Ehuehu mai nei ‘o Mānoa

Author: 
Kīhei de Silva

 

Photo: Kīhei de Silva
KS Kapālama senior Lilinoe Sterling (’05) and her hula sisters of Nā Wāhine Hele Lā o Kaiona performed the newly composed "Ehuehu Mai Nei ‘o Mānoa" at last December’s Founder's Day ceremony at Kekūhaupi‘o. The mele has taken on additional meaning since the 9th Circuit Court’s most recent ruling against Kamehameha’s Hawaiians-first admissions policy.

This mele was inspired in large part by the language and sentiments of S. Kaili's composition "Halepiowai" which was first published in F.J. Testa's Buke Mele Lahui of 1895; in fact, the second through fourth verses of Kaili's mele occupy the same position in this newer piece. Kaili, like most of the BML patriots, responded to the events of that year -- the failed counter-revolution and the imprisonment of Queen Lili‘uokalani -- with a combination of pride, defiance, and aloha ‘āina already familiar to us in lines from "Kaulana nā Pua," the best-known mele of the BML collection: "Ua lawa mākou i ka pōhaku / I ka ‘ai kamaha‘o o ka ‘āina." Events of our own day -- the "agitation at Mānoa" caused by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ hearing of Doe vs. Kamehameha -- call forth similar sentiments of steadfast, stone-eating loyalty. This mele kū‘ē is offered, then, in the song-writing tradition of our kūpuna of a century past; it is offered in honor of Pauahi, she who remains forever the queen of our sovereign hearts. 

Ehuehu mai nei ‘o Mānoa lā
‘A‘ole hopo iho nā Hawai‘i lā.
‘Akahi nō a lana ka mana‘o lā
E ‘ike i ka nani o Ma‘ihi lā.
He ‘ihi‘ihi au no nā Kona lā
No ke kai palanehe ‘ili‘ili lā.
A he ‘ili ‘ula au, he Hawai‘i lā
I ke kapa kēhau ho‘oheno lā.
‘O ka wehiwehi ‘oe o ke kapu lā
No ka pae niho a‘o Haleakalā.
Lālani kalalea o ke kai lā,
‘Ōwili lei rose o ke kaona lā.
Ha‘ina ‘ia mai ka puana lā,
A he ‘ili ‘ula au, he Hawai‘i lā.
Ha‘ina ‘ia mai ka puana lā,
No Pauahilaninui he inoa lā.

Mānoa has become agitated,
But we are unafraid.
I have just now found inspiration
In the beauty of Ma‘ihi.
I am a sacred child of the Kona lands,
Of the generations of sea-swept pebbles.
And I am an ‘ili ‘ula, a Hawaiian
Wearing a cloak of cherished kēhau mist.
You, Pauahi, are adorned with kapu
From the many-toothed cliffs of Haleakalā.
You are a line of shark fins on the ocean
And an ‘ōwili rose lei of the town.
The summary is told,
I am an ‘ili ‘ula, a Hawaiian.
The summary is told again,
A name chant in honor of Pauahilaninui.

 

© Kīhei de Silva, November 2004