Hawaiian Culture

Hawaiian culture stories from Molokai

Mana for Mauna Kea

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Mana for Mauna Kea

Community members gathered along Maunaloa Highway in solidarity with the Mauna Kea movement. Courtesy photo.

Ongoing efforts to protect Mauna Kea’s peak, considered sacred by Native Hawaiians, from an 18-story tall structure called Thirty Meter Telescope, has gone international, with Molokai residents joining in the protests and social media buzz.

Pictured here, local community members rallied along Maunaloa Highway last week, holding signs and raising awareness.

Mauna Kea’s peak is viewed as one of the most sacred sites in Hawaii, and Molokai activist Walter Ritte is leading efforts to protect it from a 14th telescope.

“There’s certain places where you just cannot compromise anymore.…

Ha`aha`a, the Quality of Humility

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Community Contributed

Opinion by Rick Baptiste

We are on the fourth phase of our joint efforts in renewing the “Aloha Spirit” in our community so we all can live blessed lives on Molokai. The fourth phase is the letter “H” in the acronym of “ALOHA” with “H” standing for Ha`aha`a, the quality of humility expressed with modesty.

The definition of humility taken from Webster’s Dictionary is, “The quality of not thinking you are better than other people.”  Before I go deeper, I hereby ask anyone reading this for forgiveness, in the event I have come across to you in a high makamaka attitude.  …

Celebrating Prince Kuhio

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Celebrating Prince Kuhio

Molokai residents and homesteaders gathered last Saturday to honor the legacy of Prince Jonah Kuhio, who lobbied for the Native Hawaiian advancement and established the 1920 Hawaiian Homes Act, providing land for Hawaiian families.

The annual community event at Lanikeha featured food, Hawaiian crafts, homestead products, exhibits and music. Sponsored by Ahupua`a O Molokai and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the celebration was also an opportunity for homesteaders to join and get information on local homestead associations.

“Molokai is where the first homestead began in the 1920s, and without Prince Kuhio we would not have homestead today,” said Kilia Purdy-Avelino, one of the event’s organizers.…

Rebuilding a Tradition

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Rebuilding a Tradition

When Sheldon Wright builds walls, his main focus is to listen. He hefts a rock in his hands, flips it, spins it, lets it fall and hears the clack as it hits the stack of rocks in front of him. To construct walls the way Wright does—the same way ancient Hawaiians did hundreds of years ago—he has to tune into the tools of his trade.

“The rocks speak to me,” said Wright. “They tell me where they want to go.”

Wright fashions the beginnings of a dry stack wall outside Madsen’s home. Photo by Colleen Uechi.

Wright is carrying on the Hawaiian tradition of dry stack masonry in which the rocks are placed in an interlocking fashion that requires no mortar, he said.…

Hawaiian Immersion Summer School  

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Kula Kaiapuni Kauwela News Release

Celebrating the fourth year of Kula Kaiapuni Kauwela on Molokai, the program will once again be held this summer at Kualapu`u Public Charter School for students entering grades K-9 in the fall.  Teachers have been selected: Nahulu Maioho — grades six to eight, Kailana Ritte-Camara — grades four and five, Lokelani Han — grades two and three, and Uluhani Waialeale — grades Kindergarten and first grade. Manuwai Peters will be the site coordinator.

The dates for the 20-day program will be from June 9 through July 7 daily from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.  The Hawaiian language based curricula is designed to engage and excite students in land and ocean activities that emphasize the caring of Molokai resources.…

Kalaupapa Exhibit One-Day Free Showing

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Ka `Ohana O Kalaupapa News Release

Molokai residents will be offered free admission to the Kalaupapa Photo Exhibit showing at the Molokai Museum and Cultural Center on Sunday, March 15, from 1 to 4 p.m.

The exhibit, titled “A Reflection of Kalaupapa: Past, Present and Future,” was developed by Ka `Ohana O Kalaupapa. It features 100 framed photographs of the people of Kalaupapa and their family members from as early as 1884 through current times.

The museum is normally closed on Sundays, but Noelani Keliikipi, Executive Director of the museum, the Board of Directors and museum volunteers all wanted to make sure Molokai residents had the opportunity to visit.…

Rejuvenating Hawaiian Reading

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Rejuvenating Hawaiian Reading

Left to right: Kamalu Poepoe, Editor; Opu’ulani Albino, Author; Jeaninne Rossa, Project Manager; Koki Foster, Ka Moe’Uhane Artist; Brandon Hirashima, Ka Wena Artist. Photo courtesy Kualapuu School

Two new Hawaiian language books written by Molokai’s Kumu `Opu`ulani Albino were celebrated at a book signing last Wednesday at the Molokai Public Library. The books fill what Hawaiian immersion teachers at Kualapu`u School identified as a gap in reading material for their students, and are quickly gaining popularity with teachers of `Olelo Hawaii around the state.

“This little school in the middle of the boonies is beginning to put something out there that there’s a need for,” said Kamalu Poepoe, who edited the books.…

Halau Prepares for Hula’s Biggest Stage

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Halau  Prepares for Hula’s Biggest Stage

Photo by Colleen Uechi.


Last week, residents and visitors at the Molokai Community Health Center got a sneak peek of the talents to come in this year’s Merrie Monarch Festival.

Moana’s Hula Halau, which was invited to participate in the storied hula festival in Hilo this year, held their annual dinner show last Saturday night. Dancers from keiki to kupuna entertained a crowd of hundreds in a fundraiser for festival-bound halau members. It’s been more than 10 years since the halau has performed at the festival.

“To be asked to come again is a privilege for us because we have a lot of new girls and [it’s] a good experience for them,” said halau Kumu Hula Valerie Dudoit-Temahaga.…

Lono I Ka Makahiki

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Community Contributed

Editor’s note: Makahiki is celebrated by students island-wide annually, including students from Aka`ula School. Below, reprinted with permission from Aka`ula’s newsletter, are what students had to say about the experience.


By Sydni Pawn, Sophomore

Lono I Ka Makahiki! It is the time of year when schools from all around Hawaii  come together to celebrate Makahiki. Makahiki is the season when ancient Hawaiians observed harvest by holding  strength and skill competitions. We play  games like  `ulu  maika, where you roll a circular stone between two stakes. Konane is often called Hawaiian checkers. Pa Uma, is stand up arm-­‐wrestling. Schools from around the state visit the sacred Makahiki grounds called Na’iwa.…

Local Author Pens Hawaiian Language Books

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Kualapu`u School News Release

Kumu Louella `Opu`ulani Albino has added one more accomplishment to her already significant list for revitalizing `olelo Hawaii on Molokai.  She has authored two new Hawaiian language books for children!

Sponsored by a grant from the Hawaii Tourism Authority, and in partnership with Kualapu`u Public Conversion Charter School, Kumu `Opu`ulani addressed a need for more text-based, easy reader chapter books in Hawaiian Language medium education.  “Ka Wena,” illustrated by Molokai artist Brandon Hirashima, is filled with short stories of Hawaiian culture in the present-day, as seen through the eyes of a lively group of keiki characters.  “Ka Moe`uhane,” illustrated by Molokai artist Jennette “Koki” Foster, is an exciting third grade level mystery novel filled with Hawaiian practices and perspectives that have endured up to our present day.…