Hawaiian Legends: Guide to Hawaiian Gods & Goddesses

Hawaiian Legends: Guide to Hawaiian Gods & Goddesses

hawaiian legends

When you think of Hawaii, you likely think of its beautiful beaches and unforgettable landscapes. However, behind all of that beauty is something even more breathtaking. These are the Hawaiian legends that have spanned the history of Hawaii’s people to the people of today.

At the root of those stories is the Native Hawaiian religion. Like many, Hawaiian religion has its fair share of gods and goddesses.

With as many as 4,000+ deities, there is a lot you can learn about the culture of Hawaii.

To help your quest for knowledge, we’ve put together this informative guide on five of the gods and goddesses found in Hawaiian legends!

Hawaiian Legends: The Gods and Goddesses of Hawaii

Pele, the Goddess of Volcanoes

hawaiian legendsPele is most likely the goddess you’ve heard of when it comes to Hawaiian gods.  Hawaiians use names like ‘Madam Pele’ or ‘Tūtū Pele’ as terms of respect.

Pele is the goddess of volcanoes and the fiery lava within them. It’s said that she settled in the Halema‘uma‘u Crater at the summit of Kilauea after traveling from Kahiki.

Whenever lava would pour across the land, the people of Hawaii see that as part of Pele’s body. To please Pele when her lava was near, Hawaiians would place leaves in front of their home. In fact, this practice is still observed today! This can even be seen amidst the prolonged eruption of Kilauea that finally stopped in 2018.

Kū`ula, the God of Fishermen

hawaiian legendsThe ancient people of Hawaii cherished what the land around them provided. This included fishing, of course.

Fishing was a vital part of Native Hawaiian’s diet as seafood is a primary source of protein.

With this in mind, it’s no wonder, why fishing is an important aspect of the Hawaiian culture. Even more, that there is a god for fishermen.

This god is Kū`ula.

Along with his wife Hina and son `Ai`Ai, they all lived in Hina, Hawaii. He is said to have made the first fishing ponds in Hawaii.

Kū`ula is highly regarded for being generous! The God of Fisherman would often share his catches with hungry neighbors in need of a nutritious meal.

Kū, the God of War and Prosperity

hawaiian legendsKū is one of the four major Hawaiian deities. In ancient times, it is said that sacrifices were made to him. Ancient Hawaiians performed this ritual for just Kū.

Kū has another name, much like Pele. This name isKū-ka-ili-moku, or ‘snatcher of islands’.

The reason he was called this can be related to King Kamehameha I, the father of the legendary King Kamehameha II.

His father had his legacy, however. The first King Kamehameha would pray to Kū before he would set out on his journey to conquer any land.

This tradition is why Kū has his second name and was also known as the guardian of King Kamehameha I.


King Kamehameha was an almighty ruler to the Hawaiian islands! Learn how his reign shaped the Hawaiian culture and society to what it is today.

Kāne, the God of Living Things

hawaiian legendsKāne is known as the ‘father of living creatures’. In fact, several  Hawaiian legends tell how Kāne came to be and made the first man.

The story of Kāne begins with Po or black nothingness. Kāne then separated himself from Po, followed by the three other major gods.

Now separate from Po, Kāne pushed back the dark by making light.

To help them, the gods made the Menehune or small people. They have since gained a reputation for being mischievous.

As the other gods and Kāne shaped the world, they eventually made humans. They did this by gathering red clay, mixing it with their spittle, and molded man in Kāne’s image.

Laka, the Goddess of the Forest and Hula

hawaiian legendsBefore Native Hawaiians perform hula, they may pray to Laka, the Goddess of Hula, for inspiration in their dance.

When a dancer prays to Laka, she comes to them in the form of strength. Thus, the dancer and Laka are one while they dance.

Laka is also Goddess of the Forest and the reproductive energy it represents. In other words, she is the energy that lets the plants of the forest grow.

Much like the dancer prays for inspiration, the same is seen when someone enters a forest. They pray to Laka that they may enter. This is done out of respect for her, especially if you choose to gather flowers and other foliage in the forest.

Want to See Hawaiian Legends For Yourself?

Now that you know a bit about some of the gods and goddesses of Hawaiian legends, you have a new perspective of Hawaii. You may be asking, though, what’s the best way to experience that new perspective? On a doors-off helicopter tour, of course! There are so many things you can see from the comfort of a helicopter, after all.

Do you want to see Kilauea, the home of the goddess Pele? Or, maybe you want to see the gorgeous rainforests that are nurtured by the goddess Laka? You get to see all of this and more! These legendary sights are all visible from the seat of a doors-off helicopter tour.

For more information about available tours, contact Tropical Helicopterstoday and witness these legends with your own eyes