Welcome to Kauahea Culture

Aloha and welcome to my ramblings about Hawaiian culture and things happening around Maui and Hawai'i. Enjoy!

April 9, 2013

The Afterglow

The 2013 and 50th Anniversary of Merrie Monarch Festival is completed. The costumes have returned home, the adornments have been returned to their resting places, the awards sit proudly in their assigned spot, the hundreds of photos are being reviewed, the beautiful things that were purchased are being admired, and numerous thoughts are being shared. There was nothng like this year. It indeed celebrated those things that we love; hula, music, chant, hana no'eau, food, friends, and enjoyment.

I am grateful for the warm hospitality of the people of Hilo who welcomed hundreds of people into their home. They shared their favorite eating places, parking spots, and stores with us. They were patient with those of us who didn't know where we were going or were impatient to get somewhere. They exhibited the finest qualities of neighbor island living. I'm sure for most of them it is good to get their town back and to get back to their regular routine.

Mahalo to the legions of supporters for each hula dancer. More than could ever be counted; babysitters, van drivers, hair dressers, seamstresses, musicians, cooks, lei makers, those who bought fundraiser items, and those who massaged sore bodies. Each person in the support system was critical to the success of the dancer. If you multiply that by the hundreds of dancers who graced the stage, you have a unbelievable amount of people who support the cultural practice of hula. We are grateful for each of them.

Most of all, mahalo to Luana Kawelu, Kathy, and George who make all of it possible. They work tirelessly and into the early morning so that we can enjoy. I cannot know the particulars of such an immense undertaking, but I am grateful for those who continue to do it year after year. The men of Koa Puna, the many ushers and volunteers, and the royal court. So many Hilo folks who do it for the love of their home and for hula.

So, mahalo to all who contributed to the the Merrie Monarch's 50th Anniversary. We'll see you next year!

April 5, 2013

A History of Excellence

Last night was the Ho'ike night at the 50th anniversary of the Merrie Monarch Festival. There was high anticipation for what was to occur, and no one was disappointed. The Edith Kanaka'ole Stadium was full to capacity, energy filled the room, and the audience was totally engaged in the performances.

From Skylark's beautiful and thoughtful emceeing to each of the performers, excellence abound. Halau O Kekuhi set the pace with non-stop hula which ranged from their classic hula to their more contemporary offerings. Many of the senior members of the halau were dancing and giving their 200% and best efforts. It was electrifying.

Each group that performed after reminded us all of why we love hula. From dancers who have spent over 50 years on the stage to dancers who are newer to this art form, we were thrilled each time. Hau'oli Hula Maidens, 'Ilima Hula Studio, Na Pualei O Likolehua, Halau Na Kamalei, Waimapuna, and all of the individual recording artists were unbelievable. Each one bringing their special performances which we remember and love. Each doing their very best at what they love to do.

But for me, the Miss Aloha Hula performance was the crowning jewel. Exhibited on the stage was more than these individual dancers who have been recognized as being excellent dancers, on the stage were decades and lifetimes of hula dedication. They represent their hula lineage, they fulfill their Kumu Hula's dream, they carry on a tradition, and they love to dance. You could not help but smile and sway as dancers from 1971 to 20012 danced together. They were beautiful, they danced beautifully, and they were hula. May that vision of hula excellence continue to inspired hula dancers everywhere for many more generations.

March 19, 2013

Kokua and Laulima

Kokua and laulima are two Hawaiian cultural values that live even today. Yet they are slightly different from one another.

Kokua to assist one another, usually on a one-to-one basis or one-on-small-group. A more personal way to be of assistance. Helping your mother by mowing the yard, helping your sister make dinner, or helping a friend pick up her children from soccer. All of this is kokua and all of this is important. 'Ike aku, 'ike mai, kokua aku, kokua mai, pela ihola ka nohona Hawai'i.

Laulima is cooperation or many hands together. This is a baby lu'au preparation, making an imu, or a fundraiser for a halau or sports team. Many people doing their part to make the large event successful. Each person's contribution benefits many. Conversely, if someone fails to do their part, a part of the event fails. E ala! E alu! E kuilima!

Both activities are needed and well practiced in a community or group that cares for each other. It is what makes living in Hawai'i wonderful.

August 26, 2012

Ah Summer..

Ah Summer...what a lovely time of year. Yes, here in Hawai'i it's a little hot, okay sometimes a lot hot, but it reminds us that we can easily go to the beach and enjoy. Summer has long days which let us come home from work, toss a few things in the car, and still have a couple of hours of daylight for beach time, family visit time, sitting in the yard time, visiting friends time, and just enjoying being together. Maybe your favorite places have names like Makena, Launiupoko, Kanaha or maybe Punalu'u, Ka'a'awa, or Ala Moana. No matter the name, the joy is still the same.

There is also nothing better than smelling barbecue...hibachi...grilling...or whatever you call it. Just the smoky smell of cooking, makes us all remember beach days, sun, and fun. Everything tastes better; vegetables, chicken, and of course meat, when done on a grill. Luckily there are always places that a good grilled "something" is available. I know it might not be what some say is healthy...but once and a while, ummmm.

So before our summer runs out, find some time to go to the beach, visit family and friends, and do a little grilling.

July 29, 2012

The Olympics remind me that striving for excellence is a wonderful thing to do. Our Hawaiian culture is a fine example of that. Our ancestors did not accept "good enough" but tried to have perfection in what they did. Without excellence we can not reach greater accomplishment.

So, what does that mean today when it is more acceptable to "go with the flow" rather than to focus on perfection. When disciplining mind and body is seen as restricting. When the teachings of the past is seen as old fashion. Indeed these are questions that we think about sometimes. Does any of this matter today? Maybe watching the Olympics will bring those thoughts to the surface again.

July 22, 2012

Do A Culture

How will the Hawaiian nation be built? It will be built one person at a time. It will be built because Hawaiians will know who they are as a people and who they are as a culture. It is my contention that each Hawaiian should know something about their culture...some sort of hana or some sort of 'ike. As the 'olelo no'eau says, I ka hana ka 'ike, in doing one learns. It tells us many things; that we must DO something, not just watch, that there is knowledge gained when one is willing to work hard at something, and increased knowledge comes from increased work. For me, that should also be a cultural hana...otherwise who are we as Hawaiians. If we are not learning something about our cultural values, behaviors, and outlooks then we are not learning to think from a Hawaiian perspective.

If we make Hawaiian food then we need to know about how it was made traditionally and be able to do that too. If you make haupia; do you know what pia looks like, how it grows, where it grows and when is the best time to harvest it. Do you know where and when to collect the coconut, how to husk the coconut, how to make the coconut cream, and do you grow the coconut. So many things to know because I Ka Hana Ka 'Ike. 

So, as part of the making is there also a part of sharing, is there a part of being patient, is there a part of teaching, is there a part of Hawaiian thinking. I think so, and when all of that occurs, Hawaiian culture and the Hawaiian people prosper.

January 24, 2012

Barefoot College

After participating in TedxMaui this past weekend I decided to look up some of the TedTalks online. I thought this one was interesting since the speaker began a Barefoot College which appreciates the wisdom and intelligence of the common person, especially the grandmothers. Enjoy