In legends and chants, Kāne and Kanaloa are portrayed as complementary powers (Beckwith 1970:62–65). For example: Kāne was called upon during the building of a canoe, Kanaloa during the sailing of it; Kāne governed the northern edge of the ecliptic, Kanaloa the southern; and Kāne then taps them out. In this way, they represent a divine duality of wild and taming forces like those observed (by Georges Dumézil, et al.) in Indo-European chief god-pairs like Odin–Týr and Mitra–Varuna, and like the popular yin and yang of Chinese Taoism.
Kanaloa is also considered to be the god of the Underworld and a teacher of magic. Legends state that he became the leader of the first group of spirits "spit out" by the gods. In time, he led them in a rebellion in which the spirits were defeated by the gods and as punishment were thrown in the Underworld. In traditional, pre-contact Hawaiʻi, it was Milu who was the god of the Underworld and death, not Kanaloa; the related Miru traditions of other Polynesian cultures support this.
The Eye of Kanaloa is an esoteric symbol associated with the god in New Age Huna teaching, consisting of a seven-pointed star surrounded by concentric circles that are regularly divided by eight lines radiating from the inner-most circle to the outer-most circle. Kanaloa is also associated with the Ocean as a god of the sea, hence his association with boats and squid. Huna, as a New Age religion developed in the 20th Century by a Caucasian-American founder, bears no relation to the Native Hawaiian Religion. Native Hawaiians reject "Huna" as a mishmash of Hawaiian elements with European religious metaphysical ideas.
- Tangaroa, the Māori god of the sea.
- Tagaloa Samoan mythology
- Tangaloa Tongan mythology
- Ta'aroa Tahitian mythology
- M. Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology (University of Hawaii Press: Honolulu, 1970).
- G. Dumezil, Mitra-Varuna (MIT Press: Cambridge, 1988).
- P. Turner & C. R. Coulter, Dictionary of Ancient Deities (Oxford University Press: New York, 2001).