Our name, Pūpū A `O `Ewa, is in typical Hawaiian metaphoric style: meaning cannot be translated directly into English to make sense. This song is not about shells! Names are very important to the Hawaiian people, and our name celebrates our people — the pūpū — and the area in which we live.
Here is our version of Pūpū A `O `Ewa performed by students Kalani Hiapo, Ikaika Lum, and Klandon Fetaui.
Nani Ka’ala hemolele I ka mālie
Kuahiwi nani a’o ‘Ewa
E walea ana I ka makani o ka ‘āina
Hea ka Moa’e “Eia au e ka aloha.”
Pūpū (a’o ‘Ewa) I ka nuku (nā kānaka)
E nāue mai (a e ‘ike)
I ka mea hou (o ka ‘āina)
A he ‘āina (ua kaulana)
Mai nā kūpuna mai
Ke alahele no Ka’ahupāhau.
Kilakila ‘o Pōlea noho I ka ‘olu
Ia home ho’ohihi a ka malihini
E walea ana I ka ‘olu a’o ke kiawe
I ka pā kolonahe ā ke Kiu.
1 Ka’ala is beautiful, perfectly set in the calm/Lovely mountain of ‘Ewa,
There as usual in the breeze of the land/the Moa’e wind calls, “Here I am, O beloved.”
Chorus: Shells (of ‘Ewa)/At the harbor mouth (are the people)
Come here (and see)/The new attraction (of the land),
A land (that’s been famous)/From the time of ancestors,
Pu’uloa is a sea path/The pathway of Ka’ahupāhau.
2 Pōlea is gloriously nestled in refreshing comfort/that home fascinated by visitors,
There as always in the refreshing [shade] of the kiawe/in the gentle blowing of the Kiu.
About the performers:
Performing this himeni are members of Hālau ‘Ike O Pu’uloa, Ikaika Lum (base ukulele), Kalani Hiapo (lead vocals and ukulele), and Klandon Fetaui (base). Ikaika Lum was born and raised in Mililani. A fluent Hawaiian speaker, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Hawaiian Studies-Hawaiian language from the University of Hawai’i and plans to work for his master’s degree in Hawaiian language. He works as a resource data assistant at Hālau ‘Ike. Kalani Hiapo, a Nānākuli native, is a gifted musician and hula dancer. In addition to performing the Pūpū A ‘O Ewa mele, he is the composer of the mele, Aloha No Ke Ali’i. Klandon Fetaui was born in American Samoa and currently lives in Mililani. He’s studying to be an audio engineer at Honolulu CC and is also taking classes here at Leeward CC. He is an interesting young man with many career aspirations. A natural talent, Klandon picked up the stand-up base just two days before filming.
Mo’olelo: About the himeni, Pūpū A ‘O ‘Ewa:
A popular song, Pūpū A ‘O ‘Ewa, actually has poetic meaning typical of Hawaiian music. This himeni (songs with verses and a chorus) dates back to the late 19th century for a fundraiser for Kahikuonalani Church in Pearl City, a part of ‘Ewa District on the island of O’ahu. The church was named in honor of King Kalākaua, “Ka Hiku o Na Lani” (“the seventh of kings”), who helped build the church. The name of the composer is unknown.
‘Ewa is the largest district on O’ahu with its eastern boundary at Halawa and its western boundary at Wai’anae. In the 1st verse, Ka’ala is the highest elevation on O’ahu, rising at 4,025 feet above sea level in the Wai’anae mountain range. Moa’e is the name of a tradewind. In the hui (chorus), “alahula” is a seaward path from one point of land to another. Pu’uloa is now known as “Pearl Harbor” and was the domain of Ka’ahupahau, the benevolent shark goddess of the waters off ‘Ewa. In the 2nd verse, Polea is the name of a once well-known ko’a, fishing ground. The kiawe is the algarroba tree that once grew abundantly through the Wai’anae Coast. The Kiu is a cold north wind. — Mo’olelo and translation courtesy of Kimo Alama Keaulana