The Hawaiian Creation Chant also called the Kumulipo describes the birth of the world or of Earth and how the intricate ecosystem web of life continues up through the food chain.
The Hawaiian Creation Chant was translated in 1897 by the last Queen of Hawaii, Queen Liliuokalani. She translated the Creation Chant while in prison, being imprisoned by the Europeans who took the Hawaiian Islands from the native people of Hawaii. Queen Liliuokalani wanted the native Hawaiian people to forever know and understand the Kumulipo or the native Hawaiian chant of creation/evolution that describes the natural chain of life on Earth.
All living things need energy to survive and get their energy from other living things in a bio-community of life where animals eat plants to survive and animals eat other animals to survive. This is the food chain.
Today scientists know and talk of the food chain and how the beginning of life begins with the coral polyps and all the one-celled sea creatures that live with the corals in the seas.
Hawaii’s creation chant is an epic poem of the food chain and how life began in the sea with the coral polyps.
Hawaiian spirituality embraced the natural order of life and all living things as one whole. All of life was connected, and so the Hawaiian Creation Chant goes through the entire evolution of life from the coral polyps to man.
Hawaiian spirituality describes “nature and culture as one” and how land and sea are connected – that all creatures were born in pairs – land creatures and plants for every sea creature and plant.
Ancient Polynesians navigated the waters by natural means called wayfinding – navigating by the stars, ocean swells, clouds, sun, the seabirds, and the winds. And as with their natural ways they also understood the meanings of the sea creatures and the sea plants and the land creatures and land plants; and how all were connected.
The Hawaiian Creation Chant is divided up into eras. In the first era it describes the beginnings – “A coral insect was born, from which was born perforated coral” and “…water is life to trees.”
The first era also describes the seaweeds and grasses.
In the second era fish were born and also the porpoise, the eel, and the crab. They were “born in the sea and swam.”
In the third era the insects, caterpillars, ants, dragonflies, grasshoppers, flies, and birds of the land and the seas were born.
In the fourth era, turtles and lobsters were born. In the third verse of the fourth era, “the Earth was born and lived by the sea.”
And so the Hawaiian Creation Chant goes through the entire creation/evolution of life from the beginnings in the sea to the land; and in the final eras, the emergence of man.
There are fifteen eras in the Hawaiian Creation Chant.
The Hawaiian Creation Chant has also been translated by Martha Warren Beckwith in 1951.
Both translations, the one by Queen Liliuokalani and the one by Beckwith are masterpieces in translation of the epic poem, the Hawaiian Creation Chant that describes in detail the beginnings of life in the sea and the beginnings of life on land and how all is connected. The Hawaiian Creation Chant describes the bottom of the food chain, the coral polyps; and the top of the food chain, man.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/pac/lku/index.htm (translation by the last royal Queen of Hawaii).
http://www.sacred-texts.com/pac/ku/index.htm (translation by Martha Warren Beckwith).