Hawaiian Culture

Hawaiian culture stories from Molokai

`Aha Ho`okuku `Olelo

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Hui Hoʻola ʻOlelo News Release

Welina e ko Molokai, e na makamaka o ia `aina momona nei.

In celebration of Mahina Aloha `Olelo (Hawaiian Language Month), February, we will be hosting our first `Aha Ho`okuku `Olelo (Hawaiian Language Competition) on Molokai. This event will be held on Friday, Feb. 28 at Kulana `Oiwi Halau. It is open to all levels of Hawaiian Language speakers. There will be two categories: Ho`opa`ana`au (Memorized Verse) and Uluwale (Impromptu). You may choose to enter in just one category or both. Levels will be separated by grades for youth and by skill for adult entries.

Our theme, “He ali`i ka `aina, he kauwa ke kanaka,” honors our ali`i as well as our `aina of Molokai.…

Pulling Weeds in Halawa

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Pulling Weeds in Halawa

Community Contributed

By Shawn and Melissa Bryson

This is a story told from one gardener to another, when someone offers to pull weeds, you let ‘em.  As a ha`ole and a mainlander, I come to Molokai with my wife to be changed by the island, not to change the island.  Molokai isn’t just the navel of Hawaii or the former bread basket of the islands; it is also the kumu island, an island of sacred teachings.  We are thankful those teachings are sacred and not secret. We want to thank so many different folks for the aloha they have shared with us. …

I Mua Makahiki

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

I Mua Makahiki

Thousands gathered from Molokai and around the state to perpetuate the traditional season of peace and harvest and test their strength and athletic prowess in Ka Molokai Makahiki. In its 33rd year of revival after observation of the ancient season had dwindled around Hawaii, the three-day event drew record numbers to celebrate both the meaning behind the event and its friendly competition.

“People say, ‘if you want to see the original, go to Molokai,’” said Walter Ritte, one of the event’s organizers. “We’ve kept it low key so it has the cultural essence to it… the feel and spirit of Makahiki is strongest here.”

Onlookers crowded close, cheering as their favorite teams competed in such events as uma (arm wrestling), kukini (running races), ulu maika (Hawaiian bowling) and others.…

Blessing of a New Canoe

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Blessing of a New Canoe

Photo by Catherine Cluett

Members and friends of Molokai’s Wa`akapaemua Canoe Club gathered last week to celebrate the blessing of a new canoe. Made by Tiger Canoes on Hawaii Island, the six-man vessel is designed for open ocean and built to be light and maneuverable, representing the latest advances in the traditional sport. Wa`akapaemua members say the canoe is an exciting step forward for the club, whose paddlers have a history of top finishes in state and channel races.

The canoe was christened “`Ukiukiu,” a name that refers to one of Molokai’s winds.

“Since this was a racing canoe, an appropriate name should reflect movement, speed, or reflect winning or something of that nature,” said club board members, via email, referring to consultations with fluent Hawaiian language speakers and cultural practitioners about the canoe’s name.…

Molokai’s Oldest Banyans

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Molokai’s Oldest Banyans

1946 Real Photo postcard featuring the Kaunakakai banyan tree at the Seaside Inn. Photo courtesy of Arleone Dibben-Young

Community Contributed

By Arleone Dibben-Young

Molokai’s first banyan tree was given as a gift from Rev. William C. Love to Mrs. Sophie B. Cooke in 1908 and planted at the Molokai Ranch assistant manager’s house at Kualapu`u where the family had moved when her husband George P. Cooke began employment as bookkeeper and assistant manager of the American Sugar Company and its subsidiary the Molokai Ranch.  Later that year a young tree propagated from this banyan was planted at the shoreline of the Kaunakakai assistant manager’s house.…

Stones with Stories

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Stones with Stories

Archeologist tells Molokai’s history through rocks

On the windy, rocky coastline of northwestern Molokai, Dr. Marshall Weisler picked up a stone. But it wasn’t just any rock; this stone, like many in the Molokai Land Trust’s Mokio Preserve, has a story.

Weisler is an archeologist and professor at Australia’s University of Queensland. He’s no stranger to Molokai — he’s been coming here at least once a year for the past 35 years to study the island’s many historic sites and piece together a picture of how ancient Hawaiians lived.

Dr. Marshall Weisler led a group tour of the archeological sites of Mokio Preserve.…

“The Legend of Ko`olau”

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

“The Legend of Ko`olau”

Performance brings history to life

Photo by Jessica Ahles

The stage was set and the lights dimmed at Kulana `Oiwi Halau as a piece of Hawaiian history came to life last Tuesday night. Brought to Molokai by the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, the performance, called “The Legend of Ko`olau” written by Gary Kubota, is based on the true story of Ko`olau, a man who evaded being exiled to Kalawao after he and his son caught Hansen’s Disease.

“It’s a compelling story and I think it needed to be told,” said Kubota, who is also a reporter for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.…

Planting Seeds for the Future

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

Before Western contact, Native Hawaiians were able to feed a population of one million while following a sustainable way of life, according to the documentary, “Na Kupu Mana`olana — Seeds of Hope.” But in the last 50 years alone, half of Hawaiian farmland has been developed and today, 85 percent of the state’s food is imported.

“We are currently in a crisis,” said Robert Harris, director of Sierra Club Hawaii, in the documentary.

The film, produced by The Hawaii Rural Development Council (HRDC), premiered on Molokai at Kalaniana`ole Hall Saturday night. It highlighted the state’s agricultural evolution and the unsustainable challenges we’re currently facing as a community.…

Ropin’ in the Rain

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Ropin’ in the Rain

Eighty-five teams were narrowed down to eight in the third and final round of #11 roping at the first day of events of the Molokai Stampede 2013. Photo by Jessica Ahles

Competition got a little dirty during the first day of the eighth annual Molokai Stampede at Kapualei Ranch. Squinting through pouring rain, gripping slippery ropes as their horses sent mud flying across the arena, cowboys toughed it out through stormy conditions last Saturday. Eighty-five teams were narrowed down to eight by the final round of stiff competition in the # 11 team roping events, while the afternoon’s keiki and barrel events were postponed from the downpour.…

“Na Kupu Mana`olana — Seeds of Hope” Premier on Molokai

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

By Jamie Ronzello, MOM Hui

It has been estimated that Hawaii currently imports 85 percent of their food.  However, if we were to look at the history of the Hawaiian Islands, it was not that long ago that the Hawaiian people produced enough food to support a population of one million. Yet today, with the rising costs of shipping foods and the resurgence in the community to return to land, is there hope that Hawaii can feed itself once again?

Come see the acclaimed documentary “Na Kupu Mana`olana — Seeds of Hope” that chronicles the history and current challenges of agriculture in Hawaii today.…