“Wonderful World” lyric explained – The Official Site of Israel IZ Kamakawiwo`ole

“Wonderful World” lyric explained

IZ’s fans span the world, and many may be unfamiliar with some of the Hawaiian words used in some of his songs.  We wanted to share this email from a fan, asking about a particular lyric in the song “What a Wonderful World“, and Jon de Mello’s explanation.

Hi, I’ve been spending all day today hunting the www searching for an answer to this question.  In the song “What a Wonderful World” on the album of the same name, Iz talks for a bit, and mentions a Hawaiian word which he translates; in the segment as best as I can hear/tell, he says, “Everybody is going to see for yourselves, [insert Hawaiian word(s)], it’s kinda like ‘automatic plan’ – you don’t need to talk about it…”

Can you please tell me what this word is and if I’m translating it correctly?

Jon’s reply:

The two words that you needed translated, “kuleana” which has multiple meanings, in the old Hawaiian days it meant “land divisions” and can also represent your space or spirituality.  The next word is “pono” and that means “to make correct”/”to make good”.  So in essence, what Israel was saying is to get your life in order, or your space in order; make it “pono”, make it good.


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