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Reminder that `A`ole pau ka `ike ma ka hālau ho`okahi – Not all knowledge is taught in one school. What I am sharing with you is what I have learned from my experiences and education
What is wisdom? It is knowledge or the accumulation of learning. It is insight or the ability to distinguish inner qualities and relationships. It requires good judgment or the ability to come to a sensible conclusion or to form a considered opinion Therefore, to ʻike honua is to intimately understand and know one’s place To have ʻike is to establish and recognize connections To do this, we must first know our PLACE!
The `āina and kai are the foundation of life and the source of the spiritual relationship Wai is considered most important for life and was considered in every aspect of land use and planning All forms of the natural environment – from the skies to the mountain peaks, to the watered valleys and plains, to the shore line and ocean depths are embodiments of Hawaiian gods and deities. Whether it is a rock, a pool of water, a forest grove, an ocean current a small creature from the ocean, land or air, all are valued as culturally significant
Another important thing to note is that the kanaka maoli studied the land and natural elements and became very familiar with its features and assets. Ancestral knowledge of the land was passed down through place names, chants, and legends. These things included the names of the wind, rain, and features of a particular district. There is a wealth of knowledge that is kept alive and practiced by living generations of kanaka maoli. Here are just a few examples.
Shown here is an `ōlelo no`eau, which is a wise saying or proverb. Traditionally speaking, the kanaka maoli did not believe in land ownership. In other words, they did not own land. Instead, Hawaiians understood that the land belonged to the akua, the gods. The chief or ali'i was responsible for the care of the land and the people. He appointed a series of lesser chiefs to manage the daily activities. The commoners, maka'äinana, were responsible for planting and harvesting, fishing, and gathering of wild foods, birds, feathers and the making of kapa, bark cloth, rope and other tools necessary for daily life and to provide support for their ali'i and their gods.
The concept of private property was unknown to ancient Hawaiians, but they did follow a complex system of land division. All land was controlled ultimately by the highest ali`i or chief who held it in trust for the whole population. Who supervised these lands was designated by the king based on rank and standing. A whole island, or mokupuni, was divided into several moku or districts. Each moku was divided into ahupua`a and the size of the ahupua`a depended on the resources of the area with poorer agricultural regions split into larger ahupua`a to compensate for the relative lack of natural abundance. Each ahupua`a was ruled by an ali`i or local.
Each land division separated the island into smaller and smaller units so that the ali`i could make sure that everything ran smoothly. The ahupua`a is the basic unit of Hawaiian cultural resource management. Shaped by island geography, each ahupua`a was a wedge-shaped area of land running from the uplands to the sea, following the natural boundaries of the watershed. The size of the ahupuaʻa depended on the resources of the area. Areas with poorer agricultural regions were put into larger ahupuaʻa to compensate for the lack of natural abundance. Each ahupua`a contained the resources the human community needed, from fish and salt, to fertile land for farming taro or sweet potato, to koa and other trees growing in upslope areas. The people living within a particular ahupua`a were free to use its resources. Villagers from the coast traded fish for other foods or for wood to build canoes and houses. Everyone worked together to provide for their needs. Each ahupuaʻa was ruled by an aliʻi or local chief and administered by a konohiki, the headman of the land division. Ahupuaʻa were further divided into smaller sections called ʻili.
The natural resources within an ahupua`a were not something that the kanaka maoli took for granted. Reverence for their plant life was crucial, and they observed protocol for all aspects of cultivation to maximize production efforts. Whether it was carefully observing weather patterns or seasons of the year, or planting and harvesting by the different phases of the moon , or honoring ties to the gods; this was all part of the protocol process. Maintaining resources within the ahupua`a was exceptionally hard work. It was also a cooperative effort. Families worked together to plant, fish, and harvest their foods. The ahupua`a itself consisted of three main zones – mauka, kula and makai. The mauka zone was also known as the wao akua or realm of the gods, where people rarely went. These areas were important as they yielded such items as wood for canoes and bird feathers for capes and other items for the ali`i. The nahele or forests of the upland are important as this is where the fresh rain water seeps into the ground, flows into the valleys and streams and keeps the crops alive. The kula zone was the area for growing most food and also for living. The makai area had some plants. Fishing activities such as gathering limu (seaweed) were done in this area. It was also home to the loko i`a (fishponds) in which the kanaka maoli would raise fish.
Celebrated places that have significance to the kamaʻāina Concept of wahi pana traditionally refers to a named place that has a story behind it explaining how the place was named Today includes historically important places such as churches, ranches, etc. Place names often reflect a special aspect of a location, a legend perhaps, or a physical texture lying just below a new growth of vegetation or some other kind of history to the land Thought it would be easier if the islands could be joined together so that people could travel between the islands without having to make such a long journey in their wa`a or canoe So, he solicited kōkua or help from his siblings He told them he needed their help to pull the islands together. However, there was one condition. No matter how hard or how long they pulled, they must never look back to see exactly how much was being accomplished until the islands were firmly joined together and he gave them the signal. They all agreed and the island of Maui being that it is the closest to HI island was selected for the very first attempt. Maui fastened his magic fishhook, Manaiakalani, into the part of Maui that was closest to HI island. At his command, his brothers who were in their wa`a began to paddle And slowly the island began to move behind them. closer to them. No one dared to look behind despite their curiosity They paddled long and steadily until the islands were almost together But one of his brothers couldn’t control himself any longer and he turned to look In an instant – boom – the spell was broken The islands slid back across the sea into its current position There was only one small piece of land left, the part that the hook was embedded into That bit of land is now known as Moku Ola. Moku Ola is said to be a piece of the island Maui. The demigod Māui was so disappointed with this first failure, that he never attempted to unite the islands again Thus Moku Ola serves as a living reminder that focus and discipline are needed to achieve our goals
The environment, as we know, has been used traditionally throughout the Pacific as a model for human relationships, spirituality, seeking wisdom and knowledge, lessons, etc. How nature interacts with nature was used as examples for Hawaiians on how humans should interact with humans and how humans should interact with nature.
Na mea ike honua
NĀ MEA `IKE HONUA:
Wisdom of the World
Nā Mea `Ike Honua:
The wisdom of the world
• Nā – the (plural)
• Mea - thing
– to see, know, understand; knowledge, awareness,
– Sense, as of hearing or sight; sensory, perceptive
– To show, make known, display, tell, exhibit,
• Honua – world, earth; foundation
• Environmental kinship is
the familial relationship
one has with the
environment that he or she
lives in. It is an intimate
relationship that stewards
how one treats their
NĀ MEA `IKE HONUA
• ʻĀ ina – the land and
– “That which feeds us”
• Kai - sea
• Wai – water
WIND & RAIN
• Ka makani: wind
– Kī haelā`ī : a wind in the Hilo Palikū area that is so
strong it shreds ti-leaves
– Kuehulepo: wind of Ka`ū that raises the dust
• Ka ua: rain
– Kī pu`upu`u: chilly rain of Waimea that hurts the
skin (usually accompanied by wind)
– Kanilehua: the rain of Hilo that sings upon the
• He ali`i ka `āina, he kauwā ke kanaka.
The land is a chief, man is its servant.
Land has no need for man; but man needs the
land and works for a livelihood