Hawaiian Culture

Hawaiian culture stories from Molokai

Competing for Lono

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Competing for Lono

Kaunakakai Ball Field thundered with cheers and the roar of an enthusiastic crowd as hundreds of residents and visitors gathered to compete in or support their favorite competitors at Ka Molokai Makahiki last Saturday morning.

Each year, Ka Molokai Makahiki is celebrated to mark the end of the Makahiki season from October to January, traditionally observed as a period of peace and harvest in honor of the god Lono. Today, hundreds of students gather annually on Molokai from around the state to participate in carrying on its cultural significance. During the opening ceremonies, the banner of Lono is carried high, while representatives from each district bear offerings to place on the stone ahu in keeping with protocol.…

Making Ma`a (Hawaiian Slingshot)

Friday, September 8th, 2017

MAC News Release

The Hawaiian Arts Program at Molokai Arts Center (MAC) will be hosting a series of workshops this month on the making and skills of ma’a, or the “Hawaiian slingshot.”  The ma`a was the long range weapon of choice in ancient Hawaii, being easily portable and renewable, as well as accurate and effective. While relatively simple in concept, the ma`a requires some special skills to make and much practice to master. Hawaiian weapons maker Kini Burke will be the instructor.

All Hawaiian Arts Classes are free of charge, but space is very limited, so register early. To register, contact molokainuiahina@gmail.com.…

Kalaupapa Welcomes Hokule`a Home

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

Kalaupapa Welcomes Hokule`a Home

Before tens of thousands flocked to Oahu’s Magic Island to greet Hokule`a after her historic, three-year Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage last Saturday, the sailing canoe and her crew made a special stop.

The isolated Kalaupapa peninsula was the official last port of call on Hokule`a’s journey, and the community there provided a safe respite from her travels before the public homecoming celebrations.

“This canoe has traveled thousands of miles and weathered many storms,” said Miki`ala Pescaia, cultural practitioner who also works with the National Park Service in Kalaupapa. “She was beat and tired after her long sail up from Tahiti. Coming to rest in Kalaupapa was like having a quiet visit at Tutuʻs house.…

FAQ on Subsistence Fishing Area

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017


By Bruce S. Anderson, DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources Administrator

With the recent submission of a Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area (CBSFA) designation proposal for Mo`omomi and the North Coast of Molokai, and upcoming public scoping meetings, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) would like to address some frequently asked questions. The proposed CBSFA extends from `Ilio Point in the west to Kaholaiki Bay in the east, from the shoreline out to one nautical mile.

What is a CBSFA?
A CBSFA is a type of marine managed area established by State law for the specific purpose of “reaffirming and protecting fishing practices customarily and traditionally exercised for purposes of native Hawaiian subsistence, culture, and religion.”

Who is behind this proposal?…

Dazzling Dinner and Dance

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

Dazzling Dinner and Dance

Moana’s Hula Halau annual dinner and show wowed hundreds of attendees last Saturday night at the Molokai Community Health Center. This year, the funds raised will support the halau’s trip to New Zealand in October. The show honored its late kumu hula Moana Dudoit, and featured performances by its own dancers, a sister halau in Japan and a men’s group from Maui that showcased dances from Fiji — all in front of a spectacular backdrop display under the banyan tree.…

Experiencing Kalaupapa

Friday, August 26th, 2016

Community Contributed

By Aka`ula Students

Editor’s note: A group of Aka`ula School students recently had the opportunity to spend time in Kalaupapa, and shared their experiences in the school’s newsletter, reprinted with permission here.

By Dillon DeCoite, Junior

The scenery at Kalaupapa is breathtaking. Kalaupapa is a small peninsula on the north shore of Molokai. The peninsula has, what I believe is, the most beautiful scenery anywhere. During summer vacation, I had the opportunity to go to Kalaupapa and stay for five days. I did many things while at Kalaupapa, but overall jumping off the pier was my favorite part.…

Culture of Canoe Racing

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

Culture of Canoe Racing

By Catherine Cluett Pactol

Since ancient times, outrigger canoe racing has held an important place in Hawaiian cultural traditions.
According to Tommy Holmes in “The Hawaiian Canoe,” excelling in canoe races was of great importance historically, and special status and recognition was given to champions in the sport. Today, the tradition is carried on each summer as paddlers from around the state compete to represent their islands at the Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association state race.

Historically, canoes were carved from a log of the endemic koa tree, but now, canoes are often made from fiberglass or other manmade materials. However, only wooden koa canoes are used to compete in the state event.…

Ka Molokai Makahiki 2016

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Ka Molokai Makahiki 2016

Each year, youth and adults from all over Hawaii gather to celebrate Ka Molokai Makahiki in a place where cultural traditions remain strong and friendly athletic competition is celebrated. During Makahiki, the ancient Hawaiian four-month season of peace, war was kapu, or forbidden, and every district gathered to appreciate the harvest and challenge each other’s athletic prowess.The historic tradition has been revived for more than 30 years on Molokai.

Cultural events began Thursday, with an evening lecture about Kaho`olawe, where the Makahiki season begins each year. Adult games kicked off Friday night, and student competitions followed on Saturday, with a ho`olaulea afterward.…

Hawaiian Election Halted, Convention Scheduled

Monday, December 21st, 2015

Following a U.S. Supreme Court order that prohibited the counting of votes in a contested Native Hawaiian election, Na`i Aupuni – the nonprofit running the election – has announced it has terminated the election process. Rather than registered voters picking 40 delegates for a convention, or `Aha, that will be held in February, Na`i Aupuni officials have said all 196 candidates will be offered a seat at the `Aha.

In late November, a Supreme Court justice issued a temporary hold on ballot counting in response to a legal challenge filed by a group that claimed it is unconstitutional to hold a racially exclusive election.…

Hawaiian Election Continues Amid Concerns

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

A Native Hawaiian election due to close Nov. 30 is heating up as kanaka ma`oli debate the direction of self-determination and the future of over half a million Hawaiians nationwide.

Starting Nov. 1 for 30 days, nearly 90,000 Hawaiians registered with the Kana`iolowalu Native Hawaiian Roll Commission can cast their ballot for candidates in their district who would represent them at an upcoming constitutional convention of 40 delegates. The Molokai ballot has three candidates who are among more than 200 candidates statewide: Noa Emmett Aluli, Lori Buchanan and Walter Ritte. One of them will represent both Molokai and Lanai at the convention, to be held between February and April of 2016.…