Rurutu Cultural Exchanged July 7-21 2018


Purchase a table at our exclusive Hoʻike Rurutu Celebration Dinner

Come and join us for an intimate evening at Kapalai and experience traditional South Pacific cuisine as we share our cultural expedition and adventures.


Sept. 8, 2018
5 to 9 pm


916E Auloa Road
Kailua, HI 96724


$2500 for a table of 10
Limited to 10 tables

$125 Individual Seat
Limited availability 

Donate Offline

Download our offline donation form below to donate via check made payable to Ho‘okua‘āina | Memo "Rurutu".

an opportunity to reconnect and to build relationship with others of a shared ancient heritage

An exciting opportunity has found it’s way to us at Ho‘okua‘āina! Some of you are aware that in our loʻi at Kapalai we use the mounded or puʻe puʻe style of growing kalo. The authors of the book Native Planters, considered the authority of traditional Hawaiian food crop cultivation, argue that the first settlers to Hawai‘i cultivated kalo in this style—as opposed to the predominant way that it is grown today, submerged in water. Our mentor, Uncle Earl Kawaʻa, who grew up farming kalo, acknowledges that we have been relearning this ancient method of growing through trial and error. From day one at Ho‘okua‘āina, we have been on a mission to gain back ancient knowledge that had been lost.

This past winter we were fascinated by an article in Hana Hou magazine about Rurutu, a tiny and remote island in French Polynesia where kalo is grown in the same mounded manner like we do. In addition, the people there pound kalo into poi exactly like Hawaiians, using the same implements, and they call it popoi! As far as we knew, Hawaii was unique in this regard. Coincidentally, months later, a young man named Tamatea whose family lives on Rurutu came to visit our lo‘i. Tamatea explained Rurutu’s thriving kalo culture and manner of eating it with every meal. After this intriguing conversation, we reached out to his uncle, Viriamu (the kalo farmer featured in the Hana Hou article) and began planning an expedition in search of lost ancient knowledge and important cultural connections vital to us as we search the past to find answers for our future.

For over 10 years we have been seeking knowledge of the ancient style of puʻe puʻe kalo cultivation, feeling almost like pioneers, and always wondering if what we are doing is correct. Going to Rurutu will enlighten and educate us on a tradition that has continued uninterrupted for 2,000 years, and affirm the path we are already on. Going there will allow us the opportunity to step back in time and experience a place where kalo is still the staple, and where the practice of pounding kalo into poi may have first begun. In short, this is an opportunity to reconnect to and build a relationship with others of a shared ancient heritage and bring that ʻike or knowledge back to share in Hawaii.

Ways To Support Our Cultural Expedition

If you can not make our mahalo dinner, there are other ways to support our expedition.

Make a $500 Donation

Receive a year’s supply of kalo pa’a or poi (one 2-pound bag each poi week).

Make a $100 Donation

Receive a Ho’okua’āina logo hat and canvas bag or shirt.

Make A Donation

Any amount no matter how big or small is greatly appreciated.

We are humbly asking for support to fund this expedition. Our mission is clear, it is ʻike or knowledge we are seeking. And we will go there in the posture of kokua, to help and serve as we learn.

Who: Ho‘okua‘āina ‘Ohana. 13 people, including 5 of our co-managers, who have been promoted up through our mentoring program. These are 3 young men and 2 young women, ages 19-24, 3 of them Hawaiian, who are a vital part of our kalo farm operation are working to gain knowledge and experience because they desire to do something similar to the model we have created at Kapalai. They represent a growing number of youth who aspire to become the next generation of farmers in Hawai’i.

What: Cultural expedition from Ho‘okua‘āina to Rurutu. Viriamu and his wife will host our group at their pension, we will work at their community kalo patch and help plant a new loʻi. They have also offered to teach our crew how to gather and prepare other traditional foods, culminating in a feast including the local community.

Why: To bring back ʻike to share with the lāhui. For 2 weeks, we will be immersed in this modern society still living with their ancient traditions intact. As a team, we will gain knowledge and understanding in the areas of language, traditional food production and preparation, sustainable practices, resource management and cultural preservation.

When: July 7-21, 2018

How: We have raised $16,000.00 for our expedition from private donors and are seeking to raise the remaining $20,740.00 by July—through donations and sales of value-added products made at Ho‘okua‘āina.

Budget for Rurutu

Mahalo for supporting our organization to continue providing excellent mentoring and ʻāina-based education programs for our community.

Ho‘okua‘āina is providing you with goods or services in exchange for your contribution.

The IRS “value” of the dinner is $500 per table or $50/seat. The remainder of $2,000 is a charitable contribution. | The IRS “value” of the year’s supply of kalo pa‘a or poi is $275. The remainder of $225 is a charitable contribution. | The IRS “value” of the hat and bag or shirt is $40. The remainder of $60 is a charitable contribution.

Ho‘okua‘āina is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization (Federal Tax Identification #45-2517616). Your donation may be tax deductible as provided by law. Please consult with your tax advisor.