Māui Nui a Kama (Project Kau Ka Manaʻo)

Meet the artist: Lloyd Momoa Reinhardt

(In this video, Momoa is describing his image in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.  The manaʻo behind his image follows.)

Here is a map of Momoaʻs image and the manaʻo behind his piece, Maui Nui a Kama, The Great Maui of Kama.

Organization of Maui Nui a Kama
Organization of Maui Nui a Kama

This poem was inspired by a collection of symbols that evokes pleasant memories for me.  My life was greatly inspired by my mother, who enriched me with many stories about Māui.  She was a talented singer, and the treble clef is a tribute to her.  Also, the curves of the treble clef are reminiscent of the island of Māui, the birthplace of my ancestors.  Through my eyes, the lower part of the treble clef looks like a fish hook and this reminds me of Māui the demigod.

The blue triangles in the four corners remind me of Wākea, Sky Father.  Gazing upward through the summits of Pu‘u Kukui and Haleakalā, is Papa, Mother Earth, who is represented by the red spheres.  The red spheres also signify the piko or source of the kalo, another symbol for my family.

During the time of my ancestors taro grew abundantly in Wailuku and Hāna, which are represented by the heart-shaped leaves.  Nowadays taro fields are rarely seen in those areas.  The four wavy lines are the famous waters of Māui.  These waters provided sustenance to the numerous taro fields that once carpeted the landscapes of Waikapū, Wailuku, Wai‘ehu, and Waihe‘e.  Sadly, these streams of life remains in captivity while the land continues to wither away.

Symbolized by the four parallel lines are the winds that sweep over Waikapū, Wailuku, Wai‘ehu, and Waihe‘e.  Their names are Kokololio, Lawe mālie, Hō‘eha‘ili, and Kili‘o‘opu, respectively.  It is said that an encounter with each wind is an interesting and gentle experience.  Another unique experience that I was privy to witness in Hāna was the arrival of the white rains from the Alenuihaha Channel.  It is represented by the four connecting droplets.  Affectionately known as Uakea, I was told by my mother that this misty rain visits the area like a white laced curtain moving across the land of the great chief Pi‘ilani.

Although I was born on O‘ahu, Māui-nui-a-kama is the source of my existence, because of a deep connection to that island.  This poem is my way of paying homage to my ancestors for their guidance and love.  Mahalo nui loa i ko‘u mau kūpuna.


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