I was born and raised in Southern California, but both my parents are from the island of Kaua’i. As a child, I spent many summers on Kaua’i spending time with my grandparents and family. I moved to Maui in 1993 and met my beautiful wife two years later while performing at a lu’au. In June 2007, we celebrated our 10 year anniversary by treating ourselves to a week in Moorea, Tahiti. We currently live in Lahaina with our 2 children. Along with performing weddings, I work as a chanter for Tahu Productions at the Wailele lu’au. I am of Hawaiian/Portuguese heritage and both my wife and I have been in the Hawaiian entertainment industry for over 25 years. This is our passion.
O ke’ia mea nui I ho’opili e ke akua hiki ‘ole ke’oki e ke kanaka
“What God has joined together, let no man separate”
What does Opihis mean to Keli’i?
It is Hawaiian belief that we all have a family guardian or “aumakua” who looks after us and keeps us safe. Some common forms of aumakua are the Honu (turtle), Mano (shark) or Pu’eo (owl).
My aumakua is the Opihi. Opihi are quarter to half-dollar sized, umbrella shaped “limpets” that grow on the rocks and are considered a delicacy here in Hawai’i. They are found on or below the tide line in the splash zone and often between boulders. To obtain or “pound” opihi is as difficult as it is dangerous. You almost have to sneak up on the opihi to get it off of the rocks. And while you are trying to get it off of the rocks you MUST keep an eye on the incoming waves or risk being slammed down onto the rocks, OUCH!! Commonly, we use a butter knife or flat-head screwdriver to pry it from the rocks. If you are too slow, the opihi will cling on the rocks as soon as you touch it and is very difficult to pry it off. Mo better to just move on!
I use “Opihi” because this is how I refer to my ohana (family). We are very close and have an unbreakable bond and depend on each other, much like the opihi does with the rock. As I said before, when the opihi becomes “disturbed” it clings to the rock and becomes almost impossible to pry off. It depends on the rock and they become one. This relationship is symbolic of the bond that the two of you will share on your special day and for days to come.