Community loses Annie Ka‘aihue Kekona, Pauline Lehua Naleieha Pali
WEST MAUI — Annie Ka’aihue Kekona and Pauline Lehua Naleieha Pali, two West Side kanaka maoli wahine of distinction, recently passed.
Aunty Annie was born in 1933 to George Calisto Ka’aihue and Cornelia Wai’waiole of Honokahua (now Kapalua).
She had 11 siblings; she was number four.
Kekona attended Lahainaluna High School and graduated from Hana High.
She married her husband Anthony Kekona in 1949. They had four children — two boys and two girls — plus one adopted child and six hanai kids.
Generations can call Aunty Annie their “Tutu,” including 18 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren, and there are some great great-grandchildren out there.
Her daughter, Jaynell (Kekona) Hutchinson, wrote these words on behalf of the ‘ohana.
“Tutu championed generations of children. She led the way, blazed trails and built a platform as a driven kanaka maoli. Tutu can be seen in the faces of our Hawaiian people as she spoke up for cultural rights and the preservation of Hawaiian practices as a proud member of Na Kupuna O Maui. She fashioned signs and fought for the rights of Hawaiians on the capitol’s doorstep, taught young children about our rich history and shared her knowledge of la’au lapa’au with those who wanted to learn.”
Annie Kekona was loyal and steadfast. You may not have noticed her in the sea of purple kihei at the many Na Kupuna O Maui actions she supported over the years, but you were blessed if you did.
Pali was a pioneer.
Born in Lahaina in 1941, she was raised in Kahana.
She graduated from Lahainaluna on June 10, 1959, and married her husband (E.G.K. Aimoku Pali Sr.) of 52 years the very next day.
She had four children, plus one adopted, 12 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.
As a young family, the Palis moved from place to place, including Napili, Kahana, Kihei and Kona.
In 1972, they found home, returning to the family land in Honokohau Valley where they remained for over 20 years, becoming spokespersons and role models for other Hawaiians.
Kainoa Wilson, her daughter, recalled, “They enjoyed the challenge, clearing the land, making a home and putting the land back to use.”
Aimoku and Lehua didn’t stop at Honokohau. In 1996, they moved to East Maui.
Together with Ka ‘Ohana O Kahikinui, they led pioneering efforts to resettle Kahikinui, a monumental task that will span generations.
Lehua lived in Kahikinui as a force and a voice until she died.
When she walked in a room, you knew she was there.
Daughter Kainoa described her mother’s presence aptly: “Lehua was a bright soul who always had a smile on her face and love in her heart.”
Aunty Patty Nishiyama of Na Kupuna O Maui recognized Annie and Lehua for their fortitude, strength of character and steadfastness. “They are role models and should never be forgotten,” she said.