Kaulana Nā Pua

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Eleanor Kekoaohiwaikalani Wright Prendergast wrote Kaulana Nā Pua in 1893 for members of the Royal Hawaiian Band.

Kaulana Nā Pua (literally, "Famous are the flowers") is a Hawaiian patriotic song written by Eleanor Kekoaohiwaikalani Wright Prendergast (April 12, 1865 – December 5, 1902) in 1893 for members of the Royal Hawaiian Band who protested the violent overthrow of Queen Liliʻuokalani and the Hawaiian Kingdom. The song is also known under the title of MeleʻAi Pōhaku, the Stone-Eating Song, or Mele Aloha ʻĀina, the Patriot's Song. It is still popular in Hawaiʻi today, although it is not clear how many non-Hawaiian speaking listeners are aware of the song's historical significance or the profound antipathy to U.S. annexation in its words. The song could be viewed as an act of subterfuge, since to the non-Hawaiian speaking listeners the lively melody gives no hint of the political intensity of the lyrics.

According to Elbert and Mahoe (1970), "The song was considered sacred and not for dancing." However, today hālau hula perform Kaulana Nā Pua as a hula ʻauana for makuahine (a graceful dance for mature women).

The Hawaiian lyrics, with one English translation of them, are:

Kaulana nā pua aʻo Hawaiʻi
Kūpaʻa mahope o ka ʻāina
Hiki mai ka ʻelele o ka loko ʻino
Palapala ʻānunu me ka pākaha

Famous are the children of Hawaiʻi
Ever loyal to the land
When the evil-hearted messenger comes
With his greedy document of extortion

Pane mai Hawaiʻi moku o Keawe       
Kōkua nā Hono aʻo Piʻilani
Kākoʻo mai Kauaʻi o Mano
Paʻapū me ke one Kākuhihewa

Hawaiʻi, land of Keawe answers
The bays of Piʻilani help
Kauaʻi of Mano lends support
All are united by the sands of Kākuhihewa

ʻAʻole aʻe kau i ka pūlima
Maluna o ka pepa o ka ʻenemi
Hoʻohui ʻāina kūʻai hewa
I ka pono sivila aʻo ke kanaka

Do not fix a signature
To the paper of the enemy
With its sin of annexation
And sale of the civil rights of the people

ʻAʻole mākou aʻe minamina
I ka puʻukālā a ke aupuni
Ua lawa mākou i ka pōhaku
I ka ʻai kamahaʻo o ka ʻāina

We do not value
The government's hills of money
We are satisfied with the rocks
The wondrous food of the land

Mahope mākou o Liliʻulani
A loaʻa e ka pono o ka ʻāina
    [alternate stanza:
     A kau hou ʻia e ke kalaunu]
Haʻina ʻia mai ana ka puana
Ka poʻe i aloha i ka ʻāina

We support Liliʻuokalani
Who has won the rights of the land
    [alternate stanza:
     She will be crowned again]
The story is told
Of the people who love the land

The "government" referred to in the song is the Provisional Government of Hawaii (which was later to become the Republic of Hawaii and subsequently the Territory and State), proclaimed by the conspirators upon seizing power. Mrs. Prendergast composed the song for the Royal Hawaiian Band, who:

… had just walked out on their jobs after the bandmaster demanded they sign an oath of loyalty to the Provisional Government… . The bandmaster said they had better sign or they would be eating rocks. It is obvious that they meant it was not right to sell one’s country or loyalty to one's country for money. If we hold onto the land, the land will always feed us. … [L]and endures. [1]
—Noenoe Silva, assistant professor in political science, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, in Honolulu Weekly

The Hawaiian Renaissance has lent the song Kaulana Nā Pua renewed significance in recent years. Its words are often cited in the context of the Hawaiian sovereignty movement as an expression of opposition to U.S. rule.

References[edit]

  • Elbert, Samuel H. and Noelani Mahoe, "Nā Mele o Hawaiʻi Nei, 101 Hawaiian Songs", University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1970, ISBN 0-87022-219-8
  • Nordyke, Eleanor C.; Noyes, Martha H. (1993). ""Kaulana Nā Pua": A Voice for Sovereignty". Hawaiian Journal of History (Honolulu: Hawaiian Historical Society) 27: 27–42. hdl:10524/172. 
  • Liliuokalani, "Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen", Charles E. Tuttle Company, Inc., Tokyo, Japan, 1964