“Wonderful World” lyric explained

Posted on 03. Aug, 2011 by in IZ

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, , 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.

4 Responses to ““Wonderful World” lyric explained”

  1. Maria White
    6 August 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    I have fallen in love with your music and will be going to Hawaii next September 2012 and wish to catch you in concert. We love Hawaii and the Hawaiian people. Are you ever in Floida? Where can I get a list of your schedule of up coming concerts?

  2. Erika Pitts
    16 March 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    No words can every express not every knowing this man and by accident clicking on you tube to listening to “It’s a Wonderful World” in a different way. I know he is gone but not gone if that makes sense . . . Anyone that can touch your heart and soul and give you comfort and peace in the world we live in today is never really gone. We just no longer can feel touch or hug them but they are still here.

  3. laura
    6 November 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    i what the song what a wonderful world

  4. Eddie Freeman - Ekie Palaman'a
    10 January 2013 at 11:26 am #

    Bruddah IZ has touched my life, each beautiful song has meaning and “mana” – IZ may not be here in person but his spirit lives on in his music and ohana around the world, share the name and music of Israel IZ Kamakawiwo’ole – IZ LIVES!