Hawaiian Culture

Hawaiian culture stories from Molokai

A Legacy of Language

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

A Legacy of Language

Napua Bicoy, age 9, recites a memorized verse in `Olelo Hawaii. Photos by Jessica Ahles

As a child, Kilia Purdy-Avelino remembers often listening to her grandfather carrying on effortless conversation with uncles and friends in `Olelo Hawaii, or the Hawaiian language. He was a manaleo, or grew up with Hawaiian as his first language, she said, and although he never passed down the gift to his family, it was always part of her life.

“He was my inspiration to get into Hawaiian language at all,” said Purdy-Avelino. “I made it my goal in life to learn the language and to be able to converse with him.”

However, only two years into her `olelo studies, her grandfather passed away, and in the course of earning her Masters degree in indigenous and culture education at University of Hawaii-Hilo, her goals included a larger mission.…

Molokai Farm Wins in Ag Contest

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Kamehameha Schools News Release

In an effort to increase Hawaii’s food production and help decrease dependency on imported foods, Kamehameha Schools and Ke Ali`i Pauahi Foundation teamed up to create an agricultural business plan contest. The first Mahi`ai Match-Up hoped to attract experienced farmers with innovative ideas to grow food on vacant agricultural lands owned by Kamehameha Schools. The opportunity attracted 148 local farmers.

The organizations just announced the first, second and third place winners of the contest, and Molokai’s Mapulehu Farms placed third. Winning teams receive an agricultural lease from Kamehameha Schools with up to five years of waived rent and money from Ke Ali`i Pauahi Foundation.…

Hula Under the Banyan

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Hula Under the Banyan

Photos by Jessica Ahles

Through a swish of hips, gestures of graceful hands, shake of the `uli `uli and toss of flaming torches, attendees of Moana’s Hula Halau’s annual dinner show were treated to a journey of the elements and senses through hula and Polynesian arts. After the evening of first-class live music and entertainment, the full house of guests offered a standing ovation Saturday at the Molokai Community Health Center. Featuring Tahitian, traditional and modern dances, as well as special guests from Maui with fire and haka performances under the canopy of the banyan tree, the show was both impressive and emotional for many.…

New Permit Process for Fishpond Restoration

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

DLNR News Release

Navigating a complicated and time-consuming regulatory path for restoration of traditional fishpond systems in Hawaii should soon become more efficient and manageable, thanks to a proposed statewide programmatic general permit process. Statewide public hearings on this proposed process are being held to gather input. The Molokai hearing will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at Kulana `Oiwi Halau from 6 to 8 p.m.

Known as Ho`ala Loko I`a, this consolidated process is intended to provide cultural practitioners with a single application and permit, processed by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands (OCCL).…

`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.…