Ua kamaʻāina loa kēia maka i waena o ko ke kaiāulu Hawaiʻi, he kupa o ia ʻohana kaulana no Waimea, ʻo nā Lindsey nō hoʻi. He pou paʻa o ke aukahi hoʻōla ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi no kēia mau makahiki 30 a ʻoi, he haku mele laha a kaulana…. A i kēia manawa, he kauka nō hoʻi ʻo Larry Kimura!
A ʻoiai he haumana ʻo Larry, ʻakahi a puka ma ke koleke ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, ʻaʻole loa ʻo ia he mea ʻakahi a komo i ke aukahi hoʻōla ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.
“Ke noʻonoʻo au iā ʻanakala, ʻo ia ke kupuna o kēia aukahi. Nāna kākou a pau i aʻo,” wahi a Kaʻiu Kimura, ka Luna Hoʻokele ma ʻImiloa
“Ke noʻonoʻo aʻe i ke kanaka e like me Larry i hana ma ka papahana no nā makahiki he lōʻihi loa
ma kēia wā o kona ola, ʻaʻole pono. Akā, he mea nui kēia no ka mea, ma waena o kākou he mea nui kēia ʻano noʻonoʻo, hoʻokō ʻana i ka ʻimi naʻauao. A ʻo Larry kekahi i loko o kēlā,” i ʻōlelo ai ʻo Hiapo Perreira, he polopeka no Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani ma ke Kulanui o Hawaiʻi ma Hilo.
Ua kālailai ʻo Larry i ka ʻōlelo o nā mānaleo Hawaiʻi, me nā loina i hoʻomau, a hoʻomau ʻole ʻia paha ma o nā hānauna. Nāna pū nō i haku a kūkulu i wahi ʻolokeʻa a kālaikuhi no ke kālailai ʻana i kēia mau hopena.
Wahi a Pila Wilson, ka luna no ka Papahana Mokuna Kālaiʻike ma Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani, ma ke Kulanui o Hawaiʻi ma Hilo, “he ʻolokeʻa, he kālaikuhi kāna i haku ai, ʻaʻole i nui ka poʻe ʻimi kēkelē kauka e haku ana he kālaikuhi, he ʻolokeʻa kālailai, ua haku ʻia e Larry.”
Eia naʻe, i loko nō o ka helu ʻia ʻana o kēia hana, he pae hou o ka ʻimi naʻauao, ʻaʻole i pili ka nui o kā Larry mau hana lokomaikaʻi i ka ʻimi kekele ʻana.
Wahi hou mai a Pila, ʻo “kona ʻano, ua ʻimi mua ʻo ia i ka ʻike Hawaiʻi. He kēkelē Hawaiʻi kona mai nā kūpuna mai.”
Ma nā kanahiku a kanawalu nō hoʻi, ua alakaʻi a mālama ʻo Larry i nā pukana he 400 a ʻoi o Ka Leo Hawaiʻi, he polokalamu lekiō ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi e hoʻokipa a ʻoki leo ʻana i nā manaleo nui o ia wā.
“A laila, kiʻi ʻo ia i kēlā ʻike a hoʻoili ma luna o nā haumāna āna, e like me aʻu, ʻo au kekahi o kāna mau haumāna mua loa; a nui ka pōmaikaʻi o mākou,” i ʻōlelo ai ʻo Pila.
Ma muli o ka lōʻihi loa o kona ʻimi ʻana i ka ʻike mai ka poʻe mānaleo mai nō, a me ka nui o kāna i aʻo ai maiā lākou mai ma ka launa wale aku ma ka hale a pēlā, ua ʻano ʻokoʻa hoʻi kona manaʻo no ka ʻimi i kēia ʻano ʻike pili i ka ʻōlelo ma ka ʻaoʻao kālaʻike ma ke kula, ma kēia ʻano ʻimi kekelē laeoʻo a laeʻula nō hoʻi.
ʻŌlelo pū mai ʻo Pila, “Loaʻa kekahi ʻano o Larry Kimura, he poʻo paʻakīkī ʻo ia ma hope o nā mea Hawaiʻi. Hoʻohenehene ʻo ia i ka poʻe, nona nā kēkelē kauka. No laila, e hoʻohenehene ana au iā ia. No ka mea, iā ia, ʻo ka ʻike o ka Hawaiʻi, ka Hawaiʻi ʻāina kuaʻāina, ʻoi aku ka ʻike o lākou a pau ma mua o ka poʻe nona ke kēkelē kauka. A ma kēia lā, ua hōʻike ʻo ia i ka ʻoiaʻiʻo o kēlā.”
A eia hoʻi, i loko o ka paʻa aku nei o kēia kēkelā iā ia, ua like loa nō paha kona manaʻo a me ke kuanaʻike no kēia. ʻO kēia hoʻoikaika a ʻimi kēkelē ʻana ona, ua kumu i kona makemake e hōʻoia a hōʻike leʻa aku i ka waiwai maoli nō o ka ʻike o kēia poʻe kupuna, kēia poʻe mānaleo nō hoʻi.
“ʻO ke komo ʻana o kākou i loko o ka hana hoʻōla ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, he mea kōkua i ka hoʻomakakau i ka noʻonoʻo ma kēia nānā hou ʻana i ke kumu, ʻo ia hoʻi ka ʻōlelo mānaleo paʻamau me ka hoʻomanaʻo ʻana iā kākou e pili ana i ka hana a kākou. ʻAʻole hiki ke loaʻa wale kēlā ʻano, e hoʻokaʻawale i manawa kūpono e nanā ai. No laila, ua ʻike au i kēlā a mahalo nō hoʻi kēlā wā,” i ʻōlelo ai ʻo Larry Kimura.
“A ma muli o kona ʻano ʻiʻike, kona ʻano ʻimi mau, ʻaʻole ʻo ia makaʻu, ʻimi ʻo ia i ka ʻike i ka ʻōlelo, hoʻopaʻa a mālama,” wahi a Kaʻiu Kimua, “i hiki ke hoʻoili hou ʻia ma luna o nā haunana e hiki mai ana. No laila, ʻaʻole ʻo kana mai ke aloha iā ʻanakala Lale.”
His is a familiar face in the Hawaiian community, a member of the well-known Lindsey family of Waimea. A pioneer of the Hawaiian language movement over the past 30+ years, a celebrated composer; and now, Larry Kimura adds “PhD” to his accolades.
He may be a recent graduate from the Hawaiian Language College, but he’s no newcomer to the language scene.
Kaʻiu Kimura, the Executive Director at ʻImiloa says, “I think of my Uncle Larry as the granddad of the movement. He taught all of us!”
“When you consider all Larry has done over all these years, at this point in his life, he really didn’t have to do this. But, we are all committed to life-long learning and education; Larry included.” Hiapo Perreira, an Associate Professor of Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani at UH Hilo.
Larry analyzed the language of native speakers and aspects that have and have not endured over generations. He also developed a framework for this analysis.
Pila Wilson, the Division Chair Papahana Mokuna Kālaiʻike of Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani at UH Hilo says, “he created a framework of analysis. Not many doctoral candidates do that; he did.”
And while this is a mark of academic success, Larry’s greatest contribution has nothing to do with an academic degree.
“His priority was traditional knowledge; a degree straight from the kupuna.” says Pila.
Back in the 70s and 80s, Larry hosted over 400 episodes of Ka Leo ʻŌiwi, a radio program that hosted native speakers.
Pila also says that, “he embraced that knowledge and bestowed it on his own student, myself included, as one of his first students.”
Given Larry’s years of study and learning directly from native language speakers, for a long time, he had somewhat of a love-hate relationship for pursuing this knowledge in an academic setting.
Pila says that, “Larry has a unique way about him; some might even say he can be a bit stubborn! He would actually poke fun at those of us with PhD’s and the like. Because for him, those who knew and lived the old ways were the true scholars. And ironically, he proved that today.”
And in hindsight, his perspective is the same. This academic research of his was motivated by a desire to bolster the validity and applicability of the knowledge of these kupuna, namely native speakers.
“As the language revitalization movement progresses, we must constantly look back to our native speakers as a reminder of why we are doing this. Time spent with them shouldn’t be taken for granted and I appreciate all the years I had with them.” says Dr. Larry Kimua.
Kaʻiu also says that, “because he valued and grounded himself in their insight, he’s steadfast in his pursuit of our ʻōlelo; to hold on to it and pass in on to future generations. There is really no limit to our aloha for Uncle Larry.”