Ka Pae ‘Aina lost a great warrior, Papa Kihei “Soli” Welokiheiakea’eloa Niheu, on November 30, 2012.
His activism began upon returning from San Jose State responding to a call from his Ni’ihau ‘ohana to prevent the sale of the island.
He was amongst the core leadership of the Kokua Kalama Valley struggle, acknowledged as the birthplace of the Hawaiian Renaissance.
At almost every major Nā Kānaka Maoli struggle in the past 40 years, he played a major role; Niumalu-Nāwiliwil, Waiāhole-Waikāne, Protect Kahoʻolawe ‘Ohana, Pae ‘Ohana, critical support for Ethnic Studies and Center for Hawaiian Studies Programs; leadership in Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP); Most recently, he was involved in the struggle to protect Mauna Kea.
Close to his heart was work done with Co-founder Dr. Kekuni Blaisdell on the convening of the Kōmike Tribunal (an International Tribunal convened to investigate the role of the US in the Overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy), Countless were the precious endeavors he dedicated his life to.
An international leader, he traveled throughout Moana Nui, stood side by side and was honored by leaders of the people such as Titewhai and Hone Harawira of Aotearoa and Oscar Temaru of Tahiti.
Educated and articulate, he spoke for the rights of all Indigenous people. Irreverent and hilarious, he wielded his malo like an ironic sword, mooning leaders of occupying nations throughout the world.
His staunch and unyielding belief in the historic right of Kānaka Maoli to independence and sovereignty made him loved by many, disagreed with by some, but respected by all.
“Welo kīhei a ke Aʻeloa”
Cloak fluttering in the Aʻeloa wind
Cherished by his ʻohana, Papa Kīhei is survived by children Kalaʻiokamalino-named after Tūtū Nui of Niʻihau, Kalamaokaʻāina-upholding the Kalama Valley struggle; Alohaʻāina Harawira, honoring Māori support of the Kahoʻolawe struggle; Kekahikoa, the first Warrior, and Kealiʻikauila-in honor of kūpuna who have come to pass. Grandsons, Iakona Welokīheiakeaʻeloa, Kapunaheleokapuʻuwai, Welokīheiakeʻaloa and granddaughter, Keaolani. Brothers, David Niheu and Luther “Hoppy” Niheu; and sister, Karen Gomes.
Please join us to honor this Kanaka Nui at noon January 5th at ʻIolani Palace, by the Ahu. Meaʻai for the ʻAha‘aina and traditional maoli attire is welcomed. Protocol will begin at noon followed by an overnight vigil till noon on January 6th.
Kanu (laying to rest) will be hosted at his ‘āina on Hawaiʻi Island, at his hale in Waimea, date to be announced.
“Ka whawhai tonu mātou, āke, ake, ake!”
We will continue the struggle, forever and ever and ever!