UNKNOWN ARE THE MEANINGS OF THE NAMES “KILAUEA” AND “HALEMA’UMA’U” AND WHO NAMED THEM.
O Mr Editor of the Kuokoa Newspaper; Aloha a nui:—Please be kind once more, and if there is a space, let me have it. Because I keep getting asked, that being the heading above. I show the answer and the explanation I got from some very old people.
Perhaps what I have and what others have are different, and so the explanation can be seen by the public, it is only by way of the newspaper that it can be seen. The writer has not seen the pit of Pele. He has gone to Hilo and returned to Napoopoo. This is the story I have.
Ailaau is the first keeper of the volcano; and to Pele belongs this name Ailaau; and there are many of these people; one brother and many women. But the women were not wanted by Pele to become keepers of the lava or prophets of the lava; for the women were called “Opuukuuku” [“small disposition”]. It was a small number.
Therefore, their brother climbed up and the male side was called “Ahilapalapa;” and I hear that there are two Kilauea. Kilauea Iki and Kilauea Nui. Kilauea Iki is supposedly on the eastern side. And on the norther side is the pali that stands straight, the sacred pali of Kamohoalii and Kahoalii.
It is here that is Kilauea Nui. This is the mele of Hiiaka pertaining to the pit of Pele.
A ka luna i Puuonioni,
Noho ana ke anaina a ka wahine,
Kilohi a kuu maka ialalo o Wahinekapu,
He kaulu o Wahinekapu,
He oioina o Kilauea,
He noho ana o Papalauahi,
Ke lauahi mai la o Pele ia Puna,
Ua one-a kai o Malama-e,
E malama i ke kanaka,
O kipa hewa ke aloha i ka ilio,
He ilio hoi ia he kanaka hoi au-e.
Memorize the mele and learn the chant in order to see the lava. Lava is seen when it is burning; when it is not burning, it is only those who know the chants who can make the lava burn; here I will explain clearly to those who ask me about what I learned, and the caretakers and prophets of the lava; and I wrote down in my book.
The puu onioni spoken about is a fixed hill, it is a hill that is chanted about by those knowledgeable in oli. This hill rises until the edge of the pit. At the top of this hill lives the alii woman of the pit.
What is “Kilauea?” It is a oioina, a place of rest for the multitudes, the kamaaina and the alii who travel to look down into the pit.
What is “Halema’uma’u?” It is a circular area below where the fires of Pele burn.
Who named them? Pele and her younger sisters. How do we know that it was Pele folk? From what the keepers of Pele and the prophets of Pele say, the multitudes of makaainana, and the alii. There are no prophets of Pele in this age.
It wasn’t a kanaka maoli who named them, as stated in a letter I received.
With the typesetting boys go my aloha, and my salutations to the Editor.
Z. P. K. KAWAIKAUMAIIKAMAKAOKAOPUA,
Boy of the ivory pen nib.
Napoopoo, South Kona.
(Kuokoa, 11/1/1923, p. 4)