Menehune are said to be about two feet high, although some are only six inches high and capable of fitting in the palm of someone's hand. The creatures are usually naked, but their long straight hair falls to their knees to keep them warm and discreet. Each menehune has a distinct personality and appearance; no two are identical. Furthermore, their spirits are always changing; one could be malicious and dangerous one day, and harmless the next. Nonetheless, they are cunning creatures, and therefore should be avoided, unless a special favor is absolutely needed of them.
Although most people easily recall the leprechauns of Ireland, in Hawaii the mischievous Menehune roam the deep forests at night.
The mythology of the Menehune is as ancient as the history of Polynesia.
When the first Polynesians arrived in Hawaii, they found dams, fish-ponds,
and even Heiaus(temples), all presumably built by the Menehune who
were already inhabiting the caves in the islands. Some even say that
the great god Maui himself, was one of the tiny creatures.
Kokua (koe-KOO-ah): The warriors and protectors of the Menehune. The kokua are usually hot-headed, boastful and violent, but they are the enforcers of the ali'i's laws, and the ones who defend the Menehune from outsiders. Kokua often allied with the Shark totem in the past, but many have allied with rock totems in recent years due to the scarcity of the great sea animals. Kokua are faster and quicker than the average, and all are taught to fight early on. The kokua are often governed by their anger, and often tend to kill enemies rather than capture them, often in very painful or cruel ways. The kokua appear to be perfect physical specimens, and are always fit. They wear little clothing usually, to better display their tatoos.
Kahuna (ka-HOO-nah): The mystical and spiritual leaders of Menehune society, kahunas communicate with and appease the spirits and keep the taboos. A majority of kahunas can even change the taboos, if enough evidence from the spirit world seems to favor the change. Once per month, and only with good reason, a kahuna may break a taboo and get away with it without negative repercussions. All kahuna can speak to spirits and understand their languages. Kahunas are often given to falling into sudden trances, as stray whispers from the spirit world are heard by them. The stars shine in the eyes of the fae mien of a kahuna.
Also known as Nawao. Hawaii's legendary mystical and shy forest dwellers, small in size (about 3 ft tall), but according to legend, very industrious master builders that use their great strength to accomplish mighty feats of engineering and construction overnight.
The Menehune are also said to possess magical powers and to have created major projects throughout the Hawaiian Islands, such as the Menehune Ditch (an aqueduct that funnels water for irrigation from the Waimea River) and the Alekoko Fishpond (also called Menehune Fishpond).