Stories about Molokai’s rich cultural history.

Connecting Culture and a Canoe Race

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Connecting Culture and a Canoe Race

Hawaiian immersion students participating in last year’s Kulaia celebration. Photo courtesy of Lori-Lei Rawlins-Crivello.

Fifty years ago on the evenings before major outrigger canoe races, Molokai residents and paddling crews from Hawaii and around the world camped together on the shores of Hale o Lono Harbor. They shared tents, meals, music and conversation under the stars.

“It was really good for everybody to get together. No matter what club you were in, everybody had fun together,” said local fisherman Mervin Dudoit, who paddled in seven Molokai Hoe races during the 1960s. “… Now most guys don’t talk to the next team [before a race].”

As races got more competitive and a good night’s sleep more valuable, lodging separately in hotels or local homes became commonplace.…

Aloha on the High Seas

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Aloha on the High SeasQ&A with Hokulea crewmember Kawika Crivello

Kawika Crivello on the sweep. Photo: Oiwi TV. Photographer: Maui Tauotaha.

A handful of Molokai residents have been honored to be invited as crew on the Hokulea, a double-hulled voyaging canoe whose first journey from Hawaii to Tahiti in 1976 successfully replicated ancient Polynesian travel using traditional navigation techniques. The late Mel Paoa and Penny Martin began a long tradition of Molokai crewmembers, among them Kawika Crivello. He was one four local watermen to complete legs of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage, a 47,000-mile journey that will conclude in 2017. While not his first voyage, Crivello served as steersman on a leg across the dangerous Tasman Sea between New Zealand and Australia between April and June of this year.…

90 Years of Homesteading

Friday, September 18th, 2015

Ho`olehua Homestead Association News Release

On Oct. 28-30, a celebration will be held to commemorate the 90th year of Hawaiian homesteading in the Ho`olehua/Palaau area of Molokai. Events to take place will be displays of family genealogies, pictures, and sharing of family histories both oral and written. The culminating celebration will take place on the evening of the 30th with a pa`ina and recognition of individual families. More information will be forthcoming.

The committee is seeking donations for this celebration. All inquiries please contact Ochie Bush at 567-6027 or Nona Kaawa at 567-6442.

Recalling Kulaia History

Friday, September 4th, 2015

Molokai Canoe Festivals Committee News Release

Historical records dating back to 1865 note Hawaiian outrigger canoe race competitions as one of the many events our kupuna took part in during annual la kulaia, days of festivities honoring the Kingdom of Hawaii and especially honoring our beloved monarchy.  During that era, kulaia generally occurred once a year during a national holiday or birthday celebration of a mo`i (monarch).

After the overthrow of our beloved Hawaiian Kingdom, kulaia festivities changed focus and no longer celebrated the Kingdom and monarchy.  In historical records, we see the shift from national celebration to simply canoe race competitions. …

Celebrating Life and Tradition

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Celebrating Life and Tradition

Photo by Catherine Cluett.

Last Saturday at Molokai’s Guzeiji Soto Mission, families gathered together to keep the memory of loved ones and the traditions of Japanese culture alive on Molokai. The island’s annual bon dance brought more than 100 residents and visitors together for lively drums, dancing and good food.

“It’s a time of celebrating ancestors who have passed on,” said Marge Bento, one of the event’s organizers. “We’re kind of partying with them.”

In an event repeated every summer in towns around Japan and places around the world, including Hawaii, community members smiled as they danced around the yagura, or bon dance tower, stepping to the beat of the heavily thumping taiko drums.…

Iconic Grove Restored

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Iconic Grove Restored

The grove before renovation. Photo by Gayla Haliniak-Lloyd.

Just weeks ago, Molokai’s historic Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove was thick with shrubs, piles of dead fronds and manmade trash. Now, after a thorough weeklong overhaul, the ground is bare and smooth, the fallen tree trunks are stacked neatly and Molokai residents see what many of them said they remember growing up: an unobscured view of the ocean between the towering palms.

“We’re happy it’s clean. It’s like we got back the old Coconut Grove,” said Kalamaula Homestead Association President Gayla Haliniak-Lloyd, who said the last clean-up was about four years ago.

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), which owns land the property, organized the cleaning in response to community meetings in May and June during which many Kalamaula residents pointed out the grove’s deteriorating conditions.…

Molokai Dispatch Celebrates 30 Years

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Thirty years ago, the first issues of The Molokai Dispatch were pasted together with rubber cement, hand delivered to off-island printers, and, granted the weather was good, delivered each Wednesday to Molokai readers.

Over time, operations moved between three locations, five owners, countless writers and interns and three taglines (remember ‘The Coconut Wireless of Molokai?’). Amidst the changes, the Dispatch has emerged as the longest standing—and currently only—newspaper on the island.

Each week, The Molokai Dispatch brings news to the island while upholding a set of values and guidelines aimed toward community empowerment and healthy dialogue through responsible journalism. The Dispatch has developed a focus on youth, culture, history, politics and the environment to best serve the interests of the entire Molokai community.…

Kalaupapa Nonprofit Earns Awards

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Ka `Ohana O Kalaupapa News Release

Ka `Ohana O Kalaupapa was presented with two Preservation Awards by the Historic Hawaii Foundation at their annual awards banquet in Honolulu last month.

One of the projects cited was the exhibit, “A Reflection of Kalaupapa: Past, Present and Future” that features 100 photographs and quotes from the people of Kalaupapa and their families. The exhibit is currently on display at the Molokai Museum and Cultural Center in Kalae.

The `Ohana was also recognized for “The Restoration of Family Ties” program that has helped hundreds of families obtain more information about their Kalaupapa ancestors who were sent there because of government policies regarding leprosy or who were kama`aina prior to the establishment of the settlement in 1866.…

DHHL Seeks to Fence Off Grove

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015


With Molokai’s historic Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove suffering from disease and human pollution, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) has reached out to the State Historical Preservation Division (SHPD) to ask for guidance in fencing off the property.

Residents have been voicing their concerns at recent community meetings, explaining that they used to be able to see straight through the grove to the ocean. Now overgrowth and trash have obscured the view, and they want to see the grove be protected from human intrusion.

“For me I feel our resources are there for everybody,” said resident Kauila Reyes at a May 21 community meeting.…

Honoring the Ultimate Sacrifice

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Honoring the Ultimate Sacrifice

Photo by Catherine Cluett.

On Memorial Day last Monday, families gathered to place fresh flowers on the markers of loved ones at the Ho`olehua Veterans Cemetery, while local veterans and community members joined in a ceremony to honor the ultimate sacrifice of their comrades and fellow residents. Boy Scouts placed American flags on each grave, which fluttered in the breeze that morning.

While there is sometimes confusion about the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, veteran David Nanod explained that Memorial Day is to remember those who have passed, while Veterans Day honors the living.

During the graveside ceremony, Nanod read the names of Molokai residents who gave their lives in battle, and a bell was rung for each.…