Popoalaea (ball of red clay,) a chiefess of rank in Hana district on Maui during the rule of Kamohoali‘i, is won as a reward of victory in strength-testing games by the chief Kakea (Kaakae, Makea) and he makes their home close to the crater above Kaupo at a place called Koae-kea because there the koae birds flock (or at the village of Hono-ka-lani.)
He is jealous, especially of her fondness for her younger brother. (Beckwith)
Kakae (also the name of their great-grandfather, but could have been a namesake) was more than twenty years older than Popoalaea and as time went on he grew more jealous and suspicious of her and threatened her constantly until she began to fear for her life.
Her brother, Piʻilaui, who was of a gentle nature, decided to move near her to keep her company and they would wander through the woods in search of plants and herbs for his house. They were happy in their affection for each other and forgot the jealousy of Kakae.
Then Kakae, angered by this affection of the brother and sister, threatened to kill Popoalaea.
Fearing for her life, she and her faithful companion, Manona … fled … traveling by the underground passage (for the great mountain (Haleakala) is honeycombed with caves and caverns, and lava tubes leading to the ocean.)
At last they reached the sea, the beach of Papaloa (?Pailoa.) There, where the waters have washed the rocks for centuries were to be found wild caves and deep places where only the sunbeams play and here the women thought to hide in safety.
In one of the caves they found refuge…. Kakae, searching for his wife, came to the village of Honokalaui where he heard strange tales from the fisher folk of spirits wandering on the shore at night. …
The wife hid in a cave, but the shadow of the kahili waved by the attendant betrayed their hiding place, and Kaʻakea killed them both. On the night of Ku, the water in the pool is said to run red. (Pukui)
From that day to this the caves in that region have been called Waiʻanapanapa (water flashing rainbow hues, glistening water) – for the death of Popoalaea it is said the place sparkled with rainbow stones which the gods in their pity sent … (Reportedly, as told by Emma Kalelookalani Omstead and printed in the Paradise of the Pacific.)
Today, on the night of Ku, god of justice, the water in the pool runs red. At some time each morning prismatic colors (anapa) such as are sacred to divine chiefs play over the waters of this pool as proof of her innocence.
The water of the pool makes even a dark skin look white when immersed in it. (Beckwith)
A State Park was established at Waiʻanapanapa, with campground and trails.
The rental cabins at Waiʻanapanapa State Park are closed effective April 1, 2015, for approximately 9 months as construction begins on renovations and new wastewater treatment systems. Cabins will not be available for rental during this time, although tent camping will still be allowed by permit.