Hookuaaina Rebuilding Lives From The Ground Up

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Hoʻokuaʻāina Blog

follow our journey

Hoʻokuaʻāina Blog

follow our journey

Hoʻokuaʻāina Blog

Māhele ʻĀina (Land Divisions)

Mokupuni (Island):

Moku (District):


ʻIli ʻĀina:

  • Anoni
  • Alalapapa
  • Alawai
  • Auloa
  • Haimilo/Pehialii/Moopilau
  • Hapakapa
  • Hiwapoo
  • Hualea
  • Kaakepa
  • Kaakepa
  • Kaalelekamani
  • Kaanokama
  • Kaelepulu
  • Kahanaiki
  • Kahoa
  • Kahoa
  • Kaioa
  • Kaipolia
  • Kalaekoa
  • Kalaiaoa
  • Kaluaikoa
  • Kamakalepo
  • Kamakalepo
  • Kamakalepo
  • Kamakalepo
  • Kanahau
  • Kaoha
  • Kaohia
  • Kaohia
  • Kaohia
  • Kapalai*
  • Kapaloa
  • Kapia
  • Kaulu
  • Kaulu
  • Kawailoa
  • Kawailoa
  • Kawainui
  • Keahupuaa
  • Kahupuaanui
  • Keolu
  • Kihuluhulu
  • Kionaole
  • Kionaole
  • Kuailima
  • Kuapuaa
  • Kuapuaa
  • Kuapuaa
  • Kuapuaa
  • Kukanono
  • Kukuimoemoe/Kuinamu/Hakala
  • Kupaka
  • Makakepa
  • Makali
  • Makalii
  • Makawao
  • Malamalama
  • Mani
  • Maunawili
  • Mokulua
  • Namu
  • Ohuauli
  • Omao
  • Oneawa
  • Oneawa
  • Oneawa
  • Oneawa
  • Oneawa
  • Paalae
  • Palalupe
  • Palalupe
  • Palalupe
  • Palapu
  • Papaloa
  • Papaloa
  • Papaloa
  • Pohakea
  • Pohakea
  • Pohakea
  • Pohakupu
  • Pohakupu
  • Pohakupu
  • Pohakupu
  • Pohakupu
  • Pohakupu
  • Pooakea
  • Puakea
  • Puheke
  • Puukae
  • Uolulu
  • Waeopihi
  • Waipaakiki

*Kapalai is the name of the ʻili ʻāina where Hoʻokuaʻāina is located.

Visit the AVAKONOHIKI website to see more maps of Koʻolaupoko.

Visit the Kipuka Database for more information on Oʻahu, Koʻolaupoko, and the ʻili found in Kailua.

Kamakakūokaʻāina. Koʻolaupoko. AVAKONOHIKI: Ancestral Visions of ʻĀina.

Kipuka Database. (2016). Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Retrieved from:

Compiled by Danielle Espiritu, Education Specialist

Meet Benji

“ʻAʻohe hana nui ke alu ʻia.”

No task is too big when done together by all.

Benji clearing the area for the new patch

Aloha e nā poʻe ʻo Hawaiʻi! My inoa is Benji Ah Sing and I hope this message finds you well. For the past two years, I have had the privilege of being an intern here at Hoʻokuaʻāina. To my recent delight, Iʻve also been honored with the promotion to co-farm manager entailing new kuleana and a greater sense of management skills. My time here with our organization has aided in molding the kāne that I am on my way to becoming.

As a graduate of Kamehameha Schools Class of 2014 I pursued a collegiate degree in clinical psychology at Point Loma Nazarene University. Upon the completion of my degree I returned home to the moku of Oʻahu in hopes of becoming a contributing community member with a passion for our island culture and a strong back! My strengths at this time of completing school made me an excellent candidate to hana within the Department of Education. Admittedly I felt my calling outside the walls of what would be considered normal education.

The idea of community-based education with an emphasis on ʻike Hawaiʻi was/is something that strikes me as very intriguing. Modern times are ever-changing but Hawaiʻiʻs kānaka stands firm with the steadfast goals of truly living a sustainable lifestyle and passing on those positive habits to the generations that come after our time. Hoʻokuaʻāina has allowed me the opportunity to experience a full effort of community members that hui together in an attempt to eat from the ʻāina beneath our feet and more importantly share that ʻike with people of all sorts.

Due to our likeminded goals it is inevitable that we as hui members have created lifelong pilina with each other. There always seems to be a natural succession of when it is time for people to come and go. And as these times unfurl we humbly celebrate memories of the past together and kakoʻo the next phase of life someone is entering into. Together we help each other grow. Together we help one another through difficulties. Together we holomua. United by the the notion that no matter where life takes us kokua will always be at the forefront of our mission here at Hoʻokuaʻāina.

Meet Keʻalohilani

Aloha! I am Keʻalohilani and I am from Kapaʻakea in Mōʻiliʻili. In the summer of 2017, I participated in a sustainability, project management internship that focused on various projects, and one of them was the Board and Stone Project. That summer I learned how to make papa and pohaku kuʻi ʻai. I also recall a single day where I worked in a cubicle for 8 hours and I told myself I could never do that again. I saw my friend Maile doing an internship with an organization called Hoʻokuaʻāina, and it piqued my interest because I wanted to learn more about kalo and loʻi since me and my grandma made a board and stone. She also mentioned something about it changing her life a little, so I thought I’d apply. Oh–and I can’t leave out that I left Oʻahu to play volleyball in Memphis 5,000 miles away, and my spirit needed some refueling. 

My first summer working here in 2018 was a transitioning mode for me. I was transferring back home to attend Chaminade, having an internal and cultural battle of whether or not to study Business, and deciding if I was going to walk away from a nine-year relationship…with volleyball (hahaha but seriously).

Fast forward a year and a half, I am still at the loʻi thanks to the timing and welcoming crew that have allowed me to grow with Hoʻokuaʻāina.  I now have a new chapter being written every single day, and I seriously am so grateful for my support system, my new brothers and sisters, and a little proud of myself for trusting my naʻau and taking a leap of faith by doing something new and saying aloha to a sport that gave me so much.

In my time here at the loʻi, I was able to strengthen and embrace parts of myself that I either didn’t know existed or simply took for granted. I have nothing to complain of in my life, but something Kapalai and the mud does for me is heal and allow me to strengthen my spiritual connection that really was brought out in those moments of working in silence.

In recent months, I am constantly humbled and learning to have grace, as I am exposed to a variety of people and backgrounds, especially those of our Hawaiian community. Growing up and finding out that not everyone did “Hawaiian things” was a huge shock for me. Now that I am older, working at Hoʻokuaʻāina has forced me to reflect on my upbringing, and realize these “Hawaiian things” and practices, mindsets, values that I was brought up with–are not normal anymore (not to say there’s one set way.) My lifelong goal is to serve my community, especially my Hawaiian people, and Hoʻokuaʻāina has opened my eyes to individuals and families whose values and cultures have been erased and absent for years upon years. It’s a living nightmare for sure, but my experience so far at Kapalai has helped to crystallize my why and goals in life. Currently, I am studying Business at Chaminade, and plan to utilize my entrepreneurial and business endeavors to flip the script and benefit our people and communities. I may not see the fruits of our labor in my lifetime, but I do it for my kupuna who fought for my existence, and therefore do it for those unborn babies that I will never meet. 

Mele Wai

Drawing By Makana Wilhelm

Lā, ʻŌpua, Lā

Lā, ʻŌpua, Ua, ʻŌpua, Lā

Lā, ʻŌpua, Ua, Kuahiwi, Ua ʻŌpua, Lā

Lā, ʻŌpua, Ua, Kuahiwi, Wailele, Kuahiwi, Ua ʻŌpua, Lā

Lā, ʻŌpua, Ua, Kuahiwi, Wailele, Kahawai, Wailele, Kuahiwi, Ua ʻŌpua, Lā

Lā, ʻŌpua, Ua, Kuahiwi, Wailele, Kahawai, Punawai, Kahawai, Wailele, Kuahiwi, Ua ʻŌpua, Lā

Lā, ʻŌpua, Ua, Kuahiwi, Wailele, Kahawai, Punawai, Inu wai, Kahawai, Wailele, Kuahiwi, Ua ʻŌpua, Lā

Hoʻokuaʻāina has not written and does not have the rights to this mele.


  • : Sun
  • ʻŌpua: Puffy, billowy cloud
  • Ua: Rain
  • Kuahiwi: Mountain
  • Wailele: Waterfall
  • Kahawai: Stream
  • Punawai: Fresh water spring
  • Inu wai: To drink water

Moʻolelo: Moe Kaoo I Ka Ai Lepo

“Details of Frank Pahia’s 1890 sketch map of Kawainui, showing Maunawili Stream emptying into the big pond. (Kaneohe Ranch Co.)” As cited in: de Silva, K. (2009). Ka Mākālei a Kawainui. In Kailua. (pp. 51). Kailua Historical Society.

Moe Kaoo I Ka Ai Lepo
Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Volume XI, Number 43, 26 October 1872


This article comes from Ka Nupepa Kuokoa and was published on October 26, 1872. In it, the author, J. B. Keliikanakaole, recounts a story of Bernice Pauahi Bishop and Miriam Likelike Cleghorn as they journey from Hanakamalaelae, Heʻeia to the fishpond at Kawainui, Kailua, Oʻahu to taste the lepo ʻai ʻia (edible mud) found there. 


Inquiry Questions

  1. What do you think this lepo ʻai ʻia was? Why would it be so significant that the aliʻi Pauahi and Likelike both made the journey from Heʻeia to try it? 
  2. What does this moʻolelo tell us about the health of Kawainui and of Kailua at the time? Where are we in comparison?
  3. Do you think there is still lepo ʻai ʻia in Kawainui fishpond today? Why or why not? 
  4. What can we do to bring this lepo ʻai ʻia (and other sources of food) back so that they can be eaten by future generations?
  5. What life lessons might we learn from this moʻolelo? How might it connect with our ʻōlelo noʻeau?


  • Lepo ʻai ʻia: Edible mud found in the fishpond of Kawainui in Kailua, Koʻolaupoko
  • Lepo: Mud, dirt, soil, earth
  • ʻAi: To eat; food; taro
  • Aliʻi:Royalty
  • Huakaʻi: To journey, travel
  • Pāʻina: To eat, share a meal

Inoa ʻĀina (Wind, Rain, & Place Names)

  • Hanakamalaelae: An area in the ahupuaʻa of Heʻeia where Bernice Pauahi Bishop would sometime reside
  • Heeia: An ahupuaʻa between Kāneʻohe and Kahaluʻu in the district of Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu
  • Kaneohe: An ahupuaʻa between Kailua and Heʻeia in the district of Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu
  • (Ka Loko o) Kawainui: Name of a fishpond in Kailua where the lepo ʻai ʻia was found, currently referred to as “Kawainui Marsh”
  • Kailua: An ahupuaʻa between Kāneʻohe and Waimānalo in the district of Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu

Moʻolelo: Palila

Palila Olomana
Looking southeast toward Mt. Olomana. Tai Sing Loo, c. 1925. Bishop Mus. Photo Coll.
As cited in Kelly, M. & Clark, J. (1980). Kawainui Marsh, Oʻahu: Historical and Archaeological Studies. Department of Anthropology, Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum.


Palila’s mother is Mahinui and his father is Kaluaopalena. His maternal grandmother is Hina. Palila was born in Kōloa, Kauaʻi. When Palila was born, he was born as a piece of cord. So his parents discarded him on a trash heap. Hina took notice and retrieved the cord, placed it in ʻoloa, fine white kapa, and took it home. Hina took out the cord from the kapa, and then wrapped it up again. She did this three times. She then placed the cord on a shelf of ferns. Within an anahulu, ten days, the human body of Palila started to form. Palila grew large; Hina then took him to be raised at the famous heiau on Kauaʻi, Alanapō in Humuʻula. Alanapō was famous for its powerful warriors. There, Palila was taught how to be a great warrior. His grandmother also gave him a magical club, a lāʻau pālau, named Huliāmahi. With Huliāmahi, Palila flies to Oʻahu. There he meets the Oʻahu chief ʻĀhuapau. ʻĀhuapau is afraid of the great giant Olomana. He was so afraid of the giant; he would not travel from Makapuʻu to Kalaeokaʻōʻio near Kualoa. This whole Koʻolaupoko area was kapu to Olomana. Wanting Palila to encounter Olomana, ʻĀhuapau tells Palila to travel around the entire island of Oʻahu. Palila asks if there will be any troublemakers along the way. At first ʻĀhuapau promises, his travels will be unobstructed. Palila is suspicious of the Oʻahu chief and warns ʻĀhuapau, “If I meet a trouble maker upon my path, I will kill him. Then I will return and kill you and all your men!”

ʻĀhuapau then changes his story and warns Palila of Olomana, the great giant of Koʻolau. Olomana was a fierce warrior, feared by all. Palila decides to challenge Olomana. With his lāʻau pālau, Huliāmahi, he flies up to Olomana’s large shoulders.

“Where are you from, you haughty child, who dares to tread upon my shoulders!? No one has stepped upon my shoulders before!”

“I am Palila! I am from Kauaʻi, raised at Alanapō, the temple of the gods!”

Just by hearing the name of the infamous heiau, great freight enters Olomana. “No! Please do not kill me! Let me live!” pleaded Olomana.

“I shall kill you, and you shall die because you have done many evil deeds,” promises Palila. Palila then slices off the head of Olomana with Huliāmahi and Olomana’s head flies off and lands all the way in the ocean. That piece that landed in the sea is known as Mahinui. This is why Olomana is left jagged, and that is how the great giant Olomana, was defeated.

This story teaches us the importance of being truthful and that evildoers will meet their match in the end.


Inquiry Questions

  1. What is significant about the relationship between Hina and Palila in this moʻolelo? How did they demonstrate aloha for one another? What does this teach us?
  2. How did Palila’s upbringing help to prepare him for what he faced later in life?
  3. How did Olomana treat the kanaka on Oʻahu? Did he demonstrate aloha for those around him? What happened to him in the end?
  4. What life lessons might we learn from this moʻolelo? How might it connect with our ʻōlelo noʻeau?


  • Moʻolelo: History, story
  • ʻOloa: a type of fine, white bark cloth
  • Kapa: a general term for bark cloth
  • Anahulu: 10 days, a measurement of time in the traditional Hawaiian moon calendar. There are three anahulu for every lunar month.
  • Heiau: a structure of worship, similar to a shrine
  • Lāʻau pālau: club
  • Kapu: restrictions

Inoa ʻĀina (Wind, Rain, & Place Names)

  • Kōloa: Ahupuaʻa on the island of Kauaʻi; Palila’s birthplace
  • Alanapō: Famous heiau in Humuʻula, Kauaʻi
  • Humuʻula: Area on Kauaʻi where Alanapō heiau is located
  • Makapuʻu: Area of Waimānalo, Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu near Kona, Oʻahu
  • Kalaeokaʻōʻio: Area near Kualoa, Oʻahu
  • Kualoa: Land division in Koʻolau, Oʻahu; considered one of the most sacred places on the island
  • Olomana: The largest peak closest to Kailua; A giant and fierce warrior who was greatly feared

Haʻawina (Life Lessons)

Hoʻolohe i nā kūpuna (Obedience to elders)

  • Palila was completely dependent on his grandmother Hina, whereas she revived him from his initial cord state. It was Hina who took him to Alanapō to be trained. Had Palila not obeyed his grandmother’s wisdom, he would not have been so successful.

E koa (Be brave and courageous)

  • Palila had to be courageous to face the dreaded Olomana. He also had to be witty and think on his feet as ‘Āhuapau initially lied to him.

Content on this page was written and compiled by Johanna Kapōmaikaʻi Stone

Moʻolelo: No Ka ʻīlio Moʻo

Avelino, K. and Furchgott, E. (2008). No Ka ʻĪlio Moʻo. Hale Kuamoʻo


One day, Queen Kaʻahumanu was craving ʻīlio kālua and poi lehua. Her messenger brings her request before the premier dog breeder and kalo farmer of the island of Oʻahu, Kanakaliʻiliʻi and Kanakaʻole of Maunawili, in the uplands of Kailua.

As they are bringing the food for Kaʻahumanu to Kaʻaukuʻu in Honolulu the next day, they get suddenly stopped upon their path. A moʻo wahine called out to them asking them where they were going. The dog, previously cooked the night before, is suddenly alive again and answers the moʻo wahine. As this startles the farmers, they throw their food aside and flee for Honolulu. The dog joins the moʻo wahine, named Pāʻē.

The farmers tell Kaʻahumanu of these amazing events and Kaʻahumanu forgives the farmers for having no food for her. This story becomes famous among the chiefly circles and eventually leads to the popular, modern myth that we cannot bring pork over the Pali, lest we encounter problems on our journey.

This story reminds us of the great abundance and high-quality food that is able to be grown in Maunawili. Whereas Maunawili was a place to supply not only royalty with food but also travelers coming to or from Honolulu. Maunawili was known as a “breadbasket” of the Koʻolau district, one of the foremost places to grow food, especially kalo. This moʻolelo is also a reminder for us of the values of mercy, forgiveness, and truthfulness.

Ka Nūpepa Kūʻokoʻa
15 Oct 1925, pg. 5
By Mr. Geo. Poʻoloa

He Hoʻoulu Poko

I kekahi lā, e ʻono ana ka mōʻī wahine ʻo Kaʻahumanu i ka ʻīlio kālua a me ka poi lehua. Na kāna ʻelele a lawelawe aku i kāna kauoha a i ka mea hānai ʻīlio a me ka mahiʻai maikaʻi ʻoi loa. ʻO Kanakaliʻiliʻi lāua ʻo Kanakaʻole ia ma Maunawili, ma ka uka o Kailua.

Mākaukau ka ʻai. Aia nō nā mahiʻai i ka nuku o Nuʻuanu e lawelawe aku nei i ka mea ʻai no ka mōʻī wahine. ʻŌʻili wale mai kekahi wahine ʻeʻepa i mua o lāua nei. Kāhea aku ia wahine nei i nā mahiʻai, “E hele ana ʻoukou i hea?”

Pane mai ka ʻīlio mai loko mai o ka ʻumeke, i pau ʻē i ke kālua ʻia i ia pō aku nei, “E hele ana mākou i ka ʻauwē ʻāina o lākou nei!” Kāhāhā wale aʻe nā mahiʻai, a ʻo ke kiola akula nō ia i nā ʻumeke, a ʻo ka ʻauheʻe aʻela nō ia no Kaʻaukuʻu ma Honolulu, kahi o ka mōʻīwahine mā. Hui pū ia ʻīlio moʻo me ka wahine ʻeʻepa e noho pū ai.

Haʻi aku ʻo Kanakaliʻiliʻi lāua ʻo Kanakaʻole i kēia mau hana kupanaha ʻoiaʻiʻo iō Kaʻahumanu, me ka leo mihi i ka nele i ka ʻaina no ka lani. Kala aku ua lani la iā lāua nei.

Hele a kaulana loa kēia moʻolelo i waena o nā aliʻi. A lilo kēia moʻolelo i ka moʻolelo laha o kēia mau lā, mai lawe aku i ka puaʻa ma luna o ka nuku o Nuʻuanu, o pōpilikia auaneʻi. Eia naʻe, he ʻīlio nō ia.

He wahi moʻolelo nō kēia no ka ʻāina momona lua ʻole o Maunawili nei. ʻOiai, he wahi ia e hoʻolako aku ana i nā aliʻi i ka ʻai. A he wahi moʻolelo nō hoʻi kēia no ke koʻikoʻi o ka haʻi ʻoiaʻiʻo, ke kala, a me ka mihi.

Ka Nupepa Kuokoa
15 Oka 1925, aoao 5
Na Mr. Geo. Pooloa


Inquiry Questions

  1. If Kaʻahumanu sent messengers all the way over to Kailua to get food, what does this moʻolelo teach us about the ʻai (food/kalo) and ʻāina in Kailua?
  2. Based on the moʻolelo, what do we learn about the ʻāina in Kailua? Was it momona? How can we tell? What would it take to get the ʻāina back to this state?
  3. What life lessons might we learn from this moʻolelo? How might it connect with our ʻōlelo noʻeau?


  • Moʻolelo: History, story
  • Aliʻi: Royalty
  • Ili kūpono: Land district within the ahupuaʻa that reports directly to the aliʻi and not the konohiki
  • ʻĪlio kālua: Dog baked in an underground oven- imu
  • Kalo lehua: Taro of the “lehua” variety
  • Mōʻī wahine: Queen
  • Moʻo wahine: Female water spirit
  • Momona: Fertility, oily, sweet, fat
  • Poi lehua: Pounded and watered down lehua taro

Inoa ʻĀina (Wind, Rain, & Place Names)

  • Konahuanui: Tallest peak of the Koʻolau mountain range
  • Maunawili: Land area in the uplands of the ahupuaʻa of Kailua
  • Nuku o Nuʻuanu: Mountain pass of Nuʻuanu, referred to today simply as “the Pali”

Haʻawina (Life Lessons)

ʻO ka hoʻolohe ʻana i ke aliʻi (Obedience to superiors)

  • ʻO ia hoʻi ke koʻikoʻi o ka hoʻokō ʻana aku i nā kauoha o nā kānaka kūlana kiʻekiʻe e like me ke aliʻi, ka mōʻī wahine, nā kūpuna, mākua a nā kumu paha.
  • (It is important to fulfill commands of superiors, like royalty, elders, parents, and teachers.)

ʻO ka haʻi ʻana i ka ʻoiaʻiʻo (Telling the truth)

  • I loko o ka pakele ʻana aku a ka ʻīlio moʻo mai ka umeke mai, mau nō ka huakaʻi ʻana aku a Kanakaliʻiliʻi lāua ʻo Kanakaʻole a mua o ka mōʻī wahine, a mua o Kaʻahumanu a me ka haʻi ʻana aku iā ia i ka moʻolelo ʻoiaʻiʻo.
  • (Despite the escape of the ʻīlio moʻo from the calabash, Kanakaliʻi and Kanakaʻole still travel to the queen, Kaʻahumanu and tell her the truth.)

ʻO ka mihi a me ke kala (Repentance and forgiveness)

  • I kā Kaʻahumanu lohe ʻana mai i ka moʻolelo a Kanakaliʻiliʻi mā, a me kā lāua mihi ʻana aku, kala aku ka mōʻī wahine iā lāua ala. No laila, he hōʻailona nō kēnā i ka loko maikaʻi ona i nā kānaka haʻi ʻoiaʻiʻo.
  • (As Kaʻahumanu heard Kanakaliʻiliʻi and Kanakaʻole’s story and their repentance, she forgives them. This is a testament to the mercy that is shown to those who speak truthfully.)

ʻO ka momona o ka ʻāina (The fertility of the land)

  • ʻO ka momona o ka ʻāina, aia nō i ka hoʻoulu ʻana mai a ke kānaka. He kuleana kā kākou i ka mahiʻai ʻana i ka ʻāina. No ka mea, he mea ia e mauliola hou aku ai kākou a pau.
  • (It is up to us as people to farm the land/ocean and reap her fruits. We have a responsibility to grow our own food. And when we do this, we see everything flourish once again.)

Content on this page was written and compiled by Johanna Kapōmaikaʻi Stone

Moʻolelo: Mākālei

Photo by Brother Bertram, ca. 1898. Hawaiʻi State Archives, Brother Bertram Coll.
As cited in: Kelly, M. & Clark, J. (1980). Kawainui March, Oʻahu: Historical and Archaelogical Studies. Department of Anthropology, Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum.


In the story of Mākālei ka lāʻau piʻi ona a ka iʻa o Moaʻulanuiākea i Kaulana (the famous fish-attracting branch of Moaʻulanuiākea), Olomana, sometimes spelled Olopana, is the ruling chief of the Koʻolaupoko and Koʻolauloa districts of Oʻahu. His punahele and konohiki for Kailua and Waimānalo is Ahiki, a very good-hearted, handsome and beloved ruler. Ahiki establishes Pākuʻi as the kahu loko, keeper of Kawainui and Kaʻelepulu fishponds. It is Pākuʻi who supplies the chiefs with fish from these fishponds. Kailua was a very valued place of the chiefs because of the abundance of fish in Kawainui and Kaʻelepulu. It was said, these ponds were the place to “fill your bags [with fish].” At times, there were so many fish; they could be grabbed with just your hand.

One day Ahiki orders Pākuʻi to retrieve fish from Kawainui and Kaʻelepulu. Pākuʻi goes the very next day with his two helpers, Nuhi and Nihiʻole to fulfill the orders of his konohiki, Ahiki. The three fishermen are only able to retrieve 3 ʻanae and 3 awa despite there being huge numbers of fish in the fishponds. Pākuʻi reports to Ahiki that he thinks they were only able to retrieve a small number of fish because there is too much limu and it needs to be cleaned out.               

Ahiki then announces a workday in Kawainui for all those of Kailua and Waimānalo who are willing to work. As a result of everyone’s collective efforts, the limu is removed and the fishpond is restored to full health. They are now able to access the abundance of fish in the pond.

One of those who came to work was a small, young boy named Kahinihiniʻula. He lived in Makawao, in the uplands of Maunawili. At the end of the workday, everyone who participated received a hoʻina, some fish to take home, everyone except Kahinihiniʻula. He was so small the kahu loko did not notice him. This happened for two workdays, and Nīʻula, Kahinihiniʻula’s grandmother became very upset. She is the guardian of ka lāʻau Mākālei, the fish-attracting branch, and she is also a descendant of Haumea. With the Mākālei branch, she summons Haumea to take revenge upon the chief Olomana, because it is ultimately his responsibility to make sure everyone has enough and is cared for. And it was the kahu loko of his favorite konohiki, who failed to give Kahinihiniʻula his fair share of fish at the end of the workdays. Therefore, even though Olomana and his retinue neglected the small boy unintentionally, they are still held responsible.

The grandmother, Nīʻula, then instructs Kahinihiniʻula to lead all the fish out of Kawainui fishpond, with the Mākālei branch, through the Maunawili stream, and into the spring at their house, Hālauwai.

With all the fish of Kawainui suddenly missing, Ahiki, Pākuʻi, Nuhi, and Nihiʻole appear before Olomana to appeal to him. They show him that there is no fish, so Olomana then summons his kahuna, Pōpolo. The kahuna, Pōpolo, looks into his kāhoaka, a container of water, and asks the why the fish have been taken away from Kawainui.In the kāhoaka the face of Kahinihiniʻula is revealed. The kahuna then interprets these signs.

“It is because of this boy that the fish have been taken away from the loko. It would be proper to have him killed,” suggested Pōpolo.

“No, I shall not have him killed,” said Olomana. “Instead I shall adopt him as my son, and you shall raise him with me, Ahiki. We shall be his parents.”

Ahiki spends the rest of the story looking for Kahinihiniʻula, only for the young boy to evade capture, as he was under the protection of his kumu honua, his ancient ancestor, Haumea. Haumea then sends Kahinihiniʻula to play friends to teach him how to swim, surf, and dive. With his play friends, Kahinihiniʻula travels through the ocean to Kānehūnāmoku, the land of the gods and appears before Kāne and Lono. Kahinihiniʻula eats with the gods and, with the help of Haumea, earns their favor by not falling for the tricks they try to play on him.

As Kahinihiniʻula returns from Kānehūnāmoku, his status is now elevated as he followed the directions of Haumea and won over the favor of Kāne and Lono. They instructed him to build a heiau at Hanauma. With the help of his kumu honua, he builds his heiau and later appears before Ahiki and Olomana as they are bathing at their kiʻowai, their inland pool. Kahinihiniʻula is formally accepted into the chiefly circle with his new adopted parents, Olomana and Ahiki.

This story teaches us very important values. The first and foremost value is that everyone needs to be taken care of. This is the impetus for the entire tale. Olomana was held responsible by the amazing goddess Haumea, for neglecting her descendant.

This is also a story about the wondrous acts of Haumea herself, and how if we follow the directions of our elders, we will be able to do many good deeds in the world. This story also reminds us that we can elevate our status by gaining knowledge, as Kahinihiniʻula did with his play friends. It is also interesting to note that Olomana defied Pōpolo’s suggestion to kill Kahinihiniʻula and instead decides to take him as his own in adoption, a very Hawaiian tradition.


Inquiry Questions

  1. In the moʻolelo of Mākālei, what was Kawainui? Did people gather food there? How does this compare with Kawainui today?
  2. What did the people of Waimānalo and Kailua do in order to mālama (care for) Kawainui fishpond? Why did they do this? What were they able to accomplish?
  3. In the moʻolelo of Mākālei, what happened to Kahinihiniʻula? How was he treated? What was the result of this?
  4. What was Olomana’s reaction once he realized what had happened to Kahinihiniʻula? Did he agree or disagree with his kahuna? What did Olomana do instead?
  5. In what ways do the characters in this moʻolelo express aloha for one another? In what ways do they fail to do so?
  6. What does this moʻolelo teach us about the importance of respect and valuing all members of the ʻohana and community?
  7. Based on the moʻolelo, would you consider Kailua to be momona (a place of abundance)? Why or why not? 
  8. What can we learn from the moʻolelo about how to cultivate and steward abundance?
  9. What life lessons might we learn from this moʻolelo? How might it connect with our ʻōlelo noʻeau?


  • Moʻolelo: History, story
  • Punahele: favorite
  • Konohiki: ruler of the ahupuaʻa, reports to the aliʻi
  • Lāʻau: stick, branch, medicine
  • Aliʻi: chief
  • Iʻa: fish
  • Loko: pond
  • Kumuhonua: very ancient ancestor
  • Keiki: child
  • Moʻopuna: grandchild
  • Tūtū Wahine/Kupunahine: grandmother
  • Kiʻowai: inland pool
  • Akua Wahine: goddess
  • Kahuna: priest
  • Kāula: priestess
  • Limu: seaweed
  • Kahu loko: keeper of the fishpond
  • Hoʻina: food to take home
  • Kāhoaka: in this story, a cup of water that is prayed over to reveal signs
  • Pō: night, the spirit world

Inoa ʻĀina (Wind, Rain, & Place Names)

  • Koʻolaupoko: From Waimānalo to Kualoa
  • Koʻolauloa: From Kaʻaʻawa to Pūpūkea
  • Kawainui: Name of a fishpond in Kailua, currently referred to as “Kawainui Marsh”
  • Kaʻelepulu: Name of a fishpond in Kailua, currently referred to as “Enchanted Lake”
  • Maunawili: Land division in Kailua, Oʻahu
  • Makawao: Area in the uplands of Maunawili
  • Hālauwai: Name of the spring at Kahinihiniʻula’s house in Makawao in the uplands of Maunawili
  • Olomana: The largest peak closest to Kailua; Chief of Koʻolaupoko and Koʻolauloa
  • Ahiki: The peak closest to Waimānalo; Konohiki of Kailua and Waimānalo
  • Pākuʻi: The middle peak; Kahu loko of Kawainui and Kaʻelepulu
  • Kānēhūnāmoku: Land of the gods where Kahinihiniʻula travels 

Haʻawina (Life Lessons)

Nānā ʻia nā kānaka a pau (Everyone is cared for)

  • The whole impetus for the story of Mākālei is that one person who worked on a workday did not get their fair share of fish. Because of this happening two times, the family of this boy is offended and calls for revenge. This is the standard by which to hold ourselves, our leaders, and our entire community. Everyone who works shall be fed.

Hoʻolohe i nā kūpuna (Obedience to elders)

  • Kahinihiniʻula is led upon this amazing journey by his grandmother and ancient ancestor. He could not have thought this plan up himself. He must be humble, obey, and follow directions. This is how he meets success on his journey and finds himself respected in the circle of chiefs.

Hoʻonui ʻIke (Gaining knowledge)

  • In order for Kahinihiniʻula to be able to travel to the land of the gods, the land not seen by humans, he must gain some skills. He is taught how to swim, surf, and dive. For it is over, through and within the ocean which Kahinihiniʻula and his two companions travel to “tread upon the chest of Kāne,” the beautiful, magical, and abundant land where Kāne and Lono live.

Ke Keiki Hoʻokama (Foster Child)

  • When faced with the kahuna telling him to kill Kahinihiniʻula, Olomana instead decides to adopt him, take him as his own. In this example we see the choice of taking away life, or creating new life with new relationships. This example teaches us the value of choosing to embrace something or a situation rather than try to destroy it.

Content on this page was written and compiled by Johanna Kapōmaikaʻi Stone

Moʻolelo: Mai Hoopalaleha I Ke Kanu Kalo

Rice fields, Maunawili. Tai Sing Loo. 1925. Bishop Museum Archives Photo Collection.
**By the time this photo was taken in 1925, rice had replaced the kalo that was formerly cultivated in this area.

Mai Hoopalaleha I Ke Kanu Kalo
Do Not Neglect Planting Taro

Kuokoa Home Rule, Buke IX, Helu 33, 18 August 1911


This article was published in the Hawaiian language newspaper, Kuokoa Home Rule, on August 8, 1911. In it, the author speaks to the transition of land use in Honolulu, as many of the loʻi kalo were beginning to dry out. The author, unnamed, warns that nearly three hundred acres of Honolulu’s kalo lands, at the time in cultivation, will soon no longer be planted. In the end, the reader is called to action:

“Nolaila, e na Hawaii mai paupauaho oukou no ke kanu kalo, a mai hoopalaleha ia hana mikiala o ka aina.”

“Therefore, to the people of Hawai’i, do not lose enthusiasm for planting kalo, and do not neglect this lively industry of the land.”

Translated by Kahanuola Tabor, Reviewed by Puakea Nogelmeier


Inquiry Questions

  1. What is the author urging readers to do? What is the underlying fear?
  2. Where was this taking place? What was that area like at the time this article was written?
  3. What is this area like today? Are there hundreds of acres of loʻi kalo there today? Currently, do we see many people working this ʻāina? Is it producing food? Why and how do you think this transition took place?
  4. How do you think this author would react to seeing this ʻāina today? What might he or she do about it? 
  5. What can we do to steward this ʻāina differently?
  6. What life lessons might we learn from this moʻolelo? How might it connect with our ʻōlelo noʻeau?


  • Mai: Do not
  • Hoopalaleha: Neglect; to be indifferent, idle, careless, neglectful of duty
  • Kalo: Taro
  • Loʻi / Loʻi Kalo: Wetland taro fields

Haʻawina (Life Lessons)

E mālama Hāloa, e mālama ʻāina (Care for kalo, care for ʻāina)

  • As is reflected in its title, this article is a reminder not to be negligent of our responsibility as kānaka to both care for kalo as well as ʻāina.

Moʻolelo: Keahiakahoe

Keahiakahoe, as seen from Paepae o Heʻeia. Retrieved from:


This moʻolelo speaks of three siblings living in Kāneʻohe, Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu. One brother, Kahoe, was a kalo farmer, another, Pahu, a fisherman, and their sister, Loʻe, gathered iʻa (fish and other marine mammals) and limu (seaweed) along the seashore. As was the expectation of the time, they shared their resources together as an ʻohana. However, on one occasion, one of the siblings had been dishonest and withheld what should have been shared with the others. As the moʻolelo continues, this individual realizes their wrongdoing and learns a valuable lesson.


Ka Moʻolelo o Keahiakahoe (Project Aloha ʻĀina – Ahupuaʻa), Pacific American Foundation, 2007.

Ka Moʻolelo o Keahiakahoe Unuhi a Hakuloli ʻia e Pelehonuamea Harman. Hale Kuamoʻo, Ka Hala ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani. Harmon, P. (2000). Ka Moʻolelo o Keahiakahoe. Hale Kuamoʻo.

Inquiry Questions

  1. In what ways did the characters in this moʻolelo express aloha for one another? In what ways did they fail to do so?
  2. How do the kuleana of the different characters in the moʻolelo reflect life on a waʻa?
  3. What life lessons might we learn from this moʻolelo? How might it connect with our ʻōlelo noʻeau?


  • Moʻolelo: History, story
  • Iʻa: Fish or any marine mammal
  • Ahupuaʻa: Land division that typically went from the mountains to the sea
  • Ko kula uka, ko kula kai: Those of the upland, those of the sea; a system that allowed for an exchange of resources from the uplands and the sea
  • Mahiʻai: Farmer, planter; to farm, cultivate
  • Loʻi kalo: Wetland taro fields
  • Lawaiʻa: To fish; fisherman
  • Umu: A heap of rocks placed in the sea for small fish to hide in. This was surrounded by a net where the fish were caught.
  • Limu: Seaweed
  • Poi: Pounded taro that has been thinned with water
  • Ulua: Certain species of crevalle, jack, or pompano; an important, large game fish
  • ʻOhana: Family

Inoa ʻĀina (Wind, Rain, & Place Names)

  • Kāneʻohe: An ahupuaʻa in the district of Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu
  • Haʻikū: A valley in Kāneʻohe
  • Puʻu Pahu: A hill on the shore of Kāneʻohe Bay
  • Moku o Loʻe: An island, known today as “Coconut Island” or the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB)

Haʻawina (Life Lessons)

E mālama kekahi i kekahi (Care for one another)

  • “Ko kula uka, ko kula kai,” the system of exchange among those of the uplands and those of the sea, reminds us of the importance of caring for one another. This exchange requires a commitment to give and share freely, which Pahu had failed to do. 

ʻO ka haʻi ʻana i ka ʻoiaʻiʻo (Telling the truth)

  • Unfortunately, in the moʻolelo, Pahu was dishonest with his ʻohana, and suffered as a result. Rather than being willing to share what he had, as Kahoe and Loʻe did, Pahu withheld from his ʻohana, and faced difficulty in a time of need. 

Moʻolelo: No Na Wahi A Na’lii E Makemake Ai E Noho I Ka Wa Kahiko Ma Ka Mokupuni O Oahu Nei

PAHUKINI HEIAU, KAOHIA, KAPAA, KAILUA, OʻAHU. Photo by Stokes, 1903. Bishop Mus. Photo Archives Coll. As cited in: Kelly, M. & Clark, J. (1980). Kawainui March, Oʻahu: Historical and Archaelogical Studies. Department of Anthropology, Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum

No Na Wahi A Na’lii E Makemake Ai E Noho I Ka Wa Kahiko Ma Ka Mokupuni O Oahu Nei
About the Places The Chiefs Enjoyed To Live In the Olden Days On The Island of Oʻahu

Kaualaʻa, Wailupe, Oʻahu, 24 Iulai 1865.
Ke Au Okoa, Volume I, Number 15, 31 July 1865 — Page 4


This article is from a Hawaiian language newspaper, Ke Au Okoa, and was published on July 31, 1865. In it, the author (Kalanikuihonoinamoku) describes various places chiefs lived in the days of old. In addition to descriptions of other areas, Kailua, Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu is highlighted as a land abundant in fish and desired by the aliʻi.


Inquiry Questions

  1. What do we notice about the descriptions of ʻāina here in this moʻolelo? Do you recognize these place names? What are these places like today? 
  2. Based on the moʻolelo, what do we learn about the ʻāina in Kailua? Was it momona? How can we tell?
  3. What would it take to get the ʻāina back to this state?
  4. What life lessons might we learn from this moʻolelo? How might it connect with our ʻōlelo noʻeau?


  • Moʻolelo: History, story
  • Piko: Umbilical cord
  • Mokomoko: wrestling
  • Maika ʻulu: rolling stones through pegs
  • Paheʻe ihe: Sliding spears
  • Hoʻohākākā moa: Fighting chickens
  • Ke kūkini o ke kanaka: Racing as if it was a horse race
  • Ka hula paʻi pahu: Hula with drums
  • Ka heʻenalu: surfing

Inoa ʻĀina (Wind, Rain, & Place Names)

  • Kailua: Ahupuaʻa in the moku of Koʻolaupoko
  • Koʻolaupoko: Moku (district) on Oʻahu
  • ʻĀlele: Place in Kailua desired by chief Peleiōhōlani
  • Kaiāulu: Name of wind mentioned in the description of Kailua
  • Kawainui: Name of a fishpond in Kailua, currently referred to as “Kawainui Marsh”
  • Kaʻelepulu: Name of a fishpond in Kailua, currently referred to as “Enchanted Lake”
  • Kawaihoa: A cape
  • Keawahili: An area at Kawaihoa where Kamehameha had a residence
  • Makaliʻi: Hawaiian month name
  • Wailupe: Area in the Kona district of Oʻahu
  • Kauoha: An area in Wailupe on the east end of the cliff
  • Papaalaea & Niu: Place names of Wailupe
  • Mālualua: Name of a wind mentioned in the description of Wailupe
  • Kapueo & Kepoʻonui: Large homes in Wailupe built for chiefs
  • Kamanuʻena: An area mentioned in the description of Wailupe, known for firm sweet potato and large heiau
  • Hōliʻo: Name of rain mentioned in the description of Wailupe
  • Kaualua: Place on the western end of Wailupe, contains large pond enjoyed by chiefs
  • Waiʻalae: Area in the Kona district of Oʻahu
  • Kaluaʻonou: Area in Waiʻalae favored by chiefs
  • Waikīkī-kai: A part of an ahupuaʻa in the Kona district of Oʻahu
  • Moanalua: Ahupuaʻa in Kona, Oʻahu
  • Kānalua: A favored place of the chiefs in Moanalua
  • Kaloaloa & Māpunapuna: Areas of Moanalua, Kona, Oʻahu
  • Kūkaniloko: Place where chiefs would return to give birth and to leave their umbilical cord

Haʻawina (Life Lessons)

He mana kō nā inoa ʻāina a me nā moʻolelo o ka ʻāina (The names and stories/history of the land are powerful)

  • Throughout the article, the author shares the names and stories of various places on Oʻahu emphasizing their importance and reminding the reader of our need to remember and continue to share them.

Moʻolelo: Hāloa

HALOA - Kalo Leaves

“Wakea, Sky Father, and Papa, Earth Mother, had a beautiful daughter named Hoʻohōkūkalani. Hoʻohōkūkalani gave birth to a baby boy. Can you imagine her sadness when the child was stillborn? This child, a son, was named Hāloa which means long, eternal breath. The kūpuna (elders) whispered, “the child looks like a root.” The family wrapped Hāloa in kapa, placed him in a basket of woven lauhala, and buried him in the ʻāina.

Hoʻohōkūlani grieved the loss of her son, crying and mourning and watering the grave with her tears. Before long, a plant started growing from the same spot where the baby was buried. This plant with itʻs long stalk and heart-shaped leaf was named Hāloanakalaukapalili for its leaves that fluttered in the wind. It was the first kalo plant.

Hoʻohōkūkalani became pregnant again. This time, a healthy, thriving baby boy was born. He was given the name “Hāloa” in honor of his older brother, the kalo. Hāloa was the first Hawaiian person.

Hawaiians trace their roots back to Hāloa, thus stating that we are all “mamo na Hāloa,” or descendants of Hāloa. This creation story shows Hawaiian’s reverence to this primary food source and speaks to the sacred human relationship to the kalo plant, the ʻāina, and the rest of the natural world.”

(Hoʻokuaʻāina copyright)


In this moʻolelo, Wākea and Hoʻohōkūkalani have a child. When it comes time for that child to be born, they find that he, unfortunately, is without life, so they bury the baby outside of the hale. In their mourning, they are consoled when they find that out of the area that the child was buried, came forth the first kalo plant, which they name Hāloanakalaukapalili. Hoʻohōkūkalani becomes pregnant again, this time giving birth to a healthy baby boy, who they also name Hāloa, after his kuaʻana (elder brother). Hāloa the kaikaina (younger brother) becomes the first aliʻi and the progenitor of the Hawaiian people, establishing in the Hawaiian world the familial connection of all Hawaiians to kalo. In the moʻolelo, we are reminded of our kuleana (responsibility, privilege) as kānaka (people) to mālama (care for) kalo, who in turn will feed, care for, and nourish us. 


Inquiry Questions

  1. What does this moʻolelo teach us about the connection between kalo and kanaka?
  2. Based on the moʻolelo, how are kalo and kānaka meant to care for one another? How does Hāloa the kalo care for Hāloa the kanaka and vice versa? 
  3. What kuleana (responsibility and privilege) do kānaka have to care for ʻāina?
  4. What lessons can we learn from this moʻolelo? What does this teach us about aloha and respect? How might it connect with our ʻōlelo noʻeau?


  • Moʻolelo: History, story
  • Kuleana: Responsibility, privilege
  • Kuaʻana: Elder sibling of the same gender
  • Kaikaina: Younger sibling of the same gender
  • Mālama: To care for

Haʻawina (Life Lessons)

E mālama ʻāina (To care for ʻāina)

  • In the moʻolelo, Hāloa the kanaka has a kuleana to care for Hāloa the kalo, his kuaʻana or elder sibling. In return, Hāloa the kalo cares for and feeds his kaikaina (younger sibling). This is a reminder to us as kānaka of our kuleana (responsibility and privilege) to care for ʻāina as we would care for a family member.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Flattening The Curve

Aloha Mai Kakou,

I rarely communicate or engage in social media but felt compelled this morning to do so.

Every time I get up the day after a big flood like what happened yesterday, things seem to be a little surreal. I learned long ago as a kalo farmer that when it comes to flooding, there’s really nothing you can do about it. No sense panicking or worrying, Rather, just receive the life-giving water and the next day observe and assess how the water moved through the lo’i so as to mitigate, if possible, future flooding and the destruction that can come from it. But this morning was not surreal for me because of the flooding. It was surreal because of our experience of just returning home yesterday from Spain.

Most world experts agree that Spain is now the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. Michele and I were there for nearly the last two weeks because our oldest daughter Makana was doing a self-directed study for her last semester of college. Like most people worldwide, I had been tracking the outbreak, knew things were moving fast in Europe, specifically in Italy, and was aware that events could unfold quickly in Spain as well. Michele and I had planned the trip some time ago to visit Makana, but before leaving did not want to go. We could see the clouds forming on the horizon, but “sailed into the storm” because our concern was Makana’s wellbeing and her not being stuck there alone. Events transformed much faster than I thought they would. In short, it’s nearly a miracle that we’re all home today.

By nature, I’m not an alarmist or dooms dayer. I’m an optimist. My concern is not necessarily having the coronavirus, it’s that I could spread it to the most vulnerable in our community, our kupuna. We are self-isolating at home for the next 14 days and will not leave our property. Our three other kids have left and will be vagabonds for the next two weeks (they are being well cared for by others). I can’t express how important it is for us to practice the protocols that are most likely now mandatory in all of Europe. Understand that events are transpiring hourly, and our government is not going to be the one that protects us. We must!  We were told that upon arriving in the US that we would have to wait around 4 hours to be screened (understandable because our flight was coming directly from Spain), but all we did was fill out a form marking that we did not have a fever nor were exposed to anyone who had the virus. We passed through in less than 20 minutes! In other words, there are no real safeguards. Relative to Spain, landing in Miami, LAX and Honolulu was like being in a scene from the movie Titanic, where there is little sense of urgency about the danger.

Unlike when it floods in the lo’i, we can do something about the spread of the coronavirus. No need to panic or worry. But we must change our protocols. I lived in Europe for two years and liken much of the Italian culture to our own. Italians are social, love getting together, and are touchy-feely. I’m convinced that their initial lack of urgency about the virus coupled with their social norms and manner contributed greatly to the outbreak they are now suffering from. We must learn from their experience, take this seriously and momentarily go against our social graces of greeting one another with hugs, kisses, and honi. While it seems counterintuitive, living aloha in this time and season is practicing social distancing/isolation and following all the health precautions experts are recommending. We can mitigate the spreading of this virus and help protect our kupuna and ourselves. We don’t want what’s now happening in Europe today to be happening here in Hawaii tomorrow. And based on our experience, it can happen that fast! The kuleana is all of ours to be socially responsible. ‘A’ohe hana nui ke alu ‘ia (No task is too great when done together by all).

May God bless and protect you, your ohana and our beloved Hawaii.

Me ke aloha pumehana,

Community Day with Global Village, Oct. 5, 2019

Featured Community Group Global Village

Global Village is a boutique in Kailua run by a mother and daughters’ team, Sharrie, Debbie and Dawn. The trio uses their business to facilitate awareness of Ho`okua`aina and raise money with their recyclable bag program. This is the fourth year that Global Village has incorporated their team, customers, vendors, and non-profit partnerships to celebrate another year in business at Kapalai Farm. At the end of their 24th anniversary week of sales and events, they chose to celebrate and host non-profit partners Ko’olau Clubhouse and Windward Sunrise Rotary in the mud.

Debbie said, “We like to share what Dean and Michele Wilhelm have created, a gathering place for people in the community to connect with and care for the ‘aina. Sharing these experiences with like-minded partners enhances the business relationship. It is an awesome experience.” Dawn adds, “The sense of fellowship created by being in the mud together, combined with the beauty of the farm is amazing. Our group always leaves feeling grateful for the opportunity and rejuvenated. It is a great way to start a new business year.”

Farm Update by Rachel Kapule – Co-Farm Manager

It’s hard to believe that 2019 is already coming to a close. This year was one of tremendous growth, both in the loʻi and in our organization. We harvested from Zack patch (patch #21) for the first time and were able to get about 3,000 lbs of kalo and over 250 lbs of lau. Patch #22, Jared KKP patch named after our Kūkuluhou program participants, was completely built out by them this quarter and has now been planted! Our goal has been to plant two patches per month, as we get ready for next year. More people like yourselves are choosing to eat kalo and so the demand is ever-increasing! We want to make sure there is always kalo available for you when you call us on the kalo hotline. Speaking of which, have you heard of the kalo hotline?! Now you can text us anytime (808-351-1666) with your raw kalo order. How awesome is that!

Recently, we’ve just shifted from the time of Kū to the time of Lono, and we’ve noticed this same transition within our loʻi. Usually, we find ourselves in an ongoing battle with the weeds; winning in one patch only to find them taking over another. But this time, things are a little different. When you look around the loʻi, everything looks in order. I mean there’s still plenty of work to do, but we aren’t chasing after those weeds. We’ve had some awesome volunteer groups and such productive workdays that we’ve been able to manage it all. Now I’m sure that by the time you read this, the weeds will be back and well established, but it was nice while it lasted. Weeding is one of the best activities for talking story with one another; it’s a relationship builder. This Fall, we were fortunate to be able to hire three interns and have also taken on a dedicated volunteer who comes just about every day. 

Outside of the loʻi, our poi production is getting more efficient. Our cleaning and bagging process is going smoother and so for the first time, we are waiting on the mill! We are looking into upgrading to a bigger mill that will speed up production even more! As a staff, we enjoyed a hilarious food safety certification class and can now say that we know the ins and outs and how to best keep our poi kitchen safe. We also went through safety training on how to properly use our chainsaws. We even got to see these new skills in action as our instructors for the day fell one of our biggest trees. 

A lot is in store for 2020. We have plans to finish building out all of our loʻi (2-3 more) and to construct a traditional hale that overlooks the patches. This will be a much prettier gathering place than our current heavy-duty tent! And a great place to host our guests for the bi-annual fundraiser on August 15th, 2020. Save the date! We look forward to seeing you on poi days or in the mud. Me ke aloha, Rachel

Annual Appeals Letter from our Directors, Dean & Michele Wilhelm

Ho’okua’āina's Growth Chart for 2013 to 2018

November 24th, 2019

Aloha mai kākou,

Another year of connection, cultivation, and healing has flown by at Ho‘okua‘āina.  We often challenge the young people we work with to reflect on their year as a tool for self-assessment and a basis for future goal setting and growth.  The challenge now is ours to share highlights of 2019 as well as some of Ho’okua’āina’s ambitious goals for 2020–which we will need your kōkua to achieve.  

Hundreds of young people come to Ho’okua’āina each year desiring to create individual and community well-being through a return to the ‘āina, and we are committed to making a positive impact on their lives. The Kūkuluhou mentoring program, for youth ages 12-18 who are facing challenging life circumstances, remains the heart and soul of what we do.  Our Kupuohi education program also continues to blossom, with numerous teachers bringing their students to Ho’okua’āina four times a year to experience and learn from the process and commitment it takes to cultivate kalo. Our approach has always been to “go deep” in our instruction and relationships with young people rather than having one-off interactions.

In addition to our youth programs, we have hosted thousands of people from up the street as well as from around the world. Due in part to the extensive network we reach via social media (thanks to the amazing work of our Program Manager, Cassie Nichols), we often have trouble accommodating the growing demand of groups wanting to visit us at Ho’okua’āina. We see this groundswell of interest as a hōʻailona (sign or symbol) as more and more people are seeking ways to make connections with the ‘āina. Between demand for mentoring and learning by young people and visits by community groups, we’ve got our hands full. But this is a challenge that we embrace!

We would not be able to handle the tremendous growth of our work and impact without our crew of six co-farm managers and interns–who we now refer to as our “Fellows.” This year we made a concerted effort to build our Fellows’ capacity as leaders by offering a wide array of professional development trainings, having them manage all farm operations, including them in organizational decision making, and—so importantly—mentoring and teaching our young people and visitors. Our whole staff has stepped up, and we share with confidence that the future of our organization is indeed bright.  

We are seeking support for two exciting initiatives in 2020.  The first is to help us build a traditional Hawaiian hālau structure in our loʻi area.  The hālau will allow us to host groups down in a sheltered area in the taro patch instead of under a tent on our road, and the aesthetic beauty it will add to the loʻi will be like the “cherry on the top of a hot fudge sundae.” Much of the building materials we need have been given to us or will be gathered, but as in all building projects we need a buffer to cover unforeseen and under projected costs.  Our goal is to complete the hālau in time to host next year’s fundraiser on August 15th, 2020. 

The other initiative we invite you to support is the ‘Ahupua’a Systems Apprenticeship program Ho’okua’āina has developed with Windward Community College (WCC).  This program targets graduates of Windward District schools who are passionate about aloha ‘āina but may not have seriously considered continuing their education. Participants will receive tuition assistance for their schooling at WCC, which will include the choice of numerous ‘āina and sustainability courses. While in school, participants will do a paid internship at Ho’okua’āina (and other partner sites in Ko’olaupoko to be added)—getting hands-on real-world learning that supports the classroom curricula.  Ho’okua’āina will be participants’ family of support, holding them accountable to their kuleana and helping them ensure success in their higher education journey. The long-term goal of the program is to cultivate a cadre of young graduates who are connected to the place they are from, hold dear the values of aloha ‘āina, and become the future leaders of our community.

When we began clearing the dense hau bush that covered our ‘āina more than 10 years ago, we knew that passion alone couldn’t manifest our vision of a gathering place that would bring healing to people.  As we share with our young people, ʻaʻohe hana nui ke alu ʻia, no task is too great when accomplished together by all.  Your kōkua, your support, is everything.

Thank you for your interest in hearing from us and for your continued support.   We hope you have a wonderful holiday season full of joy and goodness.  

Me ke aloha nui,
Dean & Michele Wilhelm

Ahupuaʻa Systems Apprenticeship (ASA)

ASA Program Ahupuaa System Apprentice

Summer 2019 marked the beginning of the pilot program with our first participants. Now with 1 semester under their belt, they are well on their way to achieving their goals. We have been working closely with WCC staff and counselors as well as with the participants to ensure that we provide the support needed for these youth to succeed.

Through ASA, students receive hands-on work experience, mentoring, and leadership development while working alongside peer mentors and experienced life coaches. Within the 2-year program, apprentices will receive well-rounded training and exposure to small business management, Hawaiian culture, agriculture, natural resource management, entrepreneurship, food and ahupua’a systems. In addition, they attend full-time courses at WCC to work towards earning an associate’s degree with a specialized certificate focused on ahupuaʻa systems. As a team, we have successfully submitted our proposed “Ahupuaʻa Systems: Indigenous Resource Management & Food Production” certificate to WCC’s curriculum committee for approval.

Our first official cohort will begin in the summer of 2020 with heavy recruiting in the Windward High Schools this spring. If you know of any graduating seniors who might be interested in pursuing higher education with hands-on experience in the loʻi, send them our way. Applications are located here.

Here’s what those currently in the ASA program had to say when asked, “How has Hoʻokuaʻāina impacted your life?”

“It showed me a whole new world I wasn’t introduced to in my childhood… and it showed me a true work discipline. It created a work environment so that way I can learn new skills so that way I can take it out to the real world.”

“Hoʻokuaʻāina has impacted my life in many ways. For the most part, the message that has gotten to me throughout this process was self-reflection. Uncle Dean has really stressed upon that- to always check what you’re doing and see what you could do better. I never really thought that I could do better in some of the stuff or how I carry my life, but it was good. It’s good to reflect…”

Kupuohi Update by Dani Espiritu, Education Specialist

True to its name, our Kupuohi Education Program has seen significant growth this year! Kupuohi means to flourish or to grow vigorously and is the name of our multi-visit education program. 

We are extremely encouraged by the increase in the number of schools participating in our multiple visit program. It was never our intention to be a once a year field trip destination. One of our greatest priorities is to build deep and meaningful connections with the kids so that they can, in turn, make the same with the ʻāina. We are happy to report that five classes are coming four or more times and eleven classes coming two or more times during the 2019-2020 school year.  This number has grown tremendously since last year. Because of the multiple times exposed to the Kupuohi program and the loʻi, we see students making the important connections we were hoping for.

Here are a few statements shared by our students:

“I felt like I really connected with the land and the people there. Everyone was very open and had fun conversations that really made me think about my future and how I could better connect with my culture through education.”

 “Before going to Hoʻokuaʻāina, I didn’t feel a connection with the land and Hawaiian culture. After going to Hoʻokuaʻāina, I realized that the land has a huge part to play in Hawaiian culture because the native Hawaiians had to live off the land in order to survive.”

“Nani ke Kalo. Beautiful kalo. I learned so much from this trip. I think forever ill {I’ll} be intreaged {intrigued}and wanting to know more about the Hawaiian culture and more about island food prodcuction {production}. I think in my future ill [I’ll] really want to make change and include these new ideas.”

In total, we have had the privilege of hosting 1702 students and teachers from 32 schools or institutions in 2019. Each visit is an opportunity for students and teachers to learn more about Hawaiian culture and values through moʻolelo (stories) and ʻōlelo noʻeau (proverbs), participate in protocol, and connect with ʻāina and one another through hana (work) and traditional kalo farming practices. After spending the first three quarters learning how to work and care for the ʻāina, students participating in all four visits learn about traditional and contemporary ways of preparing kalo and in turn, have the opportunity to enjoy the kalo they have been caring for all year. 

One of the most exciting things for us has been the opportunity to host the families of students we have built relationships with through the Kupuohi program. Families from Blanche Pope Elementary School, Mālama Honua Public Charter School, Hālau Kū Māna, and other Kupuohi program schools have the opportunity to visit Kapalai on special community days organized by the teachers outside of the school week. By participating, the whole family can experience all that their keiki (children) have learned over the course of the year in the loʻi. It’s an opportunity for each ‘ohana (family) to not only support their child and for the haumāna (students) to share their learning and connection with Hoʻokuaʻāina but also to build community with the teachers and other families.

A few quotes from makua:

“We get to spend some [time] doing something good for our community as a whole family. We get to learn more about our ancestors and what the land can provide if we take care. We appreciate hookuaaina for letting us experience the hard work they do. We are thankful to them for letting our keikis learn and participate in the loi…Having this program is something you folks are doing exceptionally well! My keikis can learn through hands on experience. They can learn what hard work is too.”

“I love how accessible your program is to kula and the community. The outreach to keiki is amazing and allows them to do meaningful work while learning about their culture and the food they grow and eat. This place was nourishing for the body, mind and soul! Mahalo”

“I’m so proud that my sons aren’t afraid to be submerged in the land. When we are in a place such as a lo`i, I like to imagine that the dirt we touch was once touched by one of our ancestors. Or, that I’m stepping in the exact same spot where one of our ancestors stepped. I like to feel any connection I can…I enjoyed our time at Ho`okua`āina. It was a beautiful day to spend with beautiful people and connecting with our culture.”

In addition to our classroom visits, we hosted a number of school personnel this year, including complex area superintendents, school administrators, teachers, counselors, and university professors all interested in learning more about Hawaiian culture and ʻāina-based education. Overall, we are encouraged by the shift we see in our Windward Complex Area and the interest they are showing in learning in and from ʻāina. It seems from administration down to the classroom there is an increased desire to get students outdoors and exposed to the excellent programs being held at various aloha ʻāina community partner sites. 

Quotes from teachers:

“Hoʻokuaʻāina provides experience and learning opportunities for my haumana to reconnect with their culture and their kupuna.  Through the work in the loʻi, students are able to appreciate the hard work, values, and lessons of haloa and the commitment to keeping the ʻāina momona.  While students have fun getting into the loʻi, they also recognize that this work is hard and important to our communities. The lessons from ʻāina momona materials were the perfect example our trimester learning about balanced resources and thriving communities in our modern day society….Along with the work done with our keiki, the language, moʻolelo, ʻolelo noʻeau, and oli/mele that the staff always strive to use when working with our class helps to showcase the importance of this living culture.  Students experience and witness Hawaiian values being used, the lessons and language brought to everyday life, and being surrounded in this environment strengthens and grounds my students in place and culture…I also appreciate the relationship building that Dani, Uncle Dean, and the “uncles” provide for my students when working and talking story in the loʻi. The mentorship and time to connect with confident kanaka has really provided the care and support that my young Waimanalo boys needed.”

“…having a place who’s willing and excited to have us come multiple times a year it really allows the kids to have a connection to place…If we had just come that one time…and that was their only experience in the loʻi, they would not have the same connection to this place and to kalo…It just makes a huge difference to come back.”

“Having multiple years visiting this site, our haumana have been able to build pilina with this space and with the people of Hookuaaaina. The lessons that Aunty Dani and the staff teach the keiki build upon their knowledge of moolelo, cultural values, and lessons from our past.”

Kūkuluhou Mentoring and Internships

I can’t believe it’s almost the end of 2019. I feel like it was just yesterday that we were beginning the new year completely rested from our downtime during the holidays. Yet here we are about to enter the holidays once again. My Christmas wish might be to make time slow down or to add a few hours to my day, I haven’t decided which yet.

We had another great year in our Kūkuluhou (KKLH) program with 34 participants. 28 of them came from the Ke Kama Pono Program in Kapolei and visited us on a weekly basis throughout the year for values-based coaching and hands-on life skills development. In addition, we had a total of 21 interns participate in our Spring, Summer and Fall 10-Week Internships, 4 of which were part of our new ASA, Ahupua’a Systems Apprenticeship program with Windward Community College. 6 interns remain in the top tier as our year-round co-farm managers that we now refer to as “Fellows”. They each play vital roles in all programming and mentoring of all the seasonal interns and apprentices. 

We started the year with the theme of ‘Onipa’a, to be steadfast. The boys took some time to reflect on their past year’s successes and identify areas where they could continue to make progress. We then asked them to focus on short- and long-term goals and how to best accomplish them helping to prepare for the life obstacles that routinely come up.

In the loʻi, they practice the values learned through their efforts by preparing and planting a kalo patch alongside our crew. Planting is normally a task only given to the farm managers, so it was a special day to be given the privilege to plant alongside our crew. Preparing a patch for planting helped to illustrate the idea of ‘Onipa’a or standing firm through difficult times and pushing through when obstacles get in their way. Over the year we’ve continued to instill our core underlying value of Nani Ke Kalo, Beautiful the Taro, the idea of respect for ourselves, for others and for a place, throughout everything we do. Another core lesson is Lōkahi, how to create balance and harmony in our lives. Our final focus was on He Wa’a He Moku, He Moku He Wa’a, (A canoe is an island, an island is a canoe) a study of finding ways to co-exist and thrive together as an island community with limited resources.

Several experiences offered to the Kūluhou participants outside the loʻi also help to strengthen and put into practice the values that they learn in the program. We participated in the Ku’i at the Capital for the third year in a row. It’s always a great experience and for a few, it was their first time to ku’i kalo. Food preparation is an important aspect of the program allowing the KKLH boys to learn simple and practical ways to prepare traditional foods. In addition to ku’i kalo, we made laulau and took advantage of ulu season by making ulu chips, a farm favorite! It might be a tie between laulau and ulu chips for the boys. While laulau is a loved staple, there is just something about the crispy on the outside, soft in the center ulu chips with Hawaiian salt that is super satisfying after a long day of work in the patch that we all love.

The highlight of the year for the KKLH participants was tasking them with building their own patch named on their behalf. It took months of perseverance to clear out the hau, remove the roots by hand, give the patch its shape, create the mounds and then to plant. The boys now take pride in knowing that Jared KKP patch is their very own. They built it from start to finish with their hands and can now care for the kalo until it is ready for harvest in the fall of 2020.

2019 has been a year of growth for our Kūkuluhou Program and we are so excited to see what 2020 has in store for us all.

Here are some quotes from current KKLH participants:

“I feel like I’m wanted here like this place means a lot cause people around over here helps me to do better for myself. I feel like I’m special here just being here my myself I’m special. It’s spiritual here you guys are putting your time into us when you don’t have to and that’s the best thing too feeling like we are wanted here that we deserve to be here not just cause we are Hawaii but cause we are part of the island.” – Cody, 16

“I see a lot of growth and it’s more positive. I don’t have an “I don’t care attitude” Cause I do care now. I feel good cause I have a plan on what I’m going to do. I feel good cause my mom them are more happy too and it makes me feel more good about myself. Like my mom them are happy that I’m doing good so I’m happy, I feel good” – Jayden, 16

“It’s not my behavior that’s changed it’s my attitude that’s changed. I see more clear, I see things around me as happy instead sad, dark depressing, I’m not really depressed anymore. I’m more happy I want to do things I want to help out.” – James, 15

On The Farm Q2 2019

Things tend to grow faster in the summer sun and here at Kapalai that fact holds true. We are only halfway through the year and we have already harvested 11,408 pounds of kalo. Spring and early summer are always busy times for us with everybody trying to get poi, kalo, and luau leaf for their graduation parties. The vast majority of our kalo goes to individual community members and families. We take pleasure in knowing that more and more people are craving kalo and want to include this nutritious staple in their everyday diet.

Our lo’i space itself is growing as well; we have begun to clear out our newest patch which will put us at a total of 22 patches in kalo production. This new lo’i is being built out largely by the boys in our mentoring program and will be named Ke Kama Pono in their honor. Ke Kama Pono is a residential program run by Partners in Development that has been participating in our Kūkuluhou Mentoring Program for three years now. An average of 14 boys per quarter visits weekly to learn and practice Hawaiian values through the growing of kalo. It is always a joy to watch these boys as they learn and grow themselves throughout their time here. I’ve seen boys who enter the program not wanting to do any work at all and as they begin to feel accepted and let their guard down, they become proactive in looking for work and asking how they can help. Some even challenge themselves to go beyond the norm and strive to do quality work. Each of them is valued and considered an important part of our ʻohana here at Hoʻokuaʻāina. They contribute much to the overall health of the loʻi. It is only fitting that they have a patch named after them.

Even our staff has grown as we have added 9 summer interns to our crew to bring our total number of interns to 15. Coming from all over the island and even from the mainland United States and attending university at various schools, these passionate individuals are all here for the same reason: to connect to ‘āina, be a part of a community, and learn about growing kalo. They are all proving to be good workers and bring great energy to the team. We love having new faces, new ideas, and fresh hands to help us with all our work and are looking forward to a great summer with them!

Zack Pilien, Farm Manager

Written By Zack Pilien,
Farm Manager

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


P.O. Box 342146

Kailua, HI 96734

follow us

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

email us

Reach Us At:

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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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