Ka Hōʻailona (The Sign) - Words by Charles K. Maxwell, Sr.
Music by Kenneth Makuakane, Hawaiian Transcription by Malia Craver

Ua kani mai na pu i ke aumoe
Hea ana na uhane, hoʻi mai, hoʻi mai
Me ka ahi lapa ku kou alakaʻi no
Ua hiki mai ʻoukou mai ka lani e

Mai Tahiti mai la ea a Aotearoa
E hoʻomau ana no i ka hiʻolani
A hui hou aʻela na iwi tupuna
I ka ʻaina malu mau o Honokahua

ʻAʻole ʻoukou i ike i ka mahalo ai
I ka lakou mau hana me na iwi e
Ua hea wale aku ike koholā
A pai mai la oia ike kai kuʻono

Ku ana kahi pueo, he hōʻailona no
Ua ʻo ʻili mai la na tupuna nui
Moani nei ke ala i na pua nani
I Honokahua ea, ka wehi o Maui

Ke haliʻa wale ana kakou e na pua
I neia ʻāina malia kuʻu one hānau
Ua ike hoi au ina hōʻailona
E hoʻomaha oukou e na tupuna

At midnight the conches blew as one
Summoning the spirits back
With the flames from the torches as a guide
They came from the heavens above

They came from Tahiti and New Zealand
To continue their eternal rest
And again re-unite with their bones
In this land called Honokahua

They did not know how to thank these men
Who laid their bones to rest
So they called upon the koholā
Who slapped the waters of the bay

In view was an owl, indeed it is a sign
Their presence is here, our great ancestors
Inhaled was their fragrance by the beautiful blossoms
In Honokahua, yes, the adornment of Maui

We will always remember
The place of my birth
Where the sign was given
That our Kupuna is at rest


Rev. Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell, Sr,
Source: Pandanus Club CD "Te Tama" Copyright Pandanus Club - Verse 2, stanza 1: Aotearoa is the ancient name of New Zealand. Verse 2, stanza 4: Honokahua is the site of old Hawaiian burial grounds. Verse 3, stanza 3: koholā is a whale. Verse 4, stanza 3: beautiful blossoms are the people of Hawaiʻi. January, 1990, a contingent of Hawaiians re-buried iwi (remains), disturbed from the Honokahua burial sites. At midnight, the torches were lit in the puka that was to receive the last 400 puolu (containers). They were just about to start their chant, He Mu Oia, when they heard a slapping sound from the ocean. The starlight revealed a large koholā, lying on its side, slapping the water with its petrol fin. Papa Kawika Kaʻalakea said "ah, hōʻailona, the sign". As they returned to the pit, 3 pueo (owls) flew overhead; another hōʻailona. Overlooking the pit, the composer received a vision and was transported back 1000 years into the past. Emotion welled up, tears rolled down and these words were formulated within 5 minutes. Charles Maxwell left the site at 6:00 AM, arrived home and went immediately to his computer to put all of his thoughts down. He went to Kahului and showed Alice Kuloloio his song. He then called Malia Craver and after relating all the details of the re-burial, this song was born and completed March 28, 1990. Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell, Sr. is presently the Chair of the Maui/Lanai Island Burial Council. See: "Honokahua Nani E" for related information