Iesu me ke Kanaka Waiwai
Jesus with the Rich Man
More commonly known as: Kanaka Waiwai

John K. and Pua Almeida 1971

Ma ke alahele `o Ies
On the road, Jesus
 I hlwai aku ai
Me ke kanaka `pio hanohano
With the dignified young man
Kaulana i ka waiwai
Famous for (his) wealth
Pane mai e ka `pio:
The youth asked:
"E ku`u Haku maika`i
"My good Lord
He aha ho`i ka`u e hana aku ai
What must I do
I loa'a e ke ola mau?"
To be given eternal life?"



Hui: Chorus

"`E h`awi, e h`awi lilo
"Give, give away (all) entirely

I kou mau waiwai
Your riches

Huli a hahai mai ia`u
Turn and follow me

I loa`a e ke ola mau i `oe"
To obtain eternal life for you

Minamina e ka `pio
The youth was sorrowful
I kona mau waiwai
Of (losing) his wealth
I ke ku`ai a h`awi lilo aku
Of selling and giving it all away
I ka po`e nele a hune
To the needy and poor people
Huli a`e `o Ies l
Turning then, Jesus
Pane aku i ka `pio:
Replied to the youth:
"`A`ole a`e hiki ke kanaka waiwai
Unable to rise, the young rich man,
I ke Aupuni o ka Lani"
To the Kingdom of Heaven


Click here for the Biblical text that is referred to in the song: Matthew 19:16 - 24.

Winner of the 2000 N Hk Hanohano Award (Hawaiian Grammy) for Religious Album of the Year, this lovely religious album features slack key master George Kahumoku on vocals and 12 string guitar, joined by Daniel Ho on `ukulele and nylon string guitar.

>> Click here for a clip by George Kahumoku and Daniel Ho, courtesy of The Honolulu Advertiser. 

>> Click here for another clip, courtesy of Olomana.

>> Research by Keola Donaghy



From the CD liner notes of George Kahumoku's and Daniel Ho's, HAWAIIAN HYMNS:

"This song refers to the Biblical verse where Jesus says it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich person to get into the kingdom of heaven. 

The background of this piece is quite mysterious. Apparently, it originates from the tiny island of Ni`ihau, where only native Hawaiians may travel. 

George's Aunty Sarah Pule recalls singing it in Kohala many years ago, but with different words from the current version. She believes that the song has been around since the 1800's. 

The grandfather of renowned Hawaiian entertainer Moe Keale may be the original composer. 

One version of this hymn was written by John Almeida for the Mormon Church in 1915. He changed it for the church because it was felt to be too much like a hula song. 

In the early seventies, the group Eddie Kamae and the Sons of Hawai`i, with Moe Keale singing the vocals, popularized this song."  

Hawaiian Words Pronunciation Meanings

Singular: kanaka
Plural: knaka



[kah nah' kah]





Human being, man, person, individual, party, mankind, population; subject, as of a chief; laborer, servant, helper; attendant or retainer in a family (usually a term of affection or pride)

Kanaka maoli refers to the indigenous Hawaiian.


Photo by: Lilian de Mello

Water was considered most valuable to Hawaiians, even sacred.  The Hawaiian word waiwai for prosperity or riches reflects this appreciation.  More info...

[vai vai'] or [wai wai'] 

Either is correct.







wai:  water, liquid or liquor of any kind other than sea water (kai)

waiwai:  goods, property, assets, valuables, value, worth, wealth, riches, prosperity, importance, benefit, estate, use; useful, valuable, rich, costly, financial








[ee yeh SOO']










The transliteration (making non-Hawaiian words to sound Hawaiian by using Hawaiian syllables) of the word Jesus.  Probably from the Hebrew word for Jesus: Yeshua.

The transliteration for Christ is Kristo, one of the few transliterated words with two consonants together.

"... the missionaries made do. They devised an alphabet, settling on 12 Roman letters for Hawaiian words, plus a few more letters for foreign words. When a Hawaiian synonym didn't exist, they just transliterated: "Christ" begat Kristo, "David" begat Kwika, "school" begat kula." ~ Constance Hale

>> Back to the Hawaiian Music Lyrics Page

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This web page  is dedicated to the Hlau o N Kpuna (Hula Group of The Elders) of Da' Hawai`i Club,
composed of seniors, men and women,  who have discovered (or rediscovered) the joys of hula. 

Hawaiian Language Pronunciation Guide 
Source of translations: Pukui, Mary Kawena & Elbert, Samuel, HAWAIIAN DICTIONARY, 1986.
Hawaiian Language:   Hula:
  2002 na AD
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