An aspiring Hawaiian speaker of the Hawaiian language and graduate of Leeward CC, Momoa returned to college after 25+ years in hospitality to study nursing. He wants to work with kūpuna on the Waiʻanae Coast. While at Leeward, he was the president of Kahiau Hawaiian Club and active in student government. Māui Nui a Kama is a thoughtful exploration of his ancestry, rich in the Hawaiian metaphor tradition.
The lines presented in this poem were due to my introduction to Hawaiian language, studies and literature at Leeward CC. My mother gave me the gift of music and a deep love for my ʻohana living on Maui.
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.”
About Project Kau Ka Manaʻo, To Set the Mind.
Maui Nui a Kama is part of Project Kau Ka Manaʻo. Kumu Kepa Badis uses this art project to encourage story telling among his students. Every part of the art piece is from a story that is personal to the student. This is used to encourage ʻōlelo within the family as well. The student is challenge to create an image around 3-4 Hawaiian words and then to describe the image and its manaʻo — its meaning and thought — in Hawaiian.
Credits: video by Sage Kaʻonohi; bio videotaping by Rokki Midro; audio recording by Kamalani Hurley; photo courtesy of Iokepa Badis