'There really is a Pele': Big Island eruptions spur cultural revival

Published: Jul. 30, 2018 at 7:33 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 30, 2018 at 8:35 PM HST
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BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - As eruptions and earthquakes continue to make their mark on the Big Island, several residents have invoked the name of Pele to describe both the destruction of neighborhoods, and creation of new land.

Shortly after eruptions began back in May, Hawaii News Now shared a video to Facebook featuring images of the Kilauea eruptions in their earliest stages.

Narrating the video, HNN's Billy V. recited the words to 'There Really is a Pele', a poem by L.D. McBride.

The owners of Petroglyph Press, the publishing company behind the book of poems featuring 'There is a Pele', happened to see the video on an HNN Sunrise show and were inspired to re-release the 1968 book with a new look.

The book, "Pele, Volcano Goddess of Hawaii," had been out of publication for almost 30 years due to a lack of illustrations.

As part of the book's 2018 revival, Christine and David Reed, the couple behind Petroglyph Press, asked artist Dietrich Varez for permission to use his paintings in the updated version.

In less than a month — the creative project was complete.

"It's really meant a lot in processing such a momentous event in our community," said Christine Reed. "When you look back at the history embedded in the mythology, you start to understand how the people who made this land their home passed along their stories."

"It's been very very popular, we've definitely gotten it into all of the stores around the islands," Reed said.

In the back of the book there are pages that readers can use to record their own stories, as well as information about how rapid ohia death is affecting the islands.

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