Ola i ka Hā

Composed by: Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett

Ola i ka Hā

Ola i ka hā

Ola i ka wai

Ola i ka ʻī

Hāwaiʻī, Hāwaiʻī, Hāwaiʻī

Wākea ka lani

Papa ka hōnua

No ka lunā, ko lunā

No ka lalo, ko lalo

O ka pono no ia e

E ola kākou a mau loa e

There is life in the breath ( – Hāloa/kalo)

There is life in the waters (Kāneikawaiola – god of creation)

There is life in the supreme (Kumulipo chant of Kalaninuiʻīamamao)

Hā – wai – ʻī (reflecting the genealogies of creation of Hawaiʻi, God, the environment and humankind)

Wākea of the heavens

Papa of the earth

For up belonging up

For down belonging down

It is the “Natural Order”

May we live forever


Ola i ka hā
The  first line is a reflection of the legend of the origin of the kalo, the child of Wākea and Hoʻohōkūkalani who soon after birth expired.  This child was buried near their home and from his body grew forth the kalo plant. A second son was born to Wākea and Hoʻohōkūkalani and he became the father of the human race. Like his elder brother, he was also named Hāloa with the epithet nakalaukapalili added to his name. The first birth of t he first Hāloa established the tradition of the senior line in the Hawaiian tradition, and the birth of the second Hāloa established the tradition of the junior line subservient to the senior line, humankind as custodians to the gods who manifest in nature /environm·ent. The word used in the first line is a reflection of the names Hāloa and Hāloanakalaukapalili.

Ola i ka wai
The· second line is a reflection of the god, Kāne, the god creation. Kāne has many forms, which include the water, the sunlight, and the rainbow. Kāne is the giver of life and not the taker of life, therefore no human sacrifices were offered to him. He is at the zenith in the pantheon of gods  and the other gods are said  to be lesser manifestations of him. Kāne worship incorporated shrines with sacred upright stones where prayers and offerings were left.

In order for the kalo to grow tall and strong it needs both water and sunlight, both manifestations as mentioned earlier of the god, Kāne. An ancient proverb states, “Pūʻaliʻali kalo I ka wai ʻole,” without water the kalo grows misshapen or crooked. Kāne in the form of water not only provides sustenance for good healthy growth of the kalo but also provides sustenance – the same for mankind.

The work “wai,” in the second line, is a reflection to the god, Kāneikawaiola – the god of the living or healing waters.

Ola i kaʻī
The third line is a reflection of the Kumulipo chant that was used as a prayer for the dedication of the chief Lonoikamakahiki to the gods soon after his birth. It is at that time that the honors of Kapu, Wela, Hoano and Moe were conferred to him by his father, Keawekekahialiʻiokamoku, King of Hawaiʻi. After the ceremony his name was changed to Ka-ʻĪ-ʻi-mamao. The third line also reflects the name of ʻĪo, the tradition of one supreme deity connected to the workship of the ʻio (hawk) and the pueo (owl).

Hāwaiʻī, Hāwaiʻī, Hāwaiʻī
The fourth line connects the three components, the , the wai and the ʻī in the name Hāwaiʻī, the breath or the air that we breathe, the water that we drink and god/goddess most superior. Air and water sustains the life created through the god. As explained to me by Aunty Emma deFries in our study of the supreme one god Īo, the island names that end with (ʻi) such as Hāwaiʻi, Mauʻi, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi and Kauaʻi became so in our ancient past due to the ruling chiefs who collectively worshipped the supreme god, ʻIo. In my study with Aunty Emma, ʻIo was referred to as ʻĪ-o-na-lani-nui-a-mamao (the Supreme most god of the great heavens and beyond.) Aunty Emma asked me to always keep this tradition close to me.

Wākea ka lani
Papa ka hōnua
No ka luna ko luna
No kalalo ko lalo
ʻO ka pono no ia e

The fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth lines reflect the “natural order” of our gods, environment and people. To everything there is a natural or proper order. There is a beginning and an end, a top and a bottom, a male god and a female counterpart. There is harmony, balance and unity. The gods are at the top of the triad followed by the environment and then humankind. The same order is reflected in the social structure as established in the kapu system, aliʻi, kahuna, makaʻāinaaā and kauwā along with terms and roles within the ʻohana such as kūpuna, mākua, ʻōpio, keiki and kamaiki. From the top to the bottom, all is in its proper place. This is truly our pono. Not as translated as the word, “righteousness,” but the natural order as allotted like mana by the god/goddess.

The tenth line reflects the life, health and healing, which we attribute to our gods. The kalo and the human race were born from Wākea and Hoʻohōkūkalani. The life force is in the manifestations of the god Kāne, the sun, the air and the rainbow. All of this is perpetuated by the pono, the natural order, the balance and the unity.

(Manaʻo from Frank Kawaikapuokalni Hewett)