The Journeys of Hawaiian Men
‘‘I goin tell you one story.’’ Sam Ka‘ai shifted his weight in his chair,
gripped the top of his hand-carved cane, which lay resting on his chest,
and launched into a mo‘olelo. I had been interviewing Ka‘ai in his garage
for over an hour and a half. He was telling me his thoughts on the ‘‘gal-
vanizing bucket’’ of late-capitalist Hawai‘i (see chapter 5) through mo‘olelo
that were personal, historical, mythical, and political. I strained to hear
him over the clangings and bangings of our bucket—the roar of automobiles
driving by on the busy Pukalani road, where he lived. Ka‘ai recounted the
experience of leading a predawn commemoration march in 1995 that re-
traced the path from Waik¯ ık¯ ı to Nu‘uanu that Kamehameha took in his
epic battle against the forces of Kalanik¯upule, the son of Kahekili who
was ruling on O‘ahu in 1795. Kamehameha’s defeat of the O‘ahu forces at
Nu‘uanu brought the domain of Kahekili under his control and represented
the single most important military victory in his campaign to unite the
islands—that is, the most significant after the slaughter of Ke¯ oua and his
men at Kawaihae. The Battle of Nu‘uanu, like Pu‘ukohol¯a, became a site for
re-membering l¯ahui and masculinity, and its commemoration was led by N¯a
Papa Kanaka o Pu‘ukohol¯a and N¯a Koa. Men in the Hale Mua such as
Martin Martinson and Keoki Ki‘ili (see chapter 5) related their embodied
memories of the cold as tests of endurance, identity, and masculinity. Ka‘ai
had another memory:
As we left Waik¯ ık¯ ı, we passed a bar. . . . One girl came out and said, ‘‘The Ha-
waiians are coming!’’—and the Hawaiians were coming; they were all in malo, it
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