By Jonathan Howery
Hawaiian myths and legends happen to captivate the minds and imaginations of visitors to the islands. They are full of struggle and peril and happen to feature stories beyond belief. One of the stops that the Hawaii Turtle Tour makes is out to Laie Point. You can’t see this place from the road as it is tucked away behind a neighborhood in the small town on Oahu’s north shore. At some point this must have been a secret spot among locals as it is great for cliff jumping into the ocean. A scene from the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall was filled there, its where the two jump off the cliff and share a first kiss in the sea.
Now the point of land that extends out into the ocean used to be called Laniloa but was renamed Laie Point. According to ancient Hawaiian legend, this land was inhabited by a giant mo’o or lizard by the name of Laniloa. It most likely resembled a huge dragon and had the reputation for killing anyone who dared step into its territory. Kana who was a legendary warrior with his brother Niheu rescued their mother from a mo’o who dwelled on the island of Molokai. After taking her back to Big Island, Kana set out on a journey to kill all the dragons of Hawaii. After years of slaying mo’o and finally reached Laie, he easily defeated Laniloa, taking his head, chopping it into five pieces, and spreading it around the point. One of the islands resembles the top half sticking out with Laniloa’s eye staring back.
Historically, Laie was a sanctuary for fugitives and those who committed a kapu or taboo. While a fugitive was in the sanctuary they were safe from outside forces and it was unlawful for anyone chasing them down to harm the criminals. If anyone attempted to pursue these fugitives into the sanctuary then they would have been killed by the administering priests. Those who sought refuge within the borders were not forced to permanently live within the confines of its walls. Instead, they could enter the service of the priests and assist in the daily duties or eventually, after a certain length of time, be free to leave and re-enter the world without fearing consequences of reprisal. This last option being similar to a jail sentence served.
Well there you have it, history and legends of Laie. Have a great vacation in our the lovely Hawaiian Islands. If you have any questions about Hawaii Turtle Tours or about this blog, feel free to email to [email protected].