Sydnee White dances hula at the ‘Auliʻi Luau at the Sheraton Resort in Po‘ipu. Photo by Léo Azambuja

Hōpoe, ka wahine lewa i ke kai

“Hōpoe, the woman who dances in the sea.”

Hōpoe was a dancer of Keʻau, Puna, in that long ago day when gods mingled with men. Because of her dancing and ker kindly gesture, Hōpoe was taken by the goddess Hiʻiaka as a favorite friend. When Pele send Hiʻiaka to Kauaʻi to fetch Lohiʻau, the first request Hiʻiaka made to Pele was to be kind to her friend, Hōpoe. After a time, when Hiʻiaka did not return as expected, Pele in a fit of rage destroyed Hiʻiaka’s grove and the beloved Hōpoe. The latter was changed into a balancing stone that seemed to dance in the sea.

Source: ʻŌlelo Noʻeau, by Mary Kawena Pukui