He is known as the god of war and the husband of the goddess Hina. Some have taken this to suggest a complementary dualism, as the word kū in the Hawaiian language means " to stand " while one meaning of hina is " to fall ". This analysis is not supported by evidence from other Polynesian languages which distinguish the original "ng" and "n". Hina's counterpart in New Zealand for example, is Hina, associated with the moon, rather than Hinga, "fallen down". Thus, the Hawaiian name Hina is probably rather connected to the other meaning of hina, denoting a silvery-grey color (like the full moon); indeed the moon is named Mahina in the Hawaiian language. Kū, Kāne, and Lono caused light to shine in upon the world. They are uncreated gods who have existed from eternity.
Feathered god images or 'aumakua hulu manu are considered to represent Kū. Kū is worshipped under many names, including Kū-ka-ili-moku (also written Kūkaʻilimoku), the "Seizer of Land".
Kū-ka-ili-moku was the guardian of Kamehameha I who erected monuments to him at the Holualoa Bay royal center and his residence at Kamakahonu. Rituals included human sacrifice, which was not part of the worship of the other gods. One feathered god image in the Bishop Museum, Honolulu is thought to be Kamehameha I's own image of his god. However it is still unclear whether all feathered god images represent Kū.
The Kailua-Kona lighthouse was built on land known as Kūkailimoku Point.
- Beckwith (1970): p.12
- Pukui et al. (1992): p.25
- Tregear (1891): p.540
- "`aumakua hulu manu Kuka`ilimoku (feathered god image)". Collections Online. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
- Beckwith, M. (1970): Hawaiian Mythology. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.
- Tregear, Edward (1891): Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Lyon and Blair, Wellington..
- Pukui, Mary Kawena; Elbert, Samuel Hoyt; Mookini, Esther T. & Nishizawa, Yu Mapuana (1992): New Pocket Hawaiian Dictionary with a Concise Grammars and Given Names in Hawaiian. University of Hawaii PRess, Honolulu. ISBN 0-8248-1392-8
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