He Wahī Paʻakai: A Package of Salt

adding flavor and texture to your world through story


Pololū, Kohala, Hawaiʻi

Pololū, Kohala, Hawaiʻi

When I was eleven, I stood on a stretch of beach, my ankles surrounded by ocean, my toes digging into sand.  I had traveled away from one homeland, Hawaiʻi, to face an ancestral one named Kahiki.  I stared out into the lagoon as double-hulled sailing canoes from around Polynesia each made their way through a break in the reef, arriving at Taputapuātea, a marae on Raʻiātea, Tahiti. As each canoe neared the shore, voices rang out, welcoming them. I greeted people from around the Pacific, people who looked like me, who shared certain customs, yet who were distinct. And I knew that we were connected. I knew that we shared a history.

Now nineteen years later and this initial journey to Kahiki—a term often used to refer to any land outside of Hawaiʻi—continues to inspire me. It has pushed me to explore the Pacific through story, to track and travel over ancient pathways, pathways famed in migration tales, celebrated in song, recounted in speeches, and recorded in old texts. And it has pushed me to write my own stories, to continue the work of my ancestors who sang, danced, chanted, and eventually wrote their way into existence. These are my stories. These are our stories.

E pū paʻakai kākou! Let us partake of salt together, taking a bit of the ocean that spans the Pacific and allowing it to nourish us.

Naʻu nō,
Emalani Case

10 thoughts on “About

  1. Aloha! We really enjoy reading He Wahī Paʻakai and why we’ve nominated it for the Liebster Award! We’re not sure if you’ve been nominated for this award in the past, but do check out the details on Holoholo Girls. http://holohologirls.com/2014/02/06/a-liebster-mahalo/

    • Wow! Mahalo nui iā ʻoukou! I’m honored. I will certainly post my responses to your questions and my own nominations soon. Thank you for welcoming me into the blogging world. I look forward to following your adventures, e nā wāhine holoholo! 🙂

  2. Your writing is superb. I’m so glad I’ve found your blog.

  3. Ke welina mai nei e kuu hoa,
    Reading these images made me smell noni and feel like I was home again. There is a quality of search here that I recognize. I am nourished with these ideas of perceived opposites and love how you carve them in open spaces and leave them as koha. Smells, sounds, sights, insights. Your inside has become your outside, Emalani. Or is it the other way around? We have truly been dipped in something mythic as kama’aina schizophrenics. Good thing we can handle, eh? Mahalo for sending me this Blog. It’s only my second experience – outside of Katie Kamelamela! I’m just going to be dragged into a (k)new way of exchange. And the name: He Wahi Pa’akai is striking. I do indeed remember you speaking of this image during your mihi at our noho for He Waka Hiringa. I still chuckle thinking about how you just took that kuleana on….. and thrilled us all with the quality of your mihi. Each one was drawn from the core of your life experience so it meant something. This is how love mentors. Giving or receiving, it’s the same differently. Even when you least expect it. Ideas shared from the beauty of your own mohio is the gold, and when you link it to what was shared by another, do you see how much a gift it is? It is what Hale Makua has nourished in us: “Emotional transmission of an accurate message” and all the mihi/summaries that you gave during our wananga for He Waka Hiringa (Masters in Applied Indigenous Knowledge @ Te Wananga o Aotearoa) was a gift from both sides of your kupuna whakapapa. Both sides, all sides, simultaneously. It’s a goofy idea but the exploration of yourself is a forever gig. Here is the grace of your discipline. It is always nice to have food just in case a gang shows up. And you did. You had choke food for us guys so far from our beloved shoreline. Us guys who know the wealth of adventure and the waiwai essence of our return home. Mau ke aloha no Hawaii. Mahalo for this reminder, this nahenahe-kine reminder. Are you sure you’re not going to be back for Pasifika? We will miss you but promise to open our very first Hawaiian Village with aloha in laughter. Ho’oulu lahui o Hawaiinuiakea, Manulani

    • E Manu, aloha nui kāua,

      I feel as if a new wahī paʻakai has just been placed before me. Each of your words are like grains of salt. Together, they are insightful, powerful, moving! The make paʻa certain ideas and yet, they maintain just enough of their fluid origin to encourage constant evolution! Individually, even a single grain can have profound impact! Place it on the right piece of delicious ʻike and the taste changes completely and our tastebuds change with it.

      I’m sitting here reflecting on a single grain of ʻike: whether my inside has become my outside, or the other way around, and I am wondering if it is rather a combination of the two, simultaneously! I’ll let that one sit in me for a while, let it flavor my reflections for a bit. I’m also sprinkling your words on to my memories and understandings of mihi, of aloha, of exploration and adventure, and of “the emotional transmission of an accurate message.” So much to taste. So much to take in!

      Mahalo. Mahalo. Mahalo. Thank you for your words, for your grains of thought, and for always contributing to my wahī paʻakai!

      Naʻu nō,
      Na Ema

  4. Nanl kela…I can only dream of putting thoughts to paper as you folks do…Mahalo for what you all do and share.

  5. thanks for this. it was needed rn.

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