W?kea was the eldest son of Kahiko ("Ancient One"), who lived in Olalowaia. He is the ancestor of the ali?i (nobility of Hawaii), the ruling class that make up the aristocracy known as the noho ali'i o Hawai'i (ruling chiefs of Hawai'i). W?kea is the grandson of Welaahilaninui. The priests and common people come from his brothers, one of whom was called Maku?u.
W?kea means expansive space, zenith, or heaven and Papa means foundation or surface; together, they create a symbol of land and sky or heaven and earth.
W?kea's first high priest was called Komoʻawa.
When W?kea was on Earth in ancient times, he was a High Chief.
In one legend, W?kea lives in Hihiku and marries Papah?naumoku, who is a princess of Olalo-i-mehani and a granddaughter of Princess Kaoupe-alii. The Hawaiian Islands were created by W?kea and Papah?naumoku. Their daughter was Ho?ohokukalani, who was a mother of Haloa by W?kea.
In the genealogies, W?kea and Papah?naumoku are 37th in the Kumuhonua genealogy, and 28th in the Kumu?uli. Kumuhonua, the ancestor of the Kumuhonua genealogy, was believed to be the first man in one tradition.
After having incest with his own daughter, Ho'ohokukalani, she gave birth to Haloa-naka, meaning trembling long stalk. It was a stillborn baby, which they later planted and became the first kalo or taro, a staple of the Hawaiian diet. After Haloa-naka, Ho'ohokukalani gave birth to another child named Haloa, meaning long stalk, and he became the first kanaka or Hawaiian person.
The relationship between Haloa-naka and Haloa describes the balance of relationships between the land and the people that live in it. Haloa-naka, as the elder sibling, is responsible for the well being of their younger siblings, that of which being Haloa. As Kalo, Haloa-naka upholds this by providing sustainance for the people, while the people take care of their older sibling by ensuring the life of the Kalo. Likewise, it is also inappropriate to argue in front of Kalo at any time as well as it is not allowed to argue in front of your older siblings, nor elders.
In one tradition, the first person on Earth was the woman La?ila?i. She and her husband Keali?iwahilani are the parents of Kahiko, the father of W?kea. W?kea made the land and sea from the calabash or gourd ('ipu) of Papah?naumoku. He threw it up high, and it became the heavens. He made the rain from its juice and from the seeds he made the sun, moon, and stars.
Wanting to sleep with his daughter, W?kea made a bargain with his high priest, Komo'awa, to make Papah?naumoku go away for four nights. In her seclusion, it was kapu or restricted for her to eat certain foods; a tradition known as ?aikapu, which was a sacred eating arrangement established by W?kea. The purpose of the ?aikapu was to separate the women from the men. In traditional Hawaiian society, men were responsible for cooking.
Examples of some foods that Hawaiian women could not eat: