Hawaiian Culture

Hawaiian culture stories from Molokai

Molokai Crewmembers Join Hokule`a Voyage

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Molokai Crewmembers Join Hokule`a Voyage

Three Molokai residents have departed on a journey to follow the path of their ancestors across oceans and change the way the world views our environment. Last week, Mel Paoa, Mahina Hou Ross and Keoki Pescaia left for American Samoa to join Hawaiian double-hulled voyaging canoes Hokule`a and Hikianalia as they set sail for the northwestern tip of Aotearoa (New Zealand).

“The Molokai community fully supports these crewmembers as Hokule`a represents all of us, coming together to protect the places, values, and traditions that we love,” said Paoa, Molokai’s first voyaging captain for Hokule`a.

This week, they are sailing to Vava`u in Tonga, about 320 miles from Pago Pago Harbor in American Samoa, where they waited for favorable weather to depart on the first portion of the trip to Aotearoa.…

Molokai Revives Kulaia in Kaunakakai Town

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Molokai Revives Kulaia in Kaunakakai Town

Community Contributed

By Lori-Lei Rawlins-Crivello

The Kulaia festival two weeks ago revived a historic tradition of aloha surrounding the annual canoe races during which paddlers and community would gather together. Pictured here, Hawaiian immersion students participated in the celebration that closed Kaunakakai’s main street for the festivities. This coming weekend, the spirit of Kulaia will be carried forward during the Festivals of Aloha events and Sunday’s Molokai Hoe canoe race. Photo courtesy of Lori-Lei Rawlins-Crivello

Historical records dating back to 1865 note Hawaiian outrigger canoe race competitions as one of the many events our kupuna took part in during annual la kulaia, days of festivities honoring the Kingdom of Hawaii and especially honoring our beloved monarchy. …

Uniting for the Race

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Amid a sea of mingling visiting paddlers and residents, hula performances, vendor booths and ono food, Friday evening’s Kulaia festival brought the connection between the community, paddlers and Na Wahine O Ke Kai race back to Molokai.

Organized by Molokai Canoe Festivals Committee, the ho`olaulea welcomed paddlers coming to the island for Sunday’s race, as well as paid tribute to the Molokai crewmembers on the three-year Worldwide Hokule`a Voyage. The event was held in front of the Molokai Public Library with vendors and booths lining the street that was blocked off for the occasion.

Penny Martin, Molokai paddler and crewmember on the first Hokule`a voyage, introduced the three Molokai voyagers participating in the vessel’s Worldwide Voyage.…

Perpetuating Taro

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Perpetuating Taro

Photos by Catherine Cluett.

Dripping with sweat and covered in a layer of red Molokai dirt, attendees of last Saturday’s Taro Field Day still had smiles on their faces as they emerged from chest-high, heart-shaped leaves with arms full of taro plants they had harvested.

The annual event at the Molokai Applied Research and Demonstration Farm at UH Maui Community College Farm in Ho`olehua offers community members a chance to learn about the history, culture and preservation of taro through presentations, as well as taste test poi and kulolo made from various types of taro. Attendees can then venture into the field after receiving a labelled map to select and harvest plants of their favorite varieties.…

Join Discussions of the 2026 Strategic Plan for Kanaloa Kaho`olawe on Tuesday

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

I Ola Kanaloa News Release

I Ola Kanaloa! Life to Kanaloa! Community gatherings are being organized throughout the islands to premier a new film about the island of Kanaloa Kaho’olawe and launch discussions about the Draft 2026 Strategic Plan for Kanaloa called “I Ola Kanaloa!”

The 30-minute film about the island of Kanaloa Kaho’olawe is part of and eight part series called Standing On Sacred Ground by filmmaker Toby McLeod. The overall series tells eight distinct stories from the viewpoints of diverse indigenous communities — stories that evoke ancient and contemporary spiritual connections to earth, while exploring how the health of our global environment can be sustained through respectful understanding of the sacred lands and traditions of these native peoples.…

Na Wahine O Ke Kai 2014

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Na Wahine O Ke Kai 2014

Photo by Laura Pilz.


With flat water and a clear sky above, Waikiki Beachboys Canoe Club wahine paddlers placed first out of 61 crews at the 36th annual Na Wahine O Ke Kai race last Sunday morning. Paddling 42 miles across the Ka`iwi Channel from Molokai to Oahu with top teams from around the world, Waikiki Beachboys crossed the channel in 5 hours 29 minutes 12 seconds.

Alanna Bender, a paddler for Waikiki Beachboys, said her team trains in flat water and expected light trade winds during the race. She said these conditions are better than heavy winds and high surf that can cause the canoe to spin out or flip over.…

Channeling a United Community

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Molokai’s gearing up for Na Wahine O Ke Kai and Molokai Hoe, the annual women’s and men’s canoe races from Molokai to Oahu, with the goals of celebrating the events and bringing the community together.

Kulaia, a ho`olaulea on Sept. 19 organized by Molokai Canoe Festivals Committee, will welcome paddlers coming to the island for Na Wahine O Ke Kai and pays tribute to the Molokai crewmembers on the three-year Worldwide Hokule`a Voyage. The festival will be held in front of the Molokai Public Library and aims to support Molokai’s economy and businesses with various vendors and booths lining the street, said event coordinator Lori-Lei Rawlins-Crivello.…

Film Explores Community-Based Resource Management

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Film Explores Community-Based Resource Management

Pacific Islanders in Communication News Release


The half hour documentary film “Fishing Pono: Living In Harmony With The Sea” tells the story of declining fisheries and how some Native Hawaiian communities are using traditional conservation practices to restore their fishing grounds.


Featuring lifelong fisherman Kelson “Mac” Poepoe, narrated by Kauai native Mauna Kea Trask, and directed by award winning helmer Mary Lambert, “Fishing Pono”follows Trask as he travels to Molokai to meet Poepoe and learn how his community based conservation program succeeded.


Poepoe’s fishing conservation program on Molokai, based on historical practices, is an inspiring story of how one community turned the tide on a seemingly doomed resource.…

Capitol Hill Gets a Taste of Molokai

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

While this week, Molokai celebrates food in the Dispatch “Taste of Molokai” issue, last week, food from Hawaii was celebrated in Washington D.C.’s Capitol Hill – and Molokai was represented. Pacific Hawaii, a gourmet sea salt company on Molokai founded by Salt Master Nancy Gove, was invited to the first-ever event.

Called “Hawaii on the Hill,” the special Taste of Hawaii event highlighting Hawaii-made or grown products in the nation’s capital was the first of its kind this year. Washington, D.C. often hosts states to highlight their products, and on July 23, Hawaii was showcased for the first time. An invitation-only open house for Congressional members of friends of the State of Hawaii, the event was attended by over 500 VIPs.…

Lei in Remembrance

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Lei in Remembrance

Photo by Laura Pilz.

With colorful lei draped carefully over each arm, volunteers set out across the gently sloping Papaloa cemetery in Kalaupapa last week with the goal of honoring and remembering each and every kupuna buried on the peninsula.

Pausing briefly at each marker to lay a hand or say a quiet prayer, the group quietly made their way through the acres of headstones, lovingly leaving a lei at each one.

The Makanalua peninsula, commonly known as Kalaupapa, serves as the final resting place for thousands of Hansen’s disease patients who were once banished there.

After more than a century of being exiled to the peninsula, patients were given the freedom to leave Kalaupapa on June 30, 1969, when Hawaii Revised Statute 326 lifted the ban on their isolation.…