The Hawaiian Islands supported some edible land animals, such as birds and bats, when first settled. The settlers brought with them, however, domesticated land animals – pigs, dogs and chickens – that they carefully bred and raised as a supplementary food source. Pigs were raised in great numbers for food and for religious and ceremonial purposes; they were used chiefly in important feasts (ʻaha ʻāina] or as offerings in religious rituals, as well as tribute from the makaʻāinana (commoners) to their chiefs.
Pua‘a (Pigs) constituted the male-associated, ‘higher’ category of sacrifice animal; dogs too had their role as offerings to the female deities. More chiefs than commoners consumed pork and dog meat, the right to the fattest and largest number of pigs and dogs being a privilege of rank. Taboos in eating (ʻai kapu) required that pork be restricted to men and to boys of 10 or 11 years who were old enough to eat in the menʼs eating house (hale mua).