The Menehune are a dwarf-sized race of people in Hawaiian mythology. They are believed to live deep in the forests and hidden valleys of the Hawaiian Islands.
Legends say the Menehune are excellent craftspeople who have built temples, fishponds, canoes, and houses. Many centuries ago, the Menehune were said to have lived on the Islands before settlers arrived from Polynesia.
Their favorite food is considered to be bananas, but they also like fish. They are considered to be shy but posses great strength and can do amazing construction projects overnight. They are about two feet tall, with some being as small as six inches.
In one theory, the first settlers on the Hawaiian Islands were from the Marquesas Islands around 350 AD. When settlers from Tahiti entered the Islands about 1100 AD they oppressed inhabitants, they fled to the mountains and became known as Menehune. An 1820 census list 65 people as being Menehune.
The legend of the Menehune may have been created from the term manahune which means a low class person or people.
There are a few structures that have been claimed to be built by the Menehune. The Alekoko fishpond wall, the Kikiaola ditch, the Necker Island structures, and the breakwater at Kahalu’u Bay.
The Menehune likeness is used in several areas and businesses on the Islands.
The Menehune is the school mascot for several schools on the islands. A local bottling company has the Menehune as the name for a popular brand of water. At the Disney resort on Aulani, there is a Menehune Adventure Trail.
Image Caption: Alekoko “Menehune” fishpond. Credit: Collin Grady/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)