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The Naupaka Flower

A Story of Eternal Love

The logo for Waikoloa Beach Resort — the naupaka flower — is at its core a symbol of hope and eternal love. Like many stories from Hawai`i’s mythology, the story of the naupaka flower is one born of loss, but buoyed by the possibility of eventual reunion.

The shrub (scaevola) on which the flower is found is commonly found both in the mountains (naupaka hiwa) and near the beach, where it is called naupaka kahakai (naupaka by the sea). It is distinctive because at the beach the white petals grow only in half blooms on the lower part of the flower, while the other petals appear to be missing, and in the mountains the petals grow only on the upper half of the flower.

It is a hardy plant that can reach 10 feet in height and typically 15 feet in width. Because it is able to thrive in conditions from drought to wind to salt spray to heat, and in many types of soil from coral to cinder to clay, it is a popular ground cover for homeowners and land planners in Hawai`i.


Written by
Virginia “Gann” Carter

You are my lei of Naupaka
The soft fragrance of love
We will always be happy
The flowers, so fragrant
Two of us, together forever

You are my flower
Touched by dew
Your gentle eyes
Radiant, like pearls

Turn to me, my blossom
Your beauty, mine to indulge
(I will) cherish and care for you

There are many version of the legend of the naupaka flower and why it grows only half a bloom. In ancient times, one version goes, there was a beautiful Hawaiian princess known as Naupaka. One day, the villagers noticed that Naupaka looked very sad. They told her parents, who approached Naupaka and asked her what was troubling her.

“I have fallen in love with a man named Kaui,” replied the princess. “But Kaui is not of noble birth — he is a commoner.” According to Hawaiian tradition, it was strictly forbidden for members of royalty to marry people from the common ranks.

Distressed, Naupaka and Kaui traveled long and far, seeking a solution to their dilemma. They climbed up a mountain to see a kahuna (wise elder) who was staying at a heiau (temple). Alas, he had no clear answer for the young lovers. “There is nothing I can do,” he told them, “but you should pray. Pray at this heiau.”

So they did. And as they prayed, rain began to fall. Their hearts torn by sorrow, Naupaka and Kaui embraced for a final time. Then Naupaka took a flower from her ear and tore it in half, giving one half to Kaui. “The gods won’t allow us to be together,” she said. “You go live down by the water, while I will stay up here in the mountains.” As the two lovers separated, the naupaka plants that grew nearby saw how sad they were. The very next day, they began to bloom in only half flowers.


“It’s such a beautiful legend,” says Scott Head, vice president of resort operations for Waikoloa Land Company. “Waikoloa Beach Resort is a place where people come to relax, renew their appreciation of family, and enjoy the Hawaiian culture. Our naupaka flower logo perfectly illustrates these values.”

Other versions of the legend tell that Naupaka’s sister was Pele, the Fire Goddess, and that Pele killed both Kaui (at the beach) and Naupaka (in the mountains) to prevent them from being together.

But whatever version of the legend you read, the enduring hope is that the two star-crossed lovers — and the two opposite blooms of the flower — will one day be reunited and thus become whole.

“As a symbol for Waikoloa, the naupaka legend and the idea of becoming whole through eternal belief in the positive is very strong,” says Head. “We strive to deliver experiences to our guests that not only make their vacations more enjoyable and memorable, but that will have positive impacts on their lives long after they leave. That is what the naupaka legend and the flower symbolize.”


Kings’ Shops | First and Third Fridays | 4 – 8 pm

On the first and third Fridays of each month from 4 to 8 pm, the fun is found at Kings’ Shops. That’s when local vendors, live music, food trucks and entertainment make up the Kings’ Shops Night Market.

“The Night Markets are an exciting addition to the offerings at Kings’ Shops,” said General Manager John Alwine. “Geared to attract both resort guests and island residents, there’s something for everyone, from food
to entertainment to arts and crafts. We encourage everyone to come check it out!” Whether you’re looking for a bite to eat from a local vendor, shopping for gifts or memorabilia, or just wanting a relaxing evening listening to music under the warm Hawaiian skies, the Kings’ Shops Night Market is the place to go.

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