Kristy Perez-Kaiwi [Ka‘iwakīloumoku]
Kupuna Nawahine Dudoit was born and raised at the old Kalaeloa light house on the island of O‘ahu in the ‘Ewa moku. Her mo‘olelo of days past leave a memorable mark on our hearts so lovingly told in hopes of preserving these stories to share with her mo‘opuna and the world.
This account was taken on Tuesday, June 22, 2010 during the ‘Aha Kūpuna 2010 while on our way to Kāne‘ākī Heiau located in Mākaha valley.
Kupuna Nawahine Dudoit:
When I was little, my grandpa would tell me about the manō in the Nānākuli/Wai‘anae area, he used to free dive. And in the old days, they don’t use flippers on their feet, they just free dive, and hold one rock that takes them down to the bottom. Then when he got down to the bottom, he was under this . . . it was very deep out here, real deep. And sometimes he would drop the rock or leave the rock on his ‘ōpū . . . and he would look up and stay down there as long as he possibly could. And one time, he said . . . he hadn’t turned over yet to face the sun . . . so, he was still with his face down to the sand swimming around, and then he stopped because there was a huge shadow going right over him slowly . . . very huge shadow . . . and he turned and he looked real slow and he said it was the biggest shark he had ever seen in his whole life. The thing covered him and a huge space around where my grandpa was swimming . . . he really wasn’t that afraid . . . he just never saw a shadow that big while he was under the ocean. He didn’t tell that story very often because I think it kinda scared him and he didn’t want to scare us children too much. But that’s part of our ‘ohana too yeah . . . the manō. But my grandpa always told us “Don’t be afraid,” “Don’t be afraid.” Just use your senses . . . pule before you go in the water and don’t turn your back to the ocean . . . especially when picking ‘ōpihi (chuckles). There’s many, many stories about the ocean that my grandpa would tell. And there was . . . I forget what the name was because that was always called Kamokila Campbell’s place. Since I was raised at the lighthouse down the sand from her. We, as children, would walk to her house. And then we just would stay by the pool and go back home. Grandpa and grandma didn’t want us to bother her . . . she was a nice lady. And they used to have puhi out there, they would come out at night. Their puhi was little bit different from ours down where we lived because our papa (reef) was different. When we were small at night and I would go with my grandpa, sometimes I would fall asleep. And when I would get up, then I would see the puhi dancing . . . it looked like they were dancing. The old folks, they would have some drinks and then they would all meet down there at her place . . . she was very, very kind. They would sit down on the sand, and they would laugh because the puhi would come on the papa . . . unless you saw it, you wouldn’t believe it . . . cause I seen it on the Big Island . . . they were like dancing, they looked like snakes . . . they were actually walking on the papa. And they go up and they go down into a little area where there’s a pond and they put their head up and look around and if they see crabs walking they jump up and they go after the crabs! And they eat the . . . I couldn’t believe it but, as a child, the old folks . . . it used to just be a few of them . . . I think the ones that people thought had magic or something (chuckles). They would just laugh . . . I think that was their entertainment . . . the puhi. So there’s puhi over there and I don’t know if they’re still around (the descendents). But there are also, and this is the same descendents of the bumble bees. Now that’s why the little boy was trying to hush the bumble bee away from him this morning at breakfast and I told him “all you need to do is just relax and the bumble bee will go away from you.” ’Cause especially down here, they’re not gonna hurt you, they’re not gonna sting you unless you bother them. The same thing happened when we were children at the light house. Tons of bumblebees . . . they never really bothered us . . . we were sooo very very lucky. Grandpa, sometimes in the morning, he would put his climbers on without shoes, he would climb the coconut tree get a few green coconuts. He would cut the tops off and he’d let us drink the coconut juice. Then we’d give back the coconut and he’d cut it in half with his machete and give each one of us a half and he would carry spoons in his pocket and he would give us the spoons because it was soft meat coconut. And it was a snack!
My grandpa . . . we had . . . we always trusted in grandpa to give us lots of wonderful surprises. He knew everything! But when we saw him with the spoons in the back of his pocket, we knew we were gonna get soft meat coconut and we were gonna drink the juice. It was always so wonderful, you know, we’d chase him around and . . . he was a wonderful grandfather. He lived a long life . . . and my son, knew his stories also. The naming of children was very important in my family and my grandpa told my son’s generation some stories but I finished up the stories as my son began to have babies. And he made me cry one time he said, “Oh mom, she’s about to have a baby (his wife) and this is what we’re going to name the baby” . . . and I didn’t realize that he was listening and his heart was in it . . . that we all was born and raised at Kalaeloa . . . he named his son Ikaikakalaeloa and then the last name was a haole name. But when I heard Ikaikakalaeloa, I kinda choked up and couldn’t speak. Because I didn’t think my son really realized . . . that was wrong of me, you know . . . because he was raised in California and not here. But we’re so proud of all of them that they know because we told them as much as we could to be proud to be Hawaiian, you know what I mean. When you’re not in Hawai‘i and you’re telling your children and nephews and nieces that, we didn’t realize that it really did make a difference. Because all the children have Hawaiian names.
Even my son and his friend, his friend looks all over haole he was hānai long, long time ago by a Hawaiian family in Hau‘ula. They do imu also in this boy’s backyard. They do all kine . . . they’re into hula, their kumu hula, she’s from here, she’s like almost 90. She don’t go in for competition, a lot of kumu there don’t go in for competition. They don’t dislike it so much, it’s just that their teaching is to learn to love hula. It’s good because my son’s into hula, his daughter is into hula. Yeah so it’s not just one phase of being Hawaiian . . . and my mother was very happy that my son did that for him and his girl. Yeah so we’re very, very fortunate. Plus, my ‘ohana is like three generations where my mother had helped found a Hawaiian organization in San Diego of Hawaiian people. Now all the kūpuna are dying. My generation is in the leadership right now, my sister is president and all her kids and my son are in it too. And now they’re bringing all kinds . . . people who have been there for most of their lives, into the organization. Because there are other aunties that made other organizations. There’s a Hawaiian Civic Club . . . they’re all over the place! And the kids that came out of this organization are all over the United States. When they see me and my sister, or they hear about us, they call “Hi Aunty, how are you?” I tell you, it’s unusual because you look at all these people and they look really po‘e haole, but they’re kānaka. And I have to remind everybody, “Look, do not discriminate against this person because you don’t know if that’s your ‘ohana.” It doesn’t matter the color of the eyes or the skin, and they go, “How do you know that?” I say, “Because my grandmother told me that.”