Once again it’s on with the release of the Fitted + Pai‘ea Projects Mānoa (Ali‘i) Pack on Saturday, Sept. 28. This is the first drop of a two-part collection themed Mānoa Ali‘i, Mānoa Kānaka (Mānoa of the Chiefs, Mānoa of the Commoners).

I ka wā kahiko (ancient times) an imaginary line was drawn from Puʻu o Mānoa (Rocky Hill) above Punahou School to the low, green hill, Puʻu Luahine (in back of the Chinese cemetery), at the head of Mānoa Valley. The chiefs resided on the west side, the commoners on the east.

This limited-edition Fitted + Pai‘ea Project Mānoa Ali‘i collection features a 90’s throwback Bows’ basketball jersey and New Era 9FIFTY Rip-Stop Kamehameha Snapback. The #2 on the jersey signifies the division of the valley separating aliʻi and kānaka.

Hawaiian Historian John Papa ‘Ī‘ī writes that from the time of Kamehameha’s unification of the islands to the overthrow of the monarchy, many royals favored the lands of Mānoa. According to ‘Ī‘ī,  Pai‘ea (Kamehameha the Great) farmed ‘uala and resided part-time in Mānoa near ‘Ualaka‘a (Round Top).  The high winds of Round Top would dislodge the sweet potatoes growing here and they would come rolling down the hill, hence the name, ʻUalakaʻa. Pai‘ea grew ‘uala (sweet potato) for his invading army as well as foreigners because he knew this crop was desired by the haole.

As the Pulitzer-prize winning emcee Kendrick Lamar once put it, “the yam is the power that be!”

According to Haole Historian Thomas G. Thrum, one of Kamehameha’s hale was near Pu‘u Pueo just below ‘Ualaka‘a. Thrum theorizes that this location was chosen to enable Pai‘ea to look mauka and makai to the patches of ʻuala. Kamehameha’s wife, Queen Kaʻahumanu, also had a house in Mānoa Ali‘i called Puka‘ōma‘oma‘o (The House of Green Shuttered Windows). Like her husband. Kaʻahumanu chose the site because of the view. Puka‘ōma‘oma‘o allowed the queen to see any ships that were sailing to and from Honolulu. This site also provided security and privacy because she could see anybody walking up the Mānoa trail.

Let us remember that this land was inhabited by the Ali‘i, and honor Mānoa for being more than just Hawaiian ceded land where a university occupies.

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