Stories about Molokai’s rich cultural history.

“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.…

Veterans Day

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Veterans Day

Photo by Catherine Cluett

Molokai veterans held their heads and flags high as their marched through town on Veterans Day last Monday. Concluding their steps at the Veterans Memorial, the group honored each other and all those who have served and sacrificed for their country.

Originally called Armistice Day, President Wilson declared Nov. 11, 1919 — one year after the cessation of hostilities of World War I — as a day to commemorate the “war to end all wars” and honor its veterans, according to Molokai Veterans Caring for Veterans Commander David Hafermann. Now, Veterans Day is the day the county recognizes all living veterans who have served in all wars.…

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.…

Diving to the Depths of Safety

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Diving to the Depths of Safety

Molokai Divers participated in safety training offered by Freediving instructors Internationals. Photo by Catherine Cluett

Martin Stepanek can dive more than 400 feet on a single breath of air. He’s set 13 freediving world records and knows more than anyone how dangerous the sport can be. But with the proper safety education, he said freediving has minimal risks — and with the goal of sharing that knowledge, he’s become a pioneer in modern freediving education. Last month, Stepanek visited Molokai to offer a series of safety courses free of charge to local divers.

Having been raised in Czech Republic, a country without ocean access, didn’t dampen Stepanek’s passion for diving, and when he was 20 years old, he relocated to the U.S.…

“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

Iokona, age 9, peaks out from kalo at the Taro Variety Field Day last Saturday. Photo by Catherine Cluett

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.…