Hi'aka is the Hawaiian patron goddess of hula dancers, chants, sorcery and medicine.
Hiʻiaka was conceived in Tahiti, but carried in the form of an egg to Hawaiʻi by Pele, who kept the egg with her at all times to incubate it. From this, she earned her full name, Hiʻiaka-i-ka-poli-o-Pele: "Hiʻiaka in the bosom of Pele". Hiʻiaka is Pele's favorite and most loyal sister, although they have also had their differences. Hi'iaka was the first deity of this pantheon (the Pele family) born in Hawaii.
In the best known story, Pele once fell into a deep sleep and left her body to wander, and was lured by the sound of a hula-drum accompanied by a wonderful voice. She appeared in spirit at a festival on Kauaʻi (in most versions of the legend; another variation has her visit Kauaʻi physically while first seeking a home) where she fell in love with the singer, a young chief named Lohiau. Hi'iaka had been watching over her, and after nine days she grew worried and sang an incantation to bring Pele back. Upon her return, Pele longed for Lohiau and decided to send a messenger to bring him to her. Hiʻiaka volunteered to go on the dangerous journey, as long as Pele would protect her sacred grove of Lehua trees and her friend, Hopoe (meaning "one encircled, as with a lei or with loving arms").
Pele agreed to Hiʻiaka's request, but insisted that she return with Lohiau within 40 days. She also instructed Hiʻiaka not to fall in love with Lohiau, or even embrace him.
Palauopalae, the Guardian of the Ferns, was sent to be Hiʻiaka's companion. Along the way, a woman by the name of Wahineʻomaʻo (or literally, "light-skinned woman") joined them. Hiʻiaka's journey was filled with many adventures, such as dueling with the kupua (demons) of the island forests, but when at last she reached Kauaʻi she found that the young chief had died from longing for Pele. She was able to revive him with chanting and prayer, but she was not able to return to Pele within 40 days. Pele, fearing that Hiʻiaka had betrayed her and was keeping the handsome chief for herself, became enraged and not only destroyed Hiʻiaka's sacred Lehua forest, but also killed Hopoe, turning her into stone.
When Hiʻiaka returned, seeing her friend dead and her forest ravaged, she took revenge on Pele and embraced Lohiau. In retaliation, Pele sent waves of lava at the couple. Hiʻiaka was unharmed, but Lohiau was killed by the lava. Again, Hiʻiaka revived him, thus bringing him back to life twice.
Pele, regretting her actions toward Hiʻiaka's forest and friend, decided to let Lohiau choose who he wanted to be with. Some versions of the legend say that Lohiau chose Hiʻiaka over Pele and returned with her to Kauaʻi. Others say he decided to remain with the both of them. Still others say that he retreated to Kauaʻi alone. But it is most widely believed that after their long and dangerous journey from Kaua'i, Lohiau had come to love and greatly admire Hi'iaka for her bravery, loyalty, kindness and beauty. He chose her for his wife and took her back to Kaua'i to be with him.