In ancient Hawai‘i, Hina is known for being the goddess of the moon and the mother of Maui. According to Hawaiian mythology, Hina also had two daughers, Hina Keahi, the mistress of fire and Hina Kuluʻua, the mistress of rain. It is said that Hina gifted her daughters with two mountains, Halai for Hina Keahi and Puʻuhonu for Hina Kuluʻua.
The people of Hina Keahi’s mountain always had plentiful amounts of food with them, but one month their crops started shriveling up and the people began to starve. Hina Keahi knew she had to do something to help her people, so she ordered for an underground imu to be made. She told her people to gather fire wood and the people of the village decided that they needed to put someone in the imu to be sacrificed.
Hina Keahi told her people to bury her in the imu, reassuring them that she wouldn’t get hurt because she was the fire goddess. She told her people to wait three days. During those three days, Hina Keahi traveled from the ground towards the sea – she came up to the surface where Hilo Boarding School Stands today and she marked her spot with a freshwater spring.
On the third day, Hina Keahi returned to the village as a woman who the villagers couldn’t recognize. All of the villagers were in awe of how much she resembled Hina Keahi, but they knew it was not her because she was in the imu. The woman told the villagers to uncover the imu and they found enough cooked food to supply them until the rainy season returned. To this day, the villagers believe that Hina Keahi sought out help from her beloved sister Hina Kuluʻua to help her feed her people.