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Ulu Maika - An Old Hawaiian Sport

Ulu maika is an ancient Hawaiian sport, which involved rolling a disc-shaped stone (known as maika) across a field, showcasing accuracy, skill, and strength.

The game was played with a few variations. The participants rolled the stones to reach a designated target, or aimed for the greatest distance. The participants either rolled the stones or used sticks to propel the stones along a marked course.

This traditional game was played for both leisure and competition and is still played occasionally in Hawaii, usually as part of cultural celebrations or festivals such as the Makahiki Games.

Ulu Maikaa modern game of Ulu Maikaat at the 2011 Makahiki Games

The playing field typically consisted of a marked course or path where the stones were rolled, typically towards a target. The course had specific boundaries or markers, indicating the path or area that players aimed to traverse with the maika stones. The stones are disc-shaped, usually made of lava rock or other dense materials, fashioned into rounded disks to allow for easy rolling across the playing surface. If not rolled freely, the participants used sticks or cue sticks to push and direct the maika stones along the ground toward a target or goal area.

The practice of Ulu Maika has largely faded from active participation and competition due to various factors over time. One primary reason is the significant cultural changes and shifts experienced by the Hawaiian people. As Hawaii underwent colonization and Westernization, many traditional customs, including indigenous sports such as Ula Maika, began to diminish in popularity or were discouraged, particularly as they were often associated with gambling. US sports and recreational activities have gained prominence in Hawaii.

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