The Story of the Punahou Spring

July 12, 2021

The Story of the Punahou Spring

There once was a Native Hawaiian chief by the name of Kaha‘akea, who lived on the Ka‘ala Mountains with his twin children, his son was named Kauawa‘ahila (Wa‘ahila Rain), and his daughter was named Kauaki‘owao (Mountain Mist). Their birthmother died while giving birth. Kaha‘akea later married a woman named Hawea who was incredibly wicked to Kauawa‘ahila and Kauaki‘owao. He often left the children with Hawea so he could perform his chiefly duties. The legend says that the children’s birthmother’s spirit always followed and protected them from the cruel ways of Hawea, but at one point her treatments became unbearable to the twins. She often deprived them of food, clothing and water, so they fled and hid themselves in two small caves on rocky hills that would later be known as the Punahou pasture.

One day, Kauaki‘owao complained of wanting to be somewhere that had a pond of water where she could bathe and play. From therefore, her brother set out to speak to Kakea, a water god, who had control of all of the water sources of Manoa and Makiki Valleys. This god was one of the ancestors of the children on the mother’s side and agreed to open a water source for Kauawa‘ahila and Kauaki‘owao – the spring became known as Ka Punahou (the new spring).

When Kaha‘akea returned and heard about what had happened to his children, he killed Hawea and then himself. To this day, Hawea has ever since been known to the Hawaiians as a name for a cruel stepmother.

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