Kauila and the Sea Turtles of Punalu`u
Hawaiian legend, as recorded by historian Mary Puku`i, describes a mystical turtle named Kauila that makes her home at Punalu`u in the magnificent district of Ka`u. Kauila is the daughter of two different kinds of supernatural sea turtles that come to Punalu`u long ago. Kauila was born from a special egg resembling a piece of kauila wood buried by her mother in the warm black sand. Before returning to the sea, Kauila`s parents dug into the earth and created a freshwater spring named "Ka wai hu o Kauila--The rising water of Kauila."
Kauila was empowered with the ability to change herself from a turtle into human form. During the daytime Kauila would play with the children along the shoreline and keep watch over them. When Kauila wanted to sleep in her home underwater, she transformed herself back into a turtle. The people of Ka`u loved Kauila as the guardian of their children and also for her spring that gave them pure drinking water.