Legends of Maui, A Demi-God of Polynesia, and of his mother Hina
‘The Maui story probably contains a larger number of unique and ancient myths than that of any other legendary character in the mythology of any nation.’
—William Drake Westervelt
Maui is a mythic figure that lifts up the heavens and fishes up islands from beneath the sea with his magic fishhook; a folk hero that snares the sun to make it move more slowly and discovers the secret of fire.
Hina is a goddess that creates the finest white kapa and spreads it in the heavens as clouds. She sacrificed herself for her people in a time of drought and famine, and now watches over them from her home in the moon.
Two of the most beloved mythical figures in Polynesian folklore are the demi-god Maui, and his mother, Hina. Their stories are told in places spread over a vast geographic area, from Hawai‘i, to New Zealand, Tahiti, and beyond. This highlights the vastness of Polynesian exploration and the connection among shared cultures thousands of miles apart. These tales have origins traceable to the mythic homeland of Hawaiki and back into the mists of time. They continue to have a place in modern storytelling and in the hearts of those who hear them.
The evocative, century-old writing of William Drake Westervelt combines beautifully with the contemporary artwork of Dietrich Varez. A Hawai‘i Island resident whose artwork was been inspired by the writings of Westervelt and other early scholars, Varez brought a lifetime of study and deep respect for Polynesian culture and mythology to his block prints and oil paintings.