The Story of Haloa:
a Hawaiian Creation Story
The name Haloa tells a story of connection between all Hawaiians, a story of connection between people and nature. Hawaiians are one with Haloa, one with kalo (taro).
Wakea - Father Sky, and Papa - Mother Earth, had a beautiful daughter named Ho’ohokulani, whose name means ‘the making of stars in the heavens’. Wakea and Ho’ohokulani together conceived a child, and the family waited patiently for the birth.Can you imagine their sadness when this child was stillborn? This child, a son, was named Haloa. Haloa means long breath, eternal breath. The kupuna, the elders, whispered, ‘the child looks like a root.’ The family wrapped Haloa in kapa, placed him in a basket of woven lauhala, and buried him in the ‘aina.
Ho’ohokulani grieved the loss of her son, wailing and chanting, crying and mourning and watering the grave with her tears. In time, a plant grew from the gravesite. This unknown plant was fragile and tender but also strong and healthy, far reaching and long. Lau kapalili: Tremble leaf. Lau kapalala: broad leaf. The stems were slender and when the wind blew they swayed and bent as though paying homage, their heart shaped leaves shivering gracefully as in hula. And in the center of each leaf water gathered, like a mother’s teardrop.
This plant grew well and when the mother plant matured it produced a corm called an ‘oha. This ‘oha, when removed from the mother plant, was then planted and another mother plant started it’s life cycle. The word ‘ohana, family, comes from the word ’oha and describes human families as kalo plants with offspring.
Ho’ohokulani conceived again and this time gave birth to another son also named Haloa after the first son. This second Haloa was lovely, handsome and healthy in every way. Haloa Naka was the first son: he became the first kalo and the respected sibling and elder brother of the second Haloa, who became the first Hawaiian. Kalo (taro) of course, is a traditional principal food of our Hawaiian people.
The Hawaiian's call themselves ‘keiki o ka ‘aina,’ ‘children of the land.’ The ‘aina is a heart matter for Hawaiians, much more than just soil or sand. People and nature are siblings born to the same parents at the start of time.
The word ‘aina, land, literally means ‘that which feeds’ and maka’ainana, the term for common people, means ‘eyes of the land’ Thus, nature feeds us and in return we must watch over nature. The land gives us everything we need: food, clothing, housing, tools, toys, musical instruments, canoes - everything we craft, wear and eat comes from plants, animals, fish and minerals. We are dependent on nature: revere and respect her. E malama pono i ka ‘aina: take good care of the earth. Life depends on people, nature and Spirit living in harmony: lokahi.