Stones were much more than mere tools for old Hawaiians; they were also a strong foundation, pun intended, for their culture, legends, religion and way of life. Pre-contact Hawai‘i’s model of government resembled much more a feudal system than its 19th century monarchy or today’s democracy. But the message in this old ‘ōlelo remains contemporary; whether they are chiefs, kings or elected officials, they will always move on, while the community members, the rocks that provide the foundation for a society, will stay put. The stones seen on this photo are on exhibit at the Kaua‘i Museu, which celebrates 60 years this month. Photo by Léo Azambuja

Ko luna pōhaku no ke kaʻa i lalo, ʻaʻole hiki i ko lalo pōhaku ke kaʻa

“A stone that is high up can roll down, but a sone that is down cannot roll up.”

When a chief is overthrown his followers move on, but the people who have lived on the land from the days of their ancestors continue to live on it. Source ʻŌlelo Noʻeau, by Mary Kawena Pukui


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