There are many versions of the story about the volcano goddess Pele and her obsession with a handsome young man named ‘Ōhi’a.
There are many versions of the story about the volcano goddess Pele and her obsession with a handsome young man named ‘Ōhi’a. Pele was enamored with ‘Ōhi’a and wanted him for her own. However, ‘Ōhi’a was in love with another very beautiful woman named Lehua. Pele, in her jealous wrath, turned the young man into a gnarled tree trunk and she turned the beautiful Lehua into a blossom nestled amongst his twisted branches. Now, forever, the two would be together but never as humans. It is said that to pick a Lehua blossom will cause it to rain. The raindrops are the tears of these two lovers because they have been separated.
Pele is represented on this ipu as seething smoke rising from her home in the crater of Halema’uma’u.‘Ōhi’a and Lehua encircle this ipu as representations of unremitting love, despite Pete’s obstinate anger.