Kaulana ‘o Kaua‘i i ka Na‘i ‘ia ‘Ole

Author: 
R.Lokomaika‘iokalani Snakenberg

 

Photo: Kaleikipio‘ema Brown

Kawaimakua Beach, Hā‘ena, Kaua‘i. Kamehameha I used the metaphors of drinking, dressing, eating, and lei wearing to express his desire to conquer Kaua‘i. He yearned to “drink the famous waters of the Wailua, to gird himself in a malo made of the waters of Nāmolokama, to eat the ‘anae fish of Kawaimakua, and to adorn himself in a lei pahapaha of Polihale.” Of these four wahi pana, the third – Kawaimakua – is now the least recognized, primarily because its true name has been supplanted by the modern, tourist-surfer-snorkeler-realtor nickname: Tunnels Beach.

This mele was composed by Robert Lokomaika‘i Snakenberg on March 26, 1985, for Kaleo Kekaualua to perform in the King Kamehameha Day Celebration Chant Competition. The oli honors both the statesmanship of Kamehameha ‘Ekahi and the mana of Kaua‘i o Ka‘eokūlani. Two of Lokomaika‘i’s mele were published in the April issue of Kaleinamanu; this is the last of the compositions that he gave us for safekeeping, a ua kau kēia mele āna i haku ai ma mua o ‘oukou i mea e ho‘omana‘o ai i kāna mau hana he nui a lokomaika‘i.

Maika‘i ‘o Kaua‘i hemolele i ka la‘i
A kaulana ho‘i i ka na‘i ‘ia ‘ole.
Ue keu ka ‘i‘ini o ka Lani nui
E kūna‘ina i ka ‘āina o Kaumūali‘i.
Kauoha ‘ia e ka Lani i kāna ho‘ohiki
"E holo aku kākou e inu i ka wai
Inu i ka wai kaulana o Wailua
A hume i ka wai nō ho‘i o Nāmolokama
E ‘ai i ka ‘anae au o Kawaimakua
A leia iho i ka pahapaha o Polihale
A hiki i ka ho‘i mai i ka moku ‘o O‘ahu
No ka noha pa‘a ‘ana o kākou i laila iho.
"Ho‘omākaukau kānaka i nā pono no ke kaua
A he lau, a he lau nō ho‘i
He heluna nui o nā peleleu
I pae mai ma kahakai o O‘ahu-Kona
Mai nā one a‘o ‘Ewa a hiki i Leahi.
No ho‘okahi makahiki i hakuhaku ‘ia ai
‘O ka ho‘ouka kaua ma Ka‘ie‘iewaho.
Kāpae ‘ia na‘e ‘o Kaua‘i i ka lawe pio
I ke ahulau ‘ōku‘u i ho‘olapa me he ahi ala.
A ua ola nō ka Lani ‘o Kamehameha nui
Me ka mana‘o kāhuli ‘ia e holo na‘i iā Kaua‘i.
Noho malu na‘e ‘o ia me kona po‘e ma O‘ahu
E kali ana i ke Ali‘i ‘o Kaumūali‘i ho‘i.
Kūkā aku kūkā mai ‘o ua mau ali‘i lā
No ka ho‘olilo ‘ana o Kaua‘i o Ka‘eo
I ka ho‘omalu ‘ana o Kamehameha nui.
‘O ka loea ho‘i ‘o ia i ke kālai aupuni
A ua ola na‘e ka inoa o kēia moku
Kaulana ‘o Kaua‘i i ka na‘i ‘ia ‘ole.

How wonderful is Kaua‘i, so perfect in the calm
And how famous also for never having been conquered.
The desire of the great chief was overwhelming
To conquer the land of Kaumūali‘i.
It was commanded by the chief in his watchword,
"Let us go forth to drink the waters
Drink the famous waters of Wailua
And bathe in the waters of Nāmolokama
We will eat the mullet of Kawaimakua of Hā‘ena
And bedeck ourselves with the sea-lettuce of Polihale
Until we return to the island of O‘ahu
Where we shall remain."
People prepared the war material
Four-hundred plus four-hundred more
Was the sum total of the peleleu war canoes
Which beached on south O‘ahu
From the ‘Ewa sands all the way to Leahi.
For one year plans were made
For the invasion via the Ka‘ie‘iewaho Channel.
Kaua‘i was spared, however, from capture
Due to the squatting pestilence which spread like fire.
And the chief Kamehameha the Great survived
With his mind changed about a sailing conquest of Kaua‘i.
He lived in peace with his followers on O‘ahu
Waiting for the chief Kaumūali‘i.
These chiefs conferred back and forth
About conveying Kaua‘i of Ka‘eo
To the sovereign rule of Kamehameha the Great.
He was indeed a great statesman
And the name of this island of Kaua‘i still lives on
Kaua‘i is famous for never having been conquered.

© Robert Lokomaika‘iokalani Snakenberg, 1985