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The nawao is a race of mysterious humanoids that has been reported from Hawaii.

Allegedly larger and hairier than the menehune, Martha Beckwith in her still-classic work Hawaiian Mythology (1940) described the nawao as being a race of wild people who fed upon bananas in the forest, and did not associate with modern humans.

A hunting race, and formerly numerous, the nawao are believed by some to have colonized Hawaii before the menehune, but they are apparently now entirely gone. There are claims that it was the menehune who vanquished them.


  • Beckwith, Martha, Hawaiian Mythology (University of Hawaii Press: Honolulu) 1970. URL:
  • Luomala, Katherine (1951): The Menehune of Polynesia and Other Mythical Little People of Oceania. Bernice P. Bishop Museum Bulletin Vol. 203; Kraus Reprint, Millwood, N.Y., 1986