Kamaka went on to say, "When we arrived at Mauna Kea on July 16, 2019, the sacred beauty of this special wahi pana (legendary place) captured my heart forever. It was in an instant that I knew I would do anything to help protect our mountain."
The 33 kupuna who were arrested on July 17, 2019, were kia'i (protectors or guardians) of the mountain. They were there in opposition to the construction of what's known as the Thirty Meter Telescope, a project which would desecrate what Hawaiians consider to be a sacred place. All maintained "kapu aloha" during the arrests, an entreaty by cultural practitioners to act only with love and kindness. They were charged with "obstructing a government operation".
The arrests struck a deep, long-lasting, emotional chord world-wide, in both Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians alike, and served to focus increased attention on the people's attempt to prevent further desecration of cultural lands. Kamaka's song speaks of the beauty of the mountain, the love that was cultivated by the sweet voices of the kupuna as they sang at that place of refuge, peace, and safety, and how missed is Poli'ahu, the Snow Goddess of Mauna Kea.
An award-winning kumu hula (hula teacher) and recording artist, Kukona won awards for each of his first two albums (including Male Vocalist of the Year twice), and his original song Nani Piʻiholo, recorded by the group Kahālāwai, is currently nominated for Song of the Year.
Poli Kamaha’o was recorded at I-Vibe Studios in Kula, Maui and was written and produced by Kamaka Kukona. Wailau Ryder played guitar and bass, and Michael Casil sang background vocals and also produced. The single will be available on iTunes (Apple Music) and all digital outlets.
Here is a clip: