Kapaemahu Monument Gets New Signage

By Puanani Fernandez-Akaminee – Ka Wai Ola – November 1, 2023:

(L-R) Kumu Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu and filmmakers Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson celebrate

the Honolulu City & County’s dedication on October 24 of a new bronze plaque installed in

front of the Kapaemahu Monument in Waikiki. The three collaborated, along with artist

Daniel Sousa, on the 2021 Academy Award-nominated animated short film, Kapaemahu,

that tells the mo’olelo of the stones. It is the story of four travelers from Tahiti who brought

healing arts to Hawaii. The four were mähü, individuals with dual male and female spirits.

When they departed Hawaii, they transferred their names and healing powers into the

stones. The story of the healers and their identity as mahu was nearly lost, not just through

antiquity, but through deliberate erasure and prejudice. About 10 years ago, a movement

began to restore the truth of the stones and honor to mähü as respected members of

society. Previous signage did not mention that the healers were mähü or that their duality

was intrinsic to their healing abilities, so the installation of the new plaque is a hard won

victorv. – Photo: Puanani Fernandez-Akaminee