Monday, August 10, 2009


1. nvs. Portion, fragment, part, fraction, installment; to be partial, less.
2. nvs. Of mixed blood, person of mixed blood.
3. n. A-minor in music.

When I was growing up, anyone who was "part-Hawaiian" was referred to as being hapa. And to me it was not a bad thing, it just was. It did not matter how much Hawaiian blood you had because hapa is non descript as far as amounts are concerned. But usually attached to hapa was the "other ethnicity": hapa haole - part Caucasian, or hapa pākē-part Chinese. I guess it was just understood that whoever was hapa something, was Hawaiian and that something else. I dont know if that is still understood to be the case. So many things have changed. And most people have so many other ethnicities that it would sound funny to add them all on: some people would have to go down the list--hapa haole, pākē, kepanī pukīkī, kelamania, kenemaka (Caucasian, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, German, Danish).

The term hapa is also used when referring to fractions. If you want to get specific with the fraction or parts, it is fairly simple, especially if you know your Hawaiian numbers:

hapahā - 1/4
hapalua - 1/2
hapakolu - 1/3

Get the gist? You can get fancier:

ʻekolu hapahā - 3/4
ʻekolu hapawalu - 3/8
ʻelua hapakolu - 2/3

Here are some other "portions":
hapa nui - majority, most quorum (big portion)
hapa ʻuʻuku - minority, less (small portion)
hapa makahiki - semi annual (makahiki = year)

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