With Folktales of Hawaii: He Mau Kaao Hawaii, Bishop Museum Press celebrates Mary Kawena Pukui and honors the Hawaiian storytelling tradition. Pukui stands alone in the history of Hawaii for her unparalleled contributions to the preservation and revitalization of Hawaiian language and culture. Throughout her life, she was a beloved and highly sought-after kumu (source or teacher) of Hawaiian knowledge and an ardent practitioner and student of storytelling.
Many of these folktales are presented both in Pukui's original Hawaiian and in English translation. Their sequence reflects the order of traditional hula presentations, beginning with stories about the gods, followed by those of chiefs, and then tales of ordinary people. These moolelo--part of the culture and place that engender them--provide entertainment as well as an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the rich cultural tradition of Hawaii.