Language Myth #1:
Hawaiian has no word for snow
False. Hawaiian does indeed have a word for snow, and ice. The word is hau. Granted such cold weather words are never needed in most of Hawai’i, but the ancient Hawaiians were certainly aware of the white stuff on the Big Island of Hawai’i where Mauna Kea is covered with it each year. (In fact, Mauna Kea means "white mountain" and was so named by the Hawaiians for its winter coat.) When snow covers the mountain, the Hawaiians say
Ua kau ka hau
PF rest DEF snow
Snow is resting [on it]
If the Hawaiians want to specifically distinguish snow from ice, they use hau kea, white hau. To distinguish frost from snow, they can use the word hau’oki, cut snow or ice. The term poke hau (sliced hau) is used for ice cubes.
A poetic term for ice is used in some stories:
Wai pū’olo i ka lau lā’au
Water wrap in DEF leaf tree
Water wrapped in the leaves of trees
since ice was carried from Mauna Kea down to the lowlands in ancient times.
The Māori of New Zealand also have much experience with snow. Their word is huka, which is cognate with the Hawaiian hu’a (an example of the Hawaiian habit of turning Polynesian k into a glottal stop), meaning froth or foam (of a beach).
From Pila Wilson, University of Hawai'i.