He Inoa no Kaleimakali‘i

An Essay by Kīhei de Silva

Haku Mele:  Kīhei de Silva for Lilinoe Sterling, December 15, 2011.

The ‘ili ‘āina of Kālia, Waikīkī, was famed for the embrace of its kai hōpuni [1],  for the sweet nehe nākulukulu [2] of sea on sand dunes, and for the wai limu ‘ele‘ele [3] of Pi‘inā‘io Stream whose hīnana swarmed by the thousands to Kūkālia pool in Mānoa Valley [4].  Today, for most of us, Kālia is a road and a tower: the Kālia Tower of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort.

But Hawaiian families are often very stubborn about their geography. Often – as the passing of time and generations separates us more and more from our kulāiwi – an odd thing happens. We become even more attached to our memories of place, of piko. We see, with tear-clouded double vision, what was and what is. And what was becomes more real, more identity-defining, than the kōlea mounds that occupy the present. There is a paradox at work, a paradigm of resistance: the further we are removed, the more stubbornly anchored we become. 

This mele was composed in the aloha ‘āina fashion of the late 19th century to honor Maraea Kaainahuna Kaleimakalii (b. 1848 in Waikīkī), the Maui- and Hawai‘i-line mother of the last Hawaiian families to live at Kālia. Really, they are all one family: ka ‘ohana Paoa, Kamaukoli, Okuu, Kahanamoku, Clark, and Sterling. This mele celebrates, as well, the loyal, defiant, ‘alo ‘ehukai character of Kaleimakali‘i’s descendants, in particular, the lei mo‘opuna of the current generation who dedicate themselves to labor for the land so that pono will return [5].

He inoa no Kaleimakali‘i

Lē‘ahi is astir

But love for the land is steadfast

Kālia is a land well-known

For those who brave the sea-spray

Ho‘ola‘e is draped   

In the adorning lei of Makali‘i

You are an ali‘i for me

From two water sources

The black limu waters [of Pi‘inā‘io]

Are lost to the mound-builders

The rallying cry that rises in the chest is

“Eat freely of the hīnana”

Carried on the back, carried in the arms

Held trembling in the hand

I will labor on behalf of the land

So that pono will return once more

There is but one refrain

The kupa who resist the storm.

Ehuehu mai ‘o Lē‘ahi                                               

Kūpa‘a ke aloha ‘āina           

‘Āina kaulana ‘o Kālia           

I nā kupa ‘alo ‘ehukai           

Luhiehu ‘o Ho‘ola‘e [6]               

Pāpahi lei o Makali‘i [7]           

He ali‘i nō ‘oe no‘u               

No nā māno wai ‘elua [8]           

‘O ka wai limu ‘ele‘ele           

Nalowale i ke kau ‘āhua [9]           

‘O ka hua kau umauma [10]           

‘Ai wale i ka hīnana               

Hi‘ikua a hi‘ialo               

Pa‘a konia i ka lima [11]           

E hana lima au i ka ‘āina           

I ho‘i hou mai e ka pono [12]           

Ho‘okahi nō ka puana           

Nā kupa ‘alo ehuehu.           


1. Kai hōpuni: the “sea that surrounds,“ as in the following descriptive sequence: “He kai hee nalu ko Kahaloa / He kai hopuni ko Kalia / He kai au kohana Mamala” (“No Waikiki,” Kuokoa, 19 August, 1865).

2. Ka nehe nākulukulu: “the pattering rustle,” as in the following description and mele: “Na ka nehe nakulukulu o ke kai o Kalia e owaowa mai i ka hua o ke one e hoopiha a hu” (Ka Lahui Hawaii, 5 October, 1870); “Ua nani Kalia i ka mana‘o / I ka nehe a ke kai i ka pueone” (“Ewalu Pua Song,” Hawaii Holomua, 8 February, 1893).

3. Wai limu ‘ele‘ele: limu ‘ele‘ele water, as in the following mele and descriptions: “E Hamohamo i ka ehukai / I paoa i ke ala lipoa / E Kalia i ke kai nehe i ka pue-one / Me na wai limu nui o Piinaio” (Kuokoa, 9 April, 1925). “There was limu eleele where Piinaio Stream entered the ocean”; “[At Kālia] we had the best limu ‘ele‘ele; people used to come from town to pick” (oral histories of Fred Paoa and Nani Roxburgh, in John Clark, “Kēlā me Kēia,” Lawaia Magazine, November 2009). 

4. Hīnana: the six-month-old ‘o‘opu that return from the sea to take up residence in the streams of their birth. Martha Beckwith and Laura Green record Walanika’s story of a fish-diviner named Kūkālia who caused great numbers of hīnana to swim up Pi‘inā‘io Stream and make their way to an ‘umeke-shaped pool in Mānoa Valley (“Hawaiian Household Customs,” American Anthropologist, 1928, Vol. 30, No. 1). Fred Paoa and Louis Kahanamoku remember the days before the construction of the Ala Wai Canal when Kuekaunahi, ‘Āpuakēhau, and Pi‘inā‘io still flowed; they remember netting, soaking, drying, and eating readily of the hīnana at Kālia, the famous fish of their land – “‘Ai wale i ka hīnana, ka i‘a kaulana o ka ‘āina” (John Clark, “Kēlā a me Kēia,” Lawaia Magazine, 2009).

5. One of these descendants, Dr. Herman Pi‘ikea Clark Jr., tells the following story of how he came to understand the family kuleana of laboring for the return of pono:

  1. It was my father who first introduced me to my family genealogy as an eleven year old. Although he held a good amount of information about our history, my father rarely spoke of it, acknowledging to others in our family that honored role. It was for this reason that I thought it unusual that my father suddenly began to speak to me about our family history. One evening as we drove along the Pali Highway on our way to our home in Nu‘uanu Valley, my father began to tell me about the ‘Alapa, a division of warriors [in Kamehameha I’s army] which was made up exclusively of chiefs. By virtue of their athleticism, prowess in warfare, cultivated intellect and skills for leadership, the ‘Alapa were a formidable military asset used to overpower and decimate the front lines of armies who opposed the kingdom of Hawai‘i. And so it was in 1795 at the Battle of Nu‘uanu, among the last of the large scale land battles to be fought in Hawai‘i, that the ‘Alapa were unleashed by Kamehameha to terrible effect against the army of his rival Kalanikupule (Kamakau, 1992). As we drove along the highway through the length of Nu‘uanu valley, my father described the events of the battle … in vivid detail as though it were unfolding in front of our car that very day. He recalled the action of the ‘Alapa with great pride noting their stalwart contribution to victory for Kamehameha and the Kingdom of Hawai‘i. My father’s story ended as our car neared the driveway to our home. Quiet and seemingly lost in thought, my father walked ahead of me to the door of our house and the warm aroma of an evening meal that emanated from just behind it. Just before opening the door, he turned to me and said “your ancestors served within the ranks of the ‘Alapa. Now, knowing that, what contribution will you make to our family and people in your time?” (Kukulu Kauhale O Limaloa: A Kanaka Maoli Culture Based Approach To Education Through Visual Studies, A thesis submitted in fulfillment of the requirements of the Degree of Doctor of Education, Massey University College of Education, 2006).

Clark is now the Mark Laws Endowed Professorial Chair and Director of the Tokorau Institute for Indigenous Innovation at Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi indigenous university in New Zealand.

6. Ho‘ola‘e: literally, “to clear up, brighten”; a family name that first belonged to “Hoolae Makua” the ali‘i nui of Hāna, Maui, who defended his hilltop fortress of Ka‘uiki against ‘Umi during the rebellion of Kiha-a-Pi‘ilani in the 16th century (Abraham Fornander, “Story of Piimaiwaa” in Fornander’s Collection of Hawaiian Antiquities and Folklore, 376-379; Herman Pi‘ilani Clark, Kukulu Kauhale O Limaloa, xviii). The name was later given to Henry Hoolae Paoa (b. 14 April, 1874), his son Fredrick Hoolae Paoa, and his great-grandson Wayne Hoolae Sterling who, in turn, is Lilinoe Sterling’s father.

7. Pāpahi lei o Makali‘i: a reference to Maraea Kaainahuna Kaleimakalii, a Sterling family ancestor through Florence Kamakaopiopio Bridges (b. 28 December, 1876), the wife of Henry Hoolae Paoa. This Kaleimakalii is the connecting point between the lines of the Maui and Hawai‘i Island chiefs from which Lilinoe Sterling descends. Maraea’s father, Kaheana Kaleimakalii (b. c.1829), is the great-grandson of Kekaulike and Kekuiapoiwanui on the Maui side; her mother, Kamakea Kauakukapu (b. c.1831, is a great-granddaughter of Kameeiamoku and Kamakaeheukuli on the Hawai‘i side.  The “Pāpahi lei o Makali‘i,” in the poetry of this verse of our mele, is the lei of ancestors worn by the Hoolae of our time: Lilinoe’s father, Wayne Hoolae Sterling.

8. He ali‘i nō ‘oe no‘u / No nā mānowai ‘elua: this echoes the 10th verse of “Ne‘ene‘e ‘o Ka‘ula,” (Mary Kawena Pukui Collection as taught to us by Patience Namaka Bacon in 1992; Kapiolani-Kalanianaole Collection, HI.K.12:98, composer identified as Nahinu Kamehaokalani Kaae) a chant for Prince David Kawānanakoa whose double-line of descent can be traced to the chiefs of Maui and Hawai‘i Island and shares, with Lilinoe Sterling, the ancestors Kekaulike and Keawepoepoe.

9. Nalowale i ke kau ‘āhua: an echo of the mele “He lei kēia no ‘Ema / Ko lei kaulana i ke kipi” (MS SC Roberts 2.9:30-32, Bishop Museum Archives) in which the Queen’s enemies are described as “kōlea kau ‘āhua” – transients who perch on their mounds of accumulated wealth until it is time to depart, leaving nothing behind. In our mele, the land of Kālia and waters of Pi‘inā‘io are “perched-on, mounded-over” by the Hawaiian Village and ‘Ilikai Hotels.

10. ‘O ka hua kau umauma: this echoes the first line of the third verse of Lili‘uokalani‘s mele “Umia ke Aloha i Paa Iloko,” (Makaainana, April 15, 1895; “He Inoa Wehi no ka Oiwi Pokii,” J.F. Testa (ed), Buke Mele Lahui, 10-11; “He Inoa Wehi no Kalanianaole,” Lili‘uokalani, He Buke Mele Hawaii, 12) in which she encourages Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole, her imprisoned nephew, to “wreath himself in aloha ‘āina”:

  1. Ka hua i ka umauma mailani ia,        

  2. Pāpahi ‘ia ke Aloha ‘Āina,                 
    Hi‘ipoi ‘ia ko lei hanohano,                 

  3. I kāhiko mau nou e ka lehua,               

  4. The watchword of the chiefly heart is this:

  5. Wreathe yourself in Aloha ‘Āina

  6. Cherish your lei of noble character

  7. It honors you always, my warrior child.

In our mele, the “watchword of the heart” is “‘Ai wale i ka hīnana” – to hold fast to the aloha ‘āina memory of a prosperous land and of the people who enjoyed its bounty.

11. Pa‘a konia i ka lima: an echo of verses 10 and 12 of  “Ka Wohi Ku i ka Moku,” Benecia Satana’s mele aloha ‘āina for the deposed Lili‘uokalani (Buke Mele Lahui; 37-8):

  1. E ku e Kalani hanohano,      

  2. Paa i ka pono o ka lahui          

  3. Eia Hawaii ua ao                         

  4. Paa lia i ka poho o ka lima      

  5. Arise, exalted Queen

  6. Held fast by the pono of the people

  7. Here is Hawaii, coming into the light

  8. Held fast in the palm of the hand

Paakonia is the name of one of the sisters of Henry Hoolae Paoa (see notes 6 and 7 above); her full name is Julia Paakonia Lonokahikini Paoa; she is the wife of Duke Halapu Kahanamoku and mother of Duke Paoa Kahanamoku. Pa‘akonia, her sister Lu‘ukia Keakealani Paoa Okuu, and their mother Florence Kamakaopiopio Bridges Paoa all signed the Petition Against Annexation on September 11, 1897.  Florence signed as “Kamaka Hoolae” and Julia signed as “Mrs. Paakonia” in order to protect their husbands, both government workers, from retribution by the Republic of Hawaii. The loyalty of these women to their deposed Queen and nation serves as inspiration for our mele.

12. E hana lima au i ka ‘āina / I ho‘i hou mai e ka pono: this echoes the 10th verse of J.W. Kamali’s “Alakai Hohe Wale” (BML, 39-40) another of the Buke Mele Lahui’s expressions of support for the counter-revolution of 1895, and it repeats, for Lilinoe Sterline, the challenge and response of Herman Pi‘ikea Clark: “Now, knowing [this], what contribution will you make to our family and people in your time?”

  1. E hana lima au i kuu aina      

  2. I hoi hou e ka pono ou e Liliu          

  3. I will labor on behalf of my ‘āina

  4. So that pono will return again to you, O Lili‘u.

© Kīhei de Silva, 2012.  All rights reserved.

This essay was first published in Hālau Mōhala ‘Ilimaʻs 2012 Merrie Monarch Fact Sheet. 

It is offered here in slightly revised and updated form.