Among the most beloved of mythical figures in Hawaiian folklore are the demi-god Maui and his mother, Hina. Stories of Maui and Hina are told in places as far apart as Hawaii, New Zealand, Tahiti, and the islands in between, highlighting Polynesian exploration and the connection of shared cultures thousands of miles apart. Maui is a folk hero that snares the sun to make it move more slowly and discovers the secret of fire, benefiting all mankind; a mythic figure that lifts up the heavens and fishes up land from beneath the sea. Hina is a goddess that creates the finest white kapa cloths and spreads them in the heavens as clouds. She sacrifices herself for her people in time of drought and famine, and watches over them from her home in the moon.
The evocative, century-old writing of William Drake Westervelt combines beautifully with the contemporary artwork of Dietrich Varez, a Hawaii artist whose work has been largely inspired by Westervelt’s writings. A lifetime of study and deep respect for Polynesian culture and mythology is evident in his art. Together, they create a fresh presentation, reintroducing these classic tales to a new generation of readers around the world.