hukilau song
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[hoo kee lau']


photo courtesy of bishop museum archives.


this is an old hawaiian way of fishing, involving casting a long net from the shore, then enlisting a large group to help to pull the net to shore. the net is lined with ki (ti) leaves which help scare fish toward the middle of the net.

huki = pull  lau = leaves, specifically, ki (ti) leaves.

"the mormon chapel in l�`ie was destroyed by fire in 1940. viola kehau kawahigashi organized a hukilau to rebuild the church, with the congregation contributing food, talent, time and energy. master fisherman, hamana kalili would supply the nets. kahili, minus the three middle fingers of his right hand would wave and only the thumb and little finger could be seen. this is the origin of the shaka sign. a $5.00 fee was charged to enjoy the hukilau, food and hula show. 250 people arrived for the first fundraiser in 1947; the church took in $1,250.00. jack owens enjoyed this hukilau in 1948. that night, suffering sunburn, aches and pains, he was inspired to write this song. introduced publicly at a methodist l�'au in honolulu, it became an instant hit." ~ "our honolulu" by bob krauss, honolulu advertiser, april, 1998.  more in-depth history on the hukilau song

the hukilau song was based on jack owens visit to laie bay.  

the hukilau song
jack owens � 1948
oh we're going to a hukilau
a huki huki huki huki hukilau
everybody loves the hukilau
where the laulau is the kaukau at the l�`au 
we throw our nets out into the sea
and all the `ama`ama come a-swimming to me
oh, we're going to a hukilau
a huki huki huki hukilau 
what a beautiful day for fishing
that old hawaiian way
where the hukilau nets are swishing
down in old l�`ie bay

the famous hukilau beach is located at the northern part of the bay.

more hukilau history: