Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Puaʻa Hame


And what's Thanksgiving without ye ole pua'a hame?  Can't live without that word!  I'm sure many of you recognized the word pua'a in there because where do we get the ham from?  That's right!  Porky Pig!   Other words for ham include 'ūhā hame ('ūhā means hindquarters) or ''ūhā pua'a or just plain hame.

He pua'a hame nui kā mākou no ka Lā Ho'omaika'i - We have a big ham for Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Gravy, sauce, dressing, soup, broth

Yes, gravy.  Of course kai also means sea or sea water but I didn't want to "water" down the focus on FOOD!  Kai, or gravy, because it always has a nice salty taste to it, is referred to as kai.  And nothing goes better on pelehū or pua'a hame or palaoa that has been puhi 'ia than kai.

'Ono loa ke kai ma luna o ka 'i'o pelehū - Gravy is very delicious on top of the turkey.

Loa'a ke kai no ka lau'ai? - Is there dressing for the green salad?

Monday, November 23, 2009



        Gearing up for the big Thanksgiving Day festivities!  So I want to equip you with some vocabulary words that you can use in your food preparation. Teach the kids (or grandkids!), make vocabulary placecards.    Another word for turkey is pōkeokeo.  Some areas say palahū (like Waimea, Hawai'i).
        We've got lots of pelehū roaming wild here in Hāmākua but fortunately for them, it's easier to pay $5.00 for a ready to cook one from Sack n Save than to have to shoot, pluck, clean, and cook for DAYS our own for free.  Maybe not as fun, but a heck of a lot less work.  Plus those pelehū know not to come around in November! We did (and by we I mean my son and my brother, John) shoot a couple of pelehū for Motherʻs Day last year and just used the breast meat. It made a wonderful turkey burger for our meal! The rest of the carcass was returned to the earth way up in the pasture only to be recovered by my lab, Loku. Three days worth of feathers flying around her kennel. Sheʻs like a vulture.

E 'ai ana kākou i ka pelehū - We are going to eat a turkey

Nui ka pelehū ma Hawai'i - There are a lot of turkeys on Hawai'i

Friday, November 20, 2009


Gambling, betting, gambler; to bet, gamble.

        Literally piliwaiwai means to wager wealth.  Thought this might be a good word for you to learn during this football season (I know what happens at those parties during the super bowl!) and since trips to Las Vegas (alias Lost Wages) are SO AFFORDABLE (they appear to be but it's all an illusion) I know that many of you can find piliwaiwai useful.  But maybe if you break the word into its parts (pili = to wager.  waiwai = wealth) it might slow you down a bit.
        Don't you think it's funny that when we go to Las Vegas we don't think twice about throwing down $20 at one time for a wager but we walk miles for a cheap meal?
Nui ka piliwaiwai ma LV - There's a lot of gambling in LV

Ho'opāpā 'ia ka piliwaiwai ma Hawai'i - It is forbidden to gamble in Hawai'i.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


1.  fruit, tuber, egg, produce, yield, ovum. 
2. round object, as pill or bead.  
3.  result, effect. 
4. Tesitcles. 
5. a vulgar gesture. 
6. word,letter,figure.  
7.  Name of the thirteenth night of the lunar month.  
8.  Name of a star.  
9. The bulging of the broadest part of a paddle blade.

Wow, that was a lot!  But the main meaning I would like to focus on is the 7th one.  Name of the thirteenth night of the lunar month.  Last night's moon is named appropriately Hua.  One night after Mōhalu. It is during the Hua moon that one should plant any fruiting plant.  This helps us to remember that Hua actually means fruit!  Here's another easy way to remember Hua the moon with hua the fruit.  This moon is in the shape of an egg and hua also means egg!  Hua moa - chicken egg.  So think of an egg as you go outside to look at tonight's moon and notice the resemblance.  Then remember that this is the time to plant fruiting trees, plants.  Hawaiians once again showing their "oneness" with nature and their environment.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


To burn, set on fire, bake
Okay, you alert readers know that there are other meanings to puhi (think eel) but since I am getting in the Thanksgiving spirit (one of my favorite holidays) and I love baked goods, I want to share with you the word for bake...puhi.  In fact, a bakery is known as a hale puhi palaoa - a house that bakes bread.  Now I suppose you can use this word when you want to burn or set anything on fire (and being a firefighter's wife I am not promoting anything of the sort!) but we won't go there.  Just baking.  Because I have a one track mind.

E puhi palaoa ana au i ka lā 'apōpō - I am going to bake bread tomorrow.

Puhi 'ia kēia mea'ono e ko'u makuahine - This dessert was baked by my mother.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


1.  Down, downward, low, lower, under, beneath,below, subordinate. 
2.  Leeward, lee, southern.

Opposite of luna is lalo.  So it makes sense that if a luna is a manager, then a lalo is a subordinate.  Of course these terms, used in this way, did not come around until the plantation era.  There was no need for it before then.  It was strictly ali'i (chiefs), maka'āinana (commoners), and kauā (outcastes).  The plantation era changed many things in Hawai'i, including the language.

ko lalo - of or belonging to below or the south.

mai lalo - from below

Aia ka puke ma lalo o ke pākaukau - the book is under the table.

E waiho i këia ma lalo nei - Leave this here.

Monday, November 16, 2009


1.  high, upper, above, over, up. 
2. foreman,boss, leader, overseer, supervisor, headman, officer of any sort. 
3. chief piece in the kōnane game.

If you've studied anything about the plantation era here in Hawai'i you've heard the word luna.  The plantation heads were all known as luna and most of the time these were the Haole people and then when there weren't enough of them, the Portuguese people that came to Hawai'i for the purpose of working in the sugar plantations.  And they were chosen mainly because of their fair skin more than anything else.  Because luna means up or above, this was synonymous with the status of any high ranking position in a job, whether it be an officer of some sort, a superintendent, commissioner or plantation manager.

He lani ko luna, he honua ko lalo - Above has the heavens, below has the earth.

He luna ko'u kupuna kāne ma ka mahi kō - My grandfather was a luna at the sugar plantation.

Aia ka penikala ma luna o ka pepa - the pencil is on top of the paper.

Friday, November 13, 2009


1.  To speak imperfectly, as of one with a foreign accent or speech defect; to work in a disorderly, slipshod way; confusion.  
2.  To drip, spatter, spill, fart.

Once in a while I will come across a word that I don't know but I find very interesting and quite humourous.  Palalē is a new one for me!  And I'm going to make an attempt to use it at least once everyday this week!  And I think you should, too! 

When I first looked at it I thought of myself, and how I must have a "foreign accent" when I speak in Hawaiian. After all, Hawaiian is a second language to me.  And then as I read the other meanings, I couldn't help but laugh to myself at how ALL the meanings are not very flattering.  All the more reason to try them out in my daily usage of Hawaiian!

He mau 'ōhua lemu kaumaha, he mau 'ope'ope palalē - heavy-butted passengers, farting bags (HEY, I didn't make this up.  This was a phrase found in Fornander's Hawaiian Antiquities, 4:577)

Thursday, November 12, 2009


1.  Many, numerous, four thousand; thick.  
2.  To throw, as a stone; to aim at and hit.  
3.  Short for Mano-ka-lani-pō.

This is not the word for shark.  That word is manō (pronounced mah-NOH).  Big difference.  Mano, more frequently than not, refers to a large number.  See, Hawaiians didn't have precise big numbers like we do today.  I mean, in our lives today it's important to know whether we have $4,839.00 versus $4622.79.  Well, at least to some people.  But in traditional Hawai'i, if it was around 4,000 it was mano.  Also manomano (there's one of those reduplicated words again!)  There are other words that refer to great numbers, such as kini, lehu, lau.

Mano is also short for Manokalanipō, famous ruler in ancient times of Kaua'i.  In fact, Kaua'i is known to many as Kaua'i o Mano (Kaua'i of Mano) or Kaua'i o Manokalanipō.

He lau ka pu'u, he mano ka ihona - many hills, numerous descents (said of trouble)

Ua nui a manomano ka 'ikena a ka Hawai'i - Great and numerous is the knowledge of the Hawaiian.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


1. nvs. Brave, bold, fearless, valiant; bravery, courage.
2. nvs. Soldier, warrior, fighter; military, hero, martial.
3. n. The largest of native forest trees (Acacia koa)

Today's He Momi is dedicated to the men and women who have served their country and continue to serve defending our freedom and sacrificing their lives. It is no mistake that the Hawaiian word for soldier is synomymous with the word for bravery and courage. Koa. That is what it takes to be in the Armed Forces. To be willing to travel to faraway places, putting their lives on the line. It amazes me. Every. Single. Day. And it doesn't surprise me that the koa tree is a symbol of strength, is a strong hardy wood that was used extensively by Hawaiians and used for lei in hula, transformed into a garland of beauty but also signifying strength.

Mahalo nui to all the koa and especially to my dad, Shermaih Kahuakai Iaea, Jr., who retired from the U.S. Army. He was proud of his service, he was active in his local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and he cherished his medals and letters of commendation.

Aloha nui to you all.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


A small, downy, American weed (Waltheria indica var. americana), with ovate leaves and small clustered yellow flowers.

        You know someone once told me that a weed is just a plant whose true worth has not yet been discovered.  I think 'uhaloa is one of these "weeds."  Many people don't know the power that this little plant has to cure!  And it's plentiful.  We see it a lot but don't really know what it is when we see it. 
        'Uhaloa is used, among other things, as a remedy for sore throat.  A tea can be made from the root or you can simply chew the root slowly.  It is one of the plant forms of Kamapua'a, the pig god.  Other names include 'ala'alapūloa, hala 'uhaloa, hi'aloa, and kanakaloa.

Maika'i ka 'uhaloa - 'Uhaloa is a good plant.

Aia i kula i ka 'ala'alapūloa
Gone on the plain to gather 'ala'alapūloa
(Gone on a wild goose chase.  A play on the word 'ala'ala [octopus liver], meaning nothing worthwhile)

Mai hilahila! Don't be shy to leave a comment here! People leave me comments on my posts on Facebook and Twitter but are experiencing bouts of shyness here on the blog! But the beauty of the blog is the interactivity allowed with comments! Bring it on.

Monday, November 9, 2009


To sleep, lie at ease, lounge, relax.

This is a pleasant word for just relaxing.   Contrary to popular belief Hawaiians were hard workers (and I like to think that many Hawaiians today are also hard workers).  They woke up at the crack of dawn so they could get the majority of hard work done before the sun was up high.  I remember my grandfather getting up super early to begin his day by raking the entire yard and pull weeds.  I just love driving through homestead areas in the morning because you inevitably see this tradition continuing.  Someone is outside raking up the leaves, scooping them into the cut pakini scooper. And it isnt just kupuna. I see makua (parents) outside doing it and even keiki on some early weekend mornings.

This word sometimes replaces moe (for sleep) in poetry because moe can also suggest death.  

Ua kau ke keha i ka uluna, ua hi'olani i ka moena - the head rests on the pillow, stretching out on the mat [relax after work is done]  This line comes from a chant called Ke Welina, dedicated to Käne.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Thorn, barb, spine, bur; barbed, thorny, prickly, burry; jabbed, pricked, hurt by a thorn.

        Now this is a small kid time word.  And because of the pain involved when stepping on a kukū, I think it's a word being perpetuated to the next generation.  At least for the people living in Hawai'i.  We get all kine kukū over here.  Remember that small kukū hiding in the grass?  Da bugga stuck to your long pants or your shoe string or if you get one towel, auē, they all come on top da towel and hard for get 'em out!  Not only dat kine!  Get the kiawe tree kukū.  Talk about 'aui!  das one sore one, right tru da rubba slippa an' all!
        In old Hawai'i the only thing you can get pricked with, besides a speartip, would probably be the wana.  Other than that, plants in old Hawai'i had no thorns.  Because of the pristine environment and lack of predators many of the plants here did not need to have thorns for protection.

Akahele i ke kukū ma ka pā hale - Watch out for the kukū in the yard.

'Eha maoli ke hehi 'oe ma ke kukū - It really hurts when you step on a kukü.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Acrid odor, unpleasant body odor of perspiration; to smell thus.

To smell thus. Okay, that phrase alone cracks me up. If you smell thus (unpleasant body odor of perspiration), you know you are HOHONO. That yucky stinky smell of B.O.? Hohono.  Or you know that strong mimi (urine) smell of a small child's shorts that have since dried up but you KNOW he went shishi and just won't admit it? That smell is hohono. I remember my children at Pūnana Leo o Honolulu. When someone went mimi in their pants, they would say "mimi hono"! In other words, that unpleasant odor is from some sheesh!
Gosh this word is giving me flashbacks of a plane ride. I mean seriously, Mister. Do you not consider the welfare of fellow passengers before you get on a flight straight out of Waipiʻo?
 I have shared some other smelly words (pīlau) in the past. Add this one to your list.  I just wanted to make sure that you have an appreciation for the fine tuning of the Hawaiians' sense of smell that so many words were derived to describe the differences among odors, both pleasant and not so pleasant.

Auē ʻo ka hohono ē o kēia wahi lumi - Omg, this damn room smells [thus] :-)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


To seek knowledge or information; to investigate; investigation, examination, research, searching for even the smallest detail.

       With all the talk of cutting the budgets for schools, I want to mention the importance of allocating money for professional development.  Today's word, noiʻi, is basically the word for research, an important process to developing one's understanding in a given arena.  It is important to promote research and investigation among teachers by allocating funds for them to attend conferences, workshops, classes (you know many teachers pay for these on their own).  Bottom line is, it doesn't matter how nice the classrooms are, how many books are in it, how many pupils there are to adults.  If the teacher does not know how to teach or is not up to date with the research all other efforts are in vain.  We all know that a good education doesn't come from the availability of "stuff."  It comes from delivery of a quality education by a well-informed teacher who knows the importance of compassion, love, and patience and weaves this together with teaching strategies that suit the needs of each student in the classroom.  We need to give teachers opportunities to better themselves through professional development.
I know, I know. Schools are having furlough Fridays here in Hawaiʻi and I am worried about professional development? Poopoo on me. But I dont care. PD pays for itself tenfold in the classroom.

He mea nui ka noiʻi i nā kumu - Research is an important thing for teachers.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


 1.  To pull or draw frequently, or by many persons; to pull by jerks or continuously, as in the tug-of-war game; to gather, as taro; friction, dissension.  
2.  To disagree, quarrel; disagreement; not cooperative, headstrong, obstinate.  
3.  Tug of war game, to play the game.

We all enjoy playing the game of hukihuki but we probably don't enjoy being involved in a hukihuki of dissension.  This word is used a lot today when referring to disagreements or friction occurring between families or friends or colleagues.  State workers have plenty
hukihuki nowadays with all the layoffs and furloughs.  Politics always get hukihuki.  I'm sure many of you remember using this word or hopefully you still use it or better yet, you remember it, never used it in your adult life but now you will revive it!  And so hukihuki lives on, in a good way!

Hele maila lākou a
hukihuki i ka wai - They came to draw water.

Pili hukihuki
- a relationship with constant quarrels

Monday, November 2, 2009


nvt. To believe, trust; to lean on, rely on; trust, confidence.

Not much else to say about this word other than, to be able to hilinaʻi, to trust, someone, is to me the greatest attribute of a friend and partner.

Hilinaʻi au iā ʻoe - I trust you.