Ku‘u Hae Hawai‘i ma Poindimie

Author: 
Kalani Akana

 

The Hawaiian flag flies over the traditional Kanak house constructed on the festival grounds of Poindimie Village in the North Province of New Caledonia.
 
Photo: Kīhei de Silva
Kūpuna Hali‘imaile Shintani and Eddie Ka‘anana sit with Kalani Akana during welcoming ceremonies at Ponerihouen, the last of three sites (Kone, Poindimie, and Ponerihouen) visited by Hawai‘i during its five-day stay in Province Nord.

Kalani Akana's explanation of "Ku‘u Hae Hawai‘i" includes the following mana‘o: "I composed [this mele] to honor our native brethren of Kanaky who, like ourselves, struggle to maintain the integrity of their identity as native peoples and who, like ourselves, struggle with the issue of autonomy. When they raised our flag, they acknowledged our identity as Hawaiians. For me, the raising of the flag gave me a glimpse of the pride we will feel when our flag once more flies, with status equal to that of the American flag, over my homeland, my one hānau. Such a turn of events would not be impossible. Indeed, in the chiefs' and people's faces, I saw all the hopes and aspirations of Jean-Marie Tjibaou for an independent Kanaky. I cried inside because those are my aspirations as I know it must have been for my compatriots of the Hawaiian delegation to the 8th Festival of Pacific Arts in New Caledonia... The mele is to be sung to the tune of "Kaleleonālani." The event at Poindimie which so touched us was even more emphasized and enriched in my mind when the women of Hālau Mōhala 'Ilima danced "Kaleleonālani" with pride at our two-hour performance there in the northern province."

Ua welo ku‘u hae Hawai‘i
Ma luna o ka honua o Kanaky ē
‘O ka hū a‘e la wale nō ia
O ka ha‘aheo i loko o‘u nei.

hui:
‘O Poindimie lā kou inoa
A he hiwahiwa ‘oe na mākou
Ho‘ohanohano ‘ia nā Hawai‘i
E nā Kanak o Kanaky ē.

Hō‘ea i ka pō‘ele‘ele
Ua kali a nui ka lehulehu
A hā‘awi ‘ia ku‘u hae Hawai‘i
‘O ka huki wale ia lā i luna.

Ua helele‘i ‘ē ke kilihune
‘O‘okala ‘ē ka ‘ili malihini
I ke ‘ike ‘ana i ku‘u hae Hawai‘i
Ma luna o ka pou ki‘eki‘e.

Aia lā ‘oe ke welo nei
Me nā hae ‘ē a‘e o nā aupuni
Like ‘ole o ka Pākīpika
A mahalo ‘ia kou kūlana

Ua nani wale ko mālamalama
I ke kukui o Poindimie
‘Oiai ua ua a ua nui
Ua welo na‘e kou ha‘aheo.

My Hawaiian flag fluttered
Above the earth of Kanaky
The pride arose and welled-up
Within me.

chorus:
Poindimie is your name
A favorite one of ours now
We Hawaiians have been honored by your people
The Kanak of Kanaky.

We arrived in the dark
They waited, all the people
And when my Hawaiian flag was given
It was hoisted up immediately.

It drizzled down
The visitors' skins pricked
To see my Hawaiian flag
On the tall pole.

There you flutter
Among the flags of other nations
Of the Pacific
Your status is recognized.

You are only radiant
In the spotlight of Poindimie
Although it rained and rained hard
Only your pride, however, is seen flying.

© Kalani Akana, 2000