Sunday, 25 September 2022

People of Mu

Could the Menehune still live in the mountain forests of the Hawaiian Islands?
By Heath Cajandig - Heart of Kauai, CC BY 2.0, 

Even though the Menehune were said to be displaced when the first settlers arrived in Hawaii, some people still believe that the Menehune are roaming the islands, carrying out tricks on people. Indeed, an 1820 Census of Kauai listed 65 people as 'Menehune.' Other Hawaiian mythology records refer to a few other forest dwelling races: the Nawao – who were large and wild hunters descended from Lua nu'u – the Mu people and the Wa people.

What’s in a name? Manahuna (a term used for low class people) Nawao, People of Mu.

Monstrous Measurements: height 2 – 3 ft. Nawao and Mu people are said to be taller. Hairy, stout and muscular. Red or dark skin. Protruding forehead. Big eyes. Long eyebrows. Short, thick nose. Sharp, pointed ears. Small mouth. Broad shoulders. Round belly. Usually well dressed.

Beastly Behaviours: Nocturnal. Has a deep voice. Normal language is telepathic, expressed with whispers or growls. Said to be able to learn human language. Works at night to bold fishponds, stonework’s, irrigation ditches, houses, and monuments. Also said to carve petroglyphs! Likes playing games, music, dancing, singing, diving and sports. Is afraid of owls and dogs. The Menehune have been known to use magic arrows to pierce the heart of angry people, igniting feelings of love instead. They also enjoy cliff diving, and according to local lore, they were smart, extremely strong and excellent craftsmen. They were rarely seen by human eyes, and they are credited with mighty feats of engineering and overnight construction.

Deadly Diet: Eats bananas, shrimp, milk, fish, squash, berries, sugar cane and sweet potatoes.

Hairy Habitat: Lives in caves, lava tubes, hollow logs, or banana leaf huts in the mountain forests of the Hawaiian Islands, especially Kauai.

Scary Sightings: Late 18th Century: In the late 18th century, a census of the island of Kauai by King Kaumualii, counted 65 Menehune in the Wainiha Valley. (This could possibly refer to low class or very impoverished Hawaiians as a similar derivation of this term, Manahuna, is used for low class people.)

1940s: About 45 elementary schoolchildren saw a group of Menehune jumping up and down among some trees on the Waimea Parish Property in the 1940s. When they noticed that they were being watched, the Menehune apparently disappeared into a secret tunnel near the parish house.

July 19th, 1975: 700 miles south-west of Hawaii on the island of Fiji, 6 witnesses described seeing 8 figures, 2 feet tall and covered with black hair, run behind some bushes and disappear.

Beastly Evidence:

Megalithic Builders: These industrious master builders used their great strength to build temples (heiau), fishponds, roads, canoes and houses. One such structure they are believed to have built is Kikiaola, also known as the Menehune Ditch, a historic irrigation ditch that funnels water from the Waimea River on Kauai. Another one of their amazing feats is the legendary overnight creation of the Alekoko Fishpond on Kauai, which archaeologists estimate to be around 1,000 years old.

The worked facing stones of Kikiaola purportedly created by the first wave of Hawaiian settlers prior to 1000 CE who are now called the Menehune, hence the common name for this irrigation channel being the "Menehune Ditch"

Royal Fishpond: It is said that they built the Alekoko Fishpond for a princess and her brother. The shy but strong group lined up in a double row, which stretched 25 miles (40 km) to distant Makaweli. The workers passed stones hand-to-hand to build the pond. They worked at night so as not to be seen by others, cutting, transporting and fitting stones for their projects in a long bucket brigade. If they were discovered, their work would have been abandoned.

Twin Pillars: The Menehune were promised no one would watch them at work, which was carried out after dark. However, one night the royal siblings snuck up and watched the thousands of Menehune at work, only to fall asleep. At sunrise the Menehune discovered them and turned them into twin stone pillars that can be seen today in the mountains above the fishpond. Interrupted by the sun, the Menehune left two gaps in the fishpond wall. Many generations later, Chinese settlers filled the gaps to raise mullet, but the stonework that closed the gap was far inferior to that of the mystical Menehune.

Population census: an 1820 Census of Kauai listed 65 people as 'Menehune.

Beastly Theories:

Pacific Proto-Pygmy: Hawaiian legend has it that many centuries ago, the Menehune were a mischievous group of small people, or dwarfs, who lived hidden in the forests and valleys of the islands before the first settlers arrived from Polynesia. These Menehune, who roamed the deep forests at night, were said to be about two feet (60 cm) tall, though some were as tiny as six inches (15 cm), small enough to fit in the palm of a hand. They enjoyed dancing, singing and archery, and their favourite foods were bananas and fish.

Original Inhabitants of Hawaii: Some scholars, such as folklorist Katharine Luomala, theorize that the Menehune were the first settlers of Hawaii, descendants of the Marquesas islanders who were believed to have first occupied the Hawaiian Islands from around 0 to 350 AD. When the Tahitian invasion occurred in about 1100 AD, the first settlers were subdued by the Tahitians, who referred to the inhabitants as ‘Manahuna’ (which means ‘lowly people’ or ‘low social status’ and not diminutive in stature). They fled to the mountains and later came to be called ‘Menehune’. Proponents of this theory point to an 1820 census which listed 65 people as Menehune.

Folklore & Fable: Another description that has been passed down in local folklore is of the three Menehune of Ainahou. Ainahou is a forest on the north side of Halekala Crater on Maui. The three Menehune were called Ha'alulu, Molawa and Eleu. All the other Menehune living in Hawaii knew them well because they possessed very unusual powers. Ha'alulu means "to tremble" and it seemed like this little man was always cold, but his magic gift was that whenever he would start shaking, he would become invisible and could travel anywhere without being detected. Eleu in Hawaiian means "quick and nimble" and whenever Eleu moved, he was so quick that he disappeared and no one could follow him. Molowa's name means "lazy," but what most people didn't know was that whenever he appeared to be sleeping or lazy, his magical self-became imperceptible and he would go around the island and do good deeds.

Written by Andy McGrath

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