Makaha Surfside

Leialoha Perkins explain the Kumulipo – ©Gérard Koch, 2018

Makaha Surfside

In the agenda is the following entry: Mon 27.Nov. 2017-Leialoha Perkins, Makaha Surfside, Waianae, HI. – Yes, we need to get off the bus from our Honolulu hotel in time to arrive at Leialoha at 10.00. We stand at the bus station just opposite our hotel and wait for the express bus C, which goes over the country, out of the city. „Shana, I can already see our bus coming in behind the other guy who is just heading for our station.“ I believed the seven dollars in the bus money for both of us out of my pocket and got ready to board the next bus. In one hand I held the film equipment backpack and with the other hand I pushed the dollars into the counting machine at the driver with my request to get two day tickets. In the back of the bus, which was already crowded with workers, there was just a seat in the bus for us two, where I grabbed the last window seat.
Although only 45km as the crow flies, the bus has to be tormented by the traffic from Honolulu and Pearl Harbor, as the busy coastal road along. The modern, glittering high-rise buildings of Honolulu slowly disappear behind us. We can be lucky that we have to go to the interview place city outward, because on the opposite lane of the highway towards the city, the cars are in four to seven lanes, miles in a sheet avalanche.
After a good hour’s drive, the express bus leaves the highway and drives through residential areas and business districts to Kapolei, to the large bus station in Haumea Str, which is just a long roadside. There we had to board the next bus, which was already ready.
At the last major intersection „Ewa-Schofield Junction“ the express bus follows Highway 1 to „Honokai Hale“ where the highway merges into a two-lane main road.
„We still have to get fresh lei’s,“ Shana told me loudly in the not so quiet bus.
Arriving in Waianae, the big yellow, white bus stops at the „Tamura“ shopping center, where we leave the swaying, noisy monster to go and buy the Lei’s. Here in Waianae, the original Hawaiians still live with their keen watch dogs and huge, self-erected trucks.
The contrasts from Waianae to Honolulu can not be greater, like poverty to wealth, but also from tourists. If you find in Waianae only tourists who have lost their way, the capital is overflowing with them.
With a fragrant white ginger flowers and a cornflower leis we leave the shopping center where we waited again for the next bus, which drives us to Makaha Surfside. There arrived in a few minutes, we get heavily laden and freezing the moving freezer.
Waiting for the green man at the traffic lights, we reached the destination, where we then reported to the security in the receiving container, which brought our arrival to Leialoha.


Leialoha with Roland Francis Perkins – ©Gérard Koch, 2018

Leialoha Perkins is on
Born March 5, 1930 in Lahaina Maui, Hawai’ian Islands. She was the daughter of Samuel Umi and Margaret Malia (Kaa’a) Apo.
Leialoha loved the language and traveling. So she has traveled the whole world in an adventurous way in her life. In 1954 she married Stephen G. Mark, who unfortunately died in 1966. After a few years later, in 1971, she married Roland Francis Perkins, with whom she gave birth to two children, Mark ‚Umi Perkins and Kele Douglas Perkins. In addition to her terrific education and career, she has invested with Roland their time in the history of Kumulipos and conducted research. She has also written several books as an author.

The following training and career has been accomplished by Leialoha:
(in chronological order)

1957       Bachelor of Arts in englischer Literature cum laude, Boston University
1959       Master of Science in Library. Science, Simmons College
1966       Master of Arts in englischer Literature, Mount Holyoke College
1978       Doctor of Philosophy in Folklore and Folklife, University Pennsylvania
1959-1961     Catalogue library Museum Fine Arts, Boston
1965-1966     Smith College, Northampton
1966-1968     Instructor English Northeastern University, Boston
1973-1974     Library Boston Psychoanalytic Institute
1980-1986     Associate professor English and Anthropology Atenisi University,Nuku’alofa,Tonga,
1989-1994     Instructor Hawaiian studies University Hawaii-Leeward, Pearl City
1994-1999     Assistant professor Hawaiian studies University Hawaii-West Oahu
1994              Coordinator International Oral Traditions Program, Honolulu
2004              Co-founder Hui O Na Vahine Honua Earth Women’s Collaborative International

2001 Sept. 09,Tutu Leialoha Apo-Perkins at Yama Royale Ranch. photo by George F. Lee


Promotion Prize for the Initiation of the Journal HawnPac Folklore Folklife Studies, Hawai’i State Legislation, 1984-1986. Appointment to the first joint doctoral internship in Culture Learning Institute at the University of Pennsylvania in the East-West Center, 1974-1976, Excellence in Teaching Award 1994, Hawaii Award for Literature, Hawaii State Foundation Culture and Arts, 1998. Fellow for oral Tradition the Humanities, 1994.

HE Kumulipo

The Kumulipo is the Hawaiian Genesis consisting of 2,102 sentences in 16 „wā“ (chapters) which was sung in honor of Prince Kalaninuiamamao of Big Island.
This story from the 18th century is the song that tells both the origin of the world and the genealogy of Hawai’i’s ruling family. The Kumulipo is a poetry with many nuances of meaning and puns, which also contains many subtle parables and parodies of rivals of the royal family. This mythology story was verbally passed on to Alapaiwahine. In 1889 King Kalākaua printed the Kumulipo for the first time in a 60 page brochure. He enclosed a two-sided paper showing the original Chant. Queen Liliʻuokalani described the singing as a prayer for the development of the universe and the descent of the Hawaiians. She, Lili’uokalani, translated the singing under house arrest in the Iolani Palace. This translation was published in 1897 and re-published in 1978 by Pueo Press.
It is very difficult to turn the Hawaiian wordplay and rhyme into English or German prose. Many scholars are still divided on the translation today.

In this fantastic conversation, we also learn from Leialoha Perkins what connects them to Bamburgh Castle in the english county of Northumberland. Also, we learn an ugly story about the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill.


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A terrible message has reached us from Oahu over the holidays of 2018. The wind of Kaneana Mountain has taken Leialoha Perkins with the birds and insects. She has passed the colorful rainbow into the land of souls and has closed her eyes on ……… forever.
Hawai’i loses with her one of the most important cultural people who has written so much about Hawaiian mythology and published books.
Her biggest wish in her life, though she was always afraid of the camera, was that she could tell in a recording about her cumulipo. You have to know that all Hawaiian Islands have their own Chant. Leialoha’s version, however, which she had explored with Roland, her husband, is the chant of the entire Hawaiian Islands.
This interview, which my wife Shana and I were allowed to do with Leialoha, was her life’s wish. Also, this conversation, not knowing, is the last conversation of Leialoha Perkins, a historical masterpiece that will be an important pillar of Hawaiian history.
Thank you Leialoha Perkins for getting to know you through my wife Shana. Listening to your stories was exciting and informative. Your humor, your stories and friendliness were unique. You will stay in my thoughts.

Aloha nui, Leihaloha Perkins.



Bamburgh Castle
Waimanalo Gulch Landfill


University Hawai’i Academia


  • Cyclone Country – Jan 1, 1986
  • Other Places in the Turnings of a Mind – 1986
  • The Oxridge Woman – 1998
  • The firemakers and other short stories of Hawai’ì, the Sāmoas, and Tonga
  • Hawaiʻi Review Issue 27 Aloha ʻĀina: 1989
  • Natural, and other stories about contemporary Hawaiians Unknown Binding – 1979
  • Histories in Stone, Wood, Bone – 1998

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