Hawaiian Culture

Hawaiian culture stories from Molokai

Youth Photography and Puni Ke Ola

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020

Youth Photography and Puni Ke Ola

By Susana Helm, Jackie Ng-Osorio, Becka Adolpho – UH Manoa; Kanoelani Davis, Honeygirl English, Shaye Lauifi – Ahupuaʻa O Molokai

Puni Ke Ola (PiKO) uses photography to engage youth in learning more about how traditional Hawaiian beliefs and practices promote health and can eliminate substance use in their own lives, as well as among their families and communities. Led by Molokai Kumu Kanoelani Davis and University of Hawaii at Manoa professor Susana Helm since 2015, the photo strategy has been aligned with Hawaiian culture. In PiKO, haumana take pictures while they participate in culturally immersive huakaʻi.

This year due to the pandemic, huakaʻi will be conducted virtually until it is safe to go live again, so youth may take photos around their own homes and communities.…

Improving Kupuna Health Through ʻAi Pono

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

By Dr. Landon Opunui, ND and Miki Wong, RD, Na Pu’uwai

There are multiple social and health disparities Native Hawaiian kupuna face such as high rates of life-threatening diseases, financial hardship, disability, shorter life expectancies and underutilization of services. As a result, it should be no surprise that data suggests the health care needs of Native Hawaiian kupuna far exceed that of their non-Hawaiian counterparts. This leads to health equity problems.

Hawaiian culture emphasizes care for kupuna. However, many adult caregivers are less available to care for their aging loved ones because of competing work and ʻohana responsibilities.

Several studies have reported on the health benefits associated with a return to a precontact Hawaiian diet.…

Mo’omomi CBSFA Gets Support in Public Hearing

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

Mo’omomi CBSFA Gets Support in Public Hearing

By Catherine Cluett Pactol

Decades of resource management, data collection, traditional knowledge, legislation and public hearings culminated last week in one of the final steps of the process to designate Mo’omomi as a state-recognized Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area (CBSFA).

A virtual public hearing, held by the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources and lasting more than four hours last Wednesday, yielded a major of testimony in favor of the CBSFA, though written testimony that was submitted — during a period which closed Aug. 26 — was not available to the public online.

The proposed CBSFA, which would allow community co-management of resources, runs along Molokai’s northwest coastline from Ilio Point to Nihoa Flats, extending one mile out from the shoreline.…

CBSFA a Step Toward Hawaiian Self-Governance

Thursday, August 13th, 2020

Aloha kakou. I am Davianna McGregor, professor of Ethnic Studies and director of the Center for Oral History at UH-Manoa. I live in Hoʻolehua with my life partner, Dr. Aluli.

Recently, some of our neighbors put up signs saying that I should be shame for supporting the Moʻomomi Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area (CBSFA).

Actually, Dr. Aluli and I are proud that for the past 25-plus years, we’ve been part of the Hui Mālama O Moʻomomi team to establish a CBSFA from ʻIliʻo Point to Nihoa.

Why do we support? Well, it was our Hoʻolehua Hawaiian Homestead community, not DLNR, that created the CBSFA designation.…

CBSFA Follows ‘Ike Kupuna

Thursday, August 13th, 2020

Opinion by Keani Rawlins-Fernandez

The highly anticipated Board of Land and Natural Resources public hearing on the Mo‘omomi CBSFA will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 5:30pm. Due to COVID-19, the hearing will be livestreamed. Testimony may be provided online or in-person with advanced registration.

What is a CBSFA? A Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area designation is a type of fishing management area that encourages continued subsistence, and in Mo‘omomi’s case, would prohibit commercial fishing, except for trolling, within its boundaries. CBSFAs are not marine sanctuaries. It would not create “no-take zones,” like Hanauma Bay.

The Mo‘omomi CBSFA would not limit or prohibit anyone’s right to gather and feed their families: “§13-60.9-1(3) Recognize and protect customary and traditional native Hawaiian fishing practices that are exercised for subsistence, cultural, and religious purposes in the area.…

Mo’omomi CBSFA Public Hearing

Thursday, August 13th, 2020

DLNR News Release

Stakeholders are strongly encouraged to participate online for a statewide, online public hearing on the proposed adoption of new rules to establish the Moʻomomi Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area (CBSFA) on Molokai’s northwestern coast. The goal of the CBSFA is to establish a marine managed area to maintain sustainable long-term harvest of key subsistence fish stocks and to reaffirm traditional and customary native Hawaiian subsistence fishing practices.

Brian Neilson, Administrator of the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) said, “This innovative option of an online hearing, especially with the spike in coronavirus infections, provides a safe and appropriate physical distancing for DLNR/DAR to hear from everyone regarding these important nearshore marine resources.…

Can a CBSFA Bring Us Together?

Wednesday, August 5th, 2020

Opinion By Eric Co

To support a Community-based Subsistence Fishing Area (CBSFA) at Mo’omomi for me is not an effort to disrespect those who oppose it. Despite the issues, we are still neighbors, friends, and family who all want to do right by this island, even if we disagree on the right way to do it.

Especially now, in this heightened time of vulnerability and uncertainty, we recognize how reliant we are on our resources. Our fisheries in particular are Hawaii’s greatest source of protein. This is an important moment to consider how we will ensure their sustainability now and for future generations.…

Impacts of COVID-19 Among Native Hawaiians

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

By Dr. Landon Opunui, ND

The United Nations has warned indigenous populations that they may be at a disproportionately high risk of being impacted by COVID-19 because of preexisting health inequalities.

Across the nation, there is strong evidence showing Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (NHPI), defined as people having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, Guam or other Pacific Islands, are at greater risk of being infected and of having severe symptoms compared to other United States racial populations including African American, Asian, Latino and Caucasian.

This should raise alarms for the island of Molokai as it has the highest number of Native Hawaiians per capita of all the Hawaiian Islands, excluding Niʻihau.…

Register for Online Keiki Program

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

Register for Online Keiki Program

By Kumu Maile Naehu

Finally! Ka Hale Hoaka is open for registration! The Keiki Program, level 1, taught by Kumu Maile Naehu, will introduce olelo, mele, mo’olelo, oli, weekly worksheets and activities related to the lessons! It’s a 16 online session class that runs for eight weeks. Once you register for the program you will not only get lifetime access to the keiki program — which is perfect for beginning learners of all ages, but you will also be able to access the seven sessions that I just completed. So that’s 23 lessons for $97! We also have a three-payment plan option.…

Your May Day

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

Your May Day

Mahalo to all who sent us your photos for our May Day contest! We couldn’t choose just one, so here are a few of our favorites, with some words from the photographers.


Submitted by Jessica Sanchez:
Aloha from Kalaupapa! Jessica Sanchez and Albert Espaniola with dogs Hulali and Hooch.



Submitted by Eugene Santiago:
I’d like to submit this photo I took on the beach… to recognize the Hinahina for its subtle beauty that gets overlooked many times, just because it’s a ground cover. I discovered its beauty after being curious and getting on my knees to get a real close up look and what I saw was truly amazing.…