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The Pohaku-a-Umeume.


The Pohaku-a-Umeume is another remainder from the time that the menehune and ‘e‘epa peoples inhabited Waolani. This rock was discussed earlier in regard to these ancient peoples. There, we discussed the rock's later, historical importance in relationship to the birth of O‘ahu chiefs. Indeed, there are some who say that the Pohaku-a-Umeume is itself a birthing stone.

But in its legendary context, the Pohaku-a-Umeume is the focus of a struggle between two rival groups. One version of the story involves two different groups of menehune, which Mary Kawena Pukui identified as the Na-mu and the Na-wa. Mu means "silent" and Wa means "noisy," so these groups were The Silent Ones and the Noisy Ones. The story as told to Pukui by Lahilahi Webb goes as follows (Sterling & Summers, 1978: 302):




The marks said to be the fingerprints of the opposing groups.


"A group of menehune wanted that stone moved. some wanted it moved mauka [upland], and some, makai [seawards]. They tugged at the stone in opposite directions until the cock crowed and they all ran away.

"There the stone remained in its old place but on it are the imprints of the hands of the menehune who did not agree and tugged, not together, but against each other."

Here is a longer and slightly different version of the story, dictated by J. A. Wilder from notes made of a conversation with the late John A. Cummins (Hawaii Ethnological Notes vol.2: 204):

"The king of the menehune defied a giant king living in what is now the Country Club grounds. He hurled insults at the giant and the latter threw at him a stone called Pohakuaumeume. The fight becoming general, the air was full of stones and this particular stone was thrown back and forth many times.

"At last the menehune were driven to the cliff now represented by the name Pacific Heights. Here the 'stone of contention' (Pohakuaumeume) was hurled with a mighty effort back to Waolani where it struck the chief giant in the head, killing him and ending the battle."


Birthing Stone?


Pohaku with 'ili'ili


"This stone is now a boundary of the Country Club and is to be seen to this day lying where it fell.....The natives of the old school could be seen worshipping or paying homage to Pohakuaumeume. The marks of the giant's finger prints and the prints of the Menehune fingers are in it.

"After the victory the menehune gathered at the stream where the swamp, the stream, and the cliff meet, and on a rock called Kaumakapili a jubilation of victory took place. This rock is still there, and it is said that Kaumakapili Church took its name from it."



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