Who was the Hawaiian Superman?

Bruddah IZ sings about him, “His deeds and tasks I will unmask so that you’ll understand, that before there was a Clark Kent, there was a Hawaiian Sup’pa Man.” The chorus reveals who IZ is referring to; none other than Hawaiian demigod Maui, who is said to be the creator of the Hawaiian Islands. According to Hawaiian legend, he convinced his brothers to take him fishing on their canoe but slyly snags his hook onto the ocean floor. He tricks his brothers into thinking he caught a big fish and tells them to paddle as hard as they can. They listen, falling for Maui’s trick several times until all Hawaiian Islands have risen from the ocean behind them.

Hawaiian legend calls demigod Maui a cultural hero. Shown here is Iao Needle on the island of Maui.

Maui appears in several different genealogies in many different cultures, including Hawaiian, Tongan, Tahitian, Samoan and Maori cultures. You’ll notice that the myths and legends are also fairly similar to one another. Maui’s name is cognate to the Hawaiian Island, Maui, except there’s a kahako over the letter “a.” He is also credited for discovering fire and slowing down the sun. Continuing with Bruddah IZ’s song to describe how he discovered fire: Maui “found that alae (bird) held the fire connection” and “squeezed alae’s throat until she screamed the secret.”

IZ is credited for giving demigod Maui the title of “Hawaiian Superman” through his song, Maui Hawaiian Sup’pa Man (Facing Future album, 1993). This has since caught on and today, has even become a special shave ice flavor at Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha (HOPA). Uncle Clay created a frozen treat especially for Bruddah IZ, calling it the Hawaiian Superman. It’s a hands-down favorite by customers and consists of strawberry and li hing syrups, a dream sauce and a dash of all-natural li hing mui powder. And if that’s not enough to make your face squish with sweet-sour delight, the concoction is topped off with a li hing mui seed. A refreshing blend of li hing and strawberry syrups made in honor of Hawaii’s beloved sons, the late Israel Kamakawiwoole.

HOPA writes on its website that, “Although he (Bruddah IZ) is not with us in the world today, his spirit will always be, reminding each of us of our inner Hawaiian Superman!”

Photo Courtesy: HOPA (second)

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