HONOLULU (KHON2) – We all make use of our island roadways, but have you ever questioned what the name of the street means? 

Did you know you could learn more about Hawaiʻi and our culture if you did? 

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Our weekly “Aloha Authentic” segment highlights various streets across the islands. So, we can dig into their names and, in turn, learn something new. 

This week, we bring our attention to a story about a battle of owls.

In the ahupuaʻa of Waikīkī, which lies within the moku of Kona here on Oʻahu, stands a street named after the Hawaiian short-eared owl. 

Weʻre talking about Pueo St.

By looking at Waikīkī today, it’s hard to grasp on to the stories and historical events noted to have taken place.

One story speaks of a battle between the owls of Hawaiʻi and Kākuhihewa, the king of Oʻahu at the time.

A man named Kapoʻi, who lived in Honolulu, went to harvest pili grass for thatching on his deteriorating house.

While doing so, he came across owl eggs. 

He took his bundle of grass and the nest of eggs and returned home.

As he was preparing to cook the eggs, an owl flew over and perched himself nearby to ask for his eggs back.

Kapoʻi returned the owl’s eggs; and as a result, the owl became Kapoʻi’s personal god, instructing him to build a temple (heiau).

After obeying the owl, Kapoʻi was then captured by the king who forbade people to construct a heiau before he completed his own. 

To return the favor and to help his friend from being killed, the owl called on all the other owls from across the islands to come to Oʻahu.

On the day Kapoʻi was set to be sacrificed, the owls waged battle on the king’s men, scratching their eyes and faces. 

Kākuhihewa’s men fled and Kapoʻi was set free.

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The battle became known as Kukaeunahio and is believed to have taken place in the vicinity of where Queen’s Surf Beach is today.

Did you know?  Now you do!