In the name of rain

“Hanau Ka Ua – Hawaiian Rain Names”, by Collette Leimomi Akana with Kiele Gonzalez and illustrated by Sig Zane, is truly a remarkable publication.

Come to think of it, we have not ever really seen a book like it!

While many of us may think of rain as a few different varieties and strengths, the Hawaiians had hundreds of ways to describe the types of rains.

Yep. You read that right. Hundreds! In fact, according to the authors, there may have been at one time thousands of names for each variety. Stunning, considering there aren’t that many types of clouds for the rain to come from!

With meticulous research, Collette Akana has compiled an impressive index of every historical mention or ancient chant that was ever used to describe the various rains at the numerous areas on every island. To make our enjoyment of learning easier, “Hanau Ka Ua” has arranged the information alphabetically by each of the individual names the Hawaiians had given.

First, we are treated to the original quoted source, whether it be in English or Hawaiian; if it is Hawaiian, the translation in English is below, and following it is a brief commentary about the specific rain.

Bound in a quality cloth hardcover including an elegantly stylish dust jacket, this is sure to be a volume that will be long-cherished by many, not only for its unique exploration of a seldom-discussed topic, but for the wealth of research that obviously went into it. To make it even lovelier, each alphabetical chapter separation is preceded by a lovely botanical illustration on opaque paper of varying color, adding to the book’s inherent beauty.

We’ve sold numerous copies at our bookstore and we’ve been enjoying their satisfied smiles watching them feel as if they have just found a treasure! Enjoy!


Ed and Cynthia Justus are owners of The Bookstore in Hanapepe.


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