He Wahī Paʻakai: A Package of Salt

adding flavor and texture to your world through story

Dear Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson



screenshot from The Rock’s instagram

Dear Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson,

You don’t know me, of course.
I was once one of your adoring fans,
captivated by your wide smile,
your muscled humor,
your bulging, pulsating, titillating


Then one day you lent your voice
to a singing and dancing mockery
of my fisher of islands,
my keeper of fire,
my kupua from moananuiākea,


And I remembered what Maui once said,
“Moʻa aʻela no kā ka ʻalae haupī.”
Some people are selfish,
some seek only for themselves,
some have little regard for the oceans

they claim.

You claimed belonging, riding the back of
the one who slowed the sun,
the one who made the day longer,
the one who punished the selfish ʻalae
and stole her fire

so that we could cook.

And boy did we cook.
We even cooked Cook,
ending his syphilis spreading,
land snatching,
murderous voyages

of the Pacific.

We restored a sense of “pacificness,”
by burning his color of violence,
filling our bellies with his history,
to let it rage in the pit of our stomachs
where fire burns

and births islands.

Our islands once housed you,
gave you a place to become a rock,
shaping and shining your rough edges,
so that you could fit in,
throw your shaka in the air,

and call us “home.”

Now, here’s a lesson from home,
one you need to hear,
and here’s a reminder,
one you need to recall,
and here’s a warning,

one you need to heed.

Take heed, Dwayne “The Rock” Jonhson.
I heard you hope to achieve
academy award celebrity
on the back of my chief, my ancestor,
my muscled memory of Kohala,


But you will be mehameha.
You will be lonely in your pursuit,
because my history is not a backdrop,
to your story of success.
And my chief

is not a stepping stone.

He lifted stones,
overturning naha larger than you,
sealing his fate as a conqueror,
and his role as warrior
who craved the eyes of niuhi,

before he was even born.

He was born of and for greatness.
And you, you cannot “play” greatness,
cannot bench press your way into my history,
cannot laugh or smile into ʻĀwini,
the valley that raised him:

sharp and rough.

This is my sharp and rough refusal
of everything you have claimed:
you say you want to tell the story
of the legendary chief
who’s “fabled” life lay the foundation

for the 50th state.

But the real fable is the state,
the fake ass state,
with their fake ass claims,
who occupies my land,
and keeps my people


We’re hungry, starving for pono
for a restoration of balance,
of justice,
of sovereignty,
of the right to shape and tell

our own stories.

So you would be wise to remember our story.
My kūpuna, they sang songs of protest
against the loss of their kingdom,
the overthrow of their queen,
the taking of their ea,

their life, their breath.

And they let that breath out in song:
“Ua lawa mākou i ka pōhaku”, they sang.
We can eat stones, they said,
we can endure, they promised,
and we can survive

off of rocks.

So, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson,
If I must, if I am pushed,
I can and I will
eat rocks again,
even captivating, smiling, titillating ones

like you.


– Emalani Case


Author: emalani

I write, read, dance, and study stories that span the Pacific. From my island home in Hawaiʻi, to the shores of Tahiti, to the mountains of Aotearoa, I travel over ancient pathways, sharing stories along the way.

11 thoughts on “Dear Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

  1. Mahalo nui loa for this!

  2. Mahalo nunui for saying this so perfectly.

  3. “Rock” on, sistah. Some treasures aren’t meant to be commodified so, no matter how endearing, no matter how seductive, the prospect(or).

  4. This was pono…. mahalo

  5. Nothing I say on here about this should offend your big souls, Hawaiians 🙂

    Anyway, I believe and honor the Hawaiian culture because we are all connected by this deep blue sea.

    When Moana came out, I did not even like how Maui looked. It really hurt the inner Pacific soul of me but I somehow got over it as I saw it as a promotion really of the kind of people that we are – beautiful and kind. Now that the King Kamehameha movie is about to start filming, I can only say this. I hope Dwayne will do a great job in portraying this larger than life King and not disappoint us all!


  6. Vinaka vakalevu. I heard and understood.

  7. I love it! I could not have said it better Emma Case….In Samoa, he would have to come before A Fono of high Talking Chiefs to ask permission to portray an Alii from that Village….Well, the Kingdom of Hawai’i is our Village, and if his grandfather, Peter Maivea, was still alive, I am sure he would advise his grandson to come before the Village of The Kingdom of Hawaii, Kupuna, the Lua Warriors of today ,to ask permission in humility and to promise to portray Kamehameha not as a jokester but as he was, Alii Nui/Warrior/Conqueror uniting the islands under 1 rule

  8. Wow! The Rock is not stupid. And please, go back and learn the true history and “legacy” of your so called “Kamehameha” – he was a “coward” that sailed away in fear when our Tongan warriors brought terror upon the Samoan islands. Yes, I grew up hearing the stories from my great grandfather as it was passed down by my ancestors. Your precious “King” took a handful of his followers and sailed away; leaving behind women and children to be executed and the Kingdom of Tonga 🇹🇴 pitty your coward of a king ever since. Now, you’re writing this pitiful letter to the Rock about your concerns on “how” he should “portrait” your king? What such despicable nonsense?! I mean, how else should one portrait a coward king? Exactly! No disrespect to Samoans worldwide, but this heffa got some nerve. Smh.

    • Please check your history. The Kamehameha we’re referring to was born and raised in Kohala, not in Samoa. Therefore, please refrain from calling him a coward and from conflating historical accounts. You’re entitled to your opinion. I respect it. But please do not misrepresent and assume that just because people have the same or similar names that we can speak about them as if they are the same person. Thank you.

  9. Hello and Talofa lava. Thank you to all that has left comments about their own entitled opinions with regards to this issue. Please, let’s just all stay positive and pray for the best outcome. Personally for me, I totally agree with majority of you. The Rock is a proud son of not only Samoa, but the Pacific Islands as a whole. I’m sure there are many great Hawaiian actors out there that is for this job – to portray your wonderful King’s Legacy. Praying for the best and peace. Jesus Christ loves you all. God bless the Polys.

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