Maui, the Demigod and Trickster

Maui The Demigod, is in my opinion, one of the most famous Hawaiian cultural Gods of all time. In Hawaiian mythology, Maui appears in several different genealogies and races including such as the Mangarevan culture, the Maori, Tahitian, Tongan and Samoan cultures where his name is not Maui but Ti’iTi’i. He is the son of father Akalana and mother Hinakawea (Hina, The Goddess). Maui also has four other brothers, Maui-Mua, Maui-hope, Maui-Ki’iki’i, and Maui a kalana.

How Maui Found the Hawaiian Islands

This is the story of how Maui the demigod found all of the eight Hawaiian islands. The story goes that Maui fished out the islands by tricking his brothers into letting him come out to fish with them. The brothers never took him out because whenever they did he would catch a scrawny little fish. but finally they decide to take him out with them and while out in the sea, Maui casts his hook, Manaiakalani which is baited with the wing of the goddess and Maui’s mother Hina’s pet bird, the ‘alae convinced he would catch the biggest fish in the sea, Pimoe but when Maui casts his hook it clings on to the ocean floor and the pressure causes him to tell his brothers to not look back and to keep on paddling forward, because if they were to look back they would ruin the quest of catching the fish but finally the brothers look back in the result of curiosity and instead of the fish God he pulls up the eight Hawaiian islands. Hawai’i, Maui, O’ahu, Kaho’olawe, Lana’i, Moloka’i, Ni’ihau, and Kaua’i.

How Maui Discovered the Secret of Fire

This is the story of Maui and how he discovered the secret of fire. One day in the area of Nanakuli, Maui and his older brothers would go out to fish every morning and every morning in a bushel of Kiawe trees and Ti leaf there would be smoke and flames billowing as hovering vultures above the very unfortunate prey. Maui and his brothers would always try to sneak up behind the culprits that weren’t sharing the secret of fire with everyone else, but always Maui and his brothers would end up hearing something run away as it cackled to scoff the brothers. So, one day Maui came up with a plan and made a dummy of himself and took it to his brothers to place it upon the canoe and he will sneak up on whatever was holding the secret of fire. The brothers did as they were told and Maui did as he planned and when he snuck into the bushel a bunch of ‘alae birds were making banana, Maia and sweet potato and as they scattered, Maui accomplished to capture one of them as he grabbed it by its neck, ‘alae screamed as Maui forced him to tell the secret and ‘alae answered saying take the maia peel and rub them together, still holding the ‘alae, Maui attempted it but nothing happened. Maui furious choked ‘alae even more and said tell me the truth, ‘alae screamed and said take the Ti leaf stalk and rub them together, Maui tried and nothing came of it, Maui choked and squeezed ‘alae’s throat so hard it could hardly breath and ‘alae finally said take these two dry kiawe sticks and rub them together, Maui tried and a flame became of it and he started his first fire, then Maui took the flaming stick and rubbed it against ‘alae’s forehead representing the red spot on the ‘alae as a symbol to remind others of the ‘alae’s selfish deed.

How Maui Slowed the Sun

This is the story of how Maui slowed the sun. One day on the island of Maui, Maui the demigod were outside and his mother Hina, complained that the sun and the day was so fast and short that her kapa would always ruin because it never had enough time to dry. In trying to please his mother, Maui made a lasso strong enough and favored by the gods to not be harmed by the sun’s harmful heat, Maui wove a lasso with his sister’s long ‘ehu hair and climbed to the top of Haleakala, which means “House of the Sun”, whips his lasso and releases it into the air with his hook Manaiakalani attached to it as it grabs a hold of the sun as it pulls away, Maui yells and demands the sun to remain in the sky to allow longer days and sun said alright and made the moon come out during the night to shine some small light.

The fire burning above was a very valuable find for Māui and his people. His discovery of fire was found in the area of Nanakuli. Photo from Kauila team.

Audio File for Maui



Westervelt, W.d. "Legends of Maui". Sacred Texts. 1910. 19 Dec 2005. <>