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The eastern rim of Maunalua Bay and the hill above Hanauma Bay.  Kuamoʻokane was called “Moʻokua o Kāneʻapua,” which means “the back bone of Kāneʻapua.”  Legend says that Kāneʻapua, the younger brother of principle Hawaiian gods Kāne and Kanaloa, was left there by his brothers because he was slow to return with fresh water from a spring on the hill.  Kāneʻapua threw himself face-down to the ground and his body remains there as Kuamoʻokāne.

Pukuʻi, Mary Kawena, Samuel H. Elbert, and Esther T. Mookini.  Place names of Hawaii.  Honolulu:  University of Hawaiʻi Press, 1976.

Tape Recorded Interview with Almeda Goss, interviewed by:  Mary Kawena Pukuʻi 1962 April 23.  Honolulu:  Bishop Museum Archives.

Story of Kuamoʻokāne
(as told by Almeda Goss, interviewed by Mary  Pukui, April 23, 1962

In the long ago, three brothers came to that area. The three brothers were Kane, Kanaloa, and Kane a pua. And near the point on the west side of Hanauma and walked a little way. Then Kanaloa who was usually thirsty most of the time, wanted to stop to have a drink of awa. Then the older brother, the oldest brother Kane said to the third, to Kane a pua, he said there was a special spring of water up on that hill over there, on Lepelepe hill. That’s that hill back of the Lunalilo home. He said you go up there, climb up there and get the water. But whatever you do, don’t pause. Get the water and come straight back. And here is the container, and here is the coconut- a cup with which you are to dip that water.

So his brother ran up and found that spring. When he dipped up the water and filled up that coconut cup, that was when the water in the spring dried. All the water that was to be had was in that little container. So he came down part of the way. He was quite tired after this long voyage from across the sea that he thought he’d sit down and rest. And just as he sat down to rest a long trail, a gust of wind came and blew a cloud of dust, and blew some right into the water. And he sat there and worried about it, and worried about it, and worried about it instead of going straight down to his two brothers.

Well, Kanaloa was too impatient. He couldn’t wait so said to Kane, I cannot wait for that water. So you take your cane and thrust it into the side of the hill. You know how to get water. And that’s what happened. (Kanaloa said that?) Yes, so Kane did that, he took his cane and poked a hole, right there. And I saw the hole, it was a round hole. And out of there water poured out of this hole, and down. And then they prepared their awa, and decided then go on and not wait for Kane a pua, sitting up there on the hill and fretting about the dusty water.

So, they started off Kane a pua then decided he would come down. And when he came down where his brothers were, he looked up and he saw their retreating backs. They were going away from him. In despair he threw himself face down there, and that is his body there. His spirit went back to Kahiki.

(later continues)

 (And the spring?) Yes, came out again, but not as much. But, as people traveled down there and were not as, well didn’t have as much aloha for the water as the native people there who depended on that water for their drinking water. Makai side repeated this washing of soiled underwear there and the water, pau. I worked there myself, and saw the hole, and saw the pan. I saw all that.

And that Kuamoʻokane is really the backbone of Kane a pua. The point of land way out at the tip of Kuamoʻokane, that point is called Kawaihoa. And it’s just inside of Kawaihoa that the water of Kane was. And Kawaihoa means the water of the companions. That’s the name of that point way out there.

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