I have spent the past few days retelling a moʻolelo that a POL staff shared with me about the term ʻonipaʻa.  Like her, I have always thought that word was used to invoke defiance.  But that's not necessarily so. 

limu HonAdv

Pele carried with her from Tahiti to Hawaiʻi certain rock kupua. One, Hanalei, who settled in the Puna District of Hawaiʻi Island, fell in love with another, Lekia, and with Pele's blessing, they went to live on a hill at Kapoho. [1]

One day the sorceror Kalaikini came by to pick a fight with Lekia.  It was tempestuous and Kalaikini was nearly victorious.  Weak from struggling with his adversary, Lekia heard his beloved Hanalei call across to him, "E ʻoni, e ʻoni, e ʻoni a paʻa!"

Inspired by her love and encouragement, he gave it his all.  He twisted, and shook, and moved, until he held fast against Kalaikini's assaults.

Kalaikini moved on.  Pohaku-o-Lekia and Pohaku-o-Hanalei rest firmly today on the puʻu above Kapoho.

ʻOnipaʻa literally means fixed movement.

I think of limu. As the ocean moves around, the limu is paʻa on the coral, but still moving fluidly with the swells of the sea.

This is critical for our lāhui now.  Remain steadfast, but be flexible.  Despite all the distractions pushing us, we must keep the health and well being of Native Hawaiians critically important for all of us!

E Ola Mau,


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