Today, scholars spectulate that the menehune may not have been an imaginary race
at all, but rather the decendants of the first wave of settlers who came to Hawaii
from the Marquesas sometime around the sixth century. The menehune legends come from
later settlers who reached Hawaii six or seven hundred years later from the Islands of Tahiti.
Scholars have concluded that this second wave of immigrants may have defeated the
descendants of the original Marquesans, driving them north from the Big Island
to Kauai, where they made their last stand. Only later did they emerge in their elfin guise.
Linguistic support for the explanation comes from the Tahitian home islands where
the word manahune derisively refer to a class of workers and slaves.|
Whatever their origins, the menehune have emerged from the past as playful elves two or three feet
tall, pot-bellied, hairy, and muscular, with bushy eyebrows over large eyes and a short nose with
a trace of the mischievousness of their European counterparts.