He Ua i Pono e, Pono ia Ua[1]

An Essay by Kīhei de Silva                                                        << HMI MM 11 preview



Haku Mele:  Keaulumoku.

Date:  1770s?

Sources:  Samuel M. Kamakau, Ke Kumu Aupuni, 65-66; Kuokoa, 23 Pepeluali, 1867; Ruling Chiefs, 112-115.

Our Text:  Excerpted from the longer composition that begins “Aloha ē, aloha / Aloha wale o‘u mākua lā, e o‘u mākua / Aloha wale o‘u mākua / Mai nā ‘āina Hāmākua” in Kamakau, Ke Kumu Aupuni, 65-66. Our three closing lines were composed by Kīhei de Silva and were influenced by the opening lines of the original. Translation: in Kamakau, Ruling Chiefs, 112-115, with some modification by Kīhei de Silva.





The poet-prophet-chief Keaulumoku was born in 1715 or 1716 in the Hāmākua districts (Hāmākuapoko and Hāmākualoa) of windward Maui. He died in 1784 in Kauhola, on the leeward coast of Hawai‘i with the words of his “‘Au‘a ‘Ia” still hanging in the air. As John Charlot notes, Keaulumoku’s life “thus spanned the last decades of the precontact period and the decisive events of the early contact period.” Because of his wild and compelling brilliance, the ali‘i of Maui, O‘ahu, and Hawai‘i regularly sought Keaulumoku’s advice, and his “atypical career took him through the lands of opposing chiefs, enabling him to form an unusually broad view of the historical situation.”[2]


Keaulumoku is best known today for the unsettling, broad-view prophecies expressed in  “Haui ka Lani,” and “‘Au‘a ‘Ia” – chants that exhort us, in the first, to rally behind the leadership of the young Kamehameha and, in the second, to cling to our land and identity in the face of a world turned upside down. Samuel Kamakau reminds us, however, that Keaulumoku was also the composer of  “Aloha, Aloha, Aloha Wale O‘u Mākua,” a beautifully gentle and nostalgic place-chant for his mākua and homeland at Hāmākua.


  1. O Keaulumoku kekahi kanaka kaulana i ke au o Kalaniopuu… he alii nui kona makuakane, oia hoi o Kauakahiakua Nui, ke keiki a Lonomakaihonua me Kahapoohiwi, aka, o ka makuahine o Keauulumoku, no Naohaku i Kohala. Ua kaulana oia no ka haku mele, oia hoi na mele no ke kaua, na mele mililani, na mele aloha, na mele wanana a me na mele koihonua. I ko Keaulumoku hoi ana i Hawaii me Kalaniopuu, hu mai la kona aloha ia Kameha Nui a me Kahekili i kahi a lakou e noho ai o na Hamakua elua – a ua make hoi o Kamehameha Nui, a o Kahekili hoi ke noho alii ana no Maui, nolaila, halialia mai la ke aloha, a puana ae la oia i keia mele penei:

  2. Alo—ha—e—alo—ha—
    Aloha wale o‘u makua la—e o‘u makua,

  3. Aloha wale o‘u makua,
    Mai na aina Hamakua,
    He mau aina Hamakua elua,
    No‘u mua kaikuaana i noho ai...
    [3]


The complete mele is 64 lines long; it begins with Keaulumoku’s above-quoted address to his beloved parents and kulāiwi, shifts to a comparison of the kaikua‘ana chiefs with whom he has lived (to the detriment of his current, Hawai‘i Island “elder-brothers”), and then takes us on an extended tour of the Hāmākua places and place-associations that he holds so dear. He chants of the wind-rains as they patter, pelt, sprinkle, creep, and pour – threading their way from cliff to ocean and back, stringing together the blossoms, grasses, hala drupes, and kukui leaves of Kailua, Haneho‘i, Huelo, Kaumeaalani, Mokupapa, Kūloli, Malama, and Waiakuna. He chants of lehua blossoms “heavy, heavy, and full-blown”; of ripened, mildewed, stream-washed hala drupes and mountain apples; and of kukui leaves “dark like the goby fish,” and “pale yellowish green / In the full light of the sun / Watered by the rainbow tinted rain.” And he chants of his memories of having been immersed in love there with his wife and family – at Kākipi Stream, for example:


  1. I kahi a māua i hele ai,

  2. Where we two have gone,

  3. Me ku‘u wahine i ka ua hala o Kūloli,

  4. My wife and I, in the rain-wet hala grove of Kūloli

  5. A ‘o ia loli ke ala iho ma ka lau,

  6. And this change is the path descending through the leaves

  7. Lauhala ē a ke o‘io‘ina ‘oe i Ko‘olahale,

  8. The hala leaves over the resting place of Ko‘olahale

  9. ‘Ike aku i ka mahina hikialoalo,

  10. Where we watched the moon at its zenith

  11. Oni kū a ki‘i i ke kaha o Malama.

  12. Rising to stand statue-like over the shore of Malama.


There is no escaping the wet, fecund imagery of his mele; Keaulumoku wraps Hāmākua, from north to south, across landscape and time, in words that are as pregnant as his yellow lehua “kōnunu, kōnunu, ōhāhā i ka wai.” This is a far cry from the chicken-pecked world of “Haui i Kalani” (“Ai koke i na io o hanamoa / Ke kiko koke, kiko aku, kiko mai”) and the turned-on-its-head world of “‘Au‘a ‘Ia” (“Hulihia ke au, ka papahonua o  ka moku /  Hulihia papio…”). It is still a world where sky mates with earth, where life-giving waters flow unrestricted, and “where the fertility of the land extends to the chanter and his forebears.”[4]


Unfortunately, the time restraints of the Merrie Monarch competition prevent our Makanani Akiona from delivering Keaulumoku’s chant in its entirety. We have excerpted, instead, as sizeable a chunk of the mele as will fit comfortably – and meaningfully – into a performance dedicated to the life-giving waters of her own land and forebears: the land of Ke‘anae and Wailuanui, the family of Akiona and Kaiha‘a.


Kealumoku’s words will help take her “inside” – through Hāmākuapoko and Hāmākualoa and on into the Ko‘olau district (whose first ahupua‘a is Ke‘anae). His oli ends with rainbow-dappled kukui on the trail leading out of Waiakuna and over the ridge into Ke‘anae. According to kūpuna Jimmy Hueu, the water at Waiakuna Falls flows underground in the same direction and feeds Kāne’s springs at ‘Ōhi‘a, Ke‘anae.[5] So we have Makanani chanting at the ridge with this water flowing beneath her feet, and we give her three newly composed lines to greet everyone waiting below:


  1. Aloha wale o‘u mākua, e o‘u kūpuna,

  2. Affection for my parents, my grandparents

  3. Aloha wale ka wai puna, Kawaikauakāne,

  4. Affection for the spring water, for Kawaikauakāne

  5. ‘O Hāmākua, ‘o Ko‘olau, ‘āina kūpuna ē.

  6. Hāmākua, Ko‘olau, land of my ancestors.


Makanani’s mele hula begins at this point with an expression of love for the tradition-clinging, pōpō‘ulu-eating, water-rights defending kupa‘āina of Ke‘anae. Ola nā iwi.



He Ua i Pono ē, Pono ia Ua


He ua i pono ē, pono ia ua,

A he ua i halakā, he mahala,

Pehi hema i ka nahele,

Kū‘aoa kanikani i ka pua lehua,

Ua ua lehua, he lehua hala,

Ua i ka lehua o Kailua.

Lehua maka kōnunu i ka wai,

Kōnunu kōnunu ōhāhā.

Hālana makapehu i ka ua,

Pehu, ua mae ka maka mua o ka hīnalo ho‘i.

Ho‘i ka ua ma Haneho‘i,

Ma ka lae o Pu‘umaile i Hoalua,

Ma kaha kua o Pu‘ukoa‘e,

Ma ke alo pali o Huelo.

Ua pohā Kaumeaalani,

Ua kō ia e ka pua nui,

Hukia akula, lilo i kai.

Lilo akula ka ua i ka moana,

He Makaohāwini[6] ia ua,

He ua ‘alo ma ka lae,

Nihi pali, nihi lae.

Nihi i ka lae o Mokupapa,

Hūnā ke kupa i ka hala mua a kau.

‘U‘u ‘ē ua wāhia e ka ua o ka ho‘oilo,

E ke kuaua kahi o ke kau,

Nāna i ho‘oko‘o nei ka pua,

Aloha ē, aloha.

Aloha wale o‘u mākua, e o‘u kūpuna,

Aloha wale ka wai puna, Kawaikauakāne,

‘O Hāmākua, ‘o Ko‘olau, ‘āina kūpuna ē.


Let the rain fall, for this rain is good.

It enshrouds, it strikes,

It pelts the forest growth,

It affixes itself noisily to the lehua.

The lehua trees blossom, a yellow lehua

When the rain comes to the lehua of Kailua.

The lehua faces are rounded in the water

Rounded, heavy, and plump,

Dripping, swollen with rain

Swollen, drooping, too, is the face of the first hīnalo bloom

The rain returns by way of Haneho‘i,

Along the brow of Pu‘umaile to Hoalua,

Over the ridge of Pu‘ukoa‘e,

Before the face of the cliff of Huelo.

There it pours down on Kaumeaalani,

The rain that brings out the full-blown flowers

And draws them close down to the shore

The rain goes out to sea,

This rain is the Makaohāwini,

It passes along over the capes,

It creeps by the cliffs and capes

Creeps by the cape of Mokupapa.

The native born hides the first fruit of summer

And weeps, broken by the stormy rains of winter

Oh! for the light summer showers

That propped up the blossoms!

Affectionate longing.

Affection for my parents, my grandparents

Affection for the spring water, for Kawaikauakāne

Hāmākua, Ko‘olau, land of my ancestors.



Notes


1.  Title assigned.


2.  John Charlot, “Prophet of the Earth Overturned: Ke‘āulumoku on Early Contact Hawai‘i,” Rongorongo Studies, 13.1(2003): 20.


3.  “Keaulumoku was another celebrated man of Kalaniʻopuʻu’s day. His father was the great chief Kauakahiakuanui, son of Lonomakaʻihonua and Kahapoʻohiwi [all of Hāmākua, Maui], but his mother belonged to Naohaku in Kohala. He was celebrated as a composer of war chants, chants of praise, love chants, prophetic chants, and genealogical chants. When he went back to Hawaii with Kalaniʻopuʻu he was homesick for the two Hamakua districts of Maui where he had lived with Kamehamehanui and Kahekili. His love for the place found expression in the following lines:

  1. Affectionate longing, affectionate longing,

  2. Affection for my (foster) parents, my parents,

  3. Affection for my parents

  4. The two districts of Hamakua,

  5. Where my elder brothers lived…

  6. (Hawaiian text: Kuokoa, 23 Pepeluali, 1867; English translation: Ruling Chiefs, 112-113.)


4.  Charlot, 20.


5.  GH: [At Ke‘anae overlook] This is Keʻanae Valley. Jimmy, ʻŌhiʻa Spring, did that ever go dry?

  1. JH:  No.

  2. GH:  Even drought, still flow?

  3. JH:  Small, it goes small, but never dry. But me, I think [it] comes from that place Waiakuna. The one that goes to Keʻanae. Over there, I think, get one passage. Right over there, get one waterfall, one big pond.

(Jimmy Hueu, Oral History Interview, April 26, 2001, in Kepa and Onaona Maly, Wai o ke Ola: He Wahi Mo‘olelo no Maui Hikina, Vol 2:141.)


6.  In Ruling Chiefs: he maka o hawini ia ua. Nogelmeier sees it as a rain name.







© Kīhei de Silva, 2011.  All rights reserved.