*Photo By mauikayakadventures.com
Māui is a demi-god who is popular in the Native Hawaiian culture. He is known for being the “trickster.” It is said that he owns a great fish-hook called Manaiakalani. Legend has it that Māui created the Hawaiian islands by tricking his brothers into going fishing with him. While fishing he supposedly catches a hook upon the ocean floor. He tricks his brothers into thinking that he caught a big fish and tells them to paddle as hard as they can. He does this several times – forming the Hawaiian islands.
Stories have been passed along that speak of Māui stopping the sun from moving so fast. He does this after his mother complains of her kapa or bark cloth being unable to dry because the days are so short. He climbs to the top of the Haleakala volcano which is also known as the House of the Sun, located on the island of Maui and lassoes the sun as it comes up. The sun then begs him to let go and agrees to make the days longer in the summer and shorter in the winter.
In many ways, Māui represents the resilience, strength, and cleverness of the Hawaiian culture. The stories of Māui allow us to dive into how Native Hawaiians passed down legends, helping us have a better understanding of the creativity of the Native Hawaiians.