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Ka Mo`olelo O Leahi: The Legend of Diamond Head

Community Contributed

By Kahuna Lono

In the ancient days, in the island of O`ahu (the offering place) on the coastline of Kaimanahila (directly east of Waikiki Beach), a la`i fish was born. His name was Nahe, and he was unlike any other fish of his species because the maunalua came (big barreling wave) and sucked him out to sea. He knew the deep blue sea as his first home, unlike most la`i that live on the kahakai (reef). He grew up playing with the kohola (whale) in the winter time, and the mano kama`aina (local sharks) were his companions throughout the rest of the year.

One day as he was heading out with the mano, named Kila Ua, all of a sudden a big school of ahi became the feast of ka mano Kila Ua. As he was feasting upon the school with his voracious appetite, la`i Nahe saw a very beautiful ahi and moved right in in front of ka mano Kila Ua to protect the ahi from being eaten. Her name was Le`a, and it was an instant love connection.

This occurred directly outside the waters of Diamond Head, otherwise known as Leahi. All the fishes of the area – the mano kama`aina, the wise octopus, the ula, and the traveling kohola – felt so warm to see such an odd couple: a little la`i, less than a pound in weight, and a 400 pound ahi.

Ku o ke Kai and Kanaloa met with Hina in a stellar reunion up above. They all were moved with this wonderful affair. Kamaka, the lady of the sea, came over as well and she suggested that the two should be perpetuated as one. So La`i and Ahi conceived Lai Ahi, a fish only found in the Diamond Head area, which is half la`i and half ahi. To this day, they are still seen up on the shoreline, jumping and catching their meals, especially on strong Ka Moa`e (tradewind) days.

Lai Ahi became the name of that area. Eventually, as the language became written, Lai Ahi was changed to Leahi, and this concludes this mo`olelo kahiko.


One Response to “Ka Mo`olelo O Leahi: The Legend of Diamond Head”

  1. Kaimikalani says:

    Aloha kakou.

    Thank you for a very cute, very American story. Please do not represent this as a “mo’olelo kahiko,” as doing so misleads those who want to learn about Hawai’i maoli.

    Parents, please pass on the stories of your elders to your children, so that the story of Hawai’i should live and not be replaced by modern fabrications. E kanu ‘ai o nana keiki i ka ha’i / Plant food lest your child look to others’.

    Want to know about Leahi, aka Diamond Head/Kaimanahila (a transliteration of Diamond Head)? Look it up in Place Names of Hawai’i or Sites of O’ahu; those authors looked to the kupuna, to valid sources, for their information so that the true, Hawaiian stories should be perpetuated.

    Ke Akua pu me ‘oukou pakahi a pau
    aloha, -Kaimikalani

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