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P?p? ?O Ni?ihau - Words by Mary Robins, Music by Johnny Noble

 
P?p? ?o Ni?ihau ?auhea ?oe
Ho?ike a?e ?oe i kou nani
 
He nani hiehie ?oi kelakela
Ka ?i?ini nui ia o ku?u pu?uwai
 
 
Ho mai kou aloha
A pili me a`u
I ko`olua noho
Kahi mehameha
 
 
I luna maua
A`o Ha`upu
`Upu a`e ke aloha
Nou e ka ipo
 
 
Ka moena pawahe
He`e iko ili
I pumehana like a`i
Ho`i kaua
 
 
Kaua naulu
Noho i ka uka
Ho`opulu ana `oe
I ka palai
 
 
E ka wai huna ho`i
Aka pao`o
O ka wai kaulana
Ana kupuna
 
 
E kanalu hai mai
A`o Ohia
Me na ulu hua noho
Ika Hapapa
 
 
Aia ia kuhai
Moana kau aloha
Me ka paepae kapu
A Hi`iaka
 
 
He aku no wau
E o mai oe
Pupu o Ni`ihau
Auhea `oe
 
 
Ha`ina `ia mai
Ana kapuana
Pupu `o Ni`ihau
Auhea `oe
Shells of Ni?ihau, where are you?
Display your beauty
 
 
An elegant beauty
Held supreme
It's the greatest desire
Of my heart
 
 
Your love is drawn here
Cling to me
Just to be alone
In each other's presence
 
 
We two were
In the heights of Haupu
Love surges
Only for you
 
 
The fine woven mats (of Ni`ihau)
Resemble the skin of the squid
Clean and made with much aloha
Come, it is for the two of us
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
When I call
You must answer
Shells of Ni`ihau
Where are you?
 
 
Tell the story
About
The shells of Niihau
Where are you?

 

Source: Copyright Mileka Kanahele - Verse 5-10 from Ea Collection. This old love song may have been taken from a mele by Kauanuaulu Waili`ula. The pupu lei of Niihau is the most prized shell lei of Hawaii. The true Niihau shell is the small Kahelelani named for the benevolent chief of this island. The Kahelelani comes in brown, yellow, white, spreckled, red and pink; red and pink being the rarest and most valuable. The larger shells Momiokai (white), Lenalena (yellow), Onikiniki (spreckled), Laiki (rice shell), Uliuli (blue), Kahakaha (golden striped) are also used for leis. They are strung into lei styles called tutu, kanelii (man's lei), poepoe, poleholeho, hale, pololei (sweetheart or wedding) and pikake.