He [or she] first cleared the path and then we younger ones followed.
Said with affection and respect for the oldest sibling (hiapo).
This is an ʻōlelo noʻeau focusing on the respect that should be paid to the eldest child because they are the ones that pave the way for younger siblings. Hiapo (eldest of children) hold a certain status within a family. As keiki grow and responsibilities increase it is up to the older children to care for the younger children. Parents way back when were busy planting, fishing, making kapa and everything else that was necessary to lead a subsistent and self sufficient life.
And most certainly today we find the eldest child caring for the younger siblings, even staying home from school at times when parents cannot care for younger children who may be ill. It is a tough situation when parent(s) have to work and the young keiki get sick and those of us with more than one child know that when one child gets sick it becomes a domino effect. One after another so illness in the house can last for a couple weeks. Hard to call in sick that many days.
I paʻa iā ia ʻaʻole ʻoe e puka – If it had ended with him [or her[ you would not be here (said to a younger sibling to encourage more respect for an elder).