HANAPEPE — Have you ever really wondered who the Menehune were?
Historian Aletha Ka‘ohi will share “Tales of the Menehune” during a presentation by the Kauai Historical Society on Thursday.
“There are some factual things and there’s also a lot of legendary things,” Ka‘ohi said. “Have you ever wondered about who are these little people that lived here in Hawaii?”
Menehune were attributed as a race of small people who labored at night building fishponds, roads and heiau. An early 19th-century census in Wainiha Valley listed 65 individuals who identified themselves as Menehune.
“It’s part myth, and sometimes myth comes from facts,” Ka‘ohi said. “People don’t realize that. Sometimes it is a fact, and over the years it becomes a myth.”
Ka‘ohi, will share the background of the “Mythical Menehune” during her program. She will share her stories and knowledge as a retired public librarian, lecturer for seven years at Kauai Community College and president of Friends of King Kaumuali’i helping with fundraising efforts to erect a statue at Fort Elizabeth.
“I wear many hats, but my passion is preservation of history to tell them the truth,” she said.
She currently serves as manager at West Kauai Tech & Visitors Center and is frequently asked about the Menehune by tourists.
“It’s good storytelling,” Ka‘ohi said. “I’m a storyteller, so it’s very easy to use the Menehune. You capture the character of these little people.”
“There’s so many different stories,” she added. “I’m going to share different perspectives and then let them draw their own conclusion.”
The program is 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Hanapepe Hawaiian Congregational Church. Society members are free, and donations are welcomed.
Info: (808) 245-3373, www.KauaiHistoricalSociety.org