Like One Fish Out of Water

The Niuhi Shark Saga

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou

(how-oh-lee mah-kah-he-key ho)

Hawaiian phrase. In Hawaii people say Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou when they wish someone a Happy New Year. It’s a direct translation from the English: hau‘oli means “happy” or “glad,” hou means “new” or “fresh,” and makahiki is easily translated into “year, age; annual.” Like most English adoptions into Hawaiian it works in a Spanglish sort of way.

But anciently makahiki referred to a season that began around mid-October and lasted four lunar  months. During this time there was feasting, religious observances and ceremonies, games, sports, dancing, a respite from work, and a kapu on war. It was a time of peace and prosperity in honor of the god Lono.

May you and your ‘ohana enjoy the aloha of the makahaki season all year long.

Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou!

Example

English: Happy New Year!

Pidgin: Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou!

Note: ‘Ōlelo is a Hawaiian word meaning language, speech, word, etc.  To see the current list of Hawaiian and Pidgin words, definitions, and usage please click on

Pidgin Dictionary

 

lanai_smalllānai

(LAH-naheye)

(n) Hawaiian for porch, patio.

Example

English: They like to set those kinds of glass balls on their coffee tables, but I’m only going to sell the small ones. The big ones are for us. They’ll ;ook nice on the patio.

Pidgin: They like those popo aniani for put on the coffee table. But I only going sell the small kine. The big kine’s for us. Look nice on the lānai.

Note: ‘Ōlelo is a Hawaiian word meaning language, speech, word, etc.  To see the current list of Hawaiian and Pidgin words, definitions, and usage please click on

Pidgin Dictionary

 

sandboardingkolohe

(koh-LOH-heh)

(v) Hawaiian for mischievous, naughty, a rascal.

Example

English: Mitsy laughed. “Oh, Kahana! How I delight in your rascally nature! You haven’t changed a bit!”

Pidgin: Mitsy laughed. “Oh, Kahana, you still kolohe, ah you!”

Note: ‘Ōlelo is a Hawaiian word meaning language, speech, word, etc.  To see the current list of Hawaiian and Pidgin words, definitions, and usage please click on

Pidgin Dictionary

 

ukulele

kaona

(kah-OH-nah)

(n)The hidden meaning of a song, poem, chant, dance, etc. When you see old folks laughing about innocent songs about fishing or mist, you’re missing the kaona.

Example

English: The hidden metaphors in that song are so powerful!

Pidgin: Kaona, yeah?

Note: ‘Ōlelo is a Hawaiian word meaning language, speech, word, etc.  To see the current list of Hawaiian and Pidgin words, definitions, and usage please click on

Pidgin Dictionary

Before Jay saw the Niuhi Shark in One Boy, No Water he used to think sharks were no big deal. Hard to believe, yeah?

spot_boardI watched Jay make his bed. “Going surfing?”

“Yeah.”

“Early, yeah?”

“That’s when the waves best.”

“Meeting Frankie?”

Jay grabbed a t-shirt off the floor. Through the shirt he mumbled, “Later. He no like surf before dawn, the panty. He comes an hour or two after sunrise. He says his mother makes him do chores, but I know the truth. He’s scared of sharks.”

I thought about what I knew about sharks and decided Frankie had a point. “They come in at night to feed, yeah? In close to shore.” I said.

“So they say.” Jay picked up the sunscreen from under the dresser.

I cocked my head at him. “You not afraid?”

“No.”

“No?”

“No. Terrified,” Jay confessed.

“You ever seen a shark? I mean, out there, surfing?” I asked.

“Couple times.” He paused, sunscreen white on his nose. “Plenny times. I seen them along the reef bottom, cruising out by first breaks at Nalupūkī.”

“Fo’real?” I asked.

“Yeah, fo’real.”

“How big?”

“Small. Baby kine. An occasional bigger one, two to three feet. Once, I seen one about nine feet, longer than me on my board. Mostly black tip reef.” Jay shrugged. “Not too big.”

“Big enough.”

He nodded. “One time when I dove under a wave I seen one out in the distance, a hammerhead. Had to be twelve, maybe fourteen feet.” He shook his head. “That time I got out.”

I watched him take an old beach towel from the back of our door and toss it over his shoulder. “Why?” I asked. “If you know they’re there, why surf at all?”

Jay turned to me, chewing on his bottom lip, choosing his words carefully. “Don’t tell Mom, yeah? But one time, I was hanging out with some seagulls, just floating out past first breaks when I saw a shark go after a bird that was floating right by me. The bugger was so fast! He hit the bird and swallowed it before the bird even knew it was coming. I was sitting on my board not fifteen feet away and the shark went after the bird. He’d rather have a mouthful of feathers than a chunk out of me. That’s when I knew.” His eyes held mine. “I knew then that it didn’t matter if I was surfing in the early dawn or high noon, in shallow water or deep, by myself or with choke guys. If a shark wanted me, it would have me. There’s nothing I can do, except stay out of the water. And I can’t do that.” He looked down. “If no can do nothing, waste time being scared, yeah? And I no like waste time when the waves are pumping. Besides, everybody knows sharks only like white meat. Good thing I’m tan.” He grinned and opened our bedroom door.

“Jay,” I said.

“Yeah?”

“Be careful, yeah?”

“Always, brah, always.”

All excerpts and short stories copyright © 2012 by Lehua Parker. Excerpts from the Niuhi Shark Saga by permission of Jolly Fish Press, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of these excerpts may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. No part of these short stories may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the author.

hula_male_sm2

hana hou

(HAH-nah ho)

(phrase) Hawaiian for again, do it again. It’s often called out when a performance is especially pleasing or powerful.

Example

English: Wow! George, I wish I could see that again!

Pidgin: Hana hou! Hana hou!

Note: ‘Ōlelo is a Hawaiian word meaning language, speech, word, etc.  To see the current list of Hawaiian and Pidgin words, definitions, and usage please click on

Pidgin Dictionary

Book 2 is heading to the copy editor where all the commas get put into the right places!

Until then, here’s a little taste of One Shark, No Swim.

full_9_bigI climbed on the toilet tank and stuck my head out the window. The drop was near the front door to Hari’s store. A little below me and to the left was the hand railing for the upstairs lānai that ran along Uncle Kahana’s living room. I was pretty sure I could make it.

Pretty sure.

I was holding onto the window frame hugging the outside wall with the ball of my right foot resting on the railing when I heard a plop. I looked down. A young haole girl with a sunburned nose was looking up at me. A large yellow and orange shave ice was melting at her feet.

“Mom!” she yelled. “There’s a naked boy covered in lipstick climbing out a window!”

I froze. I couldn’t go back and I couldn’t go forward.

“Jeanie!” a woman’s voice scolded from the store.

“Mom! He’s got weeds wrapped around his ankle and wrist!”

Please, let me die and end this, I prayed. But whatever happens, please don’t let anyone show up with a smart phone or camera. If this gets out I’ll never live it down.

“Go away!” I mouthed at her.

“He wants me to go away!”

“What did I say about telling stories?” the woman said.

“But Mom, this time it’s true!”

I sensed more commotion under me, shadows and light flickering like schools of fish on the reef. I peered down.

“Jeanie! Look what you did! Your snow cone’s all over—” the voice trailed off.

Bleach blond hair and mega-sized sunglasses stared up at me. I closed my eyes.

Next to me the sliding door swept open and a strong brown arm wrapped around my body, lifting me over the railing and onto the lānai. Uncle Kahana leaned down.

“Aloha! So sorry about the shave ice! Tell the girl at the counter Kahana said to give you a new one! On the house, of course! Have a nice day!”

As he pushed me through the open door and into living room I heard the woman say, “Hush, Jeanie, hush! I told you it’s another culture! The whole island is like going to Chinatown in San Francisco. Now do you want a free snow cone or not?”

All excerpts and short stories copyright © 2012 by Lehua Parker. Excerpts from the Niuhi Shark Saga by permission of Jolly Fish Press, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of these excerpts may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. No part of these short stories may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the author.

waikikiBeach Lessons From My Father

  1. As you’re packing the cooler, remember a little too much is the perfect amount. The coldest drinks are going to be at the bottom. The beer goes in first.
  2. Carry meat tenderizer in your beach bag for jelly fish stings. Pat stings with wet sand; don’t rub. Suck it up and get back in the water.
  3. If you’re caught in a rip current, don’t fight it. Relax. Slowly work your way across the current, usually parallel to the shore until you’re free. Once out, if you continue to swim a little farther parallel, there’s a good chance you’ll hit another current that will take you back to shore. Do not tire yourself out by fighting the current or waving your arms or shouting. I’m busy. You can handle this.
  4. Ice cold water from the beach showers isn’t cold. Suck it up and get back in that water. No way you’re coming near the car like that.
  5. mom_dad_meAfter washing all the sand off, if you walk correctly—high, flat, carefully placed steps, no flicking your slippahs or dragging your towel, you can make it to the car sand-free. Otherwise you have to start all over.
  6. At volleyball, old and treacherous beats young and enthusiastic every time.
  7. Spitting into a swim mask keeps it from fogging, but unless you’re a tourist or spear fishing you don’t need a mask. Just open your eyes. It’s good for you.
  8. If you don’t want someone to pee on your foot, watch out for wana when climbing around the tide pools.
  9. When the sun sets, get out of the water. Sharks come in and feed at dawn, dusk, and through the night, especially near harbors and the mouths of rivers. Better you don’t swim there. Everybody knows sharks prefer white meat, and you look way too haole to chance ‘em.
  10. Run to the big wave, not away.
  11. Nobody ever died from rolling up the beach no matter how much ocean and sand they coughed up. Told you to run to the big wave, not away. Now suck it up and get back in the water.

hoopono_cover

 

Pono is a complex Hawaiian word with connotations of righteousness, balance, and propriety. It’s one of the themes I try to develop in the Niuhi Shark Saga as characters make choices that place them in or out of being pono.

Ho‘o means to do or make; so ho‘o pono describes a way of being, of living one’s life in harmony with correct principles. As a student at The Kamehameha Schools, our Hawaiian culture teacher once told us that if there was only one thing we could remember from our time with her, she wanted it to be the concept of ho‘o pono. While I can’t remember all the place names we memorized, which fish were kapu during which seasons, or the number of voyages to Tahiti and back, I do remember her words about ho‘o pono.

So it was with great interest that I picked up Pali Jae Lee’s book Ho‘o pono: The Hawaiian Way to Put Things Back into Balance. Part oral history, part memoir, the book shares some of the family traditions and stories handed down from Ka‘ili‘ohe and Makaweliweli descendants from Molokai.

One of the central stories is really a parable about ho‘o pono. All children are born with an upright bowl of Light that grows with them and allows them to know and understand all things. But when a child is resentful or envious, he drops a stone into his bowl and a little of the Light goes out. If enough stones fill his bowl, the child becomes like stone, unable to move or grow. By turning his bowl over, the stones fall away and Light comes back.

It’s a simple, beautiful, and elegant metaphor for all the baggage we carry—no matter the era. These and other parables help give a voice to the past in ways that resonate with the future.

There was a time in Hawaiian families when nothing sacred or significant was shared with outsiders because only family would understand and respect the deeper truths. Looking at Hollywood’s version of Hawaiian culture, it’s not a big stretch to say what is often portrayed as Hawaiian has been misinterpreted, twisted, or fabricated out of whole cloth. But times are changing, and as more families are coming forward with their histories that challenge common perceptions, a clearer, truer picture of Hawaiian culture is emerging.

May all your bowls be filled with Light.

Ho‘o pono: The Hawaiian Way to Put Things Back into Balance by Pali Jae Lee is published by I.M. Publishing, Ltd. and is available as an eBook, hardcover, and trade paperback from Amazon.

 sunset_trees

haumāna

(how-MAH-nah) Hawaiian word for student.

Example

“Okay, haumāna, sit down. We begin with the first lua ‘ai I ever learned.” ~Uncle Kahana

Note: ‘Ōlelo is a Hawaiian word meaning language, speech, word, etc.  To see the current list of Hawaiian and Pidgin words, definitions, and usage please click on

Pidgin Dictionary

 

Click here to go to
the Niuhi Shark Website.
One Boy, No Water
Zader's living like a fish out of water.
One Shark, No Swim
Because even out of the water Zader's not safe.
Birth
Uncle Kahana and Ilima find Zader abandoned on the reef at Piko Point as a baby.