|A mountain nearly 14,000 feet high casts a very long shadow (2009)|
The Polynesians may have had their origins in New Guinea or Taiwan, but something more than a thousand years may have separated the native Hawaiians from any ancestors who ever laid eyes on snow-covered mountains. This was something new for them. The strange landscape of Mauna Kea soon became to them a holy place, a spot that was the origin of all people as a result of the relationship of the gods Wakea (the aforementioned "expanse of the sky") and Papahānaumoku (the Earth mother, or "she who gave birth to the islands"). Many on the islands continue their traditions of worship on the mountain (below).
|An altar near Pu'u Huluhulu at Saddle Road Summit, just south of Mauna Kea.|
|Three major shield volcanoes on the Big Island, as seen from a fourth. We are standing on Kohala, looking at Mauna Kea (left), Mauna Loa (mostly hidden by clouds in the center), and Hualalai (right).|
|The Southern Cross is the kite-shaped group of stars on the left side of the photo. Taken from the patio at the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy|