Author Archives: Fiona White

Celebrating Helm and Mitchell

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

Remembering icons of the Hawaiian renaissance

With that in mind, numerous members of the Helm family descended on the stage to play music and sing together until pau. Although George Helm won many posthumous awards for his leadership and his music, these were not mentioned during the evening. As Molokai well knows, Helm’s greatest achievement was bringing people together.

Reviving Hawaii’s `Aha Moku

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

A new bill proposes to manage local resources the old fashioned way

Reviving the practice and idea regional stewardship with which Hawaiians once managed their island resources has recently come one step closer to reality.   

On Friday, March 9, a bill to create `Aha Moku councils and to create an integrated system of natural resources management has passed its first hearing in the Hawaiian State Senate.  With origins on Molokai, the only non-private island with a population that is over 50% Native Hawaiian, the bill involved collaboration from kupuna (wise elders) of each island.

The bill would establish a Commission to assist in the formation of regional `aha moku councils, which would advise on all matters regarding the management of the state's natural resources.  It would require the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to seek advisory assistance from the `aha Moku Councils in developing a comprehensive set of practices to utilize, balance and sustain the resources of Hawaii.

Crisisline Molokai: Immediate Response to Sexual Assault: Launches Monday, March 12

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

Call 1-866-553-5997

There is a hidden crime which is present within all communities but which often remains undetected. It is stigmatized, a taboo subject which feeds on shame and vulnerability, often happening inside the family home. But strong communities can talk about sexual abuse and Molokai is confronting it head on as Maui County Area Health Education Center (AHEC) launches its new, on-island crisis response system.

Crisisline Molokai is a free and confidential phoneline for victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault. Run by and for people of Molokai, it is the single number to call when an incident has taken place and has drop-in offices in downtown Kaunakakai. Treatment services from Molokai Community Health Center can be provided and medical insurance is not necessary.

Hauoli La Hanau e Keli`i… and Many More!

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

Many smiling faces from all over the island surrounded Keli`i Mawae as he celebrated his annual 71st birthday. When asked how old their unofficial Mayor is, well wishers from all over the island gave a collective shrug and took careful note that the party was set for the same time next year.

Through his music, the party celebrated an inspirational leader of diverse talents: farmer, fisherman, hunter and teacher. The event was sponsored by Lonomusic and Monkeypod and a beautiful birthday cake was made by Kanemitsu Bakery, complete with palm trees, hula dancers and a slack key guitar design.

Uncle Keli`i partied in a jam session of traditional Hawaiian music, accompanied by close friends Norman De Costa and Lono. Soon after settling into some of Molokai’s favorite tunes, Keli`i spotted bass players Doug and Roger in the crowd and urged them to join the group. A sedate but blissful mood gripped the crowd, who were entertained by hula dancing from inspired guests Kim and Richard Markham , Hoku De Costa and Tiana Conley.

Lono, Keli`i’s friend of over 35 years, said that he had organized the party to honor someone whom he had always looked up to. Studying together as Farmers of Molokai High School, their friendship was cemented when Keli`i did not object to repeatedly losing his home-made lunches to Lono, who hated cafeteria food with a passion. Today, their friendship is bound by a simple love for Music and for Molokai.

Anyone who missed the celebration has not missed out on hearing more of Keli`i’s kiho'alu mastery. His CD “Out Mo`omomi Way,” was released in November and can be purchased through Molokai’s own record company:

Lono would like to thank the staff at Hotel Molokai, particularly Ramona Smith and General Manager Michael Drew, for all of their help.

GPAC Meeting Tackles Housing Issues

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

At this month’s General Plan Advisory Committee for Molokai (GPAC) meeting, the board scrutinized goals, objectives and policies relating to Island Housing in the 2030 Countywide Policy Plan. Other changes under debate aimed to make the document more easily understood.

Kupuna Ruth Ululani Manu decried the recent increases in property tax, pointing out a $6000 hike within a six month period on some parts of the island, asking whether an exemption could be made. With the issue of affordability came the suggestion from planners that progressive property taxation should be encouraged. This would put a cap on taxation until the resale of the property, thereby encouraging Molokai people to stay on Molokai. This type of taxation also frees income tax from inheritance of the land, as was proposed by Board Member Daniel Bennett.

Lions bring good luck and joy in New Years Celebration

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

The myth of the Chinese Lion Dance.

The Lion King, who was carefree and known as a practical joker, lived in the land of the Chinese Gods. One day he decided to play a joke on the Jade Emperor, faking an injury and scaring the Jade Emperor when he came to help.

The Jade Emperor was very angry at the lion and had him beheaded for his lack of respect and his disgraceful conduct. Luckily the Goddess of Mercy, Kwan Yin, took pity on the Lion and tied his head to a long colorful ribbon to bring him back to life. The Lion King was very grateful to The Goddess and vowed to spend all of his time helping others instead of playing jokes upon them.

Impressed by his sincerity, Goddess Kwan Yin gave him a horn to fight with and a reflective nose to scare away evildoers. Today, the Lion Dance is used at festive occasions to help others, bring good luck and keep away those that would do harm.

Fundraising Fowl Play: OB Puckers Up

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

Fundraising Fowl Play: OB Puckers Up

As a hardworking team served a Filipino feast to tame the hungry hoards, proud three year old Sally Merkel won first place in the mask contest and other children played with their newly won pet chicks.

The event was aimed at raising money for a new Blessed Damien Church, although proceeds from games run by the children will go towards a trip to the 2008 World Youth Day in Australia. Saint Sophia’s Church was originally built in 1938 with money donated by the Cook family; however, it has suffered damage from termites and shall be replaced by a newer, larger building in 2009.

Superstar for a day, a substantial amount was raised for the church as children donated their allowance to see youth leaders and family members kiss the duck. “How I wish I was that duck,” joked Father Jose.

Iguana Sighting

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

Iguana Sighting

As a huge lizard crossed the road in front of his car on February 11, Molokai Dispatch reporter Adam Bencze thought nothing of it. But three days later when the newcomer, Bencze, finally discovered large lizards are not endemic to Hawaii, he quickly called Lori Buchanan of The Nature Conservancy.

Bencze described the lizard as “bright green, probably a foot and a half long with spikes down the back of its head and moving pretty quickly.” He guessed the animal was probably an iguana.”

By the time the conservancy was notified, and with a large area to search, no traces of the reptile had been found.

Members of the public are asked to keep watch when walking in the region between Papohaku Beach and upland slopes. Though not usually considered dangerous, iguanas can be aggressive, territorial and can move faster than people. They can grow to six feet in length, have pointed teeth, sharp claws, and hormonal rushes.

Buchanan noted that the reptile was likely an exotic pet which had escaped from its enclosure or purposefully released by its owner. With female iguanas laying up to 30 eggs at a time, surviving easily and breeding in the wild, the sighting is a cause for concern.

Iguanas disrupt the ecosystem by competing with native species for resources, and becoming predators of species which have no mechanisms to adapt. Feral populations have been previously discovered in Hawaii and are known to disturb bird’s nests, often feeding on the eggs.

It is illegal to possess or transport iguanas in Hawaii; people who are discovered with the exotic pets could face fines of up to $200,000 and three years in prison. However, anyone who voluntarily surrenders illegal animals is granted immunity from prosecution under the Department of Agriculture’s Amnesty program.

Anyone wishing to relinquish animals is urged to call Lori Buchanan of The Nature Conservancy at 553 5236, extension 204. No questions shall be asked. Buchanan can also be contacted to report any sightings.

Humane Society Update

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

On a sunny Thursday afternoon, the back patio of Coffee's of Hawaii came alive in a discussion with feline appeal.  As President Julie Lopez chaired the meeting, The Molokai Humane Society discussed a $1500 donation intended for the feeding of feral cats. In attendance were Julie Lopez, Viola Wichman, Teri Waros and Don Hill as well as new faces Mykel Barrie and Elaine Roller.

Beginning by mentioning the highly publicized Spay and Neuter Campaign, Lopez noted that the thirty year program had recently seen thirty dogs spayed in three days.  These operations cost only $10 as much of the cost is covered by the Society, usually between $55 and $70.  Members of the public who wish to make an appointment are urged to call Cheryl Baumgard, head of the Program, on 552 0079. 

Home-grown talent hits YouTube with Molokai Flair!

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007


The talents of laid-back musician Sashamon and Director Matt Yamashita hit YouTube last week, projecting Molokai life and spirit across the world with music video “Necta” (Butterfly Song.)

This is a reggae-inspired song to listen to whilst chilling on the beach, cooking, laying in bed surrounded by beams of sunlight. Sashamon has taken a Sunday morning, summer feeling of peace and put it into musical form. It is light, airy and captures an ephemeral feeling of love without loss.

The video celebrates the singer’s newly forming infatuation with a beautiful paddler. From their first meeting during a surf session to the singer’s travels along backcountry roads, the young woman; who is Sasha’s real-life girlfriend; flits in and out of the singer’s dreams.

The entire video was shot in two days on Molokai with absolutely no budget. “Matt did the video for aloha,” says Sashamon, “and I’ve a ton of gratitude. He did great work!” Fans seem to agree, with 59 year old YouTube subscriber “Nandancy” calling the video “the best thing to ever come from Molokai and the Islands.”

“Necta” is Yamashita’s first music video and seems to indicate a flourishing career for both Director and musician alike. It has received over 700 viewings since its February 3rd posting on the global YouTube network. Both men agree that alternative media should be utilized and encouraged, hoping to soon see the video appear on “Overdrive Live,” and calling YouTube “great!”

Sashamon will be playing at Paddler’s Inn on Sunday 4 March at 8:00 p.m., until which time fans can sustain themselves at