National Geographic : 1971 Apr
Pointing to perdition, the Rev erend John Kukahiko of Keawa lai Congregational Church near Makena exhorts parishioners with a fervor worthy of Hawaii's first missionaries. Arriving in the islands in 1820, a pious band of New England evangelists wrought a cultur al revolution-Christianizing many, building schools, devising a written form of the language, translating and printing the Bible, and imposing as best they could a moral discipline that often ran against the grain of the free-living islanders. Sighed King Kamehameha II when a mission ary implored him to change his ways, "Give me five years more, and I will become a good man!" Twirling ceremonial flags, a kimonoed Japanese lass at Paia steps to the music of flute and drum at a Buddhist O-bon festi val honoring ancestral spirits. The Japanese make up Hawaii's largest ethnic group. from jeep springs and GI mattocks but designed to imitate the stone adzes of old. A newly carved image of Ku, ancient god of war, scowled fiercely at my intrusion. I had always thought of the adz as a crude tool. But in Sam's hands it was capable of amazingly delicate work. "It's all in the angle of the blade and handle," he explained. "If the angle is correct, the blade bites in just the right amount." Somewhat disbelieving, I asked to try it. To my surprise, a few easy strokes on an undressed mahogany log left a beautifully smooth, even surface. "House of the Sun" Dominates Isle No matter where I went in the isthmus or on East Maui, I could not escape the pres ence of Haleakala. Indeed, East Maui is Haleakala, one massive volcanic upthrust that rises steadily from the sea to a spectacular depression at its peak. Haleakala means "House of the Sun." It takes its name from a legend told throughout Polynesia about a struggle between the sun and the demigod Maui. Here is the story as Sam Kaai told it to me: "Long before the reach of memory, the sun sped so rapidly across the heavens each day that men had too little time to harvest crops and bring in fish. Hina, Maui's mother, com plained that sundown always came before she could finish drying her tapa, the Polynesian cloth made of pounded bark. Maui asked the sun to slow its pace, but in vain. "Watching from hiding, Maui observed that the sun each day passed directly over the mountain, and there came very close to earth. So Maui, famed as a trickster, devised a plan to catch the sun and force it to do his bidding. 525 EKTACHROME () N.G.S.