ʻIwa The Hawaiian Legend


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Petroglyph Press
Dietrich Varez
Softcover, 54 pp.

When the fisherman Keaʻau, renowned for catching octopus, finds two beautiful and rare red cowry shells he thinks they must be a gift from the goddess Hina. After he fashions them into a lure, the octopus swarm to the magical shells and he gathers more than enough to feed his whole village. The bounty is short lived when chief ʻUmi learns of the magical shell lure and demands to have it for himself. This begins the tale of how the boy-thief, ʻIwa, who exhibits the same thieving traits as his namesake, the Great Frigatebird, is invited to the island of Hawaiʻi to retrieve the previous lure. There he encounters the high chief ʻUmi, famous historical ruler of Hawaiʻi island, who puts ʻIwa’s talent to the test.

The rich imagery of Hawaiʻi’s diverse environment, its sea life, plants and animals is depicted alongside Varez’s interpretation of the human aspect of this classic tale.