Kamehameha Schools song contest preview

Kaiponohea Hale
Kaiponohea Hale

Long before the high rises went up, Kakaako was a fishing and farming town, and home to several Ali'i.  Even King Kamehameha I  had a home there.

A lot has changed since then, including it's original name.  But on Friday night that old name will come back to life at the Kamehameha Schools song contest.

The seniors are sounding strong this year.  But at this practice there's something they don't know..

The man who wrote their song, is standing in the back of the auditorium.  It's a song that came to him in a dream.

"When the melody came," says Kaiponohea Hale, "it was an emotional experience for me."

Hale says he woke up one night last October with that tune in his mind, and tears in his eyes.

The words fit perfectly, and 'Kakaako Ku'u 'Aina Aloha' was born.

"Literally, the name Kakaako means dull," says Hale, "it's been kind of misrepresented, misunderstood."

It's about the lands once owned by Princess Pauahi.

"Like Kuloloia, and Kaakaukukui, which is the original name for Kakaako," he says.

"So I internalized myself with all of these documents and archival maps. It blew my mind how this place looked back many years ago."

Back at Kamehameha Schools, with a song like this, practice becomes a history lesson.

Afterwards, the students get the back-story from Hale himself.

"I started humming the melody, and I wrote it on piece of paper," he says recalling the night of his dream.

And he urges them to lift their voices Friday night, to bring this modern neighborhood back to life in the spirit of Pauahi.

"Do Kakaako proud... God bless you" he says to a rousing ovation.

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