History

Stories about Molokai’s rich cultural history.

“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.…

Legend of Ko`olau Free Performance

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

MACC News Release

Molokai residents will get a unique view into a facet of Hawaii history on Monday, Nov. 11with a free performance of “The Legend of Ko`olau.” The play by local author Gary T. Kubota is being offered on island by the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC).

“The Legend Of Ko`olau”  is a one-man play, acted by Ed Ka`ahea and directed by Keo Woolford, telling the story of a Hawaiian man who became an “outlaw” while  trying to protect his family’s right to live on the land in Kauai after the loss of Hawaiian sovereignty in 1893.  The enforcement of leprosy laws at that time would have consigned  Kaluaiko`olau and his son to the “Living Grave” settlement at Kalaupapa, but Ko`olau’s wife  Pi`ilani was resolved  to keep the family together.…

Celebrating Kalo

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Celebrating Kalo

In the ancient days of Hawaii, each of the islands’ estimated 500,000 people would eat one seven- to nine-pound kalo plant per day, according to Alton Arakaki, a Molokai extension agent with the University of Hawaii College Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR.) Ancient Hawaiians carefully selected more than 300 kalo varieties to ensure food security and successful growth in many environments. Today, only about 70 of those varieties still exist — and without vigilant cultivation, that number may dwindle.

Last weekend, Molokai residents got the opportunity to select among more than 50 kalo varieties to grow in their own gardens, helping to carry on a tradition that can yield health, cultural understanding and economic benefits.…

Defending the Departed

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

More than 20 years ago, the state approved the creation of island burial councils, to give Native Hawaiians a voice to protect their iwi kupuna, or ancestral remains, after plans to build a Maui Ritz Carlton at Honokahua had uprooted 1,100 unmarked graves.

“There is a connection between our [kupuna] and us. We’re not who we are without them.” said Opu`ulani Albino, a past Molokai burial council member. “You should never, ever have iwi [bones] in the sun. That’s the highest desecration you can do to iwi in our culture.”

Each island has a council made up of community members and land developers who decide whether remains found on a development site must be preserved in place or relocated.…

Local Filmmaker Receives Worldwide Support

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Local Filmmaker Receives Worldwide Support

Last month, Molokai filmmaker Matt Yamashita set a lofty goal: he wanted to raise $22,000 to fund the completion of a new documentary he calls “the most exciting project I’ve worked on.” The film, called “Return to Halawa,” is about Halawa Valley and the life of Anakala Pilipo Solatorio, one of the last Hawaiians born, raised and still living in the east Molokai valley.

As of Sunday night, 150 backers from around the world had pledged $21,831 to the project on Kickstarter.com, a website that’s been coined the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. Funding on Kickstarter is all or nothing — project creators set a goal amount and deadline, and if the goal isn’t reached, they don’t receive any of the money pledged by backers.…

Rising from the Rocks

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Rising from the Rocks

Native plants making a comeback

Editorial by Catherine Cluett

We’re bumping along a rocky track, ascending steeply through a landscape some would call lunar. Ahead of us is mostly gray—Kawela’s barren, stony slopes and gulches, topped by a thin line of green where the mountaintops meet the sky. But I can’t help turning in my seat of our all-terrain vehicle toward the view behind us—each bump expands a breathtaking panorama of Maui to the east, Lanai’s slender back, the turquoise fingers of Molokai’s south shore reef, and the slopes of Pu`u Nana to Molokai’s west.

In the years before European contact in the 19th century, these mountainsides were covered in lowland forests, according to historic records.…

Hawaii’s Golden Age of Orchids

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

Hawaii’s Golden Age of Orchids

Community Contributed

By Glenn I. Teves, UH County Extension Agent

The first orchids made their way to Hawaii around the mid-1800s via Asia, and by the end of the 19th century, wealthy individuals and even Hawaiian royalty maintained orchid collections. Soon, the average Hawaii resident learned they could grow orchids without effort in the perfect climate.

In late 1945, members of the 442nd Infantry returned home from Europe as decorated heroes, and these Nisei or first generation Hawaii-born of Japanese ancestry took up the growing of orchids as a hobby. Many were self-taught, and took orchid production to another level as they learned new technology.…

Safeguarding Kalaupapa’s Past

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Safeguarding Kalaupapa’s Past

The Kalaupapa peninsula’s long history of isolation makes it one of the most pristine cultural resources left in Hawaii, according to the National Park Service (NPS). Its 10,700-acre authorized park boundary keeps the landscape raw and untouchable from modern land developers but its overgrowth of invasive vegetation threatens to eat away the traces of ancient Hawaiian residents 1,000 years ago.

Though Kalaupapa is most commonly known for its Hansen’s disease residents that were exiled there in 1866 and the geographic and societal segregation that took place over 100 years, the peninsula hosted a dense Hawaiian population nearly 900 years prior. Their residency left a diverse wealth of sites, features and artifacts that researchers can use to reconstruct the past.…

Brother Dutton Statue Installed

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Brother Dutton Statue Installed

Molokai Catholic parishioners got to see the face of a new statue of Brother Joseph Dutton for the first time when it arrived on the island from China last Thursday. The statue of the Civil War veteran who worked for 45 years in Kalaupapa with St. Damien depicts him in his youth wearing his Union uniform. There is a growing movement to promote Dutton to sainthood alongside Damien and Marianne Cope, and the statue may be one starting point for that process, said Molokai’s Father Bill Petrie of St. Damian Catholic Parish.

The statue was donated to Molokai by Oahu benefactor John Perreira, who worked with local residents, including the late parishioner Larry Helm, former commander of the Molokai Veterans Caring for Veterans, to design the statue.…

Family Comes Full Circle on Molokai

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Family Comes Full Circle on Molokai

Molokai has played a large role in what the Haase family believes is fate. In the fall of 1992, Ineke Bylsma and her friend Elizabeth Peters — two young travelers from Holland — were visiting Molokai as one stop of an around-the-globe tour. They ended up camping at Papohaku Beach for a few months, hitching rides to Kaunakakai to buy food.

An article about the two was even printed in the Nov. 12, 1992 issue of The Molokai Dispatch, titled “What Are Two Ladies Like You Doing in a Paradise Like This?”

They decided on Molokai as their Hawaiian stop because “we were told that Molokai was the most Hawaiian of all the islands and that we would find Hawaiian ‘culture’ on Molokai,” according to the Dispatch article.…