Like Dislike Save
Dwarf like people who live deep in the forests and valleys of the Hawaiian islands. Or so the legend goes.

• General: Educational • General: History • General: Legends / Mythology

Guide Series: Hawaiian Mythology
« Previous
Kamapua'a - The Hog God
Next »
The Rainbow Princess
The Menehune are part of Hawaiian mythology and are small, dwarf like people who live in the forests and valleys on the Hawaiian islands, hidden away from normal people.

Other cultures have similar mythology. You can sort of compare them to the leprechauns of Ireland or the trolls of Norway.

The legends say that the Menehune were excellent builders and built various Heiau (temple) sites, fishponds such as the Menehune Fishpond, houses, and other structures across the islands. They were so good at building that some of these structures still exists today.

These would have been a people who lived on the islands before the first settlers from Polynesia arrived hundreds of years ago. Sort of the original Hawaiians in a way.

There are many interpretations of what the Menehune were. Many believe they were real, though less mysterious than some of the various stories make them out to be. For example, some believe that the word Menehune comes from the Tahitian word manahune which simply means commoner and thus somebody who is small in social standing, not somebody who is physically small. So, they could have simply been a society of smaller humans.

In other descriptions, the Menehune were only around two feet tall on average with some only growing to about six inches tall. Were these creatures real or simply a way for the Ali'i (chiefs) to explain how various fishponds and other structures were built without having to give credit to the commoners who actually built them? Some say they may still live high up in the mountains of Hawaii.

No matter what you believe, the legend of the Menehune lives on today in many ways. Of course, if you look around enough you'll see that the Menehune have sold out a bit and now live on t-shirts, water bottles, and even endorse various companies in Hawaii. Even Aulani A Disney Resort And Spa is in on the fun with their various legends of how the Menehune had a hand in building the Aulani resort.