Kamohoali’i is the most famous of Hawaii’s many shark spirits. He is Pelé’s devoted big brother; the shark brother who led and escorted her from Tahiti to Hawaii.

Kamohoali’i is more than just a shark with good navigational skills. He is an important deity and among the most important Aumakua. Kamohoali’i communicates via ritual possession of his spirit mediums. Devotees are expected not to eat, harm, harass or otherwise annoy sharks (although this may be good advice for all). In myth, he is a fun-loving spirit, credited as being the one who taught his sister, Hi’iaka to surf.

Also known as:





Kamohoali’i manifests in the form of a shark, a man or any kind of fish or sea creature.

Sacred sites:

Kamohoali’i is considered chief of the shark spirits of Oahu but he’s a shark: he travels where he wants.

• Kamohoali’i lives in an underwater cave near Pearl Harbor.

• Pelé named a cliff to the west of the Kilauea crater in his honor in gratitude for his protection during her long journey from Tahiti: Ka-Pali-Kapu-U-Kamohoali’i

• Many heiaus (stone shrines) are dedicated to him on the island of Molokai


Flower garlands; kava; good deeds on behalf of sharks, oceans and Hawaiian waters

See Also:

  • Aumakua;
  • Hi’iaka;
  • Ka’ahu Pahau;
  • Pelé


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.

Hawaiian Mythology

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