Lono I Ka Makahiki
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. We chant an oli to ask permission to enter the grounds, and give our ho`okupu, or gift, to Lono, the Hawaiian god of agriculture. After all schools have entered, Aunty Miki`ala reminds us of the rules and tells us to stay positive. Knowing that our ancestors played on the same grounds makes it a great experience to go to Na`iwa.
By Paije Pawn, Grade 5
“Go! You can do it!” Saturday, Jan. 31, Molokai celebrated Makahiki, and I was the `ulu maika representative for our school. I didn’t roll any `ulu maika through the two sticks, so I was embarrassed. My friend said, ‘’It’s okay. You have next year,” so I thanked her. Afterwards, I hugged the kupuna. They were nicely dressed. Then I watched the rest of the games. I was glad everyone was cheering for people whether they won or lost. We were very happy we got to play. We all tried our best, we never gave up, and we congratulated everyone.
By Dillon DeCoite, Freshman
On Friday, schools from Molokai and other islands went to the Makahiki grounds where long ago Hawaiians went to challenge each other in games of strength and skill. I played konane, which is Hawaiian checkers. To play you must jump over the other player’s pieces to take them off the board. The player with the last move wins. The first person I played was from Maui, and I beat him. Then, I had to play a 12th grader from Molokai, and I beat him too. I was so happy. I just had to play one more person and I would be the konane champ. The next person was also from Molokai, and he was very smart. He made me very nervous. He took his time moving his piece, so I took my time too. Then it came to a point that I had more pieces to jump than he did, and he took a very long time trying to figure out how to win. Finally, he gave up and I had the last move. I wanted to jump high in the air and scream. I was the happiest person.