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As an indigenous culture, spread among eight islands, with waves of immigration over hundreds of years from various parts of the South Pacific, religious practices evolved over time and from place to place in different ways.
Hawaiian scholar Mary Kawena Pukui, who was raised in Kaʻū, Hawaii, maintained that the early Hawaiian gods were benign.
When healers picked herbs for medicine, they usually prayed to Kū and Hina, male and female, right and left, upright and supine.Selected to serve many practical and governmental purposes, Kahuna often were healers, navigators, builders, prophets/temple workers, and philosophers. Kahuna Kūpaʻiulu of Maui in 1867 described a counter-sorcery ritual to heal someone ill due to hoʻopiʻopiʻo, another’s evil thoughts. Although a person who was possessed (noho) would go into a trance-like state, it was not an ecstatic experience but simply a communion with the known spirits.Kapu refers to a system of taboos designed to separate the spiritually pure from the potentially unclean.ʻAikapu included: Other Kapus included Mālama ʻĀina, meaning "caring of the land" and Niʻaupiʻo.
Tradition says that mālama ʻāina originated from the first child of Wākea and Hoʻohokukalani being deformed so they buried him in the ground and what sprouted became the first kalo, also known as taro.The Hawaiian islands are all children of Papa, Wākea and Hoʻohokukalani so basically meaning that they are older siblings of the Hawaiian chiefs.