One version of the naupaka flower legend speaks of the two star-crossed lovers: Naupaka – a princess, and Kaui – a fisherman.
Princess Naupaka was royalty and Kaui was a commoner which meant that they were prohibited from marrying each other. Naupaka rushed to one of the Kupunas in the village who was well known for her wisdom. Naupaka described her love for Kaui to which the Kupuna replied, “Your only hope is to see the high priest and ask his permission.” Naupaka and Kaui travelled for days over beautiful mountains, forests, valleys, and streams in search of the high priest. When they found the priest they asked if he could allow them to marry. The priest told them “I can see that you have great love for each other but I cannot give permission for you to marry as that decision can only come from the Gods. You must pray to them until you receive an answer.” As they began to pray, dark clouds came overhead and a fierce rain fell upon them. Lightning struck nearby and thunder boomed.
Princess Naupaka realized that the Gods would not allow them to marry and tore the flower from her hair and ripped it in half. She gave half to Kaui and said to him: “We cannot be together. You must go back to the ocean where you can fish. I will live the rest of my life on this mountain alone.” As the two lovers separated, the naupaka plants that grew nearby saw how sad they were. Even the flowers mourned to see the young lover’s hearts broken so badly. As a memorial to their love, when the Naupaka flower blooms, it only blooms in halves.