Moa

1. Chicken, red jungle chicken (Gallus gallus), fowl, as brought to Hawaiʻi by Polynesians; for some people, an ʻaumakua.

Okay, the moa is not a native bird but it did play a big role in Hawaiʻi. Yes, we are talking about a chicken.

The moa was the only fowl brought to the islands by the first settlers during the migrations here. It was brought primarily for food though the Hawaiians were resourceful enough to use all parts of the moa, including the feathers for decorations (like for kāhili-feather staffs) and bones for fishhooks. The moa was also used as a substitute sacrifice during heiau ceremonies. It is also considered an ʻaumakua, or family guardian, to some. It is thought to be a form of the moʻo class of ʻaumakua.Often a moa of a particular color (whether pure white, pure black, smoky or speckled) was called for as an offering in a healing ritual.

There is one area where tradition continues here in Hawaiʻi. The sport of cockfighting (hoʻohaka moa) was popular way back when in Hawaiʻi (and Tahiti), where the aliʻi (royalty) would lay wages on their birds. Ah, the legacy continues. I am not sure, but I bet they didn’t dress their moa with knives! I am sure Hawaiians would call that extreme hoʻohaka moa. No need da knives! So over the top.

ʻOno ka moa – Chicken is delicious.

He aliʻi ka moa – The rooster is a chief (the rooster sleeps on a high perch. His feathers are used in kāhili, which are the symbols of chiefs).

He moa kani ao ia, a pō kau i ka haka – He is a cock that crows in the daytime, but when night comes, he sits on a perch (said of a person who brags of what he can do, but when difficulties come he is the first to remove himself from the scene).

1-chickenstell

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