MO`OLELO:
History,
Interpretations of the Past
MO`OLELO
• Derived from the words
moʻo ʻōlelo, succession of
talk; all stories were oral,
not written
• Because Hawai`i
la...
MO`OLELO VS. KA`AO
• Mo`olelo:
– Legend
– Historical in nature
– Documentation

• Ka`ao
– Fanciful story or tale; usually ...
KA`AO: The 4 H’s of myth
• Each ka`ao has 4 H’s
– Hua (Catalyst)
– Ha`alele (Separation)
– Huaka`i (Journey)
– Ho`ina (Ret...
HUA:
The Catalyst
• Hua: egg, seed or
result, effect
• The call to adventure.
The person, thing or
event that launches
the...
HAʻALELE:
The Separation
• Haʻalele: to leave, abandon, or evacuate
• The point at which the main character
separates from...
HUAKAʻI:
The Journey
• Huaka`i: a journey, a
mission, to travel
• The main character often
undergoes a series of tests,
ta...
THE CROSSROAD
• It is at this point that the
main character confronts
the final leg of the
ritual…..
Do I return to societ...
HOʻINA:
The Return

• Hoʻi: a return, to go back, to come back, to
leave with the intention of returning back to
where you...
KA`AO – HŌ`AILONA
• Hō`ailona
– Symbols or
omens/predictions within a
story
– A prophecy of what is to
come
– Names of cha...
MO`OLELO & KA`AO
• Historical
Information
• Biographical
Information
• Cultural Elements
FINAL THOUGHTS
• The images of myth speak directly to a person
with a unique message.
• What the myth and its symbols mean...
If you have any
questions, please
ask them on the
Discussion Board.
Mahalo!
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  • Thus, no one is to say that one story is “right” and the other is “wrong.”
    Different `ohana (families) may have been taught different versions due to geographic location and persona interpretation.
    Hawaiian legends and myths occupy an important place in both the history of the islands and in the understanding of Hawaiian culture today.
  • A mo`olelo is generally defined as a legend or a story that is historical in nature; one that is used for documentation purpose.
    Mo`olelo is used to inform us of events that happened.
    A ka`ao is simply an embellished mo`olelo or a myth, meaning that it is a story that is quite fanciful in nature and contains many exaggerations.
    Ka`ao as myth does not mean that it is a false story, rather it speaks to the basis for understanding the kanaka maoli
    Ka`ao are used to tickle our fancy or to explain certain phenomena and beliefs
    They are poetic stories that express a world view and embodies the ideals, beliefs, and dreams of a society
    Through studying ka`ao and mo`olelo, we can learn how the kanaka maoli lived, thought, and expressed themselves.
    History can tell us facts about people, but ka`ao and mo`olelo show us their beliefs, fears, hopes and cultural practices.
  • Ka`ao or myths, are filled with symbolism to explain universal truths and values
    Ka`ao are meant to resonate something within each individual
    To truly understand ka`ao, you must look beyond the literal translation and study the symbols and ideas instead.
    The different symbols within a myth may mean different things to different people.
    In fact, they may even mean different things to the SAME person at different points in their lives because of knowledge gained, experiences, etc.
    The Hua, or catalyst, is the main character’s call to adventure, generally to the unknown
    The Ha`alele, or separation, is when the main character separates from the community and embarks on his/her journey or adventure
    The Huaka`i, or journey, refers to the tests, tasks, ordeals or challenges that the main character must accomplish as part of the adventure. It encompasses all of their experiences and lessons learned
    The Ho`ina, or return, is when the main character returns to tell his/her story of the journey and shares insights gained as a result of the journey
  • For example, in the case of Pele, she and her sister Namakaokaha`I fights, and she flees for her life.
    In the case of Disney’s Mulan, her father cannot go to war, so she does.
    The hero usually starts off in a mundane situation of normality from which some information is received that acts as a call to head off into the unknown
    Some people refuse the call to adventure and thus, are destined to mediocre lives of survival and convention
    Those who accept the call to adventure may do so alone or with assistance
    Often receives supernatural aid in the form of a protective figure that provide special tools and advice for the adventure ahead
  • This begins the separation of what was and what will become. It is the death of one understanding and the birth of another.
    Note that this ha`alele doesnʻt always have to be a physical one.
  • The huakaʻI is the longest part of the story. Here is where the story unfolds.
    It is here where strengths are honed to ward off the deepest and cruelest fears that whisper against oneʻs efforts and reasons to continue the journey
    Typified by a trail or path
    If the path is steep, it often alludes to difficulties
    The main character may meet up with a mentor
    Mentor: people you meet along the way who assist you such as an old lady/man, talking animals, fairy godmother, relatives, etc.
    Everything and everyone in a journey are necessary for growth
    The journey is often times violent and graphic in image.
    It is here in the huaka`i that the mo`o (water spirits) are killed while journeying through the forest or the manō (sharks) are slaughtered before treading through the ocean, from one shore to the next.
    It is here that the main character is introduced to their internal demons and monsters that are transposed on the landscape of his/her journey.
  • SYMBOLS
    Ānuenue – rainbows are believed to be signs of an ali`i
    In fact, the birth of an ali`i were typically accompanied by a double-arched rainbow
    NAMES
    For example, Wailuku is the name of the river in Hilo. It literally means “destructive water,” so it gives you an idea of the kind of river it is
    Also, the `iwa (frigate bird) figuratively refers to a thief because it steals the food of other birds. In the Legend of `Iwa, the main character (named `Iwa) was a thief.
  • There are many different facets to consider when learning about mo`olelo and ka`ao.
    Some of the things you can learn from reading them are historical information, such as the documentation of place names. Many of the place names today are no longer used as they have been replaced by modern names like “4 Miles” or “Richardson’s.” Therefore, the documentation of the original place names in these mo`olelo and ka`ao are very important so they are not lost forever. Mo`olelo and ka`ao also document important events that have occurred throughout history such as the first hula that was performed, the destruction of `ai kapu, etc.
    Mo`olelo & ka`ao also contain a lot of biographical information. Traditional stories usually start with some form of genealogy, such as “____ was the father; ___ was the mother” and also includes where they were from. Genealogy, or mo`okū`auhau, is very important to the kanaka maoli as it tells us who we are and where we come from. A form of this tradition is carried on to this day. Often times, when we meet someone new, our first question/topic after names are “Where are you from?” or “Where did you graduate from?” (as in which high school). This helps us to establish where they are from, what we can expect, etc.
    Of course, there is a lot of different cultural elements we can learn from mo`olelo and ka`ao as well – the culture of family, social protocol, oli (chants), medicine, arts and crafts, and much, much more.
  • Please note that there is a course offered here at HawCC – HWST 104: Hawai`i Myth Culture – that delves deeper into the topics of mo`olelo & ka`ao
  • 107 moolelo

    1. 1. MO`OLELO: History, Interpretations of the Past
    2. 2. MO`OLELO • Derived from the words moʻo ʻōlelo, succession of talk; all stories were oral, not written • Because Hawai`i language was an oral language, multiple versions of the same legend may exist today
    3. 3. MO`OLELO VS. KA`AO • Mo`olelo: – Legend – Historical in nature – Documentation • Ka`ao – Fanciful story or tale; usually fiction – An embellished moʻolelo
    4. 4. KA`AO: The 4 H’s of myth • Each ka`ao has 4 H’s – Hua (Catalyst) – Ha`alele (Separation) – Huaka`i (Journey) – Ho`ina (Return)
    5. 5. HUA: The Catalyst • Hua: egg, seed or result, effect • The call to adventure. The person, thing or event that launches the entire myth. It is the thing that causes the journey to happen.
    6. 6. HAʻALELE: The Separation • Haʻalele: to leave, abandon, or evacuate • The point at which the main character separates from the community and embarks on the journey • It means leaving the familiar landscape or the environment in which one is comfortable into an unknown realm where the rules and limits are unknown
    7. 7. HUAKAʻI: The Journey • Huaka`i: a journey, a mission, to travel • The main character often undergoes a series of tests, tasks, ordeals or challenges that he/she is required to accomplish as part of the adventure • Experiences and lessons are learned that leads us to our ancient selves
    8. 8. THE CROSSROAD • It is at this point that the main character confronts the final leg of the ritual….. Do I return to society? Do I leave society? This leads us to……..
    9. 9. HOʻINA: The Return • Hoʻi: a return, to go back, to come back, to leave with the intention of returning back to where you first came • After answering the call to adventure and meeting its trials, the main character must return and integrate back into the community – The main character returns to the ordinary world with an item or awareness that will benefit the society left earlier – The main character returns to tell his/her story and to serve as inspiration for others who have not yet answered their call
    10. 10. KA`AO – HŌ`AILONA • Hō`ailona – Symbols or omens/predictions within a story – A prophecy of what is to come – Names of characters or place names often provide insight into the characters’ attributes, personality, and/or the plot of the story
    11. 11. MO`OLELO & KA`AO • Historical Information • Biographical Information • Cultural Elements
    12. 12. FINAL THOUGHTS • The images of myth speak directly to a person with a unique message. • What the myth and its symbols mean to one person, may be different from another person. It may even mean something different to the same person at a different time in their life. • Myths can always be revisited and something new can always be learned from them!
    13. 13. If you have any questions, please ask them on the Discussion Board. Mahalo!

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