There is a famous song by beloved Hawaiian musician Israel Kamakawiwo’ole titled Hawaiian Super Man. It tells of the heroic acts of a boy name Maui, a mischievous boy that was the youngest of five brothers. I thought for this blog post I would dive a little deeper into the legend of Maui and this “Hawaiian Super Man” that Bruddah Iz sings about. (*Precursor: I am not a cultural historian, so forgive me if some of my findings are slightly off.)
Upon my research, it appears that Maui is actually an ancient demi-god recognized by countless Polynesian cultures and Pacific Islands, not just in Hawaiian mythology. References to Maui’s acts appear to be seen in New Zealand tales, Fiji folklore, and even Samoa.
From my findings, it seems that two courageous acts stand out in Maui’s past. First, he was said to fished out a chain of islands from the oceans depths with a special hook that he had made (of course, different cultures believe he fished out different island chains). Second, Maui was believed to have created a lasso out of coconut husk and wrangled the morning sun, as to slow down the sun’s daily journey across the sky, so there would be more hours of sunlight each day. This battle with the sun occurred at the summit of Haleakala (the tallest volcano on the island of Maui), which literally translates to “house of the rising sun”.
A simple search on Google will yield countless different versions of the legend of Maui, so I recommend just listening to Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s song for his re-telling.