Seems like "Who is the one to pay the tip" should be the translation, because unless I had studied these comments I would have been flummoxed trying to figure out where the future tense markers were (was trying to figure out if "ka mea" had anything to do with it.) So MAHALO for this explanation.
(PLUS - also helps to figure that "ka mea" may be used elsewhere to refer to "the one" meaning a person...correct?)
(Literally, this would be "Who is the person to pay the tip? or Who is the one to pay the tip?" ) = Who will pay the tip?
Translations can never be an exact match from one language to another. but "ka mea" is necessary.
EA = [PE] 1 n Thing, person, matter, stuff, object. Cf. mea ʻole, what 3. Ka mea e loaʻa ana, whatever is gotten, found; anything. ʻO wai ka mea e ʻaʻa e haʻi ʻōlelo? Who will volunteer to make a speech? Hāʻawi mai i ka mea keʻokeʻo, give me the white one. Nā mea āu i noi mai, whatever you asked. He aha ia mea? What difference does it make? Ka mea hea? Which one? Which? Which person? Nā mea ʻelua, two things, both. Nā mea like ʻole, varied things, miscellaneous. [PPN meʻa] (link) https://manomano.io/definition/24976
Is the pronunciation of < ʻO wai > in this question a regional difference?
My kumu at RHC pronounced < ʻO wai > so that it sounded more like (and I'll just use some English words here)
< Oh vie > while this recording sounds to me like < Oh wee >.
My kumu is from Nanakuli, a graduate of Kamehameha on Oʻahu, and is Cultural Director at Royal Hawaiian Center. I am really curious about regional dialects, so that's the reason for my question.
Also, a bit off topic, but related to pronunciation: I've noticed in the past year that local musicians here in Waikīkī have begun pronouncing more T sounds in mele. Example: < ka puana > is now sounding like < ta puana >. Can anyone share any insight?