Kahalopuna is a traditional tale of the valley of Mānoa, handed down by word of mouth. The present version of the tale was made in an effort to garner support for Mālama Mānoa's efforts to preserve the beauty of the valley.

Kahalaopuna cover


Bilingual Edition :: 2016

In 2001, an organization to preserve the beauty of Mānoa Valley in Honolulu called Mālama Mānoa, asked me to create an illustrated children's book of Kahalaopuna, the beauty of Mānoa. The result was a book completely in Hawaiian and another completely in English. Here is the cover as it looked in 2001:

Kahalopuna cover

The original Hawaiian tale of Kahalaopuna is a story with a plot a bit like Shakespeare's Othello, for it tells of deceit and jealousy, justice and mercy. But unlike Shakespeare’s tragedy, this story unfolds in a Hawaiian world of kūpaku, where people can be brought back to life and of ‘aumakua, where a departed ancestor can take the form of an animal and help the living. In my retelling of the ancient story, I emphasized two important Hawaiian aspects: pono [righteousness] and aloha [mercy and love]. In this way, it is clear, even to very young children, that the story is one of justice: the bad are punished and the good are rewarded.
Kahalaopuna is an ancient tale with many versions. The story I have written is largely based on the version done by J. Kimo Alama Keaulana. I have also drawn elements from other versions as well as those versions I heard but never saw written down.
The story lives today not only in the telling but in the Valley itself. Atop Wa‘ahila Ridge lies Kauhi, the sleeping giant. Farther back are his two friends, cold lumps of rock.
At the mouth of the valley is the underground cave where Mahana took Kahalaopuna to be healed.
Almost daily, from the mountain top, come her father and mother as the wind and the rain. And when they arrive, there appears Kahalaopuna, the rainbow, sparkling in the Mānoa Sky.

The 2016 edition contains the story both in Hawaiian and English. Here are two sample pages:

Kahalaopuna page oneKahalaopuna portrait




Mānoa Press
Book design:
James Rumford