In Polynesian mythology, the Menehune were a group of little people—about 2 feet tall—who lived in caves in the forests. The Hawaiians used to warn travelers to watch out for the Menehune because they shot tiny arrows at people who bothered them. Left alone, the Menehune were harmless. Hard working, they had to complete any task they undertook in one night. Similar creatures were said to have built temples on the island of Java and to have planted entire forests on Tonga, all in one night.
In time, the Menehune appeared in New Zealand, where the Maori called them the Patu-pai-arehe. According to tradition, these creatures had fair hair and light skin. Like their Hawaiian counterparts, the Patu-pai-arehe lived in the forests and were generally harmless. It was said that they carried off the souls of people who died during the night.
See also Polynesian Mythology.