Hi’iaka is Hawaii's patron Goddess. She possesses the power to heal and the truth of vision. Hi'iaka is worshipped for her Hula and many dances have been dedicated just to her. She also is the favorite youngest sister of Pele, Hawaii's famous and feared Volcano Goddess.
It is said that Hi'iaka was born in Tahiti by the great Earth Mother Haumea in the form of an egg. Pele lovingly carried her sister in her armpit on the long canoe ride from Tahiti to Hawaii. Hi'iaka is therefore often called Hi’iaka i ka poli o Pele, which means “cradled in the armpit of Pele”. At long last they reached Pele's new home on Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island. There Pele nurtured Hi’iaka in the beautiful Ohia forest until she hatched.
Goddess Pele creates the land with molten fiery hot lava. Hi’iaka blesses the land with rain and creates soil, trees and life with her healing Mana (spiritual energy). Together the sister Goddesses ensure that the growth and life of the land continues.
One famous legend tells of Hi'iaka's precarious journey to Kaua'i where she was sent by her sister to bring back Pele's lover, Lohi'au. Pele asked Hi'aka to be back within 40 days and promised to protect her sacred Lehua groves and best friend Hopoe during that time.
But Hi'iaka encountered many obstacles on her journey: The landscape was treacherous, the weather hostile and deadly Mo'o lizards attempted to trap her. When she finally reached Lohi'au's home on Kaua'i, he had committed suicide because of his longing for Pele. Hi'iaka was able to revive him with the power of her chanting and prayers.
Hi'iaka was armed with some of Pele's Mana (powers), but she was still unable to complete the mission in 40 days. Pele, fearing that Hiʻiaka had betrayed her and was keeping her handsome lover for herself, was enraged. She destroyed Hiʻiaka's sacred Lehua groves and killed her friend Hopoe, turning her into stone.
When Hiʻiaka returned, seeing her friend dead and her forest ravaged, she took revenge on Pele and made love to Lohiau right on the edge of the crater where Pele was sure to see them. Furiously, Pele covered the couple in waves of fiery hot lava. Hiʻiaka was unharmed, but Lohiau died. Hiʻiaka brought him back to life for the second time.
Pele regretted her actions toward her beloved sister's Lehua groves and best friend. She decided to let Lohiau choose who he wanted to be with.
During their long and dangerous journey from Kaua'i, Lohi'au had come to love and greatly admire Hi'iaka for her bravery, loyalty, kindness and beauty. He chose her for his wife and took her back to Kaua'i with him.
The Menehune Ohana (family) watches in awe as the harmony of Ipu, Hula and chant attunes them to spirit and gladdens their heart.