Long ago, on a tiny island in the South Pacific, there lived five brothers who loved adventure. The first , Hoku loved the sun, the moon and especially the stars. The second Na'ale, loved the sea. The third, Opua , loved clouds. The fourth, Makani, loved the wind and the fifth, tiny Manu, loved birds.
One Night Hoku told his brothers there was an island below a certain bright star, which he pointed out to them." Let us sail to it", he proposed. No one had ever gone so far before. Tiny Manu was the first to accept the proposal. But his brothers laughed and said such a dangerous trip would be out if the question for such a small boy.
The next morning Manu watched his brothers prepare for the great trip. Hoku dried fruit for them to eat. Na'ale made fish hooks and readied harpoons. Opua gathered rain water. Makani repaired the sails. After several weeks of preparation they were ready. The last night they had a great celebration and then set sail just before dawn.
Little Manu had sneaked aboard the canoe during the celebrations. He was not discovered until sunset of the first sailing day.After pretending to throw Manu overboard, the brothers accepted him and put him to work. Everyone had a job. Manu caught fish, Hoku used the sun, moon and bright stars to navigate. Na'ale used the rhythms of the ocean waves to keep the canoe on course.When the clouds covered the 'the heavenly map' Opua watched the clouds to predict storms. Makani 'disentangled the knotted winds'.
After several weeks at sail, Makani noticed a strange rush of warm air. The waves grew. A strange cloud appeared. Fearing rough weather, the brothers tied a safety rope to Manu. For five days and nights they struggled to survive the monstrous storm. After the storm passed the brothers realised that they had been blown off course. But Manu caught sight of a bird high , very high in the sky. Manu alone was able to see the direction the bird was flying. Hoku steered the canoe in what Manu told him was the direction of the bird's flight.
That night the brothers saw the bright star again. No one could sleep. The next morning they saw the island and a quiet bay for the canoe.At sunset they went ashore. That night they gave thanks for their safe journey to the island below the star.
This simple but gripping story of how Polynesian explorers discovered the Hawaiian islands 1500 years ago is told in a language worthy of a poet. It is a story of how a child can see something important that the much more experienced adults around him have missed.
(Extracted from Gareth B Mathews column of stories in Thinking Journal,2004)