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The purpose of this page is to review the manaʻo, or meaning, behind the names given to Kukuipahu Heiau over time. Knowing and speaking the traditional name of wahi kūpuna are vital in restoring the identity of the site, especially within the minds of the community. Today, we know of two names given to this heiau. In remembering these place names, we can begin to interpret and understand the complexity of this heiau's history and significance to Kohala. 

Manaʻo Behind Current Inoa: Kukuipahu

Today, this wahi kūpuna, or ancestral space, is known as Kukuipahu Heiau. Through the generations, Kukuipahu Heiau has been a place of old, erased from the memories of the collective Kohala community. According to Pukui et al. (1974), Kukuipahu literally means pierced candlenut. However, in the meeting minutes of the December 18, 2009 Legacy Land Conservation Commission, a question was asked about the meaning behind the name Kukuipahu. It was stated that Papa Henry Auwae had mentioned that kukui lamps were once posted at the four corners of the heiau. Although it is not clear if these lamps are the reason behind the name. Additionally, Kukuipahu is also the name of the ahupuaʻa the heiau is located at. 

Reviving Traditional Inoa: Kuʻupapaulau

Through the generations, Kukuipahu Heiau has been a place of old, erased from the memories of the collective Kohala community. From various historical documents and reports, we learn of a more traditional name once given to Kukuipahu Heiau, Kuʻupapaulau. Acknowledging this inoa allows us to revive a piece of the heiau's identity that perhaps had been slowly erased from the memories of the community throughout time.

Below is the words to a mele composed by Aunty Lehua that incorporates the traditional inoa of Kukuipahu Heiau. A play button is included below to listen to the audio recording of Aunty Lehua performing this mele.  

Mele No Kuʻupapaulau

Na Lehua Kaulukukui

Pi`o maila ke ānueanue he `ailona

I ke kihi o ka lā, i kai koholā a Kanaloa

He loa ke ala kupukupu a ka unu lau

Unu a pa`a, pa`a i luna o ka imu

A hānau a hua maila

I ka `aha kāula kākua

Ulu a`e i o e Kānenuiākea

Ākea ka ʻike a nā kūpuna

E hei `ia ai e nā lālani hōkū a ka i`a

I ka malu o Pu`u Mamo, ola loa nā mamo aloha ē!

I lei no `oe e Hi`iakaikapoliopele

A kau maila i ka pua`ane`ane ē!


He mele no Kuupapaulau

Lexicology & Definitions

Below is a lexicology, an analyzation of words, with included definitions for the name Kuʻupapaulau. These definitions were pulled from Wehewehe Wikiwiki. There is little to no information documented on the true meaning behind this name. However, the Hawaiian Dictionary can be used to break down the name into separate words to extract different meanings. There can be multiple interpretations of this inoa. These separate words can then be woven together for personal interpretations. 



(Parker Hawaiian Dictionary) 

1. My; mine; belonging to me; what belongs to me.

(Pukui-Elbert Hawaiian Dictionary)

 2. v. To release, let go, discharge, abandon, free, dismiss, give up, yield, slacken; to pay out, as a line or cable; to settle, as earth; to diminish, as stream water; to finish, as a chant; to adjourn, put down, subside. Figuratively, to be at peace.



(Andrews Hawaiian Dictionary)

1. v. To be deeply engaged in thought; to engage with all the powers of the mind in some research; to have full confidence in. 


Pa and Pau:  

(Andrews Hawaiian Dictionary)


1. to be all; to be entire.



(Pukui-Elbert Hawaiian Dictionary)

1. nvi. Leaf, frond, leaflet, greens; to leaf out.

2. n. Dragnet, seine, so called because formerly made of ti leaves (lau) tied to a rope.​​

3. n. Sheet; surface; blade, as of grass.​

4. numeral, To be much, many; very many, numerous; four hundred.

​​5. n. Pattern, as for quilts; design; print of a cloth.

​6. n. Thatched mountain hut, as used by farmers, canoe-makers, birdcatchers.

7. n. Tip, as of the tongue; top (probably related to wēlau and ʻēlau, tip). 

8. n. Sweet-potato slip or vine. 



Below is a button that links to an online Hawaiian dictionary database, Wehewehe Wikiwiki, run by the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. This website allows words to be quickly looked up in both Hawaiian and English utilizing different authored versions of the Hawaiian Dictionary.  

Link to Wehewehe Wikiwiki

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