The Legend of Naupaka

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The Legend of Naupaka

Half-flower of Hawaii

The Naupaka or “Half-Flower” of Hawaii

The Legend of Naupaka

The Half flower of Hawaii

Once upon a time in ancient Hawaii lived a beautiful princess named Naupaka. She was loved by everyone who knew her because she was just as kind as she was beautiful. One day while walking along the beach, Naupaka encountered a handsome fisherman named Kaui. When their eyes met, he smiled and told her his name was Kaui. It was love at first sight.

Realizing that she was royalty and Kaui a common fisherman, Princess Naupaka knew that she was prohibited from marrying him. She rushed to one of the Kupunas (elders) in the village who was well known for her wisdom. As Naupaka described her love for Kaui, the Kupuna sadly shook her head and said “I cannot help you for your marriage to Kaui is prohibited by Hawaiian custom. Your only hope is to see the high priest and ask his permission.”

Naupaka and Kaui travelled for days over beautiful mountains, forests, valleys, and streams in search of the high priest. Once they finally found him they excitedly revealed their love for one another to him and asked if he could allow them to marry. The priest told them “I can see that you have great love for each other but I cannot give permission for you to marry as that decision can only come from the Gods. You must pray to them until you receive an answer.” As they began to pray, dark clouds came overhead and a fierce rain fell upon them. Lightning struck nearby and thunder boomed. Princess Naupaka realized that the Gods would not allow them to marry and tore the flower from her hair and ripped it in half. She gave half to Kaui and said to him: “We cannot be together. You must go back to the ocean where you can fish. I will live the rest of my life on this mountain alone.”

As the two lovers separated, the naupaka plants that grew nearby saw how sad they were. Even the flowers mourned to see the young lover’s hearts broken so badly. As a memorial to their love, when the Naupaka flower blooms, it only blooms in halves.  Today, there are two varieties of the Naupaka, one growing near the sea called Naupaka Kahakai, the other in the mountain is called Naupaka Kauihiwa. Each bear what appears to be half of a blossom and when placed together, they form a perfect flower. It is said that the lovers can be reunited when the flower of the Naupaka Kauihiwi and the Naupaka Kahakai are joined together after they have been picked.

There are different versions of the Naupaka legend, but all carry the same theme of lovers that are separated forever—one banished to the mountains, the other to the ocean. We named this condo the “Naupaka Hale” or Home of the Naupaka in honor of this legend. Watch for the Naupaka along the ocean front. Visit the higher elevations and find the opposite flower to join.

There are many versions of this story that are published in various formats. This is a compilation of the aspects that I like best.

David Kwiat

By | 2017-04-19T11:41:27+00:00 April 19th, 2017|Feature, Hawaii Nature, News|0 Comments

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