Menehunes of Kauai: Leprechauns of the Hawaiian Islands

Kauai from space

Legend has it that on the island of Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands there lives Menehunes whose ancient ancestors were Leprechauns visiting from Ireland.

Forty Shades of Green on Kauai

Irish Americans are not the only grand folk who can boast of a population of wee folk in there midst back in dear old Ireland. On the island of Kauai, in the state of Hawaii, legends abound of another set of small inhabitants. They are called the Menehunes. And it is also suspected that the leprechaun are their ancestors.

Kauai, is called the Garden Island because of its lush natural greenery and beautiful gardens. And perhaps, it too, like dear old Ireland, has forty shades of green. So what better a place could there be, outside of Ireland, for a tribe of wee folk to dwell. It would be hard to imagine such a place. Kauai is also well known, at least in the islands, as Menehune land and is the island richest in Menehune lore, although throughout the Hawaiian Islands there abounds legends of Menehunes.

Hawaii’s Pixies and Dwarfs

The Menehunes are sometimes referred to as pixies, or dwarfs, of legendary Hawaii. Legends describe them as small people as about as high as a man’s knee who perform marvelous feats of construction. It is said that they do this all in one night.

Menehune Origin Legends

Several legends abound as to how the Menehunes happened to be on the island of Kauai. One legend says that back in ancient times a boatload of vacationing leprechauns stopped off to take their pleasure in the Hawaiian Islands. Seeing how wonderfully lush and green the islands were, just as it was back home in Ireland, they decided to stay.

In time, all folks being as they are, the leprechauns began to intermarry with the Polynesians already living in the islands. The results were offspring of a considerably smaller size than the Hawaiians, and a wee bit larger than the leprechauns. As to how these new small people came to be called Menehunes is yet to be discovered.

Polynesians From Tahiti

And yet, another legend has it that the Menehunes were really the Islands’ first Polynesian settlers. They were normal size people who became dwarfed in legend because they seemed small in comparison with the magnificent tall, warrior-type Polynesians who came later. The Menehunes gathered on Kauai to make their last stand against these larger conquerors.

These conquerors, the alii, meaning nobility, traced their ancestry directly to the alii of Tahiti, the Pacific homeland of the Polynesians who came after the Menehunes.