Mānoa Heritage Center



The Owls of Honolulu as told by W. D. Westervelt

in Legends of Old Honolulu (© 1915, p.130)

Pueo, the owl-god, was also Pueo-alii, or the “king of owls.”…From his own residence on Owlʻs Hill (Puʻu Pueo) he governed all the valley, apparently with much wisdom…

The legends say that the menehune built a temple and a fort a little farther up the valley above Puu Pueo, at a place called Kukaoo, where even now a spreading hau-tree shelters under its branches the remaining walls and scattered stones of the Kukaoo Temple. It is a very ancient and very noted temple site. Some people say that the owl-god and the menehune became enemies and waged bitter war against each other. At last the owl-god beat the drum of the owl clan and called the owl-gods from Kauai to give him aid. They flew across the channel in a great cloud and reinforced the owl-god. then came a fierce struggle between the owls and the menehune. The fort and the temple were captured and the menehune were driven out of the valley (another legend says that the battle was between Chief Kualiʻi and the menehune).