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‘Aumakua – Hawaii

Posted By Marie Griffith On May 2, 2013 @ 8:45 am In Legends,Narrative | Comments Disabled

When I was in elementary school, we took a field trip to some fish reserves on Oahu.  There are fish ponds there that let the fish in to feed, and once they are big enough they are let back out because they are grown up and won’t be eaten.  The people who run these reserves take only what they need and let the rest of the fish go, so it is good for both the fish and the people.  There is an ‘aumakua who takes care of the grounds,  and by legend takes the form of a shark.  ‘Aumakua can take the form of many different creatures, and are protective deities that usually come back to protect or help their families. 

I never saw the shark there, but as a kid it helped me feel better that I thought the fish were being looked after.  I also started to wonder if I had any ‘aumakua protecting me, even though I am not really a native Hawaiian.

Tasia knows quite a few Hawaiian legends, but she said that her sister is much more tied to the land than she is.  They aren’t native Hawaiians, but living in Hawaii immerses you fairly wholly into Hawaiian culture (regardless of if you are a native). I have never heard of this one before, and I have been told quite a few Hawaiian legends from my many trips there.  Finding native Hawaiians, however, is harder than you would expect, as I wouldn’t say they make up the majority on the islands.  There are a lot of Japanese, Filipino, and Samoan people there, but not necessarily a lot of true Hawaiians.  So I would imagine that these stories hold much more meaning for them, and they would probably have many more tales to tell.  And I would imagine their variations would be a little different.


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