HONOLULU (KHON2) – As eruptions continue for Mauna Loa, the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele is being recognized by her bursting lava. 

But standing in its shadows is another mountain glistening in white, marking the presence of another Hawaiian goddess.  

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Hawaiian stories share that Tūtū Pele resides in Kīlauea whose most recent eruption commenced in 2018.

Her volcanism continues today, but mainly focused over the southern half of Hawaiʻi island. 

And there’s reason.

As you make your way through the island’s northern half, an opposing element reappears every so often. 


Folklore tells us that the goddess Poliʻahu, the deity of snow whose domain is atop Mauna Kea, had battled Pele.

Poliʻahu was participating in her favorite sport of hōlua, or sledding, when Pele appeared in the form of a beautiful woman.

Welcoming her, Poliʻahu and Pele began to race down the track with the leader switching back and forth between the two.

But as Poliʻahu continued to inch ahead, Pele’s frustration began to overwhelm her. 

She dropped her human form and began to summon her elements, shaking the entire island with quakes while erupting fountains of fire.

Poliʻahu then realized who her competitor was and fled toward her mountain’s summit. 

As Pele continued to burst out lava and melt the blankets of frost, Poliʻahu regained her strengthen and began to unfold her snow-mantle.

As snow began to fall farther down the mountain’s slopes, Pele’s lava began to chill, hardening the rivers of red.

Poliʻahu continued to succeed in pushing Pele’s molten fire down Mauna Kea and into the island’s depths.

Mauna Kea and the northern half of Hawaiʻi island have since remained quiet to eruptions and continue to see snowfall.

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All the while, Pele’s territory has been limited to the southern half of the island, calling Halemaʻumaʻu crater home.

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