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The Finding of the Name of Backside Special Teri Sauce

My name is Samuel Namakaeha, also, known as Kamuela. I am from the North Shore of Molokai known as Pelekunu. I moved to Pelekunu in 1978. I used to live on the South side of Molokai, a place called Mapulehu, which in Mana’e. Mana’e stands for the east side of the island. My mom was looking for a place to school her children in the Hawaiian practices and culture with the Western education she grew up with, the Kupuna’s teachings.

Pelekunu Bay, Molokai

My mom and her family would go to the North Shore of Moloka’I during the summertime when the ocean was calm and not rough. They would go to a place called Wailau which means “many rivers meet”. If the ocean was “malia”, calm, they motor down to Pelekunu district where Keawanui is and where my home is located. Keawanui means “safe and calm”.

Looking mauka (towards the mountain) with Keawanui Bay in the background, my mom had thought in her mind that this would be a wonderful place to live and raise her family. She said to Micheal, her husband, “We need to find out who owns this piece of property.” My mom went to the tax office and found out a couple from Maui owned that property. She wrote to them asking if they would lease or sell their property in Pelekunu. She told them that she wanted to live off the land, be self-sufficient, and raise her children to learn about their Hawaiian heritage and take the best of both cultures, Hawaiian and Western values and apply them to every day survival.

They responded by giving their property in Pelekunu to my mom free of cost, gratis. Special thanks to Greg and Masako Wescott of Maui. My mom is very grateful. Then my step-dad was building a 47 footer sailboat, a Louisana scow. He finished the sailboat, packed all our belongings (ukana), loaded them abroad the ship, took us out of public school, and sailed to the North Shore of Moloka’I, and built a beautiful home.

My brothers and I would go hunting every week for 10 years and shoot wild pigs and deer and make our own Teri sauce. Living on the backside of the island made us different from the other people. Living self-sufficiently made it very special. We would go to town to check our mail, once every three months. People would think of us as crazy people. Most of the time, we would travel to town to go to the dentist, pay bills, or stop for household needs. It was easy being raised with my family being isolated. We would have friends and other family members that visit us during the summertime. No one could visit during the winter months, November to April, due to rough seas, high surfs, and gusty winds with heavy rainfall.

It took us 25 years to get this Teri sauce right. The name of the sauce is called Backside Special.  When I would go visit the other side of the island, people we knew would say to you, “Oh look! It’s the Backside Boys!” “Special” comes from how we lived, who we were, and what we stood for. Our living in a beautiful remote (no roads) location in Hawaii – that you have to hike, travel by boat, or fly by helicopter – makes it even more special. There’s no other family Hawaii living remote like my family and I.

That’s where I came up with the name in Pelekunu, the  ahupua’a I lived in. The “Backside” means I live in the North Shore of the island. “Special” means the mana, power, that comes from the aina, the land, and that is special.

“Alright!  Molokai taste betta!”

 

 

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