pali – cliff, precipice, steep hill or slope
hāuliuli – Blackish, swarthy, dark.
Most of the pali, or cliffs, that we see in our islands are on the windward (koʻolau) sides of the islands. A quick lesson in geology will tell you why. So it goes to reason that with the amount of rain the windward sides receive, the pali would be dark and lush with growth. Thus the word hāuliuli, a reduplication of the word hāuli, meaning dark, as in color. If you know your Hawaiian colors you might know blue as polū (a transliterated word) but another word that is used is uliuli. Uliuli is the Hawaiian word for any dark color, including the dark blue of the sea, green of green vegetation, and dark of black clouds.
In our ʻōlelo noʻeau shown below the pali hāuliuli in reference are those of the Koʻolau mountains and I totally agree! I grew up on the leeward side of Oʻahu, in Waiʻanae. After a big rain and those mountains turned green it was a spectacular sight because it didn’t happen very often. We are so used to the brown dry and oftentimes burnt mountainside, a product of its location. No wonder I call venturing into the windward side (somehow that tunnel thing freaked me out and then when I emerged from it it seemed like I was in another world never knowing how to find my way around) going to the “dark side.” Perhaps it is more in reference to the cliffs dark and lush with greenery than being “lost” away from home. But those pali Koʻolau, the pali hāuliuli are always so uliuli 365 days a year.
Nā pali hāuliuli o ke Koʻolau – the dark pali of Koʻolau
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.