Hānau ka Ua: Hawaiian Rain Names

Hānau ka Ua: Hawaiian Rain Names


Authors: Collette Leimomi Akana, Kiele Gonzalez

Rain names are a precious legacy from our kūpuna who were keen observers of the world around them and who had a nuanced understanding of the forces of nature. They knew that one place could have several types of rain, each distinct from the other.  They knew when a particular rain would fall, its color, its duration, its intensity, its path, its sound, its scent, and its effect on the land and their lives. 

Hānau ka Ua is the fullest record of Hawaiian rain names and their lore to date, drawing on oral tradition and literature, including approximately three hundred ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i primary sources from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries containing chants, songs, laments, and narratives. The existence of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of rain and wind names is evidence of the value our kūpuna attached to these forces. This compilation will help toward maintaining the connection our kūpuna had with the Hawaiian universe and toward knowing the rains as our kūpuna knew them, enriching all aspects of our lives.

Whether you belong to Puna, Hawaiʻi, like the delicate Alanilehua rain, so rare it is only visible during certain times of the morning, or to Niʻihau like the unpredictable Nāulu rain that wraps the spirit in a downpour, you will find a rainy companion for cold nights and humid days. Hānau ka Ua reintroduces us to these cherished companions, giving new life to their names and their stories. Ola!