Something Mystic This Way Comes To Waikiki Beach Walk

September 08, 2022

Waikiki Beach Walk installation of menehune on a canoe with celebratory decorations

Waikiki Beach Walk has been committed to preserving and perpetuating Hawaiian culture since its opening in 2007. This commitment is evident in weekly presentations of music and hula, along with singular special presentations throughout the year, including presentations of the ancient Makahiki Games ...the early Hawaiian version of the Olympics.  
But it’s not always just fun and games.


In Hawaiian legend, the Menehune (meh-neh-hoo-neh) were a group of small people who lived hidden in the forests and valleys of the islands before Hawaii was settled by Polynesians. They were said to be about two feet (60 cm) tall and a mischievous bunch who roamed unseen at night.
They were extremely smart, strong, industrious, and superb builders, credited with mighty feats of overnight engineering and construction of heiau (sacred Hawaiian temples), fishponds, roads, canoes and houses. They were also known to be very fond of maiʻa - bananas and iʻa - fish, and enjoy singing, dancing and archery.
Old postcard image featuring a body of water with mountains behind it 
Legend has it that the Menehune built the famous Alekoko fishpond on Kaua’i
PHOTO SOURCE: Vintage postcard ca. 1960

Since 2021, Waikiki Beach Walk has featured a charming tribute to the mythical people of ancient Hawaiian lore with our whimsical display that includes many of the characteristics attributed to them. It remains as one of Waikiki Beach Walk’s most popular spots for selfies and family photos.
Woman taking a picture of the menehune installation for a photo contest.
The Menehune is the most popular photo op at Waikiki Beach Walk
PHOTO CREDIT: Waikiki Beach Walk

However, the mysterious Menehune have been at work. 

Suddenly, on a bright morning in late August, visitors were delighted to see the Menehune dressed in preparation for Makahiki ...the ancient Hawaiians’ season of celebrating the harvest, fertility, rain and Lono, the Hawaiian god responsible for all of those elements.
Menehune statues newly decorated in celebratory garb
The Menehune celebrate Makahiki, the ancient Hawaiian harvest festival at Waikiki Beach Walk
PHOTO CREDIT: Waikiki Beach Walk

Visitors will see the Menehune dressed in kihei... traditional Hawaiian garments worn during ceremonies and auspicious events and surrounded by the bounty of land and sea: a suckling pig, fish, fruit, taro and flowers. Also on display are 4 Lono Staffs ...symbols of the Hawaiian deity of fertility and rain.