La ʻelima o Pepeluali (pēpē lua lī)
Waimaka helele (heʻe nei) i ke alanui
Paiki puʻolo paʻa i ka lima
(Maika pu olo aʻa ika lima)
Waimaka helele ʻi i ke alanui!
(Ae maka hele heʻe nui ike alanui
Penei pepe ʻalala nei
(He nei pepe alaʻa nei)
He huʻi maʻeʻele kou nui kino
(Eʻu ima e hele kou lui kino)
Haʻina ʻia mai ana ka puana
He mele he inoa no Miloliʻi
(E mele he noe no Milolʻ`i)
The fifth day of February
Tears fell along the roadway
(Tears scattered in the street)
Bags and bundles held tightly
Tears fell along the roadway
The babies cry
(You there Baby Crying here)
Numbing to the body
(Your whole body will ache with chills)
Tell the refrain
(The refrain is told)
A name song for Miloliʻi
(A song, a name song for Miloliʻi)
“John D. Paris came to Hawaii in 1841 as a missionary. He was not originally supposed to come to Hawai‘i. He was on his way to the Oregon territory.”
“But the boat they were on brought some of the missionaries who were to join the mission here in Hawai‘i. They were going to drop them off, then proceed on to Oregon.”
“But they’d had an uprising in the Oregon territory, and the mission there was massacred and all the people were killed. So, with the unrest in the territory at that time, they prevailed upon him to stay in Hawaii, which he did.”
“And he was assigned to Ka‘u. He established the church – the Congregational church – there in Ka’u, and he stayed there until 1849.”
“At this time, his first wife had died, and he had two daughters. So, he felt, for the well-being of the daughters, he should go back to the United States. And he did.”
“However, while he was back there, he met a person that he had known, another woman, a Mary Carpenter. He was married to her. And then, they started back to Hawaii in 1851.”
“When he arrived here in the mission, they said the field in South Kona had deteriorated and they had nobody really there. So, they prevailed upon him to take the assignment in South Kona, which he did.”
“He was very active here. He built nine churches throughout Kona, mostly in South Kona, the first of which is the old church Kahikolu above Napo‘opo‘o”. (Billy Paris)
Another Paris church was at Miloli‘i.
“At Miloli‘i. We have some good people & some of whom we stand in doubt. A few living epistles known & read of all men — some whose light shines more dimly & through many clouds & others whose light is darkness…” (Paris, 1855; Maly) Paris built the Hau‘oli Kamana‘o Church.
The Miloli‘i community lies in the shadow of its most dominant geologic feature, the vast southwest slope of the 13,000-foot Mauna Loa volcano. Eruptive lava flows from Mauna Loa have continually influenced the area.
Since 1832, the volcano has erupted forty times. Eight flows have traversed the slopes into North and South Kona, and four reached the ocean (1859, 1919, 1926, and 1950). (PaaPonoMilolii)
Hawai‘i also has a long history of damaging tsunami. The earliest record of a tsunami is April 12, 1819, when a wave from Chile reached a height of 2-meters somewhere along the west coast of the Island of Hawai‘i. Since then, 112 tsunamis have been observed in Hawaii; 16 of these have resulted in significant damage. (World Data Center A; NAS)
On March 27, 1868, whaling ships at Kawaihae on the west coast of Hawaiʻi observed dense clouds of smoke rising from Mauna Loa’s crater, Mokuʻāweoweo, to a height of several miles and reflecting the bright light from the lava pit.
Slight shocks were felt at Kona on the west coast and Kaʻū on the flanks of the volcano. n the 28th, lava broke out on the southwest flank and created a 15-mile flow to the sea. Over 300 strong shocks were felt at Kaʻū and 50 to 60 were felt at Kona.
“Thursday, April 2d (1868,) at a few minutes past four, pm, the big earthquake occurred, which caused the ground around Kilauea to rock like a ship at sea.”
“At that moment, there commenced fearful detonations in the crater, large quantities of lava were thrown up to a great height; portions of the wall tumbled in. This extraordinary commotion, accompanied with unearthly noise and ceaseless swaying of the ground continued from that day till Sunday night, April 5th”. (Hawaiian Gazette, May 6, 1868)
A magnitude of 7 ¾ was estimated for this earthquake (by Augustine Furumoto in his February 1966 article on the Seismicity of Hawaii in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America) based on the extent of intensity reports. (Instrumental recordings, the usual basis for computing magnitudes, were not available at this early date.)
A tsunami struck the coast from Hilo to South Cape, being most destructive at Keauhou, Puna and Honuʻapo; a 10-foot-high wave carried wreckage inland 800-feet. Not a house survived at Honuʻapo. A stone church and other buildings were destroyed at Punaluʻu. Maximum wave heights were 65 feet, the highest observed on Hawaiʻi to date.
The Hauʻoli Kamana’o Church was pushed about 300 yards inland by the rushing sea, with little or no damage. The original location of the church is now underwater.
Written and oral history about and from Miloliʻi confirm there was no loss of life, missing children were led to safety in caves and rescued 5 days later. (Huapala)
Villagers later moved the church to its present-day site using palm trunks to roll it into place. Although other areas were destroyed, somehow Milolii was spared the misery experienced elsewhere.
The kupuna from other South Kona communities joined the village in thanksgiving, which lasted several days. The story of that day has become immortalized in the mele Lā ʻElima, sung by Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole and others but composed by Miloliiʻs Elizabeth Kuahuia (suggesting the day was February 5.) (PaaPonoMilolii)
La ʻElima sung by Diane Aki, music by Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole:
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