Laʻakea, a poem by Laʻakea Ai

“Where are you from?” It’s one of the first things Hawaiians ask each other when they meet for the first time. For Laʻakea Ai, the answer was never simple. Having lived in many different towns across Oʻahu, she hadn’t felt any of them was home. But in recent years, Laʻakea says, “My passion for my culture deepened, and I finally felt a sense of home in the things that I was doing. So now when people ask me, ʻWhere are you from?ʻ I tell them, “I am from the ʻāina,”

Pūpū A ʻO ʻEwa Native Hawaiian Writing and Arts presents Laʻakea, a Ka ʻUmeke Kāʻeo award-winning poem by Leeward CC – Hālau ʻIke ʻO Puʻuloa student Laʻakea Ai.

Meet the author: Laʻakea Ai


I am from the awakening of the sun at Haʻehaʻe
to its setting beyond Lehua

I am from the smell of rain in Waimea
and the touch of sun in Molokaʻi

I am from my grandmotherʻs moʻolelo
and my grandfatherʻs sweet mele

I am from kaholo, ʻuwehe,
and ʻami-around-the-isle

From loʻi kalo, ulu trees
and a grove of red ginger

From high tides and low tides, lay nets
and throw nets

I am from meat and paʻiʻai
and all things with paʻakai

I am from aloha-everyday, not just Fridays

I am from nights on Māhealani moon, ʻawa roots and ʻapu

I am from Papahānaumoku
and Kakuhihewa

I am from the ʻāina.


Credits: Bio photo courtesy of Laʻakea Ai, post feature photo by Kahoʻolemana Naonenaone-aupuni copy

One thought on “Laʻakea, a poem by Laʻakea Ai

  1. A lovely poem — I really enjoyed it. My favorite line was “I am from aloha-everyday, not just Fridays”
    Mahalo, La’akea!

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