How Māui Snared the Sun (Ka lā)

Legend of How Māui Snared the Sun (Kalā)

Inscribed around the main ring of this sundial is a poem that retells Māui’s adventure at the summit of Haleakalā in his quest to slow down the Sun’s daily motion across the sky. Māui’s legendary feat poetically explains why summer months are longer than those of winter. 

        Māui snared ka lā the sun to slow its daily passage.
        For days they fought, till compromise was sought.
        Now summer days are long, while winter sun still dashes.
                                                           (Joseph Ciotti, 2012)


For a more modern version of this legendary story, watch the following video produced by PREL (Pacific Resources for Education and Learning)

Why Maui Snared the Sun

Why Māui Snared the Sun: According to this Hawaiian legend, long ago, Kalā (the Sun) raced across the sky as he pleased, leaving the land and its people with short days and long, dark nights. Among those suffering from the lack of daylight was the goddess Hina, mother of Māui, the demigod. In order to make things pono (right), Māui summoned all his courage and traveled to the highest summit of Haleakalā, where he confronted the Mighty Kalā.

Maui snares the sun

[ from E Ho‘omau! — bringing classic Hawaiian stories to life to foster literacy, science and culture ]


An excellent children's book retelling this legend is:

How Maui Slowed the Sun by Suelyn Ching Tune and illustrated by Robin Yoko Burnungham
         University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu 1988


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last updated 4-30-15