The legend of Aloha Kapu

A Legend of ALOHAKAPU: The Legend of Naupaka

Once a long time ago…

There were two young lovers. One was a beautiful princess who lived high in the mountains with her royal family. The other was a poor fisherman who inhabited the beaches among the rest of the commoners. It was said that when the two first met they were instantly inseparable; however their love affair must remain a secret.

Back in this time, the people of Hawaii were ruled under a strict set of laws called the kapu system. A broken kapu usually resulted in death. One kapu in particular forbid any ali`i or royal noble to lay with common folk. This was because the royal ali`i were descendents of the gods and could never taint their blood line with anyone of lower status. So the princess and fisherman never spoke of their love and would secretly hide away to be with one another.

2 flowers Aloha KapuWhen the forbidden love affair was finally discovered, the two lovers ran for their lives and prayed to the gods to be saved. Hearing their weeps, the gods looked upon them with pity. Each of their lives were spared but the princess and fisherman were never to be together again. They were each transformed into a naupaka plant: The princess was banished high in the mountains and the fisherman condemned to the beaches. Morning their eternal separation, the naupaka plants grew leaves in the shape of tears that are salty in taste and blossomed flowers that appear to have been ripped in half, never to be whole.

There are several versions of the Naupaka legend in Hawaiian folklore. Each varies with respect to the other but all share the common theme of forbidden love. These naupaka plants exist today. Most commonly seen is the beach naupaka, which grows on beach dunes all over Hawaii. It is said that by reuniting the half flowers of the mountain and beach naupaka, the two young lovers can be together again.