Maia Street | Aloha Authentic

Aloha Authentic

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii’s residents all make use of the island roadways, be it driving, riding the bus, or just walking down the sidewalk. But how much attention is paid to its given names? In this episode of Aloha Authentic, KHON2 focuses on a residential street that has roots in early Hawaii agriculture: Maia Street in Nanakuli.

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In the ahupua’a of Nanakuli — which lies in the moku of Waianae on Oahu — stands a residential street that has an old history.

Banana, or Maia in Olelo Hawaii, may be referred to as a tree, but technically is a large herb.

Considered a canoe plant, Maia arrived in the islands via the canoes of the first Hawaiian ancestors in their migration.

Maia was never a staple food in the ancient diet despite its early introduction.  

It was considered kapu — or forbidden — for women to eat all but three of the many varieties of banana plants.   

The reason lies in ancient Hawaiian verbal traditions, back in Hawaiian stories when Wakea — Sky Father — dedicated bananas as a male and sacred food, all but those three varieties. 

This, and many other bans that were part of the traditional Aikapu System, came to an end in 1819 by King Kamehameha II.

The importance of bananas grew during times of famine. Poi was made with fresh bananas before being mashed and then fermented when taro was in shortage.

Out of the many traditional uses of the banana plant, one includes providing a windbreaker for taro patches which is Hawaii’s primary crop.

Did you know?  Now you do!

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