Puka

  1. Hole; door, entrance, gate, slit, vent, opening, issue.  2.  To pass through, appear, emerge, come out; to rise, as the sun. 3.  To graduate. 4.  To say, utter, speak.  5.  To gain, win, profit; to draw interest; winnings, gain, profit. 6. Trap, snare. 7.  idiom.  Almost.

I bet you didn’t realize there were so many meanings for the word puka Puka , second only to pau for frequently used Hawaiian words in daily life (of course I am not counting aloha and mahalo because everyone worldwide uses these words).  Don’t quote that tidbit as official info. I made it up.

If you look at the majority of the translations they are related (now is the time for you to stop reading here and glance up and review the meanings again).  You need to visualize a hole and things being able to emerge from a hole (I like to visualize a blowhole, and water shooting out of it).  Visualize the sun coming out of a hole.  Visualize a graduate reaching for the stars out of the hole.  Visualize what you verbalize emerging from a hole (i.e., your mouth). Visualize the winnings which will “take you out of the hole.” You just have to keep in mind the visual. Those are all puka words.

There is one way that puka is misused. Sometimes what we think of as a puka is actually a lua, a pit. Take for example what we would refer to as a hole in the ground. In English we call it a hole (like a pothole in the road) but in Hawaiian it is not a perforated thing where you can see light at the other end. It is a lua, or a pit of sorts. Much like a toilet. Now that is a definitely a lua. No light at the end of that tunnel.

Puka mai ka lā ma ka hikina – The sun rises in the east (the first line of a mele kaʻi, the mele done when a hālau hula emerges onto the stage)

He puka ko ka lole wāwae – The pants have a hole.

E puka ana ʻo Alapaki i kēia Poʻaono – Alapaki is going to graduate this Saturday.

Puka maila ʻoe, ua kala kahiko i Lehua – Now that you have come, [what we had] has long departed to Lehua (Said to one who comes too late to share what his friends have had)

Puka ka lā, puka pū me ka hana, i ʻike ʻia ka lālā maloʻo me ka lālā maka – When day arrives, work time arrives too, for it is then that dry branches can be distinguished from green ones.

Hoʻomaikaʻi to all the haumana who are going to puka this weekend!

Copyright: 2015 – Liana Iaea Honda. All rights reserved. All versions of He Momi e Lei ai”, in its entirety, past and present, is the property of L. K. I. Honda. Reproduction and use of any kind other than the sharing of this website is prohibited. Alteration to the original content in any form is prohibited in every and any instance, and use in any other variant is prohibited without written consent of the author. Adress inquiries to: hemomi [at] gmail.com. Definitions and wise sayings are from: Hawaiian Dictionary by Pukui and Elbert, 1986. ʻŌlelo Noʻeau – Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings by Mary Kawena Pukui, 1983.

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