ʻOnipaʻa

vs. Fixed, immovable, motionless, steadfast, established, firm, resolute, determined (this was the motto of Ka-mehameha V and of Liliʻu-o-ka-lani. Lit., fixed movement.

I was privileged to attend the “Commemorative Celebration of Queen Liliʻuokalani’s 179th Birthday” at Mauna ʻAla (Royal Mausoleum) on the Queen’s birthday, September 2nd. And because ʻonipaʻa was the queen’s motto, it was foremost on everyone’s mind.

ʻOnipaʻa is such an interesting word because it seems to be two opposite words – ʻoni means to move (albeit small movements); paʻa means to be fixed, stuck, secure, firm.

Why do you think Kamehameha V (Lot) and Liliʻuokalani chose ʻonipaʻa as their motto? As their word to live by? They ruled during trying times. Foreigners were demanding more and more land, power and interest in government and business affairs. Perhaps Lot and Liliʻuokalani  knew that as time progressed and as foreign influence continued to affect the Hawaiian people, it was important to “move” when necessary and then to be firm in that move. And if you know the history of the illegal overthrow during Liliʻuokalani’s reign, you will know she lived this motto in all ways.

I liken ʻonipaʻa to being sure footed. When I am standing on the sand and a wave is coming, sometimes I must adjust my footing to avoid falling over. I have to ʻoni a paʻa – move in order to be firm. Only a fool would not try to do the same. When debating a point, sometimes you have to listen, perhaps concede or agree to an opposing view in order to fully grasp where you stand. ʻOni to get to a better place and then be paʻa again.

If we all consider this as we move through life, perhaps things would be a bit better. Trump denies climate change. Really? I think he better consider some ʻoni action right now as he figures out how to assist Texas and Florida. And it is far from over. He needs to ʻonipaʻa. Change his tune a bit and then be resolute.

 

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