Mano Guardian Spirit

Wings and Tails

Oil, Acrylic and Silver Leaf on Canvas | 34″ x 44″ | 2014


I have a deep respect, fear and fascination with sharks. Living on Maui shark energy is strong and I felt the need to explore the beauty and power of these great hunters and keepers of our ocean ecosystem. In this painting a mermaid is hunting with a Black Tip Reef shark and an Oceanic White Tip shark. She is part Tiger shark. Mermaids represent freedom in my paintings and sharks bring powerful medicine to our oceans. Combining the two allowed me to celebrate the essence of a skilled hunter, and the empowered strength of shark as guardian spirit.

-Christina DeHoff

The shark in Hawai’i is more than just a ferocious ocean predator or ominous threat to surfers and swimmers. Here, the shark, or mano, is woven in the fabric of Native Hawaiian culture and history.

Some early Hawaiians worshiped, cared for and protected sharks as ‘aumakua, or family gods, while many others viewed sharks an important source of food and tools.

A mano kanaka was a shark thought to be born of a human mother and sired by a shark god, or by a deified person whose spirit possesses a shark or turns into a shark, according to Pukui.

From all the animal deities, the shark is the greatest ‘aumakua.”


-By Timothy Hurley
- Staff Writer for Honolulu Advisor