Star-Bulletin Features

Sunday, October 28, 2001

In the new edition of "Hawaiian Goddesses," Linda Ching
tells the myth of Maui, a child so willful his mother "tossed
his fate into the hands of the gods."

Deities redux


I always felt that the book was never finished, that there were stories in my mind that I'd never explored and images in my mind that I'd never photographed," said Linda Ching on the subject of why she decided to produce a new edition of her book "Hawaiian Goddesses," a 1987 collection of ancient stories vividly illustrated with Ching's pictures. "One of the main factors, too, was that the hardcover had been out of print for 10 years and I'd had so many requests to bring the book back."

A craving for seaweed leads Hina to a sandy shore, where
she finds and wears the red malo that changes her life forever.

Rather than simply reprint the book as written, however, Ching decided to add one new myth (a Maui story) and employ some new models, her original goddesses having grown from mere children to young women with children of their own. In fact, during an April reunion with the first edition models, Ching spotted at least one keiki who would make a wonderful bird guardian to La'ieikawai, the rainbow goddess.

A jellyfish carries baby Maui to the sacred land of Kuaihelani.

As the boy grows he learns the secrets of the
gods and continues his trickster ways.

And so it was that 6-year-old Kauanani Daniels was selected as a model for Ching's "Hawaiian Goddesses, 'Alua -- Second Generation," just released this week. Is it mere coincidence that Kauanani's mother Kaleo, at the tender age of 13, played a bird guardian herself? Ching isn't so sure.

"They both share a wonderful spirit and a lovely essence," she said.

Hina-a-keahi “found a red malo. Red was a kapu
color reserved for the high chiefs and gods but Hina
picked it up and tied it around her waist.”
“Hawaiian Goddesses, ‘Alua -
Second Generation”

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