23 Jan The Owl Cave Legend
At the Lahaina end of Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, walk along the beach to the mouth of the stream. Named Hahakea, this stream originates way up the mountain on the other side of Honoapi’ilani Highway. On Kaanapali’s South Course near Hahakea streambed is the site of what once was known as the cave of Pueo, or the “Owl Cave,” the actual location of which is a guarded secret. According to one legend, it was where Hina hid her son Maui so he would not be sacrificed; in another legend, it it is referred to as the home of the guardian spirit owl who protected the villagers of Keka’a.
One day long ago, a young boy named Ka’ili was playing on this beach. Warriors from a rival village spotted him alone and kidnapped him. Na’ilima, his sister, witnessed her bother’s departure in war canoes. She ran up the mountain to get on higher ground and follow the kidnappers’ path. The warriors arrived at Halulukoakoa, the war temple in the area, took Ka’ili from the canoe and tied him to a sacrificial stone for the night. Knowing her brother would be sacrificed at dawn, Na’ilima fled in tears to a small cave near Hahakea where she stopped to rest. Pueo, the owl spirit of Hiding Woman, heard Na’ilima crying for her brother and came out of the cave. She comforted Na’ilima, told her she would rescue Ka’ili, and flew to the temple. She freed Ka’ili and thought of a way to deceive his kidnappers. Pueo explained to Ka’ili that he should walk backwards away from the temple, so his footprints would appear to lead directly from the Owl Cave to the temple. Knowing that the warriors would soon search the area, Pueo led Ka’ili and Na’ilima to another cave located in Pu’u Keka’a. They hid there, far from the trail left by Ka’ili, until the warriors became frustrated and ended their search.
Source: Kaanapali Historical Trail & History and Legends Tour, Pip Holo Ka’ao (A well told tale travels far and wide)