Ke Ala Hele Uhola O Honouliuli

1. Ka Palapala ʻĀina ʻo Honouliuli. The main focus of the mural is an antique looking map of the ahupaʻa of Honouliuli. Its appearance of color, texture, and condition is meant to have the appearance of a historic piece of velum that has been recently discovered. The “unfolding“ is the basic theme of the mural and is expressed in the title “Ke Ala Hele ʻUhola ʻo Honouliuli,” as the Unfolding Path of Honouliuli. The word ʻuhola resonated for the title of the piece as it expresses both a physical unfolding (as of kapa), as well as an unfolding of the mind (interpreted as the imagination).

2. The Three Faces of HiʻiakaikapolioPele. While atop Pōhākea, Hiʻiaka looks towards Hawaiʻi and sees her beloved Hōpoe decimated by the fires of Pele. Hiʻiaka looks back towards Kauaʻi and recalls fond memories of her sister in-law, Kahuanui (sister of Lo-hiʻau) as a temporary reprieve to her burning emotions aroused by Pele. Hiʻiaka also looks down upon the landscape of Honouliuli and is inspired by its winds, rain, vegeta-tion, and the customary activities of the people.

3. The Vegetation Observed by Hiʻiaka. Throughout her travels in Honouliuli, Hiʻiaka expresses her affection in the form of mele or chant. Since her arrival at Pōhākea to her departure into Puʻuloa, she recites the names of several plants that are symbolically important to the story.

4. The spring of Hoakalei. As Hiʻiaka’s travels take her near the coastline, passing the viewing station of Pu’uokapolei and the heated expanse of Kanehili, she reaches a spring in the vicinity of Kualakai, where she stops to look down into the pool, and sees her reflection moving about on the clear surface of the water.

5. Lohiʻau and Wahineʻōmaʻo. After landing on Oʻahu, Hiʻiaka decides to continue on by land and determined that her companions would travel separate ways. Pāʻūopalaʻā is released to return to Hawaiʻi and travels the seaside roadway of Waiʻanae. Lohiʻau and Wahineʻōmaʻo are ordered to sail along the Waiʻanae coast, nonstop, ignoring Kalaeloa, the land called ʻEwa and Puʻuloa, continuing onward till the harbor of Kou.

6. Calabash of Bipi Oysters. Though not in the moʻoleo, an ʻumeke of the Bipi oysters of Puʻuloa sits in front of Wahineʻōmaʻo in the waʻa as a visual stimulus connecting certain facets of the moʻolelo to the mapping of places and events in the travels of Hiʻiaka through Honouliuli and Puʻuloa.

7. Pīkoiakaʻalalā. One of the rare Hawaiian moʻolelo that entertains the mysterious art of rat shooting through the use of the pana pua (bow and arrow). One possible metaphor to the action of bow and arrow shooting in this manner has to do with keeping track of the seasons throughout the year. As it is typically in September and October when the pua (sugar cane tassels) are in bloom due to the decrease in hours of daylight. One of the interesting things about this moʻolelo in relation to Honouliuli is the similarity of his journey to Hiʻiaka; traveling up through Waiʻanae, entering atop Pōhākea, and crossing over into Puʻuloa.

8. Kaihuopalaʻai. The West Loch of Puʻuloa (Pearl Harbor) is a small but significant part of Honouliuli in its breadth of moʻolelo and natural phenomena that was a major natural resource from Honouliuli to Koʻolau Loa. This of course is the ʻanae holo (mullet; mugil cephalus) the full grown ʻAmaʻama that lived in Puʻuloa and traveled to Kaihukuuna at Laiemaloʻo in Koʻolauloa and back along the coastline.

9. Kaʻahupāhau. The shark guardian of Puʻuloa, Kaʻahupāhau is one of the better known manō kānaka of Oʻahu, who was revered as a protector against the man eating manō iʻa of the sea. She has a very interesting familial relationship with the mythological land-scape of the ʻEwa moku in that she was initially born as a human and was transformed into and deified as a manō kānaka at a young age. She was fed and cared for by the people of ʻEwa and in return Kaʻahupāhau became an agent for health and abundance of the fisheries.

10. Kalo. The Hāloa tradition is not localized in Honouliuli by any particular moʻolelo as it has been nationalized throughout the pae ʻaina. The well-known staple of ka poʻe Hawaiʻi was cultivated on the outer perimeter of Puʻuloa. The Kaihuopalaʻai map (Pearl West Loch) shows kalo lands at the base of the Honouliuli stream.

11. Kānekuaʻana. The moʻo goddess Kānekuaʻana is associated with the various fisher-ies of Puʻuloa, the Pipi in particular. She is most famous for the saying “ka iʻa hāmau leo ʻo Ewa,” “the silent fish of ʻEwa.” The slightest voice would cause the wind to blow, causing the oysters to burrow down into the sand for concealment. In addition to intro-ducing the pipi oysters to Pu’uloa, she is also responsible for taking them away as a result of over fishing.

12. The Pueo is in reference to the puʻu pueo or pueo heiau that is located mauka of Koʻolina in the Waimanalo Gulch. Like the manō, our kūpuna recognized the potentiali-ties for ancestral tenure within an individual bird, and were able to form reciprocal relationships beneficial to both. Even when not imbued by the spirit of a deified ances-tor, the pueo is a great mythological symbol, a messenger who transcends our physical world, and an integral part of the cultural landscape that is both mysterious and neces-sary.

13. The constellation of Pīkoiakaʻalalā. The story focuses on a young archer with a talent for rat shooting. He is born on Kauaʻi and makes his way to Honouliuli to compete in a great rat shooting contest against Mainele or Maʻinele who is the current champion representing the great Oʻahu aliʻi, Kākuhihewa. He wins the contest by stringing ten rats and a bat on a single arrow. Interestingly, our kūpuna never perfected the use of the bow and arrow as an instrument of warfare but employed it strictly as mythological symbolism. The concept as well as the actual technical aspect of the bow, then, must certainly find its roots in a much older and distant cultural tradition. Even more interest-ing is the fact that the ancient Greeks who catalogued the heavens from the Babyloni-ans at Alexandria formulated the crow (corvus) into the very same constellation re-ferred to as ʻalalā (crow) by our Hawaiian ancestors.

As part of our long standing Pacific seafaring tradition that was recently revived through the heroic generosity of Paius Mau Piailug, “Papa Mau,” we find another name for the ʻalalā constellation as the “Kā,” or canoe bailing bucket. This Kā is an asterism or station-ary group of stars within a north-south celestial path that helps the navigator when voyaging southward. Two vertical stars in the point (kuhi) to the “false” (hewa) cross, which in turn points directly to the true Southern Cross, which is directly over Tahiti at its zenith. When put all together we have Kā-kuhi-hewa.

14. Kākuhihewa. the 15th aliʻi ʻaimoku (ruling chief) of Oʻahu.

15. Puʻuokapolei. The images depicted on the right side of the mural are related to mythological and celestial phenomenon using Puʻuokapolei as the point of reference. Of the various places traveled to by Hiʻiaka within the plains of Honouliuli, Puʻuokapolei prompts special interest in the moʻolelo in two ways. First, by the deep regard in her supplication when addressing the two women residing there. Mele 166 (Hoʻoulumāhiehie):

Greetings to you, o Puʻuokapolei O Nāwahineokamaʻomaʻo Sitting there, where you dwell In the shade of the ʻōhai Stringing kukui blossom garlands in the sun Wearing lei of the maʻomaʻo flower Lei of bright kaunoʻa (kaunaʻoa) upon the strand of Koʻolina Such a festive way, all about

Puʻuokapolei and Nāwahineokamaʻomaʻo sitting in the shade of the ʻōhai; the red and yellow ʻōhai aliʻi, also a play on the word hahai; to follow, chase, pursue (celestial pro-cession). They are stringing leis of Kukui; another name for Hōkū Paʻa or Polaris, the North Star. The Sun is the chief star that our ancestors followed. With Maʻomaʻo, here is a play on the word mamao, meaning far, distant or remote (as in the stars). Lei of Kaunaoʻa is the rising and setting of the Milky Way (Kau) upon the rafters (oʻa; 2. Mouth of an Eel) held by the ring (lina) of posts (Koʻo) Koʻolina; the central ring of Puʻuokapolei. As you can see from the plant names in the mele, I interpret Puʻuokapolei as a celestial Viewing Station.

16. HiʻiakaikapolioPele from mele 171: line 4: “Fourfold are the lei, the lehua garlands of the woman.” The second interesting point of Puʻuokapolei is the familial connection of Hiʻiaka to her eldest sister Kapō. This gives the character Hiʻiaka, as well as the moʻolelo, a deeper connection to our inherited cultural traditions as well as the moʻole-lo ʻaina of Honouliuli.

17. Kapō, also Kapōʻulakīnaʻu, the eldest sister of the Pele clan, for whom Puʻuokapolei gets her name.

18. Sunrise at the viewing station of Puʻuokapolei in alignment with one of the koʻo. Interestingly, the Eastern backdrop to record the movement of the sun (solstice and equinox) is the Koʻolau mountains.

19. Sunset from Puʻuokapolei over the ʻEwa plane. The visual phenomenon of the light rays of the sun during rising and setting is often referred to as the “magic wand effect.” In line 6 of mele 167, Hiʻiaka chants: “The blossom of Nohu is like a yellow halakea kapa” As the sun climbs, or descends the koʻo, sunlight is able to bend around and wrap the post as a pāʻū, creating the halakea kapa effect as illustrated on Hiʻiaka (#16). Here the body of Hiʻiaka becomes the koʻo, adorned by the light of the sun. The Nohu pre-sents us with an actual visual representation of the semicircular diagram of the viewing station complete with observation point and sightlines to the measuring posts. Interest-ingly, this visual comes from the aquatic nohu, the Scorpion fish (Scorpaenopsis cacopsis), more specifically from its peculiar pectoral fin that is semicircular in shape with pronounced spines that fan out from what looks like a single axis point. In addi-tion, it is also red, yellow and orange, the colors of the rising and setting sun; which for an island society, always takes place in and out of the ocean.

20. Pele. Our goddess of fire and creation is also a connotative mythological figure who represents the Sun. Her marriage to Lohiʻau, who literally means “slow time,” is indica-tive of the summer season. The resurrection/reinstatement of Lohiʻau by Hiʻiaka, Wahi-neʻōmaʻo and Pāʻūopalā in the moʻolelo can be interpreted as the Winter Solstice, when the sun is reborn and reestablishes its northern cycle. She stands on the summer half of the Milky Way which holds the Makau nui o Maui (Scorpio), and the Navigators Triangle (Deneb, Vega, and Altair). The face in the smoke is of Hōpoe, beloved friend of Hiʻiaka.

21. Kamapuaʻa. The Hog child. As a manifestation of Lono, Kamapuaʻa represents all the natural phenomena associated with Hoʻoilo, winter; the rainy season. He is the antithesis of Pele, blocking out the sun and filling her pits and calderas with water, momentarily extinguishing her fires. It is my belief that Kamapuaʻa is the constellation Orion. When taking into consideration his mele inoa (name chant) delivered in a cry of joy by his grandmother Kamauluaniho (Kama-ulu-a-niho; child raised by the crab) (Cancer constellation), he is personified as every natural, divine, and celestial phenome-non of winter. “Born like a bundle was your child.” The ultimate asterism that points to every major constellation during the winter season.

22. Māui. He has captured the head of the puhi with his magic hook, the ultimate celestial image of the summer season as part of his heroic exploits to slow down the sun.

23. Puhi o Laumeki. The Eel of the many holes is directly associated with the ʻanae holo or traveling mullet. In one version of the moʻolelo, he guides the ʻanae holo along the shore from the expansive West Loch of Puʻuloa all the way around the island to Laie maloʻo at the request of his sister Kaihukuuna who longs for fish. Instructions are given by his father Kaihuopalaʻai and his sister Kapapapuhi who wants to supply Kaihukuuna with the living ʻanae instead of the salted dry variety. The physical characteristics of the puhi described in the moʻolelo as having numerous spots that changed colors as Puhi Laumeki got older, in conjunction with celestial movements, gave me the idea of paint-ing him as the Milky Way (Kau).

24 & 25. Ka holoholo ʻana a ka ʻanae holo. The traveling of the mullet

Kupihea was born in Waimea and grew up in the small plantation town of Kekaha on the west side of Kauaʻi. He attended Kekaha Elementary School and graduated from Waimea High School in 1992. He completed a BFA in 2004 and earned an MFA in 2010, both in Sculpture, with a focus on bronze casting. Kupihea’s creative works as well as his personal interests have been deeply rooted in the cultural histories and traditions of Hawaiʻi. In addition to the academic and social aspects of his native heritage that stimulate his work, he tries to communicate a sense of spirituality that stems directly from the nature of his moʻokūʻauhau, family genealogy.

From the start, this project began to unfold in several different ways: the map, the moʻolelo, and the mind. Critical information of maps and place names was provided by Kupihea’s wife and Cultural Anthropologist Kēhaulani Kupihea. The moʻolelo was compiled by Kepā Maley in his Moʻolelo ʻĀina cultural report. The visual interpretation came from an in-depth look into some of the moʻolelo that are ingeniously tied into the cultural landscape of Honouliuli. Kupihea payed special attention to HiʻiakaikapolioPele which contains a beautiful layering of information from atop the mountain pass of Pōhākea to the viewing station of Puʻuokapolei to the “iʻa hāmau leo o ʻEwa,” in Kaihuopalaʻai.

honouliuli full size mural