Ho`i Ke Aloha I Ni`ihau - Chant


E ho`i ke aloha i Ni`ihau
Ka wai huna o ka pao`o
Ka `ulu hua i ka hâpapa
Ke ko `eli a`o Hâlâli`i
Aia o Nihoa mahope e
He moke hâpapa i ke kai
Ka lâ welawela i ke kula
Huli aku ke alo i Kaua`i
Ha`ina `ia mai ka puana
No Kapi`olani no he inoa
My love returns to Ni`ihau
To the hidden waters of the pao`o fish
To the breadfruit that blossoms on the flats
The sugar cane of Hâlâli'i dug out by hand
Nihoa lies beyond (Ni`ihau)
With its many reefs in the sea
The sun beats down on the plains
Where it turns to face Kaua`i
Tell the refrain of our praise
A namesong for Kapi`olani

Queen Kapi`olani, Circa 1852


Source: Queen Kapi`olani by Maili Yardley & Miriam Rogers, Text from Mader Collection - Julia Kapi`olani Napela Kapu O Kaka`e (1834-1899) was born Dec. 31, 1834, in Hilo. Her mother was High Chiefess Kinoiki and her father, High Chief Kuhio. Her maternal grandfather was Kaumualii, the last king of Kauai, and her younger sisters were Po`omaikelani and Kinoiki Kekaulike, the mother of David Kawananakoa, Edward Abnel Keli`ihonui and Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole. Kapiolani was well-educated, wrote and spoke both Hawaiian and English but in later years, refused to speak English. At age 18, she married Chief Bennet Namakeha, 35 years her senior. In poor health, Namakeha died Dec. 1859, leaving Kapi`olani a widow, at age 26. She married High Chief David Kalâkaua, Dec. 1863 who was elected King in 1874. A benevolent queen, Kapi`olani visited the different islands and mingled with her people. This chant honors her visit to Ni`ihau. Pao`o is the o`opu or rock skipper fish. Hâlâli`i was a variety of sugar cane that grew in the sand dunes of Hâlâli`i, Ni`ihau. It may have been named for this place or a fun loving chief of Ni`ihau. This cane was used in religious ceremonies for the remission of sin.