Hookuaaina Rebuilding Lives From The Ground Up

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Hoʻokuaʻāina Blog

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Hoʻokuaʻāina Blog

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Hoʻokuaʻāina Blog

Ka Piko o Kapalai

November 20, 2021

Aloha mai kākou,

Itʻs amazing that 2021 is already coming to a close! Like everyone, we have done our best to navigate through this year and hope you all are doing well during these most challenging of times. In spite of the difficulties, we are grateful for the many highlights. Here are just a few from Kapalai we would like to share with you.  

Although many businesses were adversely affected during the shutdown, we were fortunate to find a way to continue operations and meet the high demand for kalo and poi. As we close out 2021, it looks to be another record year for production with over 30,000 lbs of kalo harvested contributing to Hawaiʻi’s food security.

In regards to programming this past year, one important lesson that we learned while running our Ahupuaʻa Systems Apprenticeship (ASA) program was how vitally important it was for our 13 participants to have a safe space to connect with others and find support through their college journey. Many shared how difficult it was to be isolated in their homes while trying to navigate college online and life in general. This gave us clarity on the importance of ASA and renewed our commitment to expand the program to provide the opportunity to more students. In 2022, we will be working with Windward Community College to recruit for Cohort 4 and onboard new community organizations to offer the apprenticeship program in new locations.

One exciting development in 2021 was the completion of a traditional Hawaiian hale. Under the direction of Kupuna Earl Kawaʻa, construction was completed this summer. It was an incredible opportunity for our staff, apprentices, board members, volunteers and other organizations to learn the traditional process of building. This beautiful structure has now become the gathering place and piko of our ʻāina. It has been a pleasure to see this vision fulfilled and now have a place to properly host the many groups who visit. In August, we began to slowly host groups in our Kupuohi education and Kaiāulu community programs once again. What a blessing it has been to see the faces, hear the laughter and feel the energy of social interaction!

So what is ahead for 2022? We plan to come out of the blocks hard in January with renewed vision and intention to challenge ourselves to improve as an organization. With the help of our board and a few dedicated consultants, we have begun the process of organizational evaluation and strategic planning as we prepare to purchase 100 acres of ʻāina in Maunawili (stay tuned for the update next year!).

These exciting developments would not be possible without your kokua. It is many of you who support and encourage us to carry on with our mission to meet the most important needs in our community. During this giving season we humbly ask for you to consider sowing into the future of our organization. 100% of your donation enables Hoʻokuaʻāina to continue programs and services for at-risk youth, struggling families, students and our precious kūpuna.

Mahalo nui for your continued generosity and consideration. If we are unable to thank you in person, we send you our aloha filled with prayers of peace, health, and waiwai during this season and all the year through.

Me ke aloha nui,
Dean and Michele Wilhelm
Co-Founders and Directors

A Letter From Our Director – Oct. 2021

Aloha kākou,

It’s been a long time and so much has happened since our last newsletter back in March 2020! Like everyone on the planet, we have done our best to navigate through the pandemic and hope each one of you are doing the best you can through these most challenging of times. I would like to share a few of Hoʻokuaʻāinaʻs highlights during this period as well as discuss what I believe to be the mindset of health and well-being from the perspective of our kūpuna to encourage us all.

ASA- Ahupua Systems Apprenticeship

ASA day one new cohort 3

With the guidance and kōkua from our good friends at MAʻO Farms, after three years of planning and a pilot year to work out the kinks, and despite all the uncertainty and unknowns at the beginning of the pandemic, we chose to forge ahead and move forward with implementing our Ahupuaʻa Systems Apprenticeship (ASA) program in partnership with Windward Community College (WCC) in June of 2020. This is a two-year leadership development program which aims to encourage Windward Oʻahu public school graduates to further their formal education by providing tuition at WCC along with a paid internship at Hoʻokuaʻāina. While instilling participants with life skills, work ethics, ʻike kūpuna (ancestral knowledge), and hands-on experience in the production of food through the cultivation of kalo, we see our most important role in ASA as providing a support system for each student’s educational journey. The challenges, especially online learning, have been real for our participants and program over the last year and a half. We continue to learn and adapt to provide the best programming possible and are pleased to report that our successes have far outweighed the challenges. We could have easily canceled the program because of Covid. Still, We would have foregone the benefits of experiencing the growth and development of each participant while providing them a safe and supportive space to help them navigate the difficulties of this time. 26 windward graduates have participated in the program over the last 3 years. Our first 2 in the pilot program graduated and are now pursuing 4-year degrees in business and aeronautical science. Currently, we have 13 apprentices in Cohort 2 and 3 and will be ramping up for recruitment of Cohort 4 in the spring. If you know of any Windward seniors who might be interested, send them our way!


The crew up on the hale structure

The second Hoʻokuaʻāina highlight of the season began in the fall of 2019 with the construction of a traditional Hawaiian hale after years of envisioning with Uncle Earl Kawaʻa, who taught us how to build and who led out the project. Earlier that year, with the generous help from our friends at Paepae o Heʻeia, we gathered mangrove wood and set the posts of our hale in the ground in January of 2020. Well, of course, Covid hit shortly after that, and our hale project was put on hold. We waited over a year before really doing much until Uncle Earl (supported by Kamehameha Schools) was ready to begin again. From the beginning of April until mid-August 2021, we worked diligently to complete the hale while continuing our other programming. It was an action-packed spring and summer, to say the least, and we wrapped up the project with no time to spare the day before the blessing and celebration of our new hale on August 14th. The hale is truly amazing and far more beautiful than I had envisioned. We could not have done it without Uncle Earl and mahalo Ke Akua for him and all the many hands that took part in itʻs creation! It is now the piko of Kapalai and our main gathering spot that we hope you will one day come and experience. 


Kaulana and Haylie having fun while cleaning kalo

Regarding health and well-being, we often share and speak about Lōkahi and living in a personal and communal place of harmony, balance, and unity. From the perspective of our kūpuna, Lōkahi can only be achieved through our intentional and ongoing relationship with Ke Akua, our fellow kanaka, and the ʻāina and kai. This holistic view of health and well-being acknowledges that we are made up of body, mind, and spirit and encourages the necessity to mālama all aspects of ourselves. 

While I try not to get caught up in the news (which often gives me a feeling of angst), I am troubled by the current focus and black and white debate on health and well-being centered on masks and Covid shots. It’s as if our health and well-being have been dumbed down and reduced to just that. Few people seem to be talking about the holistic outlook our kūpuna had. For instance, pule is essential to our physical health. Similarly, being outdoors and connecting physically with the beautiful ʻāina we’ve been blessed with nourishes our mental and spiritual state as well. It’s all interconnected. Whether we have taken the Covid shot or not, and I completely respect both choices, the primary defense we have against any sickness is our immune system. It’s well known that tension and stress hinder our immune system and that what we choose to ingest into our bodies is key to building its strength. As they say, food is medicine. I purposely and regularly eat sour poi, drink noni as a tonic and take olena in many forms as examples of preventative remedies our kūpuna used for their overall health. During this time, it seems we have forgotten that Covid is not the only thing we can get sick and die from. I heard a figure that, on average, people in the US gained 14 lbs. during the pandemic (I put on pounds during the onset of it myself). And we all know that excessive weight adds to a plethora of potential sickness and disease. Yet it seems as if discussions about the core to our physical health such as eating right and exercise have been sidelined, not to mention talk about the negative effects to our emotional well-being due to the lack of face to face (alo i ke alo) human social interaction. I could go on and on. 

ASA crew in the loi

All this said, while we are living in an extremely challenging time, we must not lose sight of the age-old wisdom and example of health and well-being our kūpuna modeled and established for us. Unfortunately, there is no magic pill that can rectify the pandemic we are in, and it seems we will be living with Covid for some time. While I by no means contend to have the answers, I am convinced our kūpuna gave us an example and framework of how to live and thrive. The most important component being Aloha. Let us always remember this, lead out all we do and say with Aloha, and look forward with hope while utilizing the ʻike of our kūpuna to guide us onward. I pray for you and your ʻohanaʻs health and well-being.

Me ke Aloha pumehana,

ASA Program Update – Oct. 2021

Nani Ka Hale

Written By Maile Daniels, 2nd year Cohort 2

Maile ASA Cohort 2 Participant cutting raw kalo

This summer has been one of the most eye-opening summers I’ve had by far. I’ve felt myself progress in many aspects of my life, physically, mentally, and emotionally. This has been a rough year for all of us in more ways than one, but like all things in life, there is good in everything. This past summer has been so rewarding. When summer first started, we all finally got to meet the new Cohort- and they are nothing short of amazing! They are a group of smart, kind, and hardworking individuals and it’s been such a joy to work alongside them. But with them coming to join us, myself, and I’m sure many others, felt a huge obligation to make sure this new cohort had good people to look to for help, in any aspect further than just work. When I first started this program, I remember that I’d sort of shadow everyone that worked there. I’d use them as examples and take any advice they had for me. That being said, there was the slight chance that this new cohort looks at me and my cohort in the same light, so I wanted to make sure I was a person worth coming to for anything. Once I realized this I feel that I changed my attitude at work from learning to help myself to learning to help others. I’m very grateful to have been put in many situations where I had to teach this summer. It’s definitely something out of my comfort zone but it’s taught me more than I could imagine. I’m more conscious of my actions, my words, my attitude, and my energy. I’m still learning- as we all are, but I’m grateful for this new cohort as they taught me a lot more than I could’ve ever expected.

Another highlight of this summer was being able to learn the traditional Hawaiian building of hale alongside Uncle Earl Kawaʻa, the Wilhelm’s and many others. This was truly a once in a lifetime experience and I made sure to soak in all that I could. Uncle Earl is a very wise man and being able to learn under him was amazing. I have never seen a hale being built nor have I ever had any experience in hale building so participating in this process was nothing short of humbling. The first day I got to go up on the hale and work, Uncle Earl told me, “you’re learning today to teach tomorrow” and at first that put a lot of pressure on me because teaching others is a huge kuleana that I wasn’t sure I was ready to take on. But over time my confidence built up and looking back, I am so so grateful to have been able to teach volunteers, and some of my friends in the program. The hale is now completed and it is so incredibly breathtaking, I am so grateful to have been a part of it. We might’ve built the hale, but in many ways, the hale also built me.

I have been able to do a lot of reflecting on this past summer and I’ve realized that I’ve implemented a lot of what I’ve learned from work, to my personal life. I can feel myself growing everyday into the woman I know I can become. I have so much more to learn in my lifetime but I can say, without a doubt, that this summer has been one of growth for me. And for that I am so thankful…

My Little Kīpuka 

Written By Kaiewa Leota, 1st year Cohort 3

I would like to start off by saying that coming into ASA I wasn’t expecting to fall for the program as I did. It helped to better myself in all aspects of my life because I was taught that if there is something in my life that isn’t going too well it will reflect in my work for everything else, it kept me active and in tune with my culture. I created not just friends but a family and people who will accept and support me through any journey. I have learned how important it is to be taking care of the ʻĀina because it will take care of you in return in many more ways than I could do for it. It’s helped me learn balance, and moving forward into my adulthood I have been so blessed to be able to be surrounded by people who will uplift me. There had only been laughs and good times and a lot of working on myself. ASA has helped me on my journey with confidence and how to be vocal with my manaʻo. I’m excited to see where this program will take me and I know it will take me far and I can’t be anymore thankful for this little kīpuka that I have in my life now.

Ka Piko o Kapalai – Oct. 2021

Written By Mahie Wilhelm

At the junction of the Kaloʻs hā and lau lies the piko. This is the navel of the plant. An indispensable connection that tethers the ʻiʻo at the base of the kalo to the outstretched alo of the lau. I ke kau ʻana o ka lā i ke alo o ka lau, momona ka ʻiʻo. When the sun beams down on the leaf, the corm becomes rich because of its connection to the lau through the piko. Hāloa teaches us that without a piko, intricate systems that bind us together would collapse.

Much like the kalo, at the center of Kapunawaiola o Kapalai now stands our piko. Seven years ago a vision was planted to build a hale where our community can gather and fellowship. Under the leadership and teachings of Uncle Earl Kawaʻa, countless hands came together to set the foundation and build this piko. A piko that will connect kanaka to ʻāina and akua, an essential junction for our wellbeing. A piko where moʻolelo will be told, lessons will be taught, and our keiki will laugh and play under the protection of the malu. A piko where, regardless of where you come from or your background, you will feel welcomed and restored. This hale is the navel of Kapalai.

The Mark of a New Season – Oct. 2021

Written By Kealohi Wong, farm co-manager

Itʻs been an interesting past couple of months witnessing the growth and transformation of Kapalai. We have a new cohort of ASA interns who have become a part of our big Hoʻokuaʻāina family. With the mundane work of loʻi, itʻs so refreshing to have a new bunch of faces and conversations to engage in. They each bring their own unique flavor, and I have loved getting to know each and every one of them. Already in their first 10 week session this past summer, so much growth has occurred and itʻs humbling to be able to see it first hand.

Watching our second year ASA interns step into positions of leadership, and modeling for them is amazing. We can spread out across the different patches and tackle different tasks all in a day, and having them lead out helps to take the load off us farm managers. Thereʻs been a couple of memorable days I’ve had with our crew. One day, with about 8 of us, we harvested and cleared out all of the remaining 350# of kalo from Rachel patch (our second biggest patch at Kapalai), and ripped out all the weeds. We were cranking and moving–it felt great to look back and makaluhi (reflect with satisfaction) at our hard work.

With the building of the Hale, a good chunk of resources, hands and time was directed to that project–but it didn’t stop the weeds from growing! As we get back into the groove of loʻi kalo duties and stewarding land, it’s a breathtaking sight to look up at the Hale standing right in the piko of Kapalai. Sometimes I cannot believe there’s a Hale there. I remember when I first started in 2018, it was all just black plastic and there was talk of us putting a hale here and what not. Uncle Dean would share about the African Tulip trees that were removed, and all the clearing it took to get the area opened up. I remember probably 500 wheelbarrow loads each weighing at least 200 lbs of mud being dumped and leveled. We built a Hawaiian Crane which lifted the 800 lb posts and then Covid started, and they sat there….for about a year. I remember the logs being harvested from Kapaa Quarry, Paepae and Puʻuloa, loads and loads of it. I remember the grass being planted, and the debarking of logs, sanding, grinding, lifting, bending, tying and re-tying. The stress of whether or not weʻd have enough loulu to thatch with, and the loads that came in days before our end goal date. I remember the many hands who helped, and the new friendships and connections formed from working alongside each other towards the same goal. I could go on and on!! Long story short: building a hale ain’t easy!

I write this because if you’ve ever come to the loʻi, then you can probably attest to the welcoming and healing, the ‘aloha’, this place exudes. When you drive along the gravel road and look out, for a slight moment, the stresses of life go still and you sort of forget it all. At least for me, I am in awe–oh! and then I see all the weeds we gotta pull! But in all seriousness, the loʻi is a place where I continue to heal, strengthen and grow. I know it also serves as similar purposes for many others. Yet now, in 2021 and for many more to come, we have a physical representation of all the goodness, and homey-ness Kapalai provides, and it is what you see when you look at the Hale. I am so grateful to have been a part of this season at Hoʻokuaʻāina, to see the complete transformation and growth of Kapalai. It also marks a season for myself, of growth and renewal, and I find tremendous power in myself knowing that I contributed to a momentous chapter and project. The next one is unwritten in our eyes, but I cannot wait to see what’s in store here at Kapalai.

Kaiāulu (Volunteers) – Oct. 2021

Written By Makana Wilhelm, Outreach & Education Coordinator

Sophia (12) and Cale (15) are our youth volunteers at Kapalai

Meet our dedicated young volunteers Sophia (12yr) and Cael (15yr). Sophia is from Maunawili and has taken it upon herself to dedicate her Saturdays to building connections to the ʻāina, culture, and people here at Kapalai. She says, “There’s a lot of kids nowadays that are just glued to their phone all the time. Sometimes you just need to get outside and experience your own culture.”

Cael – living in Kāneʻohe, has taken it upon himself to learn more about the Hawaiian culture, team-work, and leadership through the cultivation of Kalo here at Kapalai. Cael says, “Apart from the agricultural knowledge being taught here, one of the deeper things you learn here is about teamwork, and about encouraging others to get the work done. You learn from people like Paul or Uncle Dean how to lead in different ways while still cultivating a really welcoming environment.”

Mahalo to these two for continuing to inspire and encourage us. The future is bright for this next generation.

We invite you to join us in uplifting our community.

December 4th, 2020

Aloha mai kākou,

As we all know, 2020 has indeed been a year full of challenges and adversity for many. Like everyone, we at Hoʻokuaʻāina are trying our hardest to pivot and adapt to the times to best meet the needs of our surrounding communities while continuing to fulfill the mission close to our hearts: to empower youth, especially those at risk, and strengthen community through the cultivation of kalo.

Since March, when the effects of the pandemic began to unfold here in Hawaiʻi, we were blessed to be deemed an essential business, thus able to continue the vital production of kalo. Although we had halted poi production, the sudden increase in demand for raw kalo caught us off guard. In addition to new orders, we became aware of the need in our communities to increase access to healthy food, and partnered with Hui Mālama o ke Kai and Hoʻoulu ʻĀina to provide nearly 5000 pounds of kalo to distribute to struggling families. Amidst the challenges of this unprecedented time, the silver lining is a heightened awareness of Hawaiʻi’s food insecurity and an increased desire in individuals to grow food. We seized upon this and organized huli drives to encourage families to grow their own kalo, while offering tutorials to support their success. The response has been overwhelming. People are more excited than ever and determined to learn to grow their own food. Since May, we have given out over 10,000 huli to over 500 families across the island, many of them first time growers.

All of our other programming had to quickly shift as well. In March, 48 groups canceled their visits and our fully booked calendar was suddenly erased. The loss of physical connection and increased isolation were the most common hardships expressed by our regular visitors. We needed to quickly shift our focus as an organization to address this immediate concern for the mental health of our loved ones. Again, we saw another opportunity, and videos and virtual lessons became a new medium for many to connect with the staff and ʻāina they had built pilina with over the years. As a result, our reach and impact has grown. One of the gems that has emerged from this time is a new wellness workshop series in partnership with St. Francis Wellness Center that we offer to our beloved kūpuna.

Thankfully, our internship and Ahupuaʻa Systems Apprenticeship (ASA) programs safely continue without restriction, which helps us meet the demand for kalo. Twelve apprentices will successfully complete their first semester of full-time college this month, while two others who started last year are on their way to receiving their degree in May. All of them work in the loʻi at least 10-15 hours per week and have truly become a part of the Hoʻokuaʻāina ʻohana as we support them through their educational and life journey.

In this season, we are most grateful for those of you who support and encourage us to continue striving to meet the most important needs in our community. Understand that you are a vital part of this work and that we could not do it without you. 100% of your unrestricted donation this year enables Hoʻokuaʻāina to continue programs and services for at-risk youth, struggling families, students and our precious kūpuna.

Until we are able to meet again face-to-face, we send you our aloha filled with prayers of peace, health, and waiwai during this season and all the year through.

Me ke aloha nui,
Dean and Michele

ʻĀina Curry | Kapalai Kitchen x

Aina Curry by Meakala

There are so many ways to incorporate food you’ve grown in your backyard or bought from your favorite local farmer into your everyday meals. What are your favorite ingredients? What do you love to make? #growfood #supportlocal

We are blessed to have our “resident chef” (Meakala) cooking up delicious, healthy, easy recipes for us!

This ʻĀina Curry includes kalo, ʻulu, eggplant, ʻōlena and limes straight from the ʻāina of Kapalai. Not only is this a simple and delicious meal, but it is super healthy and affordable! It is much cheaper if you grow these ingredients yourself, but if not, the cost per value is a lot more affordable to buy these ingredients from the store and prepare the meal yourself, rather than going out to dinner. The amount that I cooked was enough to feed my family of 6. If you calculate the cost of all ingredients and divide this by 6, then you will find that this is a lot more affordable than taking your family out to dinner. For more information, check out the recipe below!


Total Prep Time: 1 ½ hours (including the steaming of kalo and ulu)

Total Cooking Time: 20 min

8 Healthy Servings

  • 2 cups steamed kalo (cubed)
  • 2 cups steamed ulu (cubed)
  • 3 average size Japanese eggplant
  • 3 tbsp. avocado oil1 med size onion1 bunch kale4 Tbsp fresh grated ʻōlena (turmeric) (if dry then 1 tbsp.)
  • 4 8oz cans coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp. Thai curry paste
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • Hawaiian Salt to taste
  • 1 lime


  1. Saute chopped onion with avocado oil, add curry paste, grated ʻōlena, and chopped garlic. Continue to saute for 5 minutes.
  2. Add coconut milk to sauteed spices and onions. Let simmer for a few minutes then add eggplant. Cover and simmer for 2 min.
  3. Add-in already steamed kalo and ulu. Cover and simmer for another 5 min.
  4. Turn off the heat. Stir in chopped kale and the juice of one lime. Salt to taste. Let sit for 5 min. The kalo and ulu will soak up a lot of the liquid. Add a little water or chicken broth if too thick.
  5. E ʻai! (then eat!) I māʻona ka ʻōpū (until your stomach is content).

*This recipe is intended to be eaten alone no rice needed.

Kilo with Kapalili Journal

We as kānaka, or people, have a kuleana to serve and to care well for the ʻāina we are given to steward. It is both a responsibility and a privilege. In order to mālama (care for) anyone well, a relationship must be cultivated. Through kilo, or observations, and by spending time caring for and cultivating ʻāina, we learn better what it needs. 

As we learn from Papakū Makawalu, kilo is to observe with our whole selves using all of our senses. Kilo is the foundation for understanding, knowing, acknowledging, becoming involved with the systems of this natural world.

Papakū Makawalu organizes our environment into three areas.

  • Papahulilani is the space from above the head to where the stars sit. The clouds, rain, wind, sun, moon, and stars.
  • Papahulihonua includes the natural earth and ocean and its development, transformation, and evolution by natural causes. The dirt, rocks, mud, our seas, and freshwater.
  • Papahānaumoku includes everything that moves from the embryonic state of all life forces to death. It is the birthing cycle of all flora and fauna inclusive of man. The plants, animals, and people.

Join Kumu Dani as we kilo our space here at Kapalai. Be sure to download our kilo journal (available in English & Hawaiian) and start to kilo your space today. It is amazing what we can learn when we stop and observe for a moment.

Kilo Journal – English

Download our Kilo Journal in English

Click to download the kilo journal – English

Kilo Journal – Hawaiian

Download our kilo journal in Hawaiian

Click to download the kilo journal – Hawaiian

Additional Journal Pages

Source: Edith Kanakaʻole Foundation: Papakū Makawalu.

Letter from the Director – July 21st, 2020

Drone shot of Hoʻokuaʻāina

Aloha Mai Kākou,

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer! My last newsletter over three months ago was quite dire regarding the need for us all to be socially responsible in the face of mitigating COVID 19 with the mindset of preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. I think it safe to say that while we have indeed been impacted by this pandemic, we are moving through it far better than what has taken place in many other parts of the world. We still need to be vigilant and work through the negative fallout, but can indeed be thankful and commend ourselves for our response. Mahalo ke Akua!

While many businesses and organizations had to shut down due to the circumstances of COVID 19, we actually became busier than ever. As an essential service and the largest producer of kalo on the island of Oʻahu, we focused more keenly on ramping up our production efforts. For safety reasons, we ceased making poi and hosting groups but kept our staff working and through stimulus money hired 14 temporary interns for eight weeks who helped us in the effort to grow more food. We indeed experienced a significant rise in demand for kalo and, through the support and partnership with other organizations, sought to help our community by feeding people, donating kalo, and giving out thousands of huli for others to plant. We also continued to maintain our education program and connection with our partnering schools and students through outreach and online learning, and because our amazing Cassie Nichols thought it was time, she, along with the help of Michele and Dani, redid our website! In spite of the uncertainty of how to navigate and move forward during this time, we commenced with our Ahupua’a Systems Apprenticeship Program in partnership with Windward Community College, and on June 8th welcomed 13 participants from four of our Windward highschools. We will be working with them for the next two years providing them a place to learn and work while supporting them through their post-high educational journey. Like everyone, we’ve also been adjusting to virtual communicating and learning. I must confess, I long to return to the pre-zoom call days and not having to subject people to hearing my voice or seeing my face online! My continued apologies.

As we all know, seasons change. For three years we’ve had the privilege of having Dani Espiritu as our Education Specialist. She is an amazing teacher who not only developed relationships with so many schools, teachers and students, but also lives out her values, the same that Hoʻokuaʻāina seeks to embody, through her teaching and manner. In June, she transitioned out of her position with us as a staff member to finish her doctoral dissertation. We will be forever grateful to her many contributions and she will be greatly missed, yet will always be a part of our Hoʻokuaʻāina ʻohana.

As Dani transitioned out, we knew it would be extremely difficult to fill her shoes. Instead of trying to hire for her position, we created a new position- Education and Outreach Coordinator. We are pleased to announce the hiring of Makana Wilhelm, a recent graduate from the Hawaiian Studies and Language program at UH Hilo. Makana brings to the team fresh and innovative perspectives and ideas to engage with our community. She is helping to navigate the challenges of virtual learning and our connection with the schools and community groups we have built relationships with who have not been able to visit us physically during this time. In addition, she adds greater depth to our Hawaiian culture and language foundation of teaching as well as her intimate understanding of the mission and purpose of Hoʻokuaʻāina. We believe she will challenge us and help us grow as an organization.

We are so looking forward to the time when we can have groups return and make poi again. Until things open up and we are able to do so, please continue to engage with us on our social media sites. (@hookuaaina) Connecting with us in this manner means so much because in-person relationships (pilina) and experiential engagement are some of our most important values. If we canʻt meet face to face, at least we can connect in this manner. E mālama ʻoe i kou kino! (take care of your health)

Aloha no,

Education and Outreach Update: July 2020

Written By Makana Wilhelm – Education and Outreach Coordinator

Kilo and Kalo event at Hui Mālama o ke Kai with Mālama Honua PCS and Blanche Pope Elementary

Aloha nui e ka mea heluhelu, 

With schools closing down in March because of COVID-19, we wanted to find ways to continue connecting with our students while they were stuck at home. In our Kupuohi program, many of the schools visit 4 times during the year with the final quarter being the culminating lesson where students get a chance to kuʻi the kalo they have been caring for all year long. It is the most exciting of the 4 visits and the one returning students look forward to the most. You can imagine their disappointment when all of the schools had to cancel their final visit for the year. In total, 19 school visits were canceled due to COVID. Because we have worked hard to build these connections with the students and their families, we chose to find creative ways to continue connecting with our students and teachers in the Kupuohi program. We quickly shifted our focus to create virtual learning opportunities through live feeds with our staff so keiki could talk to familiar faces on the farm. Several tutorial videos were created by staff demonstrating the various tasks around kalo cultivation. A fun virtual farm tour was produced that the keiki really enjoyed with their ʻohana.  All of these helped us to strengthen the relationship already established throughout the year and also make the best of a tragic situation. 

Join us as we give you a tour of the farm at Kapalai where we grow our kalo in addition to other crops and where we run all programming for our non-profit Hoʻokuaʻāina.

 Aside from school groups being canceled, it was pretty much business as usual for our staff and interns. Deemed an essential service during the COVID crisis, Hoʻokuaʻāina continued to work hard to supply our community with kalo. Without our normal school and community group visits, we have had an opportunity to really reflect on how essential growing kalo is. The demand for kalo has doubled in the past 3 months which has been record breaking for us, so much so that we had to stop taking individual orders for a few weeks in order for the patches to catch up. After each bountiful harvest, we have had more than enough huli (kalo cuttings for replanting) to share with farmers, keiki, and ʻohana who are eager to plant kalo in their backyards.

Meakala shows simple ways to plant kalo (huli) in your home garden or in a pot if you don’t have space in the ground.

One of the incredible outcomes of the crisis was that we were able to donate over one thousand pounds of kalo (thanks to the Consuelo Foundation and the Omidyar Foundation) directly to the students and families of Mālama Honua PCS and Blanche Pope Elementary. Along with the cooked kalo, we provided families with huli (kalo cuttings for planting) and an observation journal created by our team called “Kilo with Kapalili” for keiki to track the growth of their kalo and to build a relationship with their environment through kilo (scientific observation). In the month of May, we gave away over 3,000 huli to families from every moku (district) on Oʻahu. The response and gratitude we experienced from the recipients was overwhelming. We witnessed how empowering it is for kānaka to be able to plant and eat kalo straight from their own garden which has been truly inspiring for our Hoʻokuaʻāina ʻohana. 

As for what’s next, we are still unsure what programs will look like with the ongoing pandemic. However, we are committed to continuing our attempt to connect virtually through video content, lessons, activities, and opportunities for students and the community to engage with the work here at Kapalai. 

Rachel and Keliʻa are here to share our process of fertilizing kalo at Kapalai.
Here at Kapalai, we weed a certain way to ensure that our pu’e (mounds) and our kalo can thrive. Here are some of the do’s and don’ts.

‘Ōlelo Hawai’i

In the month of June, we started to be more intentional about the implementation and usage of Hawaiian language into our everyday work life. Being a culture and ʻāina based organization, we recognize that it is important that we continue to utilize the words and phrases that our kūpuna once used to connect to their ʻāina on a daily basis. Through the Hawaiian language, we are able to deepen our understanding of Hāloa and broaden our perspective as people of Hawaiʻi. We have started with simple words that people can remember for everyday tasks and tools such as:

  • Pākeke – bucket
  • Kopalā – shovel
  • Kanu – to plant
  • Huki – to pull, harvest
  • Waele – to weed
  • Nāhelehele – weeds
  • ʻŌhule – bald (because our managers feel that it is imperative we all know how to describe Uncle Deanʻs bald head in Hawaiian when he walks by)

In addition, we have started a weekly workshop series called Papa Hāloa, led by Kumu Kaipoʻi Kelling, where moʻolelo is shared to further our understanding about kalo drawing from the pool of rich resources we have from scholars and kupuna. 

We wish to create a safe and inclusive space to continue to practice the language of this land and grow together as a community of kuaʻāina. We look forward to including the larger community once this season of COVID-19 has settled a bit. 

Program Update: July 2020

Written By Rachel Kapule – Program Coordinator

He ʻaʻaliʻi ku makani mai au; ʻaʻohe makani nana e kulaʻi. ʻŌN #507
I am a wind-resisting ʻaʻaliʻi; no gale can push me over. 

These past few months have been challenging for us all, as many of our daily routines were thrown off balance. For those in school, classes were transitioned online and students had to learn how to adapt. None of us could have anticipated or prepared for this. But despite all the adversity, our ASA pilot cohort stood firm like the ʻaʻaliʻi tree; they finished the semester strong and had officially completed their first year at Windward Community College and Hoʻokuaʻāina.

Our Ahupuaʻa Systems Apprenticeship (ASA) program was designed to educate and cultivate the next generation of people committed to living the values and practices of a once sustainable island food system. It is a collaborative opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience and earn a stipend while starting their college career at WCC. Paul and Mikey are a part of our pilot cohort that began last year. It has been amazing to watch them step into leadership positions and share their experiences with the new cohort one that began just a few weeks ago. In this new cohort, we have been blessed to have two returning interns as well as eleven strong and dedicated wahine, 13 total, committed to the program for 2 years. We’re all excited to build new relationships and grow our ʻohana even more. We’ve also been fortunate enough to hire two summer interns that fit right in with the rest of us. It definitely helps to have all these extra hands on the farm! We’ve been able to spend time on other important things that sit lower on our priority list, like building out new showers. You won’t have to run the hose across the street anymore! 

The ASA students have already had the opportunity to experience weeding, fertilizing, pulling kalo, managing orders, prepping patches, and planting grass! While we do love just having more help in the loʻi, we love even more hearing their “whys;” what drives them to be here at Hoʻokuaʻāina and to pursue a college degree. The 15 (including the 2 from the pilot year) of them are becoming a team and will go through WCC together. They’re already getting a taste of college through an online summer Ahupuaʻa course that they have enrolled in. So far, they’ve learned about the kumulipo and have been able to relate it to working with kalo. We can’t wait to see what these next two years have in store for them and see how much they grow as individuals and as a whole. 

Source: Pukui, M. K. (1983). ‘Ōlelo No‘eau Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu, Hawaii: Bishop Museum Press.

Makaluhi: Our Story

It was in 2002 that our vision for Kapalai began to unfold. At that time Dean was working full time as a DOE teacher at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility by day and performing as a Hawaiian musician by night. I was a stay at home mom caring for our 3 girls. We were happy living in our humble home
in the Olomana subdivision which we referred to as “Beavercleaverville” and perfectly content to spend the rest of our lives there as the neighborhood was an ideal environment to raise our family. A small garden kept our table full of fresh vegetables year-round with enough abundance to share. It was a common practice for us to use the leaves from our kalo plants to invite our friends over to prepare laulau (a Hawaiian favorite) and make an imu (underground oven) to cook them in. It was inevitable that these gatherings would turn into celebrations of food, friends, and fellowship – mini neighborhood luaus in our carport. They became quite frequent, growing in numbers, to the point where soon we were outgrowing our small space.

During this period, Dean, who was an English teacher at the facility, was having difficulty connecting with his students who had no interest in the subject. He had the thought to plant some kalo right outside his classroom. What better way to connect with young Hawaiians (75% of the student population) than with a plant and food very significant to their culture? As the plants grew, so did their interest. He began to shift his subject matter to areas they might relate to such as music, breaking down rap to teach poetry, and challenging them to write their own. Suddenly they were engaged. As a reward, Dean led them in harvesting the leaves of the kalo to make their own laulau. The majority had never done so before and had no idea how this common dish was prepared. They took great pride in the fact that they grew the majority of the ingredients, prepared a delicious dish with their own hands, and had plenty to share with teachers and staff. A breakthrough had occurred.

Back to the carport…. it was through this season that an idea began to emerge. Dean would often come home after challenging days and share heartbreaking stories about the life circumstances of his students. Drugs, violence, incarcerated parents, no home, no place to shower, no one to prepare a meal, were all common themes. These kids were set up to fail from the beginning. Caught in a spiral of circumstance, just trying to survive, many of them turned to substance abuse to ease the pain. In most cases, incarceration was a much better alternative to the hopeless reality of their lives. What was the common denominator in all the stories – broken families. As we sat in our safe, privileged bubble, we began to think of our carport luaus and garden. It was so easy for Dean to connect with the kids in the growing, preparing, and eating of kalo. We asked ourselves, “What if we were able to do this at a community level, not just with the kids but with their families and community members as well?”. What if we could mimic our carport gatherings at a community level? It seemed there was some healing power to the notion of using food to gather people to encourage fellowship, building healthy relationships, and bringing hope to an otherwise hopeless situation.


For months, Dean and I found ourselves having regular discussions around this notion. There must be something that we could do that would be more impactful than the confines of his classroom. We contemplated multiplying our little garden plot a thousand times and making it accessible to struggling families in the community where we saw the greatest need. Our big “idea” or theory of change was:

  1. Create a safe, nurturing, gathering space for families to invest in productive and meaningful work so they could begin to let down their guard and feel hope.
  2. Help families connect in a space where they could form important relationships with the land, themselves and others in the community.

If our theory worked then healing would occur, self-concept would rise, and they would see their lives as having value, meaning, and purpose. Through offering this kind of activity and space, we could contribute to the restoration and rebuilding of a healthy community.

Of course, we had no idea if it would work. In fact, we had no idea about anything! All we had was a nagging notion that this was something that we ABSOLUTELY had to do. Once the idea was clear, we couldn’t let it go. We felt compelled to action in a way neither of us had ever experienced before. It did not make any sense to anyone around us. Why would we burst our perfect little “beavercleaver” bubble and risk failure for something that more qualified institutions could handle? Many wise individuals suggested that IF we were so compelled, we should join organizations with more experience who were doing similar work. But there was no reasoning with us. Events unfolded so quickly, we had no time to think about the details or to back out. Within a year, our house was sold and we were driven by a vision with no plan, direction, experience, or help. What catapulted us forward was a burning passion and unwavering faith that the God who downloaded this upon our collective hearts would be faithful to provide all the necessary means to see it through.


Our search for the right piece of property to unfold our vision took us down a path we were unprepared for. It was 2003, the year the housing market skyrocketed in what seemed like 5 minutes after we sold our house. Within 5 months the house we sold was well outside of our means and our search for a small plot of ag land from Ka’a’a’wa to Waimānalo led to one closed door after another. We moved into a 700 square foot home to caretake a church thinking it was a very temporary way for us not to spend our savings on rent. Our stay turned into 5 years! As several offers for small plots of land were rejected, we began to think we had made a very big mistake. Perhaps we should have listened to all our many concerned friends and advisors. There was just no going back.

In the spring of 2006, a friend who knew what we were looking for suggested we have a look at a property in the Kailua neighborhood, Maunawili. We had a chuckle after speaking with him knowing Maunawili was far out of reach from what we could afford but out of respect and curiosity we decided to have a look. From the moment we stepped foot on Kapalai, I had a feeling from my head to my toes, THIS WAS IT!! We could’t believe our eyes. It was far beyond anything we ever dreamed of or imagined. Although overgrown and untouched for nearly 100 years, the land seemed rich and fertile, flowing with natural springs, and perfectly suited to grow kalo. It was a beautiful kipuka (oasis) in the midst of dense residential development and seemed too good to be true. But when Ke Akua has a plan, he clears the way. That is exactly what happened over the next year. Acquiring the nearly 8 acres in the heart of Maunawili was nothing less than a miracle.

August 12th, 2007, Dean and I signed the official papers and the door opened wide for our vision to begin. Although completely at a loss as to where to begin, we trusted that if we came this far, then provision and direction would arrive. And so it did! We put in 3 years of sweat equity to remove all the rubbish that contractors had been allowed to dump onsite, build a road, put in basic infrastructure such as water, power, and storage, and cleared our first loʻi with the help of many volunteers. The ʻāina was blessed and given the name Kapunawaiolaokapalai – the living springs of Kapalai which is the old ʻili (land division) name for the area.

For the last 12 years we have been forging the way through uncharted territories, learning as we go. It has been a wild ride full of many bumps along the way. In the early years, we often found ourselves in a place of uncertainty or discouragement and the grand vision seemed so far away – unattainable. There were a few times we wondered if maybe we had lost our minds. Each time we hit a lull, without fail, a miraculous provision would drop down to lift us up and put some new wind in our sails.

In 2011, we formed the nonprofit Hoʻokuaʻāina, named by Uncle Earl Kawaʻa who during that time had become a treasured mentor and friend to help guide us in the cultivation of kalo. With a few loʻi established we were able to start part time programming with the youth transitioning out of Hawaiʻi Youth Correctional Facility. Although we didnʻt have any funding, Deanʻs former students were eager to work for the experience of doing something productive and perhaps the promise of a pepperoni pizza after. With two key advisors on board (Andrew Aoki and Kina Mahi), we slowly formulated a very clear strategic plan to begin sharing our story with potential funders and start formal programming with the focus on at-risk youth. 2014 was a breakthrough year for us as an organization. Two substantial funders, Consuelo Foundation and Office of Youth Services, partnered with us so that Dean could leave his job and become our first full time employee as a director, educator, and youth mentor/life coach. It took seven years, but we had finally arrived and were officially doing the work that we had set out to do full time.

Looking back all those years ago, sitting in our carport, contemplating the what ifs, we are so thankful we didn’t spend too much time wondering about the risk and just said yes. There is no way we could have imagined what was to unfold. Kapalai is now the gathering place we hoped it would be, reaching four thousand visitors per year. Our first official program was the Kūkuluhou Mentoring Program designed for the students who inspired us from the beginning. Today, it remains the heart of everything we do and reaches 20-30 youth ages 13-18 per year. Referrals to the program participate in nine months of weekly life skills training to build self-esteem. Since 2009, we have offered over 200 intern positions for young adults 17-24 to provide technical training and sharpen leadership skills. The Kupuohi ʻāina based education program is thriving, providing an outdoor living classroom to 1500 students annually, K-12th grade. In 6 years, our staff of 1 has grown to 9. The biggest accomplishment this year was completing the build out of the loʻi with 23 patches in production, something I wasn’t sure we would see in this lifetime. With a growing space of about 3 acres, we are able to produce around 30,000 pounds of kalo per year which helps to supplement our programming costs making us more sustainable as an organization.

2020 marks the year we take a step back as an ʻohana and makaluhi. Literally translated makaluhi means tired eyes but in this case, we use it as an adjective to describe “a period of rest or feasting which follows a prolonged season of toil” ( have certainly toiled and there is much more that lies ahead, but we are purposefully taking this year to makaluhi – to sit back a bit and gaze with satisfaction at how far we have come. As we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic with many uncertainties looming for our communities, one thing remains certain, Kapunawaiolaokapalai has been brought back to life after nearly a century of dormancy. What was once thriving has been revived for such a time as this and is a resource available to those seeking connection, nourishment, and restoration. For all of you who have contributed to the journey, we hope you celebrate this season of makaluhi with us. And get ready, we have only just begun!

Makaluhi (mă’-kă-lū’-hi), adj.

[From makaluhi, to be weary.] An adjective descriptive of the rest or feasting which follows a prolonged season of toil.

Parker Dictionary (Hwn to Eng)

ʻŌlelo Noeau: Hoʻonahoa (courage)

ʻAu ana ka lae o Maunauna i ka ʻino. #234
Maunauna point swims in the storm.
[Said of a courageous person who withstands the storms of life.]

He ʻaʻaliʻi kū makani mai au; ʻaʻohe makani nāna e kulaʻi. #507
I am a wind-resisting ʻaʻaliʻi plant; no gust can push me over.

He ʻaloʻalo kuāua no kuahiwi. #541
One who endured the mountain showers.
[A brave person.]

He hoʻokele waʻa no ka lā ʻino. #592
A canoe steersman for a stormy day.
[A courageous person.]

He lālā kamahele no ka lāʻau kū i ka pali. #717
A far-reaching branch of the tree standing on the cliff.
[A boast of a strong person who, like the tree on the cliff, can withstand gales and pouring rain.]

Source: Pukui, M. K. (1983). ‘Ōlelo No‘eau Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu, Hawaii: Bishop Museum Press.

ʻŌlelo Noeau compiled by Johanna Kapōmaikaʻi Stone and Danielle Espiritu

ʻŌlelo Noeau: Aloha (love & peace)

E ʻōpū aliʻi. #369
Have the heart of a chief.
[Have the kindness, generosity and even temper of a chief.]

E wehe i ka umauma i ākea. #388
Open out the chest that it may be spacious.
[Be generous and kind to all.]

He aliʻi ka laʻi, he haku na ke aloha. #532
Peace is a chief, the lord of love.
[Where peace is, there love abides also.]

He aliʻi ke aloha, he kilohana e paʻa ai. #536
Love is like a chief, the highest prize to hold fast to.

He aliʻi ke aloha, he ʻohu no ke kino. #537
Love is chiefly, an adornment for the body.
[Uttered by Hiʻiaka in a chant to the sister of Lohiʻau.]

He ʻohu ke aloha, ʻaʻohe kuahiwi kau ʻole.#852
Love is a mist, there is no mountaintop that it does not settle upon.
[Love comes to all.]

He ʻolina leo kā ke aloha. #862
A joyousness is in the voice of love.
[Love speaks in a gentle and joyous voice, no in harshness or gruffness.]

He pūnāwai kahe wale ke aloha. #936
Love is a spring that flows freely.
[Love is without bounds and exists for all.]

Haʻahaʻa (humility)

#284 E hoʻi e peʻe i ke ōpū weuweu me he moho la. E ao o haʻi ka pua o ka mauʻu iā ʻoe.
Go back and hide among the clumps of grass-like the wingless rail. Be careful not to break even a blade of grass.
[Return to the country to live a humble life and leave no trace to be noticed and followed. So said the chief Kealiʻiwahamana to his daughter when he was dying. Later used as advice to a young person not to be aggressive or show off.]

#361 E noho iho i ke ōpū weuweu, mai hoʻokiʻekiʻe.
Remain among the clumps of grasses and do not elevate yourself.
[Do not put on airs, show off, or assume an attitude of superiority.]

#367 E ʻoluʻolu i ka mea i loaʻa.
Be contented with what one has.

Source: Pukui, M. K. (1983). ‘Ōlelo No‘eau Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu, Hawaii: Bishop Museum Press.

ʻŌlelo Noeau compiled by Johanna Kapōmaikaʻi Stone and Danielle Espiritu

ʻŌlelo Noeau: Hoʻokipa (hospitality)

#518 He ʻai leo ʻole, he ʻīpuka hāmama.
Food unaccompanied by a voice, a door always open.
[Said about the home of a hospitable person. The food is eaten without hearing a complaint from the hosts, and the door is always open to all visitors.]

#858 He ola i ka leo kāhea.
There is life in a [hospitable] call.
[A call of friendly hospitality gives cheer to the traveler.]

#869 He ʻōpū hālau.
A house-like stomach.
[A heart as big as a house. Said of a person who is kind, gracious, and hospitable.]

Source: Pukui, M. K. (1983). ‘Ōlelo No‘eau Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu, Hawaii: Bishop Museum Press.

ʻŌlelo Noeau compiled by Johanna Kapōmaikaʻi Stone and Danielle Espiritu

ʻŌlelo Noeau: Favorites of Ho‘okua‘āina

Ho‘okua‘āina Core Lessons

Nani ke kalo *
Beautiful the taro/The taro is beautiful.

Aloha Kekahi i Kekahi *
Love one another

Ua ola loko i ke aloha. #2836
Love gives life within.
[Love is imperative to one’s mental and physical welfare.]

Huli ka lima i lalo, ola *
Turn the hands down, life. 

He aliʻi ka ʻāina; he kauwā ke kanaka. #531
The land is a chief; man is its servant.
[The land has no need for man, but man needs the land and works it for a livelihood.]

Uwē ka lani, ola ka honua. #2888
When the sky weeps, the earth lives.
[When it rains the earth revives.]

He waʻa he moku, he moku he waʻa. *
A canoe is an island, an island is a canoe.

ʻAʻohe hana nui ke alu ʻia. #142
No task is too big when done together by all. 

Ma ka hana ka ʻike. #2088
In working one learns.

ʻAʻohe pau ka ʻike i ka hālau hoʻokahi. #203
All knowledge is not learned in one school.
[One can learn from many sources.]

E lawe i ke aʻo a mālama, a e ʻoi mau ka naʻauao. #328
Take what you have learned and apply it and your wisdom will increase.

ʻĀina Momona. *
Fat, fertile, rich land.

Hele nō ka ʻalā, hele nō ka lima. #752
The rock goes, the hand goes.
[To make good poi, the freehand must work in unison with the poi pounder. Keep both hands working to do good work.]

Na ke kanaka mahiʻai ka imu ō nui. #2239
The well-filled imu belongs to the man who tills the soil.

ʻŌnipaʻa.  #2521
Stand firm.
[Motto of Liliʻuokalani]

Hoʻomau *
To persevere

Lōkahi *
Unity, balance, connection to a spiritual force, oneself, others, and the land

Kūlia i ka nuʻu.  #1913
Strive to reach the highest.
[Motto of Queen Kapiʻolani.]

ʻAʻohe lolena i ka wai ʻōpae.  #178
There must be no slackness when one gathers shrimp in time of a freshet.
[Let there be no slackers when there is work to be done. Lazy people don’t get anywhere.]

Maiau Kahana, Maiau Ka Loaʻa *
Neat work, neat results

Source: Pukui, M. K. (1983). ‘Ōlelo No‘eau Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu, Hawaii: Bishop Museum Press.

*Indicates those not found in the puke ʻŌlelo Noʻeau

ʻŌlelo Noeau compiled by Johanna Kapōmaikaʻi Stone and Danielle Espiritu

ʻŌlelo Noeau: Hana Pono (working hard)

Aia ke ola i ka hana. #57
Life is in labor.
[Labor produces what is needed.]

Aia nō ka pono, ʻo ka hoʻohuli i ka lima i lalo, ʻaʻole ʻo ka hoʻohuli i luna. #71
That is what it should be–to turn the hands palms down, not palms up.
[No one can work with the palms of his hands turned up. When a person is always busy, he is said to keep his palms down.]

ʻAi nō i kalo moʻa. #83
One can eat cooked taro,
[The work is done; one can sit at ease and enjoy himself.]

ʻAʻohe hana nui ke alu ʻia. #142
No task is too big when done together by all.

ʻAʻohe loaʻa i ka noho wale. #173
Nothing is gained by idleness.

ʻAʻohe mea nāna e hoʻopūhili, he moho no ka lā makani. #189
There is no one to interfere, for he is a messenger for the windy day.
[Said in admiration of a person who lets nothing stop him from carrying out the task entrusted to him.]

ʻAʻohe puʻu kiʻekiʻe ke hōʻāʻō ʻia e piʻi. #209
No cliff is so tall that is cannot be scaled.
[No problem is too great when one tries hard to solve it.]

ʻAʻohe ʻulu e loaʻa i ka pōkole o ka lou. #213
No breadfruit can be reached when the picking stick is too short.
[There is no success without preparation.]

E ala! E alu! E kuilima! #258
Up! Together! Join hands!
[A call to come together to tackle a given task.]

E ala, e hoa i ka malo. #259
Get up and gird your loincloth.
[A call to rise and get to work.]

E hana mua a paʻa ke kahua ma mua o ke aʻo ʻana aku iā haʻi. #276
Build yourself a firm foundation before teaching others.

E hōʻike mai ana ka lāʻau a ke kia manu. #287
The stick of the birdcatcher will tell.
[We will know how successful one is by what he produces. One knew whether a bird catcher was successful by counting the birds on his gummed stick.]

E hoʻokanaka. #290
Be a man.

E hume i ka malo, e hoʻokala i ka ihe. #299
Gird the loin cloth, sharpen the spear.
[A call to prepare for war or to prepare for the project at hand.]

E kanu i ka huli ʻoi hāʻule ka ua. #316
Plant the taro stalks while there is rain.
[Do your work when the opportunity affords.]

E kaupē aku nō i ka hoe, a kō mai. #319
Put forward the paddle and draw it back.
[Go on with the task that is started and finish it.]

E kuahui like i ka hana. #323
Let everybody pitch in and work together.

E kuʻi ka māmā a loaʻa ʻo Kaʻōhele. #326
Let your fastest runners run in relay to catch Kaʻōhele.
[Let us make every effort to attain our goal. Kaʻōhele was a chief and warrior and in his day, there was none swifter than he. Is was only by running in relay that he was caught and killed.]

E lauhoe mai nā waʻa; i ke kā, i ka hoe; i ka hoe, i ke kā; pae aku i ka ʻāina. #327
Everybody paddle the canoes together; bail and paddle, paddle and bail, and the shore is reached.
[Pitch in with a will, everybody, and the work is quickly done.]

E mālama o pā i ke leo. #350
Be careful lest you be struck by the voice.
[Be careful not to do something that will lead to a scolding.]

E pūpūkahi. #376
Be of one clump.
[Be united in thought.]

E waikahi ka pono i mānalo. #384
It is well to be united in thought that all may have peace.

Hāʻawe i ke kua; kiʻi i ke alo. #401
A burden on the back; a babe in the arms.
[Said of a hard-working woman who carries a load on her back and a baby in her arms.]

Hana a lau a lau ke aho, a laila loaʻa ka iʻa kāpapa o ka moana. #446
Make four hundred times four hundred fish lines before planning to go after the fighting fish of the sea.
[Be well prepared for a big project.]

Hana a mikiʻoi, lawe a ʻauliʻi. #447
Be deft ad dainty.
[Said to young people: Be neat, sweet, and clever — not crude and blundering.]

Hanuʻu ke kai i Mokuola. #473
The sea recedes at Mokuola.
[Now is the opportune time to venture forth.]

He ʻai e kāhela ai ka ʻūhā. #515
An eating that spreads the intestines.
[The enjoyment of a good meal when labor is finished and all is at peace.]

He lani i luna, he honua i lalo. #718
Heaven above, Earth beneath.
[Said of a person who cultivates harmony on his property, he is sure of his own security. The sky is above him and the Earth is the foundation beneath his feet.]

Hele nō i ka hola iʻa i ka lā. #751
Fish poison should be used in the daytime.
[Greater efficiency is achieved in the daytime.]

He ola na ka ʻōiwi, lawe aʻe nō a ʻai haʻaheo. #860
A life made by the native, [one can] take and eat proudly.
[When one has earned his own livelihood he can take his food and eat it with pride.]

He pūkoʻa kani ʻāina. #932
A coral reef grows into an island.
[A person beginning in a small way gains steadily until he becomes firmly established]

He pūkoʻa kū no ka moana. #933
A large rock standing in the sea.
[Said of a person who is unchangeable and very determined.]

Malia paha he iki ʻunu, paʻa ka pōhaku nui ʻaʻole e kaʻa. #2125
Perhaps it is a small stone that can keep the big rock from rolling down.

O ke kahua mamua, mahope ke kūkulu. #2459
The site [foundation] first, and then the building

‘U‘uku ka hana, ‘u‘uku ka loa‘a. #2884
Little work, little gain.
[You reap what you sow. If you give a little do not expect a large return.]

Akahele (being cautious)

E ʻau mālie i ke kai pāpaʻu, o pakī ka wai a pula ka maka. #267
Swim quietly in shallow water lest it splash into the eyes.
[A cautioning where one is not sure of conditions.]

Source: Pukui, M. K. (1983). ‘Ōlelo No‘eau Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu, Hawaii: Bishop Museum Press.

ʻŌlelo Noeau compiled by Johanna Kapōmaikaʻi Stone and Danielle Espiritu

ʻŌlelo Noeau: Aʻo (teaching and learning)

ʻAʻohe pau ka ʻike i ka hālau hoʻokahi. #203
All knowledge is not taught in the same school.
[One can learn from many sources.]

E hoʻōki i ka hoʻina wale, o hōʻino ʻia mai ke kumu. #291
One should never go home without [some knowledge] lest his teacher be criticized.

E kuhikuhi pono i nā au iki a me nā au nui. #325
Instruct well in the little and the large currents of knowledge.
[In teaching, do it well; the small details are as important as the large ones.]

E lawe i ke aʻo a mālama, a e ʻoi mau ka naʻauao. #328
He who takes his teachings and applies them increases his knowledge.

ʻEliʻeli kūlana o ʻĀinaʻike. #339
Profound is the nature of ʻĀinaʻike.
[Refers to a person respected for the depth of his knowledge.]

He ipu kāʻeo. #643
A full calabash.
[A knowledgeable person. Also expressed ʻūmeke kāʻeo.]

He kāʻeʻaʻeʻa pulu ʻole no ka heʻenalu. #649
An expert on the surfboard who does not get wet.
[Praise of an outstanding surfer, or expert in their field.]

He kawa ia naʻu i lele a ʻopu. #679
[That is] a diving place in which I dived without making a splash.
[Said of something that is easy to do because one is accustomed to doing it.]

He lawaiʻa no ke kai pāpaʻu, he pōkole nō ke aho. He lawaiʻa no ke kai hohonu, he loa ke aho. #725
A fisherman of the shallow sea uses only a short line; a fisherman of the deep has a long line.
[A person whose knowledge is shallow does not have much. But he whose knowledge is great, has much.]

Akamai (wisdom)

He noio ʻaʻe ʻale no ke kai loa. # 844
A noio that treads over the billows of the distant sea.
[An expression of admiration for a person outstanding in wisdom and skill. The noio is a small tern.]

Hoʻonaʻauao (general teachings)

ʻAʻa i ka hula, waiho ka hilahila i ka hale. #2
When one wants to dance the hula, let bashfulness be left at home

Aia i ka ʻōpua ke ola: he ola nui, he ola laulā, he ola hohonu, he ola kiʻekiʻe. #42
Life is in the clouds: great life, broad life, deep life, elevated life.
[The reader of omens knows by their shape and color whether clouds promise rain and prosperity, or warn of disaster.]

Aia ke ola i ka waha; aia ka make i ka waha. #60
Life is in the mouth; death is in the mouth.
[Spoken words can enliven, spoken words can destroy.]

Ako ʻē ka hale a paʻa, a i ke komo ʻana mai o ka hoʻoilo, ʻaʻole e kulu i ka ua o Hilinaʻehu. #100
Thatch the house beforehand so when winter comes it will not leak in the shower of Hilinaʻehu.
[Do not procrastinate; make preparations for the future now.]

Aloha mai nō, aloha aku: ʻo ka huhū ka mea e ola ʻole ai. #113
When love is given, love should be returned; anger is the thing that gives no life.

ʻAʻohe hana i nele i ka uku. #141
No deed lacks a reward.
[Every deed, good or bad, receives its just reward.]

ʻAʻohe loko maikaʻi i nele i ka pānaʻi. #177
No kind deed has ever lacked its reward.

ʻAʻohe mea koe ma kūʻono. #187
Nothing remains in the corners.
[Said of one who is extremely generous, giving freely without reservation.]

ʻAʻohe mea make i ka hewa; make nō i ka mihi ʻole. #188
[No one has ever died for mistakes made, only because they did not repent.]

ʻAohe pilo uku. #205
No reward is a trifle.
[Even a small gift is appreciated.]

ʻAʻohe uʻi hele wale o Kohala. #211
No youth of Kohala goes empty-handed.
[Said in praise of people who do not go anywhere without a gift or a helping hand.]

E ʻai i ka mea i loaʻa. #251
What you have, eat.
[Be satisfied with what you have.]

E nihi ka helena i ka uka o Puna; mai pūlale i ka ʻike a ka maka. #360
Go quietly in the upland of Puna; do not let anything you see excite you.
[Watch your step and do not let the things you see lead you into trouble. There is an abundance of flowers and berries in the uplands of Puna and it is thought that picking any on the trip up to the volcano will result in being caught in heavy rains; the picking is left until the return trip. Also said to loved ones to imply, “Go carefully and be mindful.”]

He iʻa no ka moana, he aho loa kū i ke koʻa. #612
A fish of the deep sea requires a long line that reaches the sea floor.
[In order to obtain good position, one must prepare.]

He ʻike ʻana ia i ka pono. #620
It is a recognizing of the right thing.
[One has seen the right thing to do and has done it.]

He lohe ke ola, he kuli ka make. #766
To hear is life, to turn a deaf ear is death.
[It pays to heed sound advice.]

He manu hānai ke kanaka na ka moe. #802
Man is like a pet bird belonging to the realm of sleep.
[Dreams are very important. By them, one is guided to good fortune and warned of misfortune. Like a pet bird, man is taken care of.]

Source: Pukui, M. K. (1983). ‘Ōlelo No‘eau Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu, Hawaii: Bishop Museum Press.

ʻŌlelo Noeau compiled by Johanna Kapōmaikaʻi Stone and Danielle Espiritu

Hookuaaina Rebuilding Lives From The Ground Up

Hoʻokuaʻāina is located in the ahupuaʻa of Kailua at Kapalai in Maunawili on the island of Oʻahu. Get Directions.

For more information about our programs or how you can get involved please contact us.

916E Auloa Rd.

Kailua, HI 96734


P.O. Box 342146

Kailua, HI 96734

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Hookuaaina Rebuilding Lives From The Ground Up

Hoʻokuaʻāina is located in the ahupuaʻa of Kailua at Kapalai in Maunawili on the island of Oʻahu.

For more information about our programs or how you can get involved please contact us.

visit us

916E Auloa Rd.

Kailua, HI 96734

mail us

P.O. Box 342146

Kailua, HI 96734

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Hoʻokuaʻāina is a 501c3 Non-Profit Organization

© Hoʻokuaʻāina 2020 All Rights Reserved | Terms & Conditions | Privacy | Site By Created By Kaui

Hoʻokuaʻāina is a 501c3 Non-Profit Organization

© Hoʻokuaʻāina 2020 All Rights Reserved | Terms & Conditions | Privacy | Site By Created By Kaui

Hoʻokuaʻāina is a 501c3 Non-Profit Organization

© Hoʻokuaʻāina 2020 All Rights Reserved | Terms & Conditions | Privacy

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