It’s That Makahiki Time of the Year

Celebration and the spirit of aloha filled Kaunakakai this weekend as the farmer-friendly Makahiki season was observed.

At the 29th  annual festivities on Molokai since the island’s original celebrations ceased in 1918, Hawaiians reconnected to their land and ancestors by honoring Lono, the god of peace, fertility and agriculture, during customary ceremonies.

“It’s a time to reconnect with our culture and bring the community and family together to practice aloha,” said Kawika Crivello, a local participant in the day’s protocols.

The three-day celebration also focused on the ideals of health, wellness and Hawaiian identity through the practice of traditional games.

A test of mettle unfolded for adults Friday night, followed by keiki events on Saturday morning. New to this year’s competitions was a 50+ division for the Ano Koa Kiekie (decathlon).

Hundreds of children from 11 schools around the state and the U.S. Coast Guard participated in the athletic events ranging from kukini (sprints), Pohaku (stone toss),uma (arm wrestling) and huki huki (tug-of-war).  Kilohana and Kualapu`u schools led the way with wins in the keiki competitions, but everyone had a sense of achievement and success while supporting their school.

“I [don’t] play in the games but it makes me happy to cheer and watch friends,” exclaimed Kaunakakai second grader Lane Kamakana.

The battles for bragging rights are not only carried out among schools, they are realized among families and community groups as well.

“A lot of the kids competing have parents that were champions,” said Makahiki committee member Miki`ala Pescaia. “We are rolling into generational pride.”

Upholding the family name in haka moa (standing chicken-fight) was Kualapu`u sixth grader Franklin Kawena Augustiro, who became the 2011 chicken-fight champion of Molokai.

“I feel really good because I love my school and to win for them. And my mom used to always beat boys and girls at the Makahiki games so I think I made her happy,” Kawena Augustiro said.

Makahiki competition results will be posted in next week’s issue of the Dispatch.

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