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In Hawaiian religion, Māui is a culture hero and ancient chief who appears in several different genealogies. In the Kumulipo, he is the son of ʻAkalana and his wife Hina-a-ke-ahi (Hina). This couple has four sons, Māui-mua, Māui-waena, Māui-kiʻikiʻi, and Māui-a-kalana.
Hauling up islands of Hawaii
He convinced them to take him out fishing, but caught his hook on the ocean floor. He told his brothers that he had caught a big fish.
His brothers paddled with all their might, and being intent with their effort, did not notice the island rising behind them.
Māui repeated this trick several times, creating the Hawaiian Islands (Tregear 1891:236).
Hina, in the shape of a baling-gourd, appeared at the surface of the water, and Māui unwittingly grasped the gourd and placed it in front of his seat. Suddenly, there appeared a beautiful woman whose beauty none could resist, and so the brothers looked behind them to watch the beautiful water-goddess. The line parted, Hina disappeared, and the effort to unite the chain of islands into one solid unit failed.
Restraining the Sun
Māui’s next feat is to stop the sun from moving so fast. His mother Hina complains that her kapa (bark cloth) is unable to dry because the days are so short. Māui climbs to the mountain Hale-a-ka-lā (house of the sun) and lassoes the sun’s rays as the sun comes up, using a rope made from his sister’s hair. The sun pleads for life and agrees that the days shall be long in summer and short in winter (Pukui, Elbert, & Mookini 1974:36).
He sits by the trunk of the tree to rope the sun (Beckwith 1970:230). The constellation Māui’s fishhook (known in the West as Scorpio) is named after this.