Kualoa Regional Park is located at Kaneohe Bay, on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. The park covers 153 areacs across the road from the Pali-ku (cliffs) of the Koolau Range. The beach front is white sand and 1/3 mile offshore is the small basalt island of MokoliÊ»i (or Chinaman’s Hat). One of five parks on the shore of Kane’ohe Bay, Kuzloa is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Kualoa means “long back,” but also ay be translated as “long ancestral background” The name may refer to the time when O’ahu’s chiefs brought their children here to be trained as rulers and learn the traditions of their heritage. In deference to the sacredness of Kusloa, canoes passing by were required to lower their sails.
Mokoli’i Islet, one of Windward O’ahu’s most famous landmarks, lies off the park. Its creation is explained in a legend about Hi’iaka, a sister of Pele, goddess of the volcano. After Pele traveled across the Islands and finally made her home on the Big Island, she still wandered in her dreams as a spirit. During one of these travels, she found a handsome prince, Lohi’au, on Kaua’i and wanted to meet him. She asked each of her sisters to go to Kaua’i and bring him back, but they refused, foreseeing the dangers of the trip. Finally the youngest of the girls, Hi’iaka, agreed.
On O’ahu, as Hi’iaka followed the trail on the shore of Kane’ohe Bay, she was confronted by a mo’o, a large dragon-like creature. Using her supernatural power, Hi’iaka killed the mo’o, cut off his tail, and threw it into the ocean, where it became an island called Mokoli’i, or “little dragon.” The islet has long been nicknamed Chinaman’s Hat for its shape, which resembles an old-style Chinese laborer’s hat.