Lost in the Shuffle: “Rise Up” for Mauna a Wākea


Photo by Ashley Morishita

Hawaiʻi, it’s up to you what side you stand on, just make sure to choose the right one. You will have to live with it forever.

“The line has already been drawn, but the only question is what side of the line do you stand on? Rise Up!”

— Keala Kawaauhau

Local singer-songwriter and founder of RSP, Ryan Hiraoka, released “Rise Up” on April 4, 2015 to rubbahslippahproductions.com and YouTube.com. The Protect Mauna Kea and Aloha ʻĀina movements were the inspiration for this song.

The song features Keala Kawaauhau, lead singer for Sudden Rush. In the song he takes his stand by rapping in both Hawaiian and English taking his stand against sacred and ancestral land being desecrated on Mauna Kea on which a 180 foot tall telescope is being built.

The song starts off, “E nā Hawaiʻi mai a Niʻihau a hiki i ka moku o Keawe, ʻo kēia ka manawa a kākou e kū haʻaheo, e kū no ka Mauna a Wākea.”

Those lyrics translate to, “Hawaii from Niʻihau to the district of Kiawe, this is the time we all must  stand proud, stand for Mauna Kea.”

Mauna Kea is literally translated to “White Mountain,” but is a short version of Mauna a Wākea, a name that connects it to the sky father, Wākea.

Hiraoka sings, “Rise up, rise up, rise up Hawaiian people, we must unite and fight against evil.”

Opponents of the telescope, might misinterpret the lyrics as automatically saying that science is evil. However, Hiraoka clarified his intent in a comment reply to user Kai Six on his YouTube page. “Astronomy is not evil. Nor is science for that matter,” he said. “What I’m referring to as ʻevilʻ in the song is the mind set [sic] of people who put money & politics before what is right. This has happened throughout history & is what I’m calling Hawaiian people to rise up against.”

Personally, when I first listened to this song, I too got carried away with the lyrics and without hesitation made the assumption that “evil” was science. Then, as I listened to the lyrics more, I began to understand the real message behind it, which is that itʻs imperative that we protect Mauna Kea from being desecrated. Not from science, but from money and politics. Our roots are not based on a monetary system or politics; therefore, keeping Mauna Kea as is will prevent us from straying away from tradition.

There is no doubt that what the Thirty Meter Telescope could possibly discover beyond our universe could be awesome. However, considering the historical significance and mana left on Mauna Kea, the telescope will be a major eyesore for me now and for all inhabitants and visitors of the Big Island in the future.

Go check out this song on YouTube and or download it for free at rubbahslippahproductions.com. This song will not be released in stores, for its sole purpose is to inspire and to educate.

“Rise Up” by Ryan Hiraoka ft. Keala Kawaauhau