1. n. Spring (of water). Cf. pūnāwai. Puna-hou (place), new spring. Wai puna, spring water. (PPN puna.) 2. n. Coral, lime, plaster, mortar, whitewash, calcium; coral container, as for dye, coral rubber. E lawe ʻo ia i ka puna hou e hamo i ka hale (Oihk. 14.42), and he shall take new plaster and plaster the house. (PPN punga.) 3. n. Section between joints or nodes, as of bamboo or sugar cane. 4. n. Cuttlebone, as of octopus. 5. Short for kupuna as a term of address. 6. Short for punalua. hoʻo.puna Same as hoʻopunalua. 7. vi. To paddle with the hands, as to start a surfboard on its way to catch a wave. Rare. 8. n. Spoon (preceded by ke). Eng. Ke iho ihola ke puna, the spoon is let down [the lower lip, of a pouter].

Now here is a useful word.  Let’s go through some of the meanings:

Spring (as water).  From this we get place names such as Punahou, the name of the private  school in Honolulu, but many don’t know that the school’s name is really named after the area in which it is located. It is here that the god Kāne thrust his staff into the ground to get water. According to another story, an old couple lived by a hala (pandanus) tree and each dreamed of a spring; when the man offered red fish and pulled up the hala (pandanus) tree, water oozed out. The seal of Punahou School depicts a hala tree, pool, and lūʻau (taro leaves).

Coral, plaster, etc.  In fact, this is the word you can use for a cast, like when you break your arm.

We don’t have sugarcane here like we used to, but it is nice to know those nodes/joints are puna!  Loaʻa nā puna ma ke kō a me ka ʻohe – There are nodes on sugarcane () and bamboo (ʻohe).

My moʻopuna (grandchildren) refer to me as Puna.  Nice to know that it is actually recognized in the Hawaiian  dictionary!  Another choice for all you kupuna out there!

Punalua – Now here is a term we don’t get to use nowadays.  This is the term for the relationship between two people (or possibly more) who share the same spouse.  In pre-missionary times, Hawaiians, aliʻi in particular, practiced polygamy.  And generally, the relationship between two people who shared the same spouse was one of genuine love and caring.  In fact, to be jealous of your punalua was frowned upon.  And a lot of times, your punalua might also be your sibling (kuaʻana or kaina).

Surfers out there might like to know that puna is the term used when they are paddling to catch a wave!  E puna! PADDLE!

Puna, for spoon, may be the translation we use most often when we say puna.  For those more familiar with Hawaiian, this is an exception to the ka/ke rule.  A ke will precede puna for spoon (ke puna) but ka will precede puna for spring (as well as the other meanings – ka puna).

Here are some ʻōlelo noʻeau using the word puna:

Punaluʻu (spring dived for), i ke kai kau haʻa a ka malihini

Punaluʻu, where the sea dances for the visitors.

Hoʻi ka wai a ka puna noho mai

The water returns to the spring and there remains (said of one who withdraws).

ʻIno ka moana ke ahu mōkākī nei ka puna i uka

The sea is rough, for the corals are stewn on the beach  (here are all the indications that there is trouble yonder).

Copyright: 2017 – 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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