Deities of Mauna Kea

November 30, 2020

Deities of Mauna Kea

In the Native Hawaiian culture, Mauna Kea is one of the most sacred and prominent summits in Hawaiʻi. Many say that Mauna Kea allows Native Hawaiians to feel more connected to the akua or gods. In ancient times, Mauna Kea was considered the realm of the gods and it was kapu or forbidden to all but the highest chiefs and priests. Here are a few of the akua associated with Mauna Kea: 


Poli‘ahu is known as the snow goddess of Mauna Kea, and she is the sister of Pele (and coincidentally, her rival). Pele, goddess of volcanoes, stays restlessly away on Mauna Loa. Poli‘ahu is one of the four female goddesses on Mauna Kea. 


Wakea is the Sky Father who mated with Papa to give birth to all the island children. Mauna Kea was named after Wakea and is known to many Hawaiians as Mauna O Wakea or Ka Mauna A Kea (Wakea’s Mountain). 


Haloa is the son of Wakea, the first man, by his own daughter, Ho‘ohokukalani. He is sometimes referred to as "the progenitor of all the peoples of the earth." Taro is a symbol of Haloa, and of the kind of taro called lau-loa.

With a summit rises to an elevation of 4,205m above sea level, Mauna Kea remains one of the most culturally significant places in Hawai‘i. And these deities are just a few of the impactful gods and goddesses whose stories have been told across the islands to the people of Hawai‘i. If you ever get the chance to visit Mauna Kea, itʻll be an adventure that allows you to step back in time into the realm of the gods of the Hawaiian people.