ʻAuhau

1. nvt. Tax, assessment, levy, charge, tariff, toll, tribute, price; to levy a tax, pay tribute, tax. ʻAuhau kino, ʻauhau poʻo, poll tax. Kū i ka ʻauhau, taxable. ʻAuhau helu waiwai, excise tax. Hale ʻauhau, building where taxes are collected. Kou ʻauhau, your tax (that you pay). Kāu ʻauhau, your tax (that you impose). Luna ʻauhau. tax collector. Nā poʻe hoʻokaʻa ʻauhau, taxpayers. He aha kāu ʻauhau no ka pāpale loulu? What is your price for the loulu hat?

2. n. Femur and humerus bones of the human skeleton.

3. n. Stems of plants whose bark can be stripped, such as wauke and olonā, but not maile. Inā e kua ʻia ka wauke, ā hohole ʻia ka ʻauhau, … if the wauke is cut and the stems stripped,…

There were a lot of people stressing yesterday, trying to finish filing their tax returns. ʻAuhau is the Hawaiian word for tax. Paying taxes is not something that is “new” to Hawaiians. Hawaiians paid taxes back when no one owned land. Aliʻi (rules) were the caretakers of the land, the makaʻainana (commoners) worked the land. Makaʻainana would pay their ʻauhau, in essence, by sharing the bounty of the ʻāina and kai with their aliʻi. Aliʻi, in turn, would use these taxes to feed and care for his ʻohana and retinue, to care of people within his jurisdiction in times of famine. Know that this explanation is a very simplified explanation of a very complex system. During the makahiki season, ʻauhau were left at the kuahu (altars) of each ahupuaʻa, or land division.

ʻAuhau also refers to the femur and humerus. I love that Hawaiians have words for parts of the skeleton. I am confident they were incredible physicians, ahead of the game for their time, using medicinal herbs, performing surgeries, manipulating bones, and using hoʻoponopono as a way to heal. Some akamai, my people.

ʻAuhau are also the stems of plants whose bark can be stripped. This would include olonā (whose fibers were used to make one of the strongest cords in all the land) and wauke (a plant most commonly used to make kapa).

He ʻauhau kōʻele na ka Hawaiʻi – A taxing of small fields by the Hawaiʻi chiefs (after Kamehameha united the islands, even the smallest food patch was taxed).

Ua hala ka lā palena pau no ka ʻauhau pekelala – The deadline for federal taxes has passed.

Copyright: 2016 – 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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