i from the Big Island, Kuapaka'a chants the names of all the winds of Hawai'i and tells the chief Keawenuia'umi to come ashore on Moloka'i, because the winds will destroy his fleet of canoes if it continues on to O'ahu. Keawenuia'umi doesn't heed the warning, and his canoe fleet is swamped in the Kaiwi channel. The following is the chant naming the winds of O'ahu, starting at Hanauma Bay in the ahupua'a of Maunalua in the district of Ko'olaupoko; proceeding clockwise around the island; and ending at Makapu'u, also in Maunalua (Nakuina 43-44):


(a) Awawamalu ("Shady gulch") is known today as "Sandy Beach." Corpses of fisherman and sailors who drowned in the Kaiwi channel were swept ashore by the currents there and at other spots along the southeast coast of O'ahu, like Hanauma Bay. Compare Kamakau: "If the canoe broke to pieces, their dead bodies would be cast up on Lana'i or at Hanauma" (Ka Po'e Kahiko 76).

(b) One of the greatest fears of the ali'i was the desecration of their bones by fishermen who used human bones to make fishhooks. The mana (spiritual power) of a person resided in the bones, and this mana could be passed on to descendants only if the bones were taken care of. (Thus, Paka'a carries the bones of his grandmother La'amaomao with him in his gourd.) Fishermen preferred the thigh bone and upper-arm bone for making hooks. If they were lucky enough to find a corpse at sea or washed ashore, they baked it in an imu and stripped off the flesh. Sometimes the flesh was used as bait to catch niuhi (tiger shark); or it could be left to scavengers, such as crabs and sea birds.

There are our clouds, my father's and mine,
Covering the mountains;
The clouds rise with a sudden shower,
The whirling winds blow,
The source of the storm of the keiki,
Ku a e-ho is at sea,
From the sea, the storm comes sweeping toward shore,
The windward Kui-lua wind churns up the sea,
While you're fishing and sailing,
The 'Ihi'ihilauakea wind blows,
It's the wind that blows inside Hanauma,
A wind from the mountains that darkens the sea,
It's the wind that tosses the kapa of Paukua,

Pu'uokona is of Kuli'ou'ou,
Ma-ua is the wind of Niu,
Holouha is of Kekaha,
Maunuunu is of Wai'alae,
The wind of Le'ahi turns here and there,
'Olauniu is of Kahaloa,
Wai'oma'o is of Palolo,
Kuehu-lepo is of Kahua,
Kukalahale is of Honolulu,
'Ao'aoa is of Mamala,
'Olauniu is of Kapalama,
Haupe'epe'e is of Kalihi,
Ko-momona is of Kahauiki,
Ho'e'o is of Moanalua,
[Map: Ahupua'a and Wind Names of Kona]

Moa'e-ku is of 'Ewaloa,
Kehau is of Wai'opua,
Waikoloa is of Lihu'e,
Kona is of Pu'uokapolei,
Maunuunu is of Pu'uloa,
[Map: Ahupua'a and Wind Names of 'Ewa]

Kaiaulu is of Wai'anae,
Kumuma'oma'o is of Kamaile,
Kumaipo is of Kualele,
Kopiliehu is of Olopua,
[Map: Ahupua'a and Wind Names of Wai'anae]

The wind of Ka'ena turns in two directions,
Hinakokea is of Mokule'ia,
The winds of Waialua blow,
Moving silently at the cape of Ka'ena,
Pu'u-ka'ala blows at Ka'ala,
Kehau is of Kapo,
[Map: Ahupua'a and Wind Names of Waialua]

The sea wind blows hard,
Malualua comes from the northeast,
Peapueo is of Kaunala,
Ahamanu is of Kahuku,
Lanakila is of Hau'ula,
Moa'e is of Punalu'u,
'Ahiu is of Kahana,
[Map: Ahupua'a and Wind Names of Ko'olauloa]

Holopali is of Ka'a'awa and Kualoa,
Kiliua is of Waikane,
Mololani is of Kua'a'ohe,
Ulumano is of Kane'ohe,
The wind is for Kaholoakeahole,
Puahiohio is the upland wind of Nu'uanu,
Malanai is of Kailua,
Limu-li-pu'upu'u comes ashore at Waimanalo,
'Alopali is of Pahonu,
At Makapu'u the winds turn,
The Kona winds turn, the Ko'olau winds turn,
[Map: Ahupua'a and Wind Names of Ko'olaupoko]

The winds will turn before you and find you,
You'll be overwhelmed, O deaf ali'i,
The winds will gather,
The na'ena'e leaves will bend,
You'll be swept ashore at Awawamalu,(a).
Caught in the fishing net of the head fisherman,
Your thigh bone and upper-arm bone
Will be made into fishhooks,
To catch the pao'o and the 'opakapaka,
Your flesh will be without bones,
The black crab, the shearwater will eat your remains,
The life from the parents will be broken off,(b).
Here I am, the 'aumakua kanaka,
Listen to my life-giving words,
Keawenuia'umi, come ashore, a storm is coming,
When you sailed yesterday, it was calm

Kapiʻolani Community College - © 2001-2004. All Rights Reserved.
Content Manager: Dennis Kawaharada -
Website Managed by: Kapiʻolani CC Library -
Last Modified: 27-Feb-2023 16:00 HST