Maui Lifts Up The Sky
When Maui was young, the sky was so low that the trees became tangled in it. All plants had flattened leaves and there was much darkness. As Maui grew older, Maui decided to push back the sky. He went to a Kahuna who tattooed a magic symbol on his forearm giving him immense strength. Through a series of mighty efforts, Maui pushed the sky beyond the mountains to where it remains to this day allowing room for all creatures and living things.
Artist Analysis: As Maui grew into a young man, he was given a magic tattoo on his forearm. There was no researchable image for this, so one had to be invented. The rest of Maui; his straight nose, hair style with top-knot and tiki leaves was taken from a carved image of Maui on a Maori meeting house panel. Note in the presentation the Maori tradition of body tattooing has just begun with only a few designs in evidence. Reference of the Maui image can be found in the bookOceanic Mythology by Paul Hamlyn p.p. 25. The black sky is made up of buttons, black lava pebbles, black bathroom tile, Japanese porcelain, Venetian and Byzantine glass and highway department reflection crystals. the remainder of sky is tile, safety glass, crushed glass and abalone. Separating lines are of chain, pearls, bugle beads and shells. Leaves are tile surrounded by shells, chains and beads. The sun is a costume jewelry pin purchased at a flea market in Santa Cruz, California. Most of the ground flowers are earring backings. The two discs in the lower left are ivory cuff-links decorated with gold and silver inlay in silver settings and belonged to my father.
MAUI FISHES UP THE LAND
Because of family rivalries, Maui decided to out-fish his brothers. Going into the underworld, Maui took the jawbone from the dead side of Muri, his ancestress, and thus equipped took his brothers far out to sea. Using the ala’e for bait, and the jawbone for a hook, Maui managed to snare a kahuni-o-kahe who holds the land to the ocean depths and a whole land mass began to rise. As Maui was about to pull up an entire continent, the line broke. The land plunged back into the sea shattering it into hundreds of fragments. Those that remained were the islands of the Pacific with the largest two being known today as New Zealand and Australia.
Pele at Haleakala (Volcano, Maui)
HOW MAUI LIFTED THE SKY
At the time when Maui was growing up in his mother’s house, the sky was held up only by the leaves of trees.
So close did the sky press to the earth’s surface that all the leaves were flattend out and have remained so to this day.
The sky was a blanket upon the earth, imprisoning heat and darkness.
So low was the sky in those days that man had to crawl about on his knees to go from one place to another. One day Maui said, “The sky is too low! I shall lift it above the earth. I shall push it up so high that man may walk straight upon his legs, so high that the trees may grow tall, and the winds may blow free.”
He placed a magic tattoo upon his arms and then he sought out an old woman with a gourd calabash.
He said to her, “Let me drink from your calabash that I may push the heavens high.”
The old woman placed the gourd to his lips and Maui drank deep thereof. At once new strength surged through his veins and he began the prodigious task of lifting the sky. First, he pushed the clouds that lay low to the ground above the tree tops.
Then he braced his hands and knees against the earth and heaved with his back.
The blue dome of the sky gave way and bent into a beautiful arch over the peaks of the mightiest mountains. Then, with his two hands, Maui reached down and lifted the edges of the remaining sky over the wide expanse of the sea.
Now is the sky tall and serene except when dark storm clouds gather and hide the long slopes of Haleakala, and the fragrant Maui rains lash the lehua trees.
But these storms are only of short duration, for they are afraid to stay long lest Maui hurl them back so far they can never return.
How Maui Slowed The Sun…
Maui had often heard his brothers talking about how there was not enough sunlight during the day. Night after night they would sit round the fire and discuss this problem. No matter how early they got up, still there weren’t enough hours of sunlight for all their village duties and for hunting and fishing.
So Maui thought about what he could do to solve their problem. Then he announced to his brothers that he had found a solution: “I think I can tame the Sun.” “Maui, don’t be so ridiculous!” they replied. “No one can tame the Sun. For a start, if you got anywhere near him you would be burnt to a cinder. There is no way of taming the Sun. He’s far too big and powerful.”
But Maui said, with great authority this time, “I can tame the Sun. Get all the women of the tribe to go and cut as much flax as possible - I want a really huge pile - then I will show you how to make a net that will be strong enough to capture the Sun. I will make sure that he won’t go so quickly across the sky in future.”
The brothers obeyed him and when they had collected mounds of flax Maui showed them how to plait it into strong ropes. He made long ropes and short ropes, and tied some of them together to make a net gigantic enough to catch and hold the Sun. After many hours of plaiting they finally had enough rope and nets to please Maui.
Then he set off, equipped with his special axe, with his brothers and some men from the tribe and it took several days to reach the Sun’s resting place in the East. After a short stop they started their preparations. They found the cave from which the Sun would be rising next morning and they quickly set to work covering the entrance with the net of plaited ropes. When they were sure they had done a really good job they camouflaged the ropes with leaves and branches. They also made themselves clay walls as a protection against the Sun’s fierce heat, and smeared the clay all over their bodies. Then they hid.
Maui crouched down on one side of the cave and the rest of the men were on the other side. It wasn’t long before they saw the first glimmer of light from the cave. Then they felt the scorching heat. The men were shaking with fear as the light grew more and more blinding and the heat more and more stifling. They were sure that Maui’s plan would not work. Suddenly they heard a sharp shout from Maui, “Pull! Pull the ropes as hard as you can!”
The net fell like a huge noose over the Sun. Although the men were terrified that the Sun would kill them all, they pulled and strained as hard as they possibly could so that the Sun could not escape.
The Sun, who was raging at being held captive, struggled and roared. Maui knew he had to do something more than just hold the Sun in the net so he yelled to one of his brothers to take his end of the rope. He rushed out from the protection of his wall and, with his special axe raised high above his head, he ran towards the Sun. Even though the heat was singing his body and his hair, he started to attack the Sun with his axe. The Sun roared even louder. “What are you doing? Are you trying to kill me?” he screamed. “No. I am not trying to kill you,” answered Maui, “but you don’t understand. You go too fast across the sky, and we are all unable to do our daily work. We need more hours of light in our days for hunting and fishing, for building and repairing our village houses.” “Well,” said the Sun, “you have given me such a battering that I don’t think I could speed across the sky now, even if I wanted to.” “If we release you,” said Maui, “will you promise to slow your journey down?” “You have so weakened me that now I can only go slowly,” answered the Sun.
Maui made him solemnly promise to do what he had asked and then he released the ropes. Maui’s brothers and the men of the tribe watched as the Sun, slowly and stiffly, began to lift into the sky. They all smiled at Maui - they were proud of him.
To this day, the Sun travels on his long lonely path across the sky at a very slow pace, giving us many more hours of sunlight than he used to do.
Keiki Maui (The Birth of Maui)
Council of Chiefs
Painting shows when King Kahekili of Maui tried to gain control of Kualoa Ranch. HI.
A View of Moloka’i from Maui
Maui the Fisherman
A View In the Ioa Valley- Mark Twain’s “Roughing It”
We returned to Honolulu, and from thence sailed to the island of Maui, and spent several weeks there very pleasantly. I still remember, with a sense of indolent luxury, a picnicing excursion up a romantic gorge there, called the Iao Valley. The trail lay along the edge of a brawling stream in the bottom of the gorge—a shady route, for it was well roofed with the verdant domes of forest trees. Through openings in the foliage we glimpsed picturesque scenery that revealed ceaseless changes and new charms with every step of our progress. Perpendicular walls from one to three thousand feet high guarded the way, and were sumptuously plumed with varied foliage, in places, and in places swathed in waving ferns. Passing shreds of cloud trailed their shadows across these shining fronts, mottling them with blots; billowy masses of white vapor hid the turreted summits, and far above the vapor swelled a background of gleaming green crags and cones that came and went, through the veiling mists, like islands drifting in a fog; sometimes the cloudy curtain descended till half the canon wall was hidden, then shredded gradually away till only airy glimpses of the ferny front appeared through it—then swept aloft and left it glorified in the sun again. Now and then, as our position changed, rocky bastions swung out from the wall, a mimic ruin of castellated ramparts and crumbling towers clothed with mosses and hung with garlands of swaying vines, and as we moved on they swung back again and hid themselves once more in the foliage. Presently a verdure-clad needle of stone, a thousand feet high, stepped out from behind a corner, and mounted guard over the mysteries of the valley. It seemed to me that if Captain Cook needed a monument, here was one ready made—therefore, why not put up his sign here, and sell out the venerable cocoanut stump?
-“Roughing It” Mark Twain (1872)
The Battle of Hoku’ula…
The Battle of Hoku’ula:
The most famous battle fought in the Waimea (Maui) area was between the forces of Maui led by King Kamalalawalu and the armies of Hawai’i Island led by King Lonoikamakahiki.
Kamalalawalu made his way from Maui and positioned his men on top of Hoku’ula. After gathering forces from Kohala, Kona, Ka’u and Puna, Lonoikamakahiki marched to Waimea. For three days the armies of Maui and Hawai’i fought a bloody battle. Finally Makakuikalani, the general of the Maui forces, fought alone against Pupuakea who was the general of the Hawai’i army. Waging hand-to-hand combat, Makakuikalani was killed and Pupuakea was victorious. This ended the first of the major battles between the armies of Maui and Hawai’i…
In The Beginning…
In the beginning in Hawaiian mythology, Po was a vast, empty land, a dark abyss where only one life form dwelled. This was the spirit of Keawe. A single light shown through the darkness of Po-a flame holding the energy of creation. In this chaotic vortex, Keawe evolved order. He opened his great calabash and flung the lid into the air. As it unfolded, it became the huge canopy of blue sky. From his calabash, Keawe drew an orange disk, hanging it from the sky to become the sun.
Next Keawe manifested himself as Na Wahine, a female divinity considered his daughter. In addition, he became Kane, his own son, also known as Eli or Eli-Eli, who was the male generative force of creation. In the Kumulipo, the best known of the Hawaiian creation chants, the feats of Eli-Eli are detailed in rhythmic litany. Na Wahine and Kane mated spiritually to produce a royal family, who became additional primary gods worshipped by the Hawaiian people.
In ancient chants and rituals, three sons: Ku, Lono, and Kanaloa, along with Kane are the four major Hawaiian gods. Keawe made Kane the ruler of natural phenomena, such as the earth, stones, fresh water. Most importantly, Ku as Kukailimoku was god of war, but he also reigned over woodlands and crops, and in various forms was worshipped by craftsmen
Kanaloa was responsible for the southern Pacific Ocean and as such was god of seamen and lord of fishermen. Lono, as lord of the sun and of wisdom, caused the earth to grow green. As a god of medicine, he had a particular interest in keeping herbs and medicinal plants flourishing. Lono was the god who presided over the makahiki season when war ceased and taxes were paid to the ali’i.
Kane and Na Wahine also had daughters. Among them, Laka was the goddess of hula; Hina was the mother of Maui who pulled the Hawaiian Islands from the ocean; and Kapo was the goddess of the South Pacific and was largely worshipped on Maui. Among the major divinities was the goddess Papa, queen of nature, and the man she married, called Wakea. In legend, Papa and Wakea’s first child was born deformed like a taro root. From the child’s grave, the first taro plant grew to furnish sustenance to the rest of the human race, which had its origins in this first couple.