Updated on September 01, 2021. Here are Kaʻiu's top five favorites.
*E kala mai, when writing I can be very verbose, so if you want the gist, just read the bold words!*
To me, everything is about pilina (relationships). My relationship with myself, with my ʻohana (family...blood or chosen), with my hoa (companions in all forms: friends, hula brothers and sisters, classmates, workmates, etc.), with the ʻāina (land), with the lāhui (nation), with the kaiāulu (community)...the list goes on. With every pilina forged, with it comes kuleana (responsibility), hōʻihi (respect), maopopopono (correct understanding), aloha (love), etc. With all of this being said, my picks are tied to a pilina with people that I hold near and dear.
"My sweet PĪKAKE lei, auhea ʻoe e kuʻu ipo..."
Pīkake was my mom's absolute punahele (favorite). When she passed, her koa urn was draped with strands upon strands of lei pīkake. My mother was a list person (this is probably where I get my incessant need to always create lists), so the pīkake notepad and listpad are definitely one of my top five picks. (They count as one, because they are sold as a set!)
Straight out transparency, I do not like birds at all. I know they are important to our ecosystem and they hold significance, so I respect them...I just avoid them. If there is a bird in my path, I will take the long way around. HOWEVER, when it comes to Kea's son, he is one bird that I will love forever. I was honored by Kea and Dave to give Rogue his Hawaiian name. I had a list of four or five names, but when he was born I couldn't find the paper that had all of the names written on top of it, and this was the only name that stuck...so when the kūpuna (ancestors) do this, you listen! His name also came at a time when Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death was becoming a major issue, so to have that also be a part of his name was super special. This Kamanuʻailehua collection will always be a top five for me.
"No ka lei aloha, lei PUA KENIKENI"
I am a complete sucker for washi, and the puakenikeni washi (nui) is one of my absolute faves. I tie this flower to ʻohana time on my uncle and aunty's farm in Waimānalo. My aunty folks had a big pua kenikeni tree on the property, and I remember it because it was TALL! My aunty and uncle also had an imu (underground oven) on the farm where we cooked pork butt and turkey tails to give out as gifts on Christmas. This is the time when I also learned to make laulau!
"Ola ka ʻILIMA i ke aloha"
For those of you who don't know, I dance for Pua Aliʻi ʻIlima under the direction of nā kumu hula (teachers of Hawaiian dance), Vicky Holt Takamine and Jeff Takamine. I ʻūniki (graduated under the sacred rights and rituals) as an ʻōlapa (finished dancer) and hoʻopaʻa (drummer and chanter) in 2017 with Papa ʻIlima at Papahana Kuaola in Waipao. ʻIlima is very special flower to me. It is definitely not well known, but for those of us who know, this flower holds a lot of mana. Therefore anything ʻILIMA is going to be a top five for me.
"Hoʻohōkūkalani ka wahine, Hāloa ke KALO, Hāloa ke kanaka..."
The above quote is take from the chant entitled "Kamaliʻi o ka Pō". This line speaks about Hoʻohōkūkalani, the mother of Hāloanakalaukapalili (out of who sprouted the first kalo [taro]), and Hāloa the first man and the younger brother of the kalo. The collection that this reminds me of is the @MaddahEarth kalo set, and specifically the sticker that says, "You da future kupuna, ack like it". It makes me reflect whose shoulders I stand on, and on what I am doing to ensure that future generations have a strong kahua (foundation) to stand on. Everything we do now is for seven generations after us, so how am I leaving this place for that generation to inherit? It also makes me reflect on how we protect this place we are privileged to call home, and my direct connect to Wākea (Sky Father) and Papa (Earth Mother), and of course to all of our elder sibling, Hāloanakalaukapalili.