‘Ulalena features a variety of Hawaiian gods and legends. One of these very crucial, but somewhat looked over legends is that of Haloa, the child of Wakea (Father Heaven) and Ho’ohokukalai (the stars). Haloa is symbolized by the Taro plant, and represents the original ancestor of the Hawaiian people.
Before the elder, stronger Haloa, Ho’ohokukalai birthed an unhealthy and deformed child also named Haloa, who died at birth. This infant was buried, and a taro plant grew from it. The elder Haloa, is embodied by the taro plant, and the “elder brother” of all Hawaiians. He reflects the overall health and strength of the Hawaiian people and culture.
In ‘Ulalena, Haloa or Taro, is followed throughout the show, and represented by the green-clothed character carrying the staff. After Haloa is born in the first scene he is strong and vibrant, just as the Hawaiian people were at the time.
As the show goes on and the spirit of the Hawaiian culture is suffering from disease, guns, and other things brought by European colonialists, Haloa’s health also dwindles.
The conclusion of ‘Ulalena represents the renaissance of Hawaiian culture – the revitalization of its people and culture. This is portrayed as the ‘Ulalena rain showers over Haloa, and he is brought back to life; just like Hawaii as a whole.
The Taro plant, or Kalo in Hawaiian, is a base of the Hawaiian culture. It is not only important from a mythological standpoint, but Taro farming was a Hawaiian staple. The plant was and is still used for making poi, taro chips, and the leaves are used in luaus as well. Haloa was the root of life as the original Hawaiian descendant, but was also the root of life as a source of sustenance for the Hawaiian people.
There are many legends incorporated into ‘Ulalena. Although it is not necessary to understand all of these legends to enjoy the show, it definitely helps the viewer to better appreciate the story. The legend of Haloa, or Taro, is one of the key myths to the ‘Ulalena storyline.