LAHAINA, KA WENUSE O KA PAKIPIKA
New Single In Honor Of Lahaina
All five members of A‘ea‘e have strong Maui connections. We share the pain of the Maui community that lost so many loved ones, neighbors, homes, and personally belongings to the fires of August, 2023. We offer this mele in the hope that the Lahaina of old - a verdant, water-rich land - can be restored with the leadership of its community.
“Lahaina, Ka Wenuse O Ka Pakipika” (“Lahaina, The Venice Of The Pacific”) was written and recorded to honor those who died and those who survived this disaster, and those who have suffered for more than a century due to the exploitation of our natural resources. We believe that environmental change and social justice begin at a local level, and are often born of circumstances such as these, when communities come together to determine their futures.
At one time, Lahaina was a lush, water-filled ‘āina (land) with ma uka to ma kai (uplands to the sea) water flow until commercial interests began to divert its upland waters for water-hungry, introduced cash crops such as pineapple and sugar, and later for hotels and golf courses in the area. These acts changed Lahaina from an oasis to an arid town that set the stage for these fires. Ironically, the state and water moguls of Lahaina blame traditional taro farmers for a non-existent “shortage” of water to fight the fires and are attempting to cut the sources of water that they have fought for decades to reclaim. The fight is not taking place in Lahaina alone, but all over our state and elsewhere in the world.
The first two verses discuss the historical significance of Lahaina as a “piko” (center) of political and mana (spiritual) power during the early 1800s when it was the capital of the Hawaiian kingdom. They invoke the names of Moku‘ula, ka lokowai ‘o Mokuhinia, and the mo‘o diety Kihawahine. The third verse speaks of those who only care about water and the money that can be made from diverting it away from town, and care nothing for those who are hurt by their greed. The fourth verse anticipates Moku‘ula rising again (it still exists, buried under an unused baseball field) and the restoration of Lahaina as a lush, water-filled land for its people. By doing so, we can prevent man-made disasters like this from harming our people again.
All revenues generated from this release will be donated to the Hawai‘i Community Foundation’s “Maui Strong” fund.
me ke aloha a me ke kāko‘o,
Tarvin Makia, Jeff Dayton, Māpuana Makia, Keola Donaghy, and Kenneth Makuakāne
August 31, 2023.