About Na Kaleikaumaka Outrigger Camps
THE HANA HOU SERIES
The Last Hawaiian Mariner
(condensed version)
by Kawika Sands 1999


The Contest for Ho`oipo

Chapter 8
Once everyone was brought to order, Puna hesitated, then graciously replied "Noble stranger, if your rank is level with the conditions of the contest and the chiefs, now ready for their departure have no objections, my consent will not be withheld." At that, a hurried consultation between the chiefs began "...But he has no knowledge of these waters!" "Or the coast!" several stated. "Or a crew." "Or a CANOE!" said the others. "He does not seem to be a competitor to be feared!" they agreed. With a consensus reached, the contesting chiefs announced Mo`ikeha should establish his rank. If Mo`ikeha could do so, he might then be allowed to enter the race.

Mo`ikeha graciously bowed his thanks, and began to recite his genealogy. Curious beyond words to learn the strain of this courtly stranger, the chiefs pressed around him, eagerly listening to every word he spoke while all others listened in silence. With a loud, clear voice, Mo`ikeha began at the beginning when his ancestors were residents of other lands referred to in Hawaiian lore.

"Wakea, the husband, Papa-Nui, the wife . . . Manouluae, the husband, Hoohokuikalani, the wife . . ." Giving the record of twelve generations, he brought the connection of royals down through the days of Nanamaoa, the pioneer of the first major migration to the Hawaiian group about seven hundred years before. ". . . Ki`i, the husband, Hinakoula, the wife . . . Nanaulu, the husband, Ulukou, the wife . . ."

Naming father, mother and heir through another fifteen generations, Mo`ikeha went on ". . . Kekupahaikala, the husband, Maihikea, the wife . . . Maweke, the . . ." "MAWEKE!" A gasp and murmur ensued throughout the crowd of spectators while the chiefs exchanged glances of shock and surprise causing Mo`ikeha to pause with a smile before going on. "Maweke!, father of the king of O`ahu!" the whispered echoes of the crowed continued. Mo`ikeha concluded "Maweke, the husband . . . Naiolaukea, the wife . . . Mulielealii, the husband, Wehelani, the wife . . . Mo`ikeha, the husband, Ho`oipo, THE WIFE!"

Loud spontaneous laughter, then cheers immediately followed upon the jesting, good-natured manner in which Mo`ikeha concluded his genealogy announcing he was the son of Mulielealii, the king of O`ahu, while predicting his success in the contest and subsequent marriage to Ho`oipo. Ho`oipo was now sure she could make a choice without the trouble and excitement of the race, but, all was ready. All she could do now was hope and pray Mo`ikeha would be the first to reach the palaoa.

"But what of your preparations?" Puna asked. Mo`ikeha calmly pointed to a small, but sleek, outrigger canoe on the beach with a single long-haired man of strange aspect standing beside the canoe with a paddle in hand. Puna shook his head doubtingly at the seemingly slim preparations while Ho`oipo looked sad and disappointed. Several people about Puna's court noted the slim preparations and wondered if Mo`ikeha was perhaps treating the contest as a joke. But, Mo`ikeha announced himself ready. Puna raised a brow over a doubting expression and motioned the contestants to take their places.

A tense quiet blanketed the crowed on the beach as the chiefs dug their toes into the sand and prepared to run. The crews stood by their canoes ready to push off the instant their chief leaped aboard. Breaths were held, muscles tensed. Puna's command was given and the contestants sprang toward the water while wild excitement gripped the spectators who released a deafening cheer. In a few minutes the chiefs had launched their canoes, passed through the heavy surf, and began the pull toward open sea.

Mo`ikeha alone seemed to be in no haste. He graciously took leave of Puna. Noting Ho`oipo's stern look of impatience with fists and teeth clenched as he turned toward the beach, Mo`ikeha smiled at her saying "I will bring back the palaoa!" This late assurance contented her little, but she believed him and was happy.

Mo`ikeha and his assistant launched their canoe into the water and, with a few vigorous paddle strokes, dashed through the surf. The passage was so adroitly made that it attracted the attention of many on shore. For a few minutes the canoe seemed motionless as it was tossed about in the waves offshore. Satisfying himself all was ready, the sail was spread and the canoe suddenly sped out to sea as if driven by a hurricane. The little canoe skipped across the surface of the water as it's hull slapped the wavelets along the way. The movement was unaccountable to those on shore with what little wind there was to round the southern capes.

Legend has it, that Mo`ikeha's long-haired companion was none other than the now deified La`amaomao, god of the winds, who accompanied him from Ra`iatea and from who's calabash all the winds of Hawai`i, came forth. Behind the sail sat the friendly deity with his ipu of imprisoned winds carrying the canoe to Ka`ula.

Part 17<< -|- Index -|- >> Part 19

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