Hawaiians Speak Poetically-Growing Up in Hawaii Series

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The Hawaiian language is poetic: Words are given shades and
layers of meaning by speakers’ contexts; Hawaiian is metaphor
and vowel-laden, euphonious, evocative.

The poetry you read here is the way “Aunty” expressed herself in
a letter to us, she explained returning to Molokai where she was
born after being raised as a hanai (adopted) child on Maui by her
mother’s parents. Her father had died, she had two older siblings
also needing her mother’s care…


“Hanai” (providing foster care), was standard practice in times
in times of need; no child was ever not wanted by some Hawaiian

So when very little, the writer left her home on Molokai to be
raised by her maternal grandparents on Maui who later adopted

In this piece she imagines herself being an eight-year-old child
at the north shore of Molokai during a time long passed.

Aunty lives on Molokai now; this is an “Epiphany” of sorts