Care for the dead (kupapa‘u), respect of the graves (ilina), and traditions associated with the spirit after death are subjects of great significance to Hawaiians past and present. In his history of the Hawaiian people, Samuel M. Kamakau shared a collection of traditions and practices pertaining to the dead, and identified some of the places of importance in these practices. These narratives are of particular importance to lands and specific wahi pana of the Honouliuli-Moanalua region. Under the heading “O kekahi mau mea i manao nui ia o ke kupapau,” which means “Some things which are of importance pertaining to the dead,” Kamakau writes the following. The English translation follows.
… Hookahi anahuna kaulana ma Oahu. O Pohukaina ka inoa, aia ma ka pali o Kanehoalani mawaena of Kualoa a me Kaaawa, ai ka puka i manao ia ma ka pali o Kaoio e huli la i Kaaawa, a o ka lua o ka puka aia ma ka punawai o Kaahuula-punawai. He anahuna alii keia, a he nui ka waiwai huna iloko a me na‘lii kahiko. O Hailikulamanu, oia kekahi puka, aia a kokoke makai o ke ana Koluana i Moanalua, aia ma Kalihi, ma Puiwa, oia na puka ekolu o Pohukaina ma Kona, a o Waipahu ma Ewa, aia ma Kahuku i Koolauloa kekahi puka, a o kauhuhu o kaupaku o keia hale anahuna, oia no ka mauna o Konahuanui a iho i Kahuku. Ua olelo ia ma ka moolelo a kanaka, ua nui ka poe i komo ioloko me na ihoiho kukui, mai Kona aku nei a puka i Kahuku…
Na uhane mahope o ka make ana o ke kino.
O ke ao kuewa: a o ke ao auana kekahi inoa. I ka make ana o ke kanaka kuleana ole, ua auana kuewa hele kona uhane me ka lalau hele i ka nahelehele, a ua hele wale i Kamaomao, a i ka wiliwili o Kaupea, a hiki kona uhane i Leilono, aia malaila ka Uluolaiowalo; a i loaa ole kona uhane aumakua i maa mau ia ia, a aumakua kokua hoi, alaila, e lele kona uhane ma ka lala ulu popopo a haule ilalo liko i ka po pau ole i o Milu la…
O Leiolono, oia kekahi wahi e make ai na uhane i ka po pau ole. Aia o Leiolono kokoke i ka pohaku o Kapukaki a ma nae aku, e kupono ana i puu hoilina kupapau o Aliamanu, a huli i ka aoao akau o Hokupaa, aia ma ke kapaluna o ke alanui kahiko, aia he hapapa pahoehoe pohaku, a ia maluna he wahi ponaha, he alua paha kapuai ke anapuni, oia ka puka e iho ai ilalo, o ka nuu ia o Papa-ia-Laka he ao aumakua ia wahi, aia ma ka puka e iho ai o ka puka o Leiolono, he ulu o Leiwalo, elua lala ma ka hikna kekahi a ma ke komohana kekahi, he mau lala ulu hoopunipuni keia, a o kekahi lala niu, he lala e lele ai i ka po pauole, a o ka lua o ka lulu ulu, aia a kokua ia mai e ka uhane aumakua kokua, alaila, e ike auanie maia ao aumakua, i na kupuna i olelo ia o Wakea a me ka huina kupuna a pau, a me ko ke ao holookoa e hele nei, i ka lakou huakai; a o kekahi hapa, aia ma kela alala ulu hoopunipuni i ka po pauole. O ka palena o Leilono, o Kapapa-kolea ka palena hikina, he peelua nui launa ke kiai hikinina o Keleana; a o Napeha ka palena komohana, a he moo ke kiai malaila, a i makai i keia mau kia, alaila hoi hou i hope, a i kokua hou ia e na uhane aumakua, alaila, ua hou, a ua alakai ia i ke ao aumakua.
A i makau i ka peelua e alai ana i ke alanui mai kela aoao mai o Alia, kiei je poo ma ka pali o Kapakolea, aliala makau ke uhane a auwana, a pili aoao ma ke kahawai ma ka hale hana ili, aole he alanui aupuni mamua, aka, he alanui kamaaina no Kauhilaele, a ua olelo ia aia a komo ka auwana maloko o na palena, he make wale no kona uhane, a o ke lele i ka po pau ole; aka, ua oleloia ua ola mai no kekahi poe uhane auwana ke loaa i na uhane aumakua kokua, a o ka poe kokua, a o ka poe kokua ole, e make no i ka po pauole, a i o Milu la. Aia ma ke kula o Kaupea, ma ke kaha o Puuloa, e hele ai na uhane auwana e poipoi pulelehua, a e poipoi nanana, oiai aole e hele loa na uhane auwana i na wahi i olelo ia mamua, a i loaa paha i na uhane aumakua e poipoi nanana ana, a ua hoopakeleia, a o ka poe uhane kokua ole, he poe uhane haukae lakou, a mai ka wiliwili i Kaupea, i Kanehili, he nui no na wahi i oleloia ma keia inoa. O Kalea-a-kauhane [Ka-leina-a-ka-uhane], a me ka Ulu o Leiwalo, aia ma Hawaii, ma Maui, ma Molokai, ma Lanai, ma Kauai a me Niihau, hookahi no moolelo like no keia mau wahi…
The following summarizes the preceding. Make note of the locations in the Honouliuli-Moanalua region that are mentioned.
There is only one famous hiding cave, ana huna, on Oahu. It is Pohukaina. The opening on Kalaeoka‘o‘io that faces toward Ka‘a‘awa is believed to be in the pali of Kanehoalani, between Kualoa and Ka‘a‘awa, and the second opening is at the spring Ka‘ahu‘ula-punawai. This is a burial cave for chiefs, and much wealth was hidden away there with the chiefs of old. On the Kona side of the island the cave had three openings, one at Hailikulamanu—near the lower side of the cave of Koleana in Moanalua—another in Kalihi, and another in Pu‘iwa. There was an opening at Waipahu, in Ewa, and another at Kahuku in Ko‘olauloa. The mountain peak of Konahuanui was the highest point of the ridgepole of this burial cave “house,” which sloped down toward Kahuku. Many stories tell of people going into it with kukui-nut torches in Kona and coming out at Kahuku. Within this cave are pools of water, streams, creeks, and decorations by the hand of man (hana kinohinohi‘ia), and in some places there is level land. [16:38]
The leina a ka ‘uhane on Oahu was close to the cape of Ka‘ena, on its right (or north, ‘akau) side, as it turns toward Waialua, and near the cutoff (alanui ‘oki) that goes down to Keaoku‘uku‘u. The boundaries of this leina a ka ‘uhane, it is said, were Kaho‘iho‘ina-Wakea, a little below Kakahe‘e, and the leaping place (kawa-kai) of Kilauea at Keawa‘ula. At these places would be found helpful ‘aumakua souls who might bring back the spirit and restore life to the body, or if not, might welcome it to the realm of the ‘aumakua. Places within the boundaries mentioned were where souls went to death in the po pau ‘ole, endless night.
Leilono at Moanalua, Oahu, was close to the rock Kapukaki and easterly of it (a ma ka na‘e aku), directly in line with the burial mound of Aliamanu and facing toward the right side of the North Star (a huli i ka ‘ao‘ao ‘akau o ka Hokupa‘a). On the bank above the old trail there was a flat bed of pahoehoe lava, and on it there was a circular place about two feet in circumference. This was the entrance to go down; this was the topmost height (nu‘u) of Kapapaialaka, a place in the ‘aumakua realm. Here at the entrance, ka puka o Leilono, was a breadfruit tree of Leiwalo, he ‘ulu o Leiwalo. It had two branches, one on the east side and one on the west.
These branches were deceiving. From one of them, the soul leaped into the po pau ‘ole; if he climbed the other, it would bring aid from helpful ‘aumakua (‘aumakua kokua). From that branch the soul would see the ‘aumakua realm and the ancestors spoken of, Wakea and all the rest, and those of the entire world who had traveled on this same journey.
The boundaries of Leilono were, Kapapakolea on the east, [with] a huge caterpillar (pe‘elua nui) called Koleana as its eastern watchman, and the pool Napeha on the west, with a mo‘o the watchman there. If the soul was afraid of these watchmen and retreated, it was urged on by the ‘aumakua spirits, then it would go forward again and be guided to the ‘aumakua realm. If a soul coming from the Alia (Aliapa‘akai) side was afraid of the caterpillar, whose head peered over the hill Kapapakolea, and who blocked the way, it would wander about close to the stream by the harness shop. This was not the government road (alanui aupuni) of former times, but was a trail customarily used by “those of Kauhila‘ele” [figuratively, the common people; the la‘ele, old taro leaves, as contrasted with the liko, the new and choicer leaves—that is, the chiefs]. It was said that if a wandering soul entered within these boundaries it would die by leaping into the po pau ‘ole; but if they were found by helpful ‘aumakua souls, some wandering souls were saved. Those who had no such help perished in the po pau ‘ole of Milu.
On the plain of Kaupe‘a beside Pu‘uloa, wandering souls could go to catch moths (pulelehua) and spiders (nanana). However, wandering souls would not go far in the places mentioned earlier before they would be found catching spiders by ‘aumakua souls, and be helped to escape. Those souls who had no such help were indeed friendless (he po‘e ‘uhane hauka‘e lakou), and there were many who were called by this name, po‘e ‘uhane hauka‘e.
There were Leina-a-ka-‘uhane and ‘Ulu-o-Leiwalo on Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kauai, and Niihau as well as on Oahu. The traditions about these places were the same. They were where spirits were divided (mahele ana) to go into the realm of wandering spirits, the ao kuewa or ao ‘auwana; or to the ancestral spirit realm, the ao ‘aumakua; or to the realm of endless night, the po pau ‘ole.
The places said to be for wandering spirits were: Kama‘oma‘o for Maui; Uhana [Mahana] at Kahokunui for Lanai; Ma‘ohelaia for Molokai; Mana for Kauai; Halali‘i for Niihau; in addition to Kaupe‘a for Oahu. In these places the friendless souls (‘uhane makamaka ‘ole) wandered. [16:49]