"Another and earlier Lono-i-ka-makahiki on the ʻUmi line of ruling chiefs of Hawaii is better known to Hawaiian legendary history. This Lono was born and brought up not far from the place where were laid away the bones of Keawe and his descendants, woven into basket-work like those of his ancestors from the time of Liloa, near the place where Captain Cook's grave stands, a monument to a brave but in the end too highhanded a visitor among an aristocratic race such as the Polynesian. This Lono cultivated the arts of war and of word-play and was famous as a dodger of spears and expert riddler. He too may have contributed to the tests of skill observed during the ceremony of the Makahiki".
"It is not, however, likely that either of these comparatively late ruling chiefs on the ʻUmi line was the Lono whose departure was dramatized in the Makahiki festival and whose "return" the priests of the Lono cult on Hawaii anticipated so eagerly. Both were born in Hawaii, and no legend tells of either of them sailing away with a promise to return. A more plausible candidate for the divine impersonation is the legendary Laʻa-mai-Kahiki, "Sacred-one-from-Tahiti," who belongs to a period several hundred years earlier, before intercourse had been broken off with southern groups. Laʻa came as a younger member of the Moikeha family of North Tahiti, older members of whom had settled earlier in the Hawaiian group. He brought with him the small hand drum and flute of the hula dance. As his canoe passed along the coast and the people heard the sound of the flute and the rhythm of the new drum-beat, they said, "It is the god Kupulupulu!" and brought offerings. Kupulupulu is Laka, worshiped as god of the hula in the form of the flowering lehua tree and welcomed also as god of wild plant growth upon which the earliest settlers had subsisted and still continued to subsist to some extent during the cold winter months before staple crops were ready to gather. This Laʻa-mai-kahiki took wives in various districts, especially on Oahu, stronghold of Lono worship, from whom families now living claim descent. He seems to have sailed back to Tahiti at least once before his final departure. In this sojourner belonging to a great family from the south, who came like a god, enriched the festival of the New Year with games and drama, possibly organized the collection of tribute on a southern pattern, and departed leaving behind him a legend of divine embodiment, one is tempted to recognize a far earlier appearance of that Lono of the Makahiki in whose name the Kumulipo chant was dedicated to Keawe's infant son and heir".
The late Gonzo writer Hunter S. Thompson wrote that he believed himself to be the resurrected Lono while on assignment in Hawaii for Running magazine with artist and friend Ralph Steadman. In a letter included in the book The Great Shark Hunt, Thompson describes his arrival to Kailua Bay in 1981:
Thompson's writings on the experience have been compiled into a book, The Curse of Lono, illustrated by Ralph Steadman. As Lono, Thompson is shown as wearing the head of a marlin as a mask, with his eyes doubling as the eyes of the fish.