Ululani Special Feature

Lāhui Rising Series

This educational series is designed to create a safe, respectful and enriching learning space for all audiences to hear and honor various perspectives on matters of Hawaiian interest.

Hoʻokahua Examines Other Interpretations of State Motto.

Author: 
Hoʻokahua Staff
Month: 
07
Year: 
2014

 
The images in this story show members of the KS ʻohana showing off their Hawaiian flags in commemoration of Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea - Restoration Day, July 31. Above is Kēhau Lucas, cultural resource associate at Kaʻiwakīloumoku, with her hae Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian flag) at Ka Lae ʻo Kūpikipikiʻō (Black Point).The images in this story show members of the KS ʻohana showing off their Hawaiian flags in commemoration of Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea - Restoration Day, July 31. Above is Kēhau Lucas, cultural resource associate at Kaʻiwakīloumoku, with her hae Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian flag) at Ka Lae ʻo Kūpikipikiʻō (Black Point).

 

 

 
Those familiar with Hawaiian language and traditional mele understand that we can acknowledge different interpretations and levels of meaning to a verse. The same would hold true for the saying “Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono.”
 
In a previous article about Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea – Restoration Day, we were introduced to the cultural and historical context of the saying and are now better equipped to look at different meanings that could be derived.
 
 
If your “hanabata days” were spent in public school classrooms, you probably recognize this saying as the motto of the State of Hawaiʻi, and have heard its most common translation, “the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.” This is one possible meaning of the saying, yet it makes no reference to the original sentiment that makes the saying so memorable.
 
 
KS Kapālama social studies teacher ʻĀina Akamu along with KS Kapālama students share their Hawaiʻi pride at the Temple of Heaven in China.
 
The words “Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono” were first uttered by Kamehameha III on July 31, 1843. He was addressing his people after independence was restored to the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi following five months of British occupation.
 
 
Lāiana Kanoa-Wong of Hoʻokahua along with wife Kameaaloha Kanoa-Wong show their flags at Thomas Square at this year’s Lā hoʻihoʻi Ea festivities.
 
Given the circumstances, perhaps a better interpretation of the saying would be “The sovereignty of the land is perpetuated through justice.” Yet a slightly different analysis of the word “pono,” to mean universal balance and harmony, also offers a holistic explanation: “The life or sovereignty of the land is maintained in harmony.”
It is our hope that all people have access to and apply their own ancestral wisdom to guide them through times of difficulties and hardships. And that in the end, justice and harmony will prevail.

 

Kūlia, son of Kaʻiwakīloumoku teacher Kaulana Vares, shares his Hawaiian flag with pride.