Manuiki Foundation


The Manuiki Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit charity consisting of a vibrant all-volunteer community of committed and caring individuals dedicated to the preservation and perseverance of the Hawai‘ian culture. All donations are tax deductable.
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Mo‘olelo / Stories and Traditions

The Navigators: Pathfinders of the Pacific
This documentary explores the heritage of Polynesian wayfinding

Kūnihi Ka Mauna

The welcoming kahea or calling performed by Aunty Manuiki Lono at the annual Bridge of Aloha Festival held on May 6, 2017 in the town of Ferndale Washington USA, just across the border from Vancouver British Columbia, Canada.

Kūnihi Ka Mauna
Kahea Oli - Kūnihi Ka Mauna at the 2017 Bridge of Aloha, Ferndale WA. Video courtesy Dale Dolejsi.
Kūnihi ka mauna i ka la‘i ē
(Steep is the mountain in the calm)
‘O Wai‘ale‘ale lā i Wailua
(It is Wai‘ale‘ale as seen from Wailua)
Huki a‘e la i ka lani
(Pulled away into the sky....)
Ka papa auwai o Kawaikini
(the bridge leading to Kawaikini)
Alai ‘ia a‘e la e Nounou,
(The path is blocked by Nounou (Sleeping Giant))
Nalo Kaipuha‘a Ka laulā mauka o Kapa‘a ē
(Hidden is Kaipuha‘a, the broad plain inland of Kapa‘a)
Mai pa‘a i ka leo
(Do not withold the voice)
He ‘ole ka hea mai ē
(It takes little to respond.)
Oli Kahea - The password prayer, song or chant of admission (pule, mele, oli). It is a request for entry into any space that is not your own. For the hula dancer it might be asking for entry into the halau, or into the forest to gather greens, or for entry into a sacred space such as a heiau. The most frequently used Oli Kahea for the hula dancer is "Kūnihi Ka Mauna" which requests permission to enter the halau hula, the hula stage or some other hula related space. This oli comes from and refers to sites on the island of Kauai. Kauai is the the site of the first organized halau hula. That hula platform still exists today in Ha‘ena.

Version 1. The chant is taken from an epic story of Hi‘iaka, a sister of Pele, who is journeying with the beautiful Hopoe to fetch Prince Lohiau to the court of Pele. They have come to a steep and narrow path on the edge of the Wai-lua river, Kauai, which, at this point, was spanned by a single plank (papa huluhulu). But the plank was gone, pulled aside by an ill-tempered sorceress said to have come from Kahiki, whose name, Wai-lua, is the same as that of the stream. Hi‘iaka calls out, demanding that the plank be restored to its place. Wai-lua does not recognize the deity in Hi‘iaka and remains sullen, making no response. At this the goddess brings forth her strength, and strips Wai-lua of her power and reduces her to her true station, that of a mo‘o (a reptile.) Wai-lua seeks refuge in the caverns beneath the river. Hi‘iaka then improves the condition of the crossing by placing stepping stones. The stones remain in evidence to this day.

Version 2. Just above the falls there is a row of large rock across the river used as stepping stones. Before there were rocks, Wailua, a mo‘o, lived beside the river. She owned a long wooden plank that she would stretch across from one bank to the other if she were paid a toll by the traveler. If she felt cheated, she would shake the plank when the traveler reached the middle and dump him over the falls. Pele‘s sister, Hi‘iaka, came to this crossing on her way to Haena. She asked Wailua to throw the plank across and the mo‘o refused at first but finally did as asked. As soon as Hi‘iaka had reached the halfway point, the mo‘o tired to turn the plank over. Hi‘iaka regained the shore shore safely and killed the mo‘o. Then she threw large rocks across the river so she and others could safely cross.

Please, when reviewing interpertations, remember and keep in mind the wise adage that shines among the sayings of the Hawaiian nation: A‘ohe pau ko ike i kou halau - think not that all wisdom resides in your halau.

‘Ike ‘ia no ka loea I ke kuahu