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Battle of Owls in Waikīkī: A Story of Hawaii’s History

Waikīkī, a popular spot for bodyboarders and snorkelers, has a history that dates back to a battle between the King and owls.

In a recent segment of Aloha Authentic, a weekly show that highlights various streets across the islands to learn about their names and history, Kamaka Pili brought attention to the Battle of Owls in Waikīkī.

The battle took place in the vicinity of Queen Surf Beach, where a street named after the Hawaiian short beard stands.

It’s hard to grasp the stories and historical events that have taken place in Waikīkī by just looking at it today.

One story speaks of a battle between the owls of Hawaii and the king of the time, a man named Cook.

According to the story, Cook was living in Honolulu when he went to harvest pili grass.

While doing so, he came across an owl’s nest and took the bundle of grass and the nest of eggs.

As he was preparing to cook the eggs, an owl flew over and perched nearby.

Cook asked for his complete return, but the owl refused, and as a result, the battle became personal.

God instructed Cook to build the temple, and after being captured by the king, he called on all the other owls from across the islands to come to his aid.

They waged a battle, and the king’s men were left scratching their eyes and faces.

Cook was set free, and the battle became known as “Kū kā heʻe.”

Stories like this remind us of the rich history and culture of Hawaii, and by learning about the names of the streets, we can dig into those names and, in turn, learn something new.

So next time you’re in Waikīkī, take a moment to appreciate the stories and history that have taken place in this beautiful spot.

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