(BIVN) – The community gathered in Milolii on Saturday to celebrate La Elima, a special day in the history of this treasured Hawaiian fishing village and the Hauoli Kamana’o Chuch.
As Walter Kahiwa, Jr. tells us, La Elima marks a day on February 5th, long ago in 1868, when a large earthquake struck Hawaii Island and sent the ocean rushing over many seaside villages along the South Kona coast.
The Hauoli Kamana’o Church – one of 20 Hawaiian churches built by John Paris – was pushed about 300 yards inland by the rushing sea.
The original location of the church is now underwater.
Villagers later moved the church to its present day site using palm trunks to roll it into place.
Although other areas were destroyed, somehow Milolii was spared the misery experienced elsewhere.
The kupuna from other South kona communities joined the village in thanksgiving, which lasted several days.
The story of that day has become immortalized in the mele La Elima, sung by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole and others, but uncle Kahiva says that not all the olelo spoken about La Elima has been true.
For example, Kahiwa spoke of the missing children who were led to safety in caves and rescued 5 days later.
At Saturday’s celebration, the true family song was song by Auntie Shirley… so authentic and special to Milolii, all in attendance were asked NOT to record the performance on video.