Hoʻomanawanui: The Hawaiian Word of The Week
Patient & Steadfast
Auē ka lapuwale o kāu mea unuhi, e nā hoa! My apologies for leaving this last helu for so long. Some other kuleana came knocking on my door that I had to tend to. But we can’t leave this wonderful story incomplete, so here we are for the last installment of the moʻolelo of Kamehaʻikana! Mahalo i ke ahonui – thanks for your patience.
When we last left off, the legions of Haumea had just wasted a large portion of Kumuhonua’s forces with their hua kukui (kukui nuts). This defeat was preserved in song, but I won’t attempt a translation of it here. Even Poepoe says, “He hohonu a he kūliʻu ke mele a ka poʻe kahiko, a he ʻano pohihihi nō ke kuailo ʻana i ka manaʻo” (“The songs of the ancients are deep and profound and it can be baffling how they stump the thoughts.” He gives some manaʻo on the mele, but does not wehewehe everything.) Suffice to say that the original moʻolelo calls to you. Seek it out and see for yourself all that it has to offer, including this fascinating mele.
The few remaining men of Kumuhonua’s side retreated and sent a messenger to tell him what had happened. He was less than impressed that his warriors had been defeated by a bunch of “girls” (clearly he had no idea who he was dealing with). Unwilling to accept defeat, especially by a wahine, he sent his messengers to spread the word that more men were needed for the next phase of the war.
For this battle, even Kumuhonua joined in the fight, heading up his massive army who assembled themselves, once again, at Koʻolauloa and Koʻolaupoko. There they faced off once more with the legions of Haumea and a battle between Kumuhonua and Haumea ensued.
With kukui nuts as their weapons, the many bodies of Haumea continued to slaughter Kumuhonua’s forces, until the time came for them to go into the ocean, as Haumea had said before was the wish of her kūpuna in the pō. At that time she called forth the ocean to come up high and engulf the shores of the Koʻolau.
What was heard next was a deep rumbling that resounded throughout the land. Huge waves were seen rising up and people began to scream in panic, “We are all going to die!” (“Papapau kākou i ka make ē!”). In no time at all, massive waves broke over the land and Wākea, Haumea and their whole side were pulled out into the deep ocean. Kumuhonua and his men barely escaped and were almost sucked into the sea along with the others by Keaumiki and Keaukā.
The voices of Wākea and Haumea’s people called out to one another amidst the turmoil of the ocean. They truly feared they had met their end. With tears streaming down his cheeks, Wākea turned to his Kahuna, Kamoawa, and asked “What is happening to us? We have nowhere left to go and are up to our jaws in ocean water. Are we all going to perish? Are you going to look after us?”
Kamoawa looked back at Wākea and responded, “I have a narrow path, as a kahuna, and that is the one we shall now walk. I am telling you, we are not going to die. The tide of defeat has turned and the foam of the waves shall break upon Kumuhonua. Let us build our heiau at once.”
Wākea was incredulous and immediately pointed out that they had none of what they needed to build a heiau. But Kamoawa insisted that he listen and follow his orders exactly. He directed Wākea to thrust out his left hand and then curl his fingers over so that they stood (kū) in the palm of his hand. Thus the heiau was erected (kū). All that was needed was a pig. Kamoawa then dove deep into the ocean. A moment passed and he emerged again, holding a fish in his right hand.
“Here is your pig, a humuhumu, the fish form of Kānepuaʻaikalani. I will put the nose of the fish into our heiau. The heiau has been erected, the offering secured, now all that remains is the ʻaha.”
Kamoawa then turned to the people that were drifting about on the surface of the ocean and asked that they come close to where he and Wākea were floating. The people gathered near and when he saw they were all close he said to Wākea, “Now, my lord, the ʻaha is assembled and I will sacrifice this offering in the house of the Akua, so that Wākea will rule the land.” Then, he thrust the nose of the fish into the hand of Wākea and declared, “ʻĀmama. Ua noa.”
*Poepoe is careful to clarify here that the heiau was actually formed by Wākea taking the fist made with his left hand and standing it in the cupped palm of his right hand. He also reminds us that the humuhumunukunukuapuaʻa is the fish form of Kamapuaʻa (when attempting to escape Pele he took the form of a fish and swam away from Hawaiʻi Island). As a pig of the sea it was a satisfactory sacrifice.*
As soon as Kamoawa declared the prayer freed, Haumea called out to the gods with a prayer of her own. When she finished, the surface of the ocean began to swell and rise. Wākea, Haumea, Kamoawa and all their people were quickly lifted up and borne onto the crest of a huge wave. The wave rushed from the deep ocean towards the shore and deposited them onto their feet on a low, flat island called Kāpapa (named especially for this event) that lies out in front of the area stretching from Kualoa to Heʻeia Kea.
From there they returned to Palikū (Kualoa) to live. They erected some heiau kapu and Haumea collected Olopana’s grandson to raise there. She named him Heʻeia, to preserve the memory of their retreating into the ocean. For a time, they lived as chiefs of Koʻolauloa and Koʻolaupoko and readied the people there for the final battle against Kumuhonua.
On the day of this final battle, Kaliʻu was once again commander of Wākea and Haumea’s forces. They had rallied support from several districts and this time their numbers were greater. The battle began, once again, in Kalihi and although Kumuhonua and his forces could see that death awaited them in the valley, they could not avoid the confrontation. It is there, in the heights of Kalihi, that Kumuhonua was struck in the hip by the spear of Kaliʻu and the place where he died is called “Pahu-Kīkala” or “pierced in the hip.”
And because of this final battle, Wākea became ruling chief of Oʻahu. Wākea, Haumea and their retainers chose to reside in Waolani with Kaliʻu as their premier.
Pīpī holo kaʻao!
Mahalo for staying with us through this beautiful moʻolelo, e nā hoa heluhelu a puni moʻolelo nō hoʻi. Again, these posts do not serve as a full translation of the story. What we have offered here is a much abbreviated version that eliminates many details and really just gives you an idea of the plot of the story and its main characters. It is meant to entice you to read the full version (links to those were provided in the first post in this series). It is such a different experience to read this story ma ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi (in Hawaiian) and there are certain benefits that will only come with accessing that version. We hope this has piqued your interest and provided joy in a few of your quiet moments. Me ke aloha nui wale, Nā Wāhine O Kealopiko.
P.S. Ka Huaʻōlelo O Ka Pule is signing off for now. We will be back to offer you more ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi in the new year. E mālama pono a e hoʻopuka a mālama i ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi ma nā wahi a pau e hiki ai!
E ola ka ʻōlelo o ka ʻāina!