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Natural History of Sharks, Skates, and Rays Sharks and Hawaiian Culture MARE 394 Dr. Turner Summer 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Natural History of Sharks, Skates, and Rays Sharks and Hawaiian Culture MARE 394 Dr. Turner Summer 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Natural History of Sharks, Skates, and Rays Sharks and Hawaiian Culture MARE 394 Dr. Turner Summer 2008

2 Sharks & Hawaiian Culture Knowledge of shark names used by ancient Hawaiians Found extensively in legend, place-names folklore, customs Gods & Demi-gods ‘aumakua

3 Disclaimer Many “modern” comments on sharks & Hawaiian culture characterized as inaccurate, irresponsible, imprecise Language/relationship not necessarily “one size fits all”

4 Disclaimer Statements like: “Sharks are sacred” “Sharks were important food for Hawaiians” “Hawaiians did not kill sharks” May be true for some species or some individual sharks but difficult from existing records

5 Disclaimer Ancient Hawaiian culture was very complex in consideration of sharks Recognized that different kinds were to be treated in species ways unique to: - species - individual sharks

6 Sharks & Hawaiian Culture Knowledge of shark names used by ancient Hawaiians is incomplete Likely specific terms relating to sharks due to dependence on ocean & extensive familiarity with ocean life

7 Sharks & Hawaiian Culture 34 species recognized (modern biologists) 9 kinds of sharks in Hawaiian Dictionary some probably not known – deep sea forms; unique (cookiecutter, Megamouth) Rest probably lost

8 Hawaiian words for sharks Great white shark & Tiger shark most significant Large dangerous sharks – niuhi refers to both species

9 Hawaiian words for sharks lālākea – reef shark with white fins Whitetip reef shark (Triaenodon obesus) laukāhi‘u – “much hit tail”; thresher shark (Alopias spp.)

10 Hawaiian words for sharks lele wa‘a – “friendly shark; leans on canoes” Whale shark (Rhinocodon typus)

11 Hawaiian words for sharks manō kihikihi – “angular shark” hammerhead shark (Sphyrna spp.) manō pā‘ele – “black-smudged shark” blacktip reef (Carcharhinus melanopterus) or blacktip shark (C. limbatus)

12 Hawaiian words for sharks manō ‘ula – “red shark; no known species; might mean “sacred” or “special” Basking Shark?

13 Hawaiian words for rays hīhīmanō (lupe) – stingrays (Dasyatidae) & eagle rays (Actobatus narinari)

14 Sharks & Hawaiian Culture Viewed in several ways - Teeth used as cutting edge/knife before Western contact - Skins used for membrane of temple & hula drums - Considered to be the equal of ali‘i - Meat rarely eaten by men; forbidden by women

15 Teeth Only some uses for shark teeth are known Sharpest and thinnest “edge” available Cut designs into kapa bamboo stampers & wooden kapa beaters Decoration; ornamentation

16 Leiomano Clubs, daggers, other weapons or tools made from shark teeth Koa war club – tiger or great white shark teeth

17 Leiomano Fist weapon – tiger or grey reef shark teeth Fist club – great white shark Knives/Daggers – great white shark

18 Leimano Great white shark & Tiger shark most significant Tiger shark teeth more common in tools & weapons but are also more common sharks Large dangerous sharks – nuihi refers to both species

19 Tattoo You An old Hawaiian legend tells of a woman who freed herself from a shark by telling it that he was her ‘aumakua The shark let her go and said he would recognize her in the future by the tooth marks he left on her ankle

20 Tattoo Since then, it is said, some Hawaiian people tattoo their ankles to let sharks know that their ‘aumakua is a shark

21 Tattoo The shark tooth pattern is also a popular design in kapa, or barkcloth A feather cloak in the Bishop Museum, belonging to Kiwalaa`o, a fellow warrior of King Kamehameha, is decorated with five equilateral triangles -- a motif depicting shark teeth

22 Tattoo Traditionally in Hawaii, the male is tattooed on the inside of the right leg, done as an alaniho, or genealogical tattoo

23 Tattoo In Hawaiian tradition, you are tattooed on the leg like that for these reasons: - the leg is the foundation of who you are as a person, just as your family is your foundation

24 Tattoo In Hawaiian tradition, you are tattooed on the leg like that for these reasons: - the body is split in 2 halves, the left side being female and the right side being male

25 Tattoo In Hawai’i, the men are tattooed on the left leg to bring balance to the feminine side and the women are tattooed on the right leg to bring balance to the masculine side Ancient Hawaiian mummies show ancient people tattooed ♂ & ♀ on both legs

26 Tattoo Still popular today as either ‘aumakua or good luck in the ocean

27 Fishing nuihi Sharks were attracted with chum (pig, rocks, kukui nut shells) in a bag/net Trained like pet pigs; tickled; patted on head Once used to being touched; rested chin on head of shark

28 Fishing nuihi Trained like pet pigs; tickled; patted on head Once used to being touched; rested chin on head of shark

29 Fishing nuihi Slipped noose around sharks head with palms facing outward Tightened noose at center of body

30 Nuihi: Tigers & Great Whites Stories of sharks attacking cattle were infrequent and often reported as tigers Most likely Great Whites Story of Kapa‘aheo, kohala shark god – probably great white as well

31 Kapa‘aheo Young girls would swim in Kohala; would often disappear When swimmers disappeared fishermen noticed that a mysterious stranger named Kapa‘aheo could be seen on shore

32 Kapa‘aheo One day the fishermen swam out to protect the girls when they saw Kapa‘aheo on shore

33 Kapa‘aheo Surrounded girls; speared shark several times; Finally shark swam away Later found man dying on shore from “spear” wounds

34 Kapa‘aheo Died and transformed into stone

35 Nuihi: Tigers & Great Whites Many sharks use vision to find food Excellent vision; maybe color Many Hawaiian legends derived from the shark

36 Nuihi: Tigers & Great Whites Kamehameha’s mother – craving for nuihi eye; spirit of shark vision Led to keen vision of Kamehameha’s reign

37 Hawaiian gods & sharks Kamohoali‘i – Pele’s older brother; most celebrated shark god Kua – king shark of Ka‘ū; ancestor of Ka‘ū folk

38 Hawaiian gods & sharks Ka‘ahupāhua – chiefess of shark god of Pu‘uloa (Pearl Harbor) vowed to protect all from sharks - guardian since early 1900’s Engineers did not ask permission; Collapsed dock; problems

39 Hawaiian words relating sharks ho‘omanō – to behave like a shark, eat ravenously, pursue women ardently kahu manō – an attendant or guardian on an individual shark filled with a special spirit manō – general name for shark niuhi – “large grey man-eating shark”

40 Hawaiian words relating sharks ‘aumakua – family or personal god taking the form of a living organism; shark common manō – general name for a shark kapua – demi-god or supernatural being, possessing several forms, human & animal

41 Hawaiian words relating sharks manō kanaka – a shark born to human mother sired by shark; human whose spirit possesses a shark; turns into shark ‘unihipili – spirit of dead person present in remains; transferred into living form (shark)

42 ‘aumakua Under certain conditions, with the assistance of surviving family members, a deceased relative could be reincarnated into the form of a shark - ‘aumakua Beneficial guardian, family protector, fishing helper, ‘unihipili – spirit that would do bidding ‘aumakua – also owls, mudhens, sea turtles, eels, caterpillars, sea cucumbers, rocks, plants

43 Kahu manō – shark keeper Either a relative of deceased or kahuna

44 Kahu manō – shark keeper Took ‘awa at dawn & dusk for three days Until he saw that the body assumed form of shark – recognizable marks (tattoo, scars) After 2-3 days more after strengthening of new shark – sent for relatives

45 Kahu manō – shark keeper Relatives see that deceased had become a shark If shark was around later would recognize it as their family protector in the sea

46 What sharks were ‘aumakua? Whitetip reef sharks – frequent same caves, docile, relatively harmless; predatory power of big sharks Blacktip reef, Grey reef, Galapagos, sandbar, hammerhead – aggregate in large number for reasons other than feeding Packing behavior – remain in contact with other sharks for years

47 What sharks were ‘aumakua?

48 Lālani kalalea - protruding line of dorsal fins of sharks above the water Numbered 2-4 in march to in June Oblivious to people, prey, baited hooks 1° pregnant ♀ sharks

49 Hawaiian proverbs & sayings He manō holo ‘aina ke ali‘i The chief is a shark that travels on land Uliuli kai holo ka manō Where the sea is dark, sharks swim He niuhi ai holopapa o ka moku Niuhi shark that devours all on the island E ao o pau po‘o, pau hi‘u ia manō Careful lest you go head & tail into the shark


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