|Posted by Hawaiian Mermaids on May 26, 2011 at 12:50 PM|
Since the time of the great voyages from Tahiti to Hawaii, the mermaid has been a part of the local legend and lore. There are many legends of Hawaiian Mermaids dating back as far as when the first voyagers from Kahiki ventured forth upon the waters of the Pacific to populate “Hawaii…the land of green-backed and mottled seas.” The legends contained within Tales of the Mermaids of Waiahuakua – Those of the Sea, include stories involving the mermaids from Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, the Marquesas’ as well as the Maori of New Zealand.
The language of the Polynesian peoples is basically one language, the missionary translators who first assigned a written spelling for the different island groups, heard the words differently and represented these sounds that they heard with different letters. For instance the Hawaiian word for 'woman' is wahine (vah-hee-nee), the Tongan word for 'woman' is fahine (fah-hee-nee). Much like the differences between American English and British English, there is understanding but differences in accents and idioms. So, the oral traditions of the Polynesian peoples, with minor differences, give a remarkably similar account of their history and beliefs throughout all of the islands. There are Polynesians today, who can recite their lineage back to one common ancestor. In this book are some excerpts from those accounts. Please note that these predate the coming of the missionaries and were not influenced by Biblical record yet there are some striking similarities.
Ancient civilization of Hawaii traces its origins into the mists of time. The four great islands of Hawaii, Maui, Kauai and Oahu were originally ruled by separate Alii Aimoku (kings,) under whom, subordinate district Alii (governors) held feudal sway. All four dynasties were interrelated and claimed descent from a certain Wakea. Believed to be of divine origin, he is said to have arrived in the islands from the Moluccas, in the Indonesian archipelago led by the Mermaids of Waiahuakua. In Hawaiian folklore, the gods are responsible for the birth of the Hawaiian islands. Legend says that the Hawaiian islands was a blessed event of the gods. Hawaii is the first born child of the god Wakea (sky or space) and Papa (earth). The ancient Hawaiians believed in many gods, and their own close ties to everything that surrounds them.
Hawaiian culture today, has gone through a rebirth. There were the centuries from the original colonization of the islands up to the early 1800’s when Hawaiian culture consisted of myths and legends surrounding the gods they worshiped; the many rules in the form of kapus or tabus, stories both fiction and non-fiction, and cultural traditions. All of it relating to their relationship with nature, the land and the sea.
For many centuries before westerners arrived, ancient Hawaiians relied on an oral tradition of passing down history, genealogies, traditions and folklore. Their literature was passed on from memory by one generation to the next. Memory in the form of meles, songs or chants, were the only means of preserving ancient knowledge until the Missionaries came in the 16 and 17th century and people began to chronicle some of the beliefs and history.
Once the westerners moved in with their religion and businesses, the culture became an exotic port of call …flower leis, beautiful hula dancers, mai tai’s, ukulele music and slow locals who spoke Pidgin English. But, Hawaiians such as David Malo, King David Kalakaua, Queen Liliuokalani and many others began to set their knowledge to paper, interview old Hawaiians who remembered the old traditions and stories, and restored some of their history and pride to the Hawaiian people. While seemingly simple and carefree, the early Hawaiians had a complex culture.
Kohana Au has long been a writer associated with a number of projects throughout the Hawaiian Islands. As a student and lover of all that is Polynesia; from New Zealand to Hawaii, he shares his knowledge and understanding of these wonderful cultures.
Beautifully and artfully illustrated, the 1st edition of Tales of the Mermaids of Waiahuakua – Those of the Sea is available in an 8.5x8.5 full color soft-cover as well as an eBook to the trade through Ingram, or it can be ordered from a favorite book store; Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Borders, and 25,000 bookseller's worldwide.
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