Kamapua’a is Lord of Pigs, a sensual hog spirit, half-pig/half-man who lives in swampy parts of Hawaii. Although now most famous for his epic battle and romance with volcano goddess, Pelé, he is also a spirit of sex, abundance, fertility, well-being and precipitation.

The son of Hina and her illicit lover, he is passionate, charismatic, a renowned warrior, brawler and lady’s man. Pelé isn’t the only goddess he romanced. He also had a steamy affair with snow goddess, Poliahu, perhaps one more reason the two goddesses can’t stand each other’s sight.

Kamapua’a is Pelé’s rival, ally, lover and enemy. A myth recounts their battle to control the island of Hawaii and their ultimate truce. Kamapua’a engaged her in a battle over land-rights (and a rough seduction). She attacked him with flames, almost defeating him but he retaliated by dousing her with fog, dampness and rain; then sent an army of hogs to root and rampage through her territory.

Finally, to prevent complete devastation of the island, other spirits intervened and a truce was brokered. Pelé decided she liked the big lugand consented to his attentions. They divided Hawaii with Kamapua’a maintaining dominion over Hilo and the wet, rainy region and Pelé asserting dominion over the lava districts of Kona, Puna and Ka’u. He promised never to flood her side of the Wailua River and she promised never to cross the river and ravage his green fields.


Kamapua’a is a real shape-shifter: he manifests as a man, hog, fish or plant. When he appears in human form, he traditionally wears a long cloak to camouflage the hog bristles running down his spine that betray his true porcine identity. (His tattoos may also indicate his pig nature.)


Kamapua’a owns a magic leho shell (red cowrie), which he uses as a boat to travel between islands.


Hina; Pelé; Poliahu


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.