Keli’i Tau’a is a respected kumu hula, musician, and culture advisor on Hawaiiana. He also happens to be my uncle and I had the opportunity to visit with him and his wife Chelsea on a trip back home in August. With his knowledge and insights to our Hawaiian Culture, I thought it would be priceless to have him share a few thoughts with us.
In response to a simple question, “if you could send a message to our Hawaii Ohana living outside of Hawaii, what would you want to say?”
Uncle Keli’i thought for a few seconds and shared the following passage from the chant “Kumulipo,” an ancient chant containing more than 2000 lines and taking hours to recite. The chant details the creation story starting with the origins of the universe and continuing with Hawaiian ancestry. It amazed me how quickly Uncle recalled the passage and how effortlessly he described and translated it:
E’ia Hawaii he moku he kanaka
He kanaka Hawaii e
Literally, translated, the texts reads:
Here is Hawaii, an island, a man
The man is Hawaii
He interpreted the passage to mean that there is a special connection shared between the people of Hawaii and the land that we are privilege to come from. The chant specifically states that ‘man is Hawaii’ – thus there is power in the land. . . and we are an integral part of this land. Uncle Keli’i advised to visit as often as possible allowing us to stay ‘connected’ to our land. His second piece of advice is to stay active in our culture when we are away from the islands.
His words have resonated with me and as I thought about this website, I realized that Uncle’s advice was exactly what I was looking for. With so many of us living abroad and in many cases, not having a strong ‘local’ community surrounding us, we find ourselves subconsciously looking for a connection back home.
While we can never replace Hawaii, we hope that you are able to visit often and leave feeling re-energized, recharged, and a little more connected to your extended Hawaiian Ohana. Thank you for visiting and please, visit often!
You can like us on Facebook and subscribe to our email lists through this website. To find out more about Uncle Keli’i – please visit his website at www.keliitaua.com.