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The Menehune Fish Pond

Folklore and Legends of Kauai: The Menehune

Kauai is the oldest island in Hawaiian chain. You have black lava shores and gorgeous, time-worn cliffs on the Napali Coast. It’s easy to see that Kauai is the ancestor of all Hawaiian Islands that it has been around for much, much longer.

So, it’s only normal that something as old as the Island of Kauai would have a lot of history and legends that go along with it. If you’re on holiday in Hawaii and you happen to find yourself on the island of Kauai then it would be in your best interest to be somewhat familiar with some of these legends and the history.

It was in 1778 that Captain James Cook first landed in Waimea Bay on Kauai and called the Hawaiian atoll the “Sandwich Isles” after the Earl of Sandwich. However, the history and legends of Kauai go much further back than that and starting with little people.

While there are many legends of the Menehune, some historians have theorized that the word “menehune” may have been adapted from the Tahitian word “manahune” which means “commoner” or “low in social standing”. So, the menehune may have been “small people” but not “tiny”. The legend remains a mystery.

The Legend of the Menehune

The Menehune are the original inhabitants of Hawaii and in particular Kauai. They are said to have inhabited the Islands long before any Polynesian settlers did and much longer before Captain Cook made contact with those Polynesians.

The menehune are small, dwarf like people that stay well hidden in the forests, valleys and “away places”. They avoid, at all costs, any contact with humans.

They are said to be master craftsman that can build anything.

Menehune (Alekoko) Fish Pond

According to legend, the Menehune built this fish pond in one night by lining up, shoulder-to-shoulder, from the site of the pond to the village of Makeweli, some 25 miles away. They toiled all night long by passing stone after stone to each other and placing them perfectly together.

The Menehune Fish Pond is said to be an engineering masterpiece because it is water-tight and so perfectly built. One thing is for certain, the engineering was not completed by westerners or those of western influence.

If you want to visit the Menehune Fish Pond on your holiday on Kauai then it is located by the Huleia National Wildlife Refuge which is about a half mile from Nawiliwili Harbor