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Maui Snared the Sun

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Our tour guides at Skyline Hawaii love to share the history abd culture of hawaii. One of the stories you will most likely hear is about how Maui snared the sun.

In the days of old Hawai’i, when legends gave shape to the land and life throughout these islands, there was a demigod by the name of Maui who accomplished amazing feats throughout Polynesia. There are many stories of Maui and his accomplishments. This story of Maui is about his love for his mother.

Hina, mother of Maui, was famous throughout Hawai’i for her fine kapa cloths made from the bark of wauke and mÄ make trees. She lived on Hawai’i island behind a waterfall called WaiÄ nuenue (rainbow falls).  

Hina would work very hard on her kapa and hang them out to dry. In these times Ka La (the sun) would travel across the sky very fast leaving the people and Hina with short days. One day Maui noticed how hard it was for his mom to complete her kapa because Ka La wasn’t out long enough to dry the cloths.

Maui became mad and was determined to make Ka La slow down. Maui then headed to Hamakualoa, on the east side of the island of Maui, where he observed Ka La travel to Haleakalā. He then went to a place called Paeloko, where he found a coconut grove and took the husk of the niu (coconut) to make kaula (rope).

Maui snaring the sun artwork

He went back to the top of Haleakalā that night to set snares and then hid behind a rock. As Ka La arose and started to climb over the rocks he began getting caught in the snares one by one and became trapped.

Maui then revealed himself, “Ka La, I am Maui son of Hina. Each day my mother works diligently on her kapa and you never slow down enough for her clothes to dry. Because of this, I will make you travel slower." 

Ka La laughed, “I am Ka La  - I regulate your food and your seasons; therefore, you cannot stop me." 

Maui took a club and started smashing Ka La’s sun rays. Ka La screamed in pain and told Maui he would make a deal with him. Half the year he would travel slowly to help people grow food, fish, and hunt. When he traveled slowly, Hina could dry her kapa. The other half of the year he would travel as he pleased moving fast through the sky. Because of their agreement, the mountain is referred to as Alehe Ka La (to snare the sun).

About the Author: From sunrise to sunset, Haleakalā National Park and the surrounding Upcountry Maui area offer memories for a lifetime. Make the most of your trip to Haleakalā National Park on a guided tour with Skyline Hawai’i. For more information or to make your reservation today, visit: