Classic Mysteries by Timothy Green Beckley

The Menehune – Leprechauns of the Pacific

Among my driving ambitions while in the Hawaiian Islands was to see a Menehune. I knew the odds were not good. For one thing, I was not a child. It would have helped to be one. For another, I have no Hawaiian blood in me. That too would have helped.

From the accounts given, one could easily see similarities between the entities who disembark from UFOs, popping up under the cloak of darkness, and the little people who allegedly inhabit the forest on the islands but are extremely shy when it comes to showing themselves. I was told that they are a mysterious and industrious race of dwarf-like beings, perhaps two or three feet tall and forever wearing dour expressions.

The Menehune have many of the traits of the European elves, pixies, gnomes and trolls. They are great workers, accomplishing amazing feats in only a few hours. The Menehune work only in the dark and take one night to complete a task, much like the unseen crop circle makers who leave behind their intricate symbols on the ground so that you may see them immediately upon awakening in the morning.

The Menehune have been credited with enormous feats of engineering, including the building of the Menehune Fish Pond at Nawiliwili and the Menehune Ditch at Waimea.

It has been said that the Menehune are supernatural creatures and do not like to be seen by mortals. In spite of their dislike for humans, they do have human friends and are especially fond of children. If treated well, they will do favors for people, like building waterways, fish ponds and stone temples. They are gregarious, noisy, talkative and impish. Their voices are surprisingly deep for such little fellows, but when they are all talking at once the sound is like the low growling of dogs. They prefer to sleep all day (maybe I should have spotted them after all!). They live in lonely valleys, mountains, in caves, hollow logs and crude huts.

According to legend, the Menehune built Poliahu Heiau, whose ruins can still be seen on Poliahu Hill. This temple, like the fish pond Menehune Ditch, had stone walls with the joints neatly fitted. All of the structures are hundreds of years old and built before it was known how to fit joints neatly together. No explanation has ever been found.

People from all walks of life have seen the little people with the big stomachs and husky bodies. A few years ago, little four-toed footprints turned up almost everywhere. The believers in these leprechauns of the Pacific knew the little people were on the march.

The Menehune have the reputation of being serious and stern. They seem to be a scowling, fearful group. Mothers in Hawaii are likely to equate the Menehune with the bogeyman in an effort to get children to behave. But that is not fair. The Menehune won’t harm anyone if they are not molested.

In fact, their sour disposition is really the result of some bad press. In reality, they are quite playful. They enjoy pranks, and love to throw stones off a cliff and then dive into the water after them. They like to spin tops, roll down hills, throw darts, box, wrestle, play tug-of-war and glide down grassy slopes on sleds.

The Menehune are also musical. They have learned how to play mouth harps, nose flutes and ti-leaf trumpets. And they have excellent singing voices. A woman told me, “You never see the Menehune, you hear them. They make beautiful music. But if you should see them, lie prone like the ancient Hawaiians did in the presence of their chiefs.”

The woman added that if you catch a Menehune, he will reveal the source of treasure. This, of course, meshes closely with the belief that the Irish leprechaun, if caught, will take you to a pot of gold.

Modern Sightings

Apparently, the little people are still with us. A respectable businessman in Honolulu, one who is well-known and held in great esteem, stated that years ago he had seen a Menehune slide down out of a tree near his home and engaged him in conversation. When someone approached, the little man ran off.

If you are still skeptical, remember that many Hawaiians are still discovering fresh four-toed footprints at beaches and in pineapple fields.

The Menehune have been seen elsewhere in the South Pacific. This report was printed in the Fiji Times on July 19, 1975:

Students at the Lautoka Methodist Mission School reported seeing about eight mysterious little creatures in reeds near the school. The human figures were about two feet tall and were covered with black hair. When the children approached them, they fled into a bush.

The excitement brought more students and teachers into the area. People hurried over from nearby Lautoka Fijian school. Scores of neighbors rushed to the scene. It was conjectured that the little people had jumped into a pit near the bush, but the head teacher, Sadamand Narayan, said that they couldn’t be found in there.

For days afterward, dozens of people gathered at the pit in the hope of seeing the little men. They sat there for hours, holding sticks and torches in case they were attacked.

Head teacher Narayan told a team of reporters from the Fiji Times that he had threatened the students with punishment if he found out they were lying. “But they remained firm in whatever they said about the mysterious figures,” he said.

The students who actually saw the figures were Paras Ram, 14, David Keshwan, 14, Jonathan Surendra, 13, Viliane Kuglamu, 10, Ruci Muricuba, 11, and Naumi Tuyakaya, 10. They were on their way home after school. Ruci said, “I saw his white gleaming eyes and black hair. I was frightened.”

Naumi said, “One showed me his teeth and then ran away.”

David said that he made an effort to speak to them, but they ran away.

A villager named Peniasi Tora stated that his forefathers had often talked about coming to Fiji and finding little people already living there.


Do the Menehune of Hawaii really exist? I can’t answer that question, but when I talked to Hawaiians about them I was struck by their sincerity in believing that they do live off the beaten path. My informants were educated, sophisticated, and held responsible positions on the islands. They were rational. They told me that the Menehune were there to serve Hawaiians. They said that there are many cases on record in which a Menehune or two finished a job during the night that someone had left undone during the day. Shrimp and bananas and other tasty morsels were left for the little workers, and the food was always gone the next day.

These people I spoke with looked me straight in the eye. They weren’t lying.

How can I doubt them?

Editor’s Note: The above article was reprinted with permission from Our Alien Planet: This Eerie Earth, by Sean Casteel, with Timothy Green Beckley. Inner Light/Global Communications.