Hawaiian Culture

Hawaiian culture stories from Molokai

Molokai’s Own Named Statewide Educator of the Year

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Molokai’s Own Named Statewide Educator of the Year

Every day, Molokai teachers nurture our students in the classroom, spend hours of their own time preparing lessons and assisting youth in afterschool programs, and carry the weight of ensuring the success of the future generation. One Molokai educator was recognized in particular this year for doing it all with grace, and going above and beyond her job description. Molokai Middle School (MMS) Hawaiian Language Immersion teacher `Iolani Kuoha received the Hawaii Association of Middle Schools Educator of the Year award last weekend – and she said she accepted the honor on behalf of her fellow teachers.

“I represent not only myself but all the teachers,” she said.…

Healing of an Island

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

For 50 years beginning during World War II, the island of Kaho`olawe was rocked by bombs, dropped by the U.S. military for naval training. Hawaii residents recall hearing the explosions and feeling the ground shake as missiles left gouges in the earth. Now, after decades of protest efforts, cultural reconnection and environmental restoration, a process of healing is continuing as a strategic plan is being developed to guide Kaho`olawe’s future.

Once a spiritual and cultural center for Native Hawaiians, trespassing on Kaho`olawe was prohibited for half a century. In the early 1970s, people began questioning those laws, and in 1976, the Protect Kaho`olawe `Ohana (PKO) formed and filed a suit in federal court to stop the bombing.…

Molokai Finishes Strong in Ka`iwi Channel

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Molokai Finishes Strong in Ka`iwi Channel

Back row: Titus Castor, Troy Heen, Lohiao Paoa, John Russell Phifer, Kamakou Mariano, Chad Lima. Front row: Kawai Spencer, Bozo Dudoit, Kamoana Spencer. Not pictured, Brandon Kansana. Photo by Catherine Cluett.

Before the 62nd Molokai Hoe, Bozo Dudoit, coach and steersman of Molokai’s Wa`akapaemua Canoe Club open men’s crew, laid out two main objectives for his team.

“My goal is to be in the top ten 10 of the local finishers and top 20 overall,” said Dudoit, a Molokai Hoe veteran who has been competing in paddling’s premier event for 24 years now.

Wa`akapaemua, the host island’s only team in the race, check-marked both goals on Sunday.…

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.…