Hawaiian in Brooklyn

    It's not every day that one sees the Hawaiian language tattooed on a Brookylnite, so I was stunned to see the following tattoo wrapped around the arm of a woman in Foodtown earlier this week:

    The tattoo reads, in Hawaiian, "e ola aui ke Akua". I'm not fluent, but I know the Hawaiian language when I see it. I had to speak to this person and find out what possessed this person to inscribe these words on their flesh.

    The woman is Danielle Tay, and the tattoo is a tribute to her Hawaiian heritage. Her paternal grandfather is Hawaiian, her father was half-Hawaiian, or one hapa-Haole, as we would say it in the islands. Danielle is therefore a quarter Hawaiian, by birth, and despite being a Brooklynite, feels connected just the same.

    "Uh," I asked, "Can you tell me what that means?"

    Danielle believes it to loosely mean "May God grant me Life".

    This was inked at Funcity Tattoo in the East Village.

    Danielle, thanks for letting me take your tattoo's picture. I lost your e-mail address, however. Please shoot me an e-mail if you're reading this....I have some additional questions for you.

    UPDATE: My friend Cat in Hawai'i says:

    "E ola au i ke Akua" means "I live in the Lord" or "I live because of the Lord". There's some flexibility in translation, but that's the gist, I think. It's OK, although the "aui" should be split into "au i".

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