Aia i Orakei Ku‘u Lei Aloha

Author: 
Kahikina de Silva

 

 
 
Photos: Kahikina de Silva
Members of Hui Aloha ‘Āina Tuahine o Mānoa, the UH Mānoa Hawaiian Language club, and their Ngati Watua hosts at Orakei Marae.
 
Pohutukawa, the Maori sister of our ‘ōhi‘a lehua.

Members of Hui Aloha ‘Āina Tuahine o Mānoa, the Hawaiian language club of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, visited Orakei Marae, Aotearoa, in August 1999, where they were hosted by the Ngati Watua, tangata whenua of Auckland. "Aia i Orakei" was inspired by the warmth of that reception, by the joining of the pohutukawa and the misty faced lehua, and by the presence of the Ua Tuahine moving gently across the isthmus of Tamaki. 

Aia i Orakei ku‘u lei aloha
‘O ka pua pohutukawa kau mai i luna

A luna a‘e au a‘o Maunga Whau
‘Alawa iho i ka lae ‘o Takaparawha

Laha ‘ole nā pua a Esta Wahine
Mōhala i ka lama o ke kukui pio ‘ole

‘O ka pi‘o ‘ana mai o ke ānuenue
Hu‘i konikoni ka ‘ili i ka ua kilihune

‘O ka ua Tuahine ka‘u i aloha
Ko‘iaweawe i ka piko a‘o Tamaki

Kama ‘ia ke aloha o nā makamaka
Kena i ka wai lehua a ka ‘iwi pōlena

‘O ka iwi kuamo‘o ē ka mānai
Wili ‘ia ka pohutukawa me ka maile lau li‘i

Maliu aku i ka leo o ke kāhuli
He waiko‘olihilihi na ka pukana aloha

Puana ē ka u‘i o te pohutukawa
Hoapili nō ‘oe me ke lehua makanoe

Puana hou ‘ia mai, a e lohe ‘ia
Ho‘ohihi ka mana‘o iā Aotearoa.

There at Orakei is my beloved lei
The pohutukawa blossoms placed high above

From the heights of Maunga Whau
I have glanced at Takaparawha Point below

Rare are the blossoms of Whaea Esther
Unfolding in the glow of her constant light

The rainbow arches
And my skin tingles in the gentle rain

The Tuahine rain is what I love
As it moves lightly across the piko of Tamaki

Our friendship is made secure
Refreshed by the lehua water of the ‘i‘iwi polena

Our common ancestry is our lei-stringing needle
The pohutukawa is entwined with maile lau li‘i

I attend to the voices of the kāhuli
Their gift of love brings tears that cling to the eyelashes

Tell of the beauty of the pohutukawa
You are a true companion of the misty-faced lehua

Let it be told again so that it will be heard
My thoughts are entranced by Aotearoa.

 

© Kahikina de Silva, 1999