nvt. Guard, watchman, caretaker; to watch, guard, picket; to overlook, as a bluff.
KŪ KIAʻI MAUNA! KŪ!
That was the rally cry heard over and over yesterday on the news and social network sites. And it has been heard in the weeks, and months prior, since efforts to prevent the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) from being built atop Mauna Kea became widespread in our islands (and worldwide at this point).
Kiaʻi is a guardian as a noun, one who watches over a person, place or thing. From the beginning of time, Hawaiians have had kiaʻi, both physical kiaʻi (those who would watch over the aliʻi) and spiritual kiaʻi (guardians of fishponds, whether in the form of sharks, birds or otherwise). We know that our kūpuna who have gone before us are our kiaʻi. They watch over us. They care for us from another realm. Kiaʻi is also a verb, the act of guarding or watching over.
And so we watch over our mauna. Mauna Kea. In whatever way we can, whether in person, in prayer, through donations to support the cause, we kiaʻi. Kū kiaʻi mauna – Standing as guardians for the mountain. And when our mountain is safe then you may as well insert ʻāina (land) and kai (ocean) in its place because the kiaʻi have been activated. We will continue to watch over our kupuna and that which feeds us, just as our kupuna watch over us.