Malei Stone

Malei Stone

. . . In the legend about her, she is described as being an image, having a round stone part for a head and a large round part for a body.  It is of very white stone, like marble.  According to the description in the legend, the stone was set up at Makapuu by Aiai, son of Ku-ula, the god of fishes.  He lived at Hana on Maui . . . he (Aiai) came to Makapuu from Molokai and set up this fish goddess named Malei.  To this Malei belonged the chant composed by Hiiaka and to her belonged the red and streaked fish.  From Makapuu point to Hanauma Bay the uhu fish multiplied under her care.  When she was established on this land all the chiefs and commoners went to give offerings of leis made of lipoa seaweed.  They were placed on the stone Malei with prayers.  The fishermen were lucky on these beaches and Malei was happy with her leis of lipoa seaweed.  The sea was usually calm in those by gone days . . . . The stone Malei remained there for a long time at Makapuu.  The fishermen of Waimanalo constantly ascended the cliff at Makapuu.  

Anoai o Oahu Nei

Poola, George, Oahu Places

Hoku o Hawaii, Dec. 31, 1929

Uhu Fish

"Ka pali nana uhu ka'i o Makapu'u."

The cliffs for observing the traveling uhu of Makapu'u.

ʻŌlelo Noʻeau • Mary Kawena Pukui

The Malei stone stood in a spot back of Makapuu hill, on the Koolau side.

It was like Kini (see Waimanalo), a stone for the purpose of attracting fish to the shore, but for uhu fish.  It was a female stone.

. . . Malei is gone now, where, no one knows.

Aiona, Charles

Informant Sept. 14, 1939

Waimanalo, Oahu


Hawaiians have not forgotten the story about the stone goddess called “Malei,” a stone deity cared for and worshiped by the Hawaiian fishermen in the olden days; the great fish that the stone deity always brought to shore was the uhu, as is seen in the story of Hiiaka:

“Aia la o ka uku kai o Makapuu,

He i’a ia na Malei na ka wahine e noho ana i ka ulu a ka makani,

I Koolau ke ola i ka huaka’i malihini,

Kanaenae a Hiiaka i ka poli o Pele,

E Malei e, i halekipa ke aloha, e uwe mai!’

[There are the uhu of Makapuu which swim in procession,

Fish of Malei that dwells in the rising winds,

In Koolau lies the sustenance for the unfamiliar travellers,

Hiiakaikapoliopele prays,

O Malei, welcome us in love; let us weep!]

After this fish stone was left at Jospeh K. Clarke’s place on South King Street for many years after being brought from Makapuu where this stone was placed in those days before the arrival of the missionary teachers to Hawaii nei, it was returned to Makapuu Point by George A. Beazley, the keeper of the lighthouse of Makapuu, a haole watchman of the lighthouse for the past 11 years, and to Beazley went the care of this fish stone after Mr. Clarke passed the care to him, and also because he was going back to Maui. Mr. Beazley and several Hawaiians returned the fish stone to Makapuu. A very famous stone from ancient times was Kuula, and from the old stories of the kuula, the fish diety of Hawaii, is where this stone came from.

Kuula was looked upon by Hawaiians as a fish god presiding over all the fish of the sea, and it was at Hana, Maui, that he lived with his wahine. He had the body of a man but he possessed supernatural powers to rule over all of the fish of the sea, according to the old stories. Kuula spent all of his life at fishing. He built a fishpond and filled it with all types of fish. He constructed a house of leaves [hale lau] in a single day and completed it in a single day, and dwelt in it for a single day, and within that hale lau, he placed a fish stone which he called after his own name, “Kuula.” It is said that at the time he set up this hale for the god which he believed had power over all things, that was the reason he built the hale lau as a place to make offerings to that stone god and to feed it with awa. After the hale lau was built, according to the story, all types of fish schooled at the shore near where this stone was placed.

A child was begotten by Kuula and he called him Aiai, and like the mana that Kuula had, so too was the mana of this fish child, Aiai, and from Aiai spread the knowledge and the occupation of fishing amongst the Hawaiians though Aiai’s teachings, and after that, a great many hale lau were build on Maui, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Kauai and Molokai, and each place that he built a hale lau was marked with a stone.

Aiai travelled from Molokai on to here on Oahu and he landed at the Cape of “Malei.” This was a stone goddess, and the uhu fish of the sea was the predominant fish of the area, as seen in the Hiiaka story. It is said that from the time of Aiai built this site for the fish stone, it was from that time that the uhu would swim in procession from Makapuu to Hanauma Bay. Is this a fact?

(Kuokoa, 3/11/1921, p. 4)