The Hawaiian culture is rooted in a deep respect for nature and a relationship with the land. In Hawaiian mythology, ʻaumākua are known as family gods or deified ancestors. Most ʻaumākua had been humans during their respected life on earth, working, advising, helping, and serving as examples to others. After death their spirits dwelled in the ʻaumākua realm where they were able to keep in communication with their descendants on earth. It is said that the ʻaumākua were able to send messages and offer advice to the Native Hawaiians through dreams. The most visible of the ʻaumākua were those that appeared on earth as an animal, a plant, a mineral or as one of natureʼs forces such as volcanic fire, lightening, or phosphorescent lights.
Some common ʻaumākua as animal were ʻalae the bird, manō the shark, moʻo the lizard, honu the turtle, pueo the owl, puhi the eel, loli the sea cucumber, kōlea the plover and many more. Some of the ʻaumākua were believed to represent certain messages. For example, the puhi represented emotion, the manō represented strength, the pueo represented protection, and the moʻo represented independence. To this day, many Native Hawaiians still believe in their ʻaumākua and the bond remains as strong as ever. ʻAumākua are always being called on for protection, comfort and support.