Nhsc-v1-178

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nhsc-v1-178

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island of Hawai'i is so commended because of the floral tribute brought by Henry West, a member of the Hilo branch of the Hui Aloha 'Aina. Mr. West and his fellow members gathered from their forests:

...na kihene pua lehua, na 'oowili lei hala o 'Upeloa, a me ka maile kupaoa o Pana'ewa.
...woven leaf bundles of lehua blossoms, coils of hala wreaths from 'Upeloa, and the strongly fragrant maile of Pana'ewa.

These Mr. West presented at the casket of the princess in Honolulu with a chant announcing that he had been sent on board the Kina'u (interisland ship) to represent the people in his home district. The poetry of his chant is not recorded, but the poetry of the flowers remains for us to see how he used the concept of word power. The Hawaiian word hala (pandanus) also means to pass, a Hawaiian reference to death or closure, and the presentation of this lei is consistent with the Hawaiian custom of urging a corpse to depart and join other departed family members. 12/ The fact that the hala came from a place called 'Upeloa is significant, not because it is the location of a famous grove of hala trees, but because the name contains the sound 'upe (tears of grief welling up even into the nasal passages), which expresses the deep emotion of the people of Hilo regarding the beloved princess' death. The connection with Hilo is specifically detailed by the maile vine from the Pana'ewa forest outside Hilo, which is reknowned throughout the islands for its particularly strong, sweet scent. The fragrance of the maile is especially apropos because the presence of spirits and departed souls is often associated with fragrances.

Literally, lehua blossoms are emblematic of the island of Hawai'i, where Hilo is located, expressinq pride and concern of the island. Figuratively, lehua refers to youth, beauty, and warrior. Ka'iulani was only in her late twenties when she died, an international beauty who use her European education to further restoration of Queen Lili'uokalani's throne through connections in London, New York, and Washington. In the eyes of the people of Hilo she was like a fallen lehua, beautiful, young or warrior, who had ventured out amongst the enemy on behalf of her people.

The selection also uses a place name in Hawaiian poetic thinking. Hawaiian place names are probably one of the first truly Hawaiian things that strikes a visitor to Hawai'i. The abundance of Hawaiian place names is only a hint of their actual number, for there are literally many places where individual boulders are named. Place names are used as displays of wit to express a great deal in a few words, and they are extremely common in Hawaiian poetry and traditional sayings. Perhaps the reason that place names have such evocative power in the Hawaiian language is the emphasis on homeland or aloha 'aina (love of land, patriotism, pride of place) in the culture. There are several words used to describe a person descended from generations of a family living in an individual location (kupa, kama'aina, papa, 'oiwi) while English has only "native," which, rather than expressing pride, can carry negative connotations. To traditional Hawaiians, place names are considered kupa (natives) themselves. Place names are like esteemed grandparents linking people to their home, personal past, and their history.

Hawaiian personal names share many features with place names in Hawaiian culture and language since personal names require a specific and distinct

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