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Chants about Mauna Kea


In some genealogical chants, Mauna Kea is referred to as "Ka Mauna o Kea" (Wakea's Mountain), and it is likened to the first-born of the island of Hawai’i (Pukui and Korn 1973). A mele hanau (birth chant) for Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III) describes Mauna Kea in this genealogical context:

O hanau ka mauna a Kea
Born of Kea was the mountain

‘Opu’u a’e ka mauna a Kea
The mountain of Kea budded forth

‘O Wakea ke kane, ‘o Papa
Wakea was the husband, Papa

‘O Walinu’u ka wahine.
Walinu’u was the wife

Hanau Ho’ohoku he wahine
Born was Ho’ohoku, a daughter

Hanau Haloa he ali’i,
Born was Haloa, a chief

Hanau ka mauna,
Born was the mountain,

He keiki mauna na Kea...
a mountain-son of Kea

A Social Impact Assessment
Indigenous Hawaiian Cultural Values
of the Proposed Saddle Road Alignments

Kanahele, Pualani K. and Edward L.H. Kanahele 1997

: : :

Mauna Kea is the piko of the island and this is another reason this area is considered sacred. This piko is the initial provider of the land mass of Hawai’i mokupuni. Hawai’i was also the first child of Papa and Wakea as stated in "Mele a Paku’i":

‘O Wakea Kahikoluamea ea
Wakea the son of Kahikoluamea

‘O Papa, Papa-nui-hanau-moku ka wahine
Papa, Papa-nui-hanau-moku the wife

Hanau o Kahiki-ku, Kahiki-moe
Kahiki-ku and Kahiki-moe were born

Hanau ke ‘apapanu’u
The upper stratum was born

Hanau ke ‘apapalani
The uppermost stratus was born

Hanau Hawai’i i ka moku makahiapo
Hawai’i was born, the first-born of the islands

Ke keiki makahiapo a laua
The first born child of the two

Wakea laua ‘o Kane
Of Wakea together with Kane

‘O Papa Walinu’u ka wahine
And Papa of Walinu’u was the woman

In 1980, Tutu Kawena Pukui shared a mele (chant) she had composed for Mauna Kea with me.

O Poli’ahu i ke kualono o Mauna Kea
Poli’ahu is on the mountaintop of Mauna Kea

Noho ana i ka lau o ke kuahiwi
Dwelling on the expanse of the mountain.

Wahine noho anu o uka o Lihu’e
Woman who dwells in the cold above Lihu’e [on the Waimea plain]

E ku ana iluna o ke ki’eki’e
Standing atop the heights

Ho’anoano wale ana i Pali-uli e...
Awe-inspiring [as seen from] Pali-uli...

excerpts from
Mauna Kea – Kuahiwi Ku Ha’o i ka Malie
A Report on Archival and Historical Documentary Research
Ahupua’a of Humu’ula, Ka’ohe, districts of Hilo and Hamakua, Island of Hawai’i
by Kepa Maly
©1997 Kepa Maly, Kumu Pono Associates and Native Lands Institute

 

 

 


 

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