Mana, Kapu, and Noa at Keahualaka

Mana, Kapu, and Noa at Keahualaka

Abstract of paper for Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania (ASAO) Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA 9-14 February, 2016. To be presented at the New Proposed Session: The Experiential Roots of Mana MANA, KAPU, AND NOA AT KEAHUALAKA, A SACRED HAWAIIAN SITE AT KE`E, KAUA`I Heu`ionalani Wyeth Ka`Imi Na`auao o Hawai`i Nei Institute Beautiful for situation, Keahualaka (the altar of Laka) or Kauluolaka (the inspiration and growth of Laka) hovers like a mighty bird over Ke`e beach on Kaua`i’s north shore. Lying as it does at the end of the coastal road and near the beginning of famous hiking trail, the site attracts many visitors. Some come specifically to experience the place’s mana, others inadvertently wander in. Whoever they may be and whatever their reasons may be for walking the path up to the site, these people are merely the latest in a line of visitors that goes back centuries. Po`e hula (hula people), students of Polynesian culture, and adherents of traditional Hawaiian religion revere Keahualaka for its connections with Laka, Pele, Hi`iaka, and Lohiau. Photographers, artists, and tourists are inpressed its physical beauty. New Age religionists seek it out as a place of power. Each visitor reacts to the site’s mana differently. The common denominator is that Keahualaka affects everyone, and everyone affects Keahualaka. This has created problems for those who look after the place. Under an agreement with its former owners, our Institute served as volunteer caretakers from 1975 to 1992. During that time, we removed rubbish, eradicated invasive plants, produced informational materials for visitors, and organized cultural performances on site. Our protocol followed the instruction of...
‘Hawaiian style’ lesson plans DVD soon to be released; Ka `Imi Institute continues global cultural exchange

‘Hawaiian style’ lesson plans DVD soon to be released; Ka `Imi Institute continues global cultural exchange

  Members of Ka `Imi Na`auao o Hawai`i Nei Institute are pleased to announce the upcoming release of a teaching video and series of lesson plans, “He Mele no Kane; Hawaiians as Scientists.” This innovative teaching tool promotes cultural learning through films and photographs of traditional chant and hula combined with related lesson plans geared to the classroom. Appropriate for elementary through middle school grades, the DVD will be made available this fall as part of the continuing educational mission of Ka `Imi Na`auao o Hawai`i Nei Institute. Additional advanced lesson plans for high school and advanced levels will follow. School principals, teachers and cultural leaders, librarians adding to Hawaiian resource materials, as well as anyone interested in furthering their understanding of Hawaiian conceptual knowledge may contact the Institute to reserve advance copies of this educational tool. Ka `Imi is a non-profit 501-C3 educational institute that has been in existence since the 1970s. The purchase price of the DVD and lesson plans will be nominal. The “Hawaiians as Scientists” educational project grew out of the successful Ka `Imi staged hula chronicles of “Recalling Hawai`i,” choreographed and directed by Kumu Hula Bailey. Starring casts numbered up to 50 dancers and musicians of the Institute, hailing from school branches world-wide. The crowd-pleasing multi-media spectacular has proven its success in each of eight presentations to date, from Germany and Switzerland (2010), to Kaua`i (2011), Maui (2012), Hawai`i and O`ahu (2013), as well as Northern California (2014).   Following the Hilo Theater presentation, Brenda Lee, a Hawaiian activist, said, “Every school child in Hawai`i should have the opportunity to see and learn from...
Ka ’Imi in Geneva: Reception at the U.S. Mission Independance Day 2015

Ka ’Imi in Geneva: Reception at the U.S. Mission Independance Day 2015

Dancers of Ka ’Imi Switzerland, Germany and Austria performed at the permanent U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on July 7th 2015, on occasion of the celebration of Independence Day 2015. The theme of this afternoon was Hawaii and the “Aloha Spirit”. Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto (grown up in Hawaii) invited the Band Na Ohana Ho’aloha from Moloka’i to play for the reception and suggested that a Swiss Hula Halau should participate to make the connection to the guest country and to enhance cultural exchange. Ka ’Imi picked up the invitation and participated with dancers not only Switzerland but also from our German and Austrian Halau. Manja from Switzerland and Anna from Germany visited the band on Moloka’i in February 2015 and got a first taste of dancing with the group during one of their weekly shows at the Paddlers Inn. After a lot of preparation we all met in Geneva on Sunday July 5th starting rehearsing in extreme summer heat. Everybody put their full effort into getting the dances tuned up, making leis for us, for guests of honor as well as for some of the U.S. Mission staff. Monday July 6th we went to the U.S. Mission to rehearse with the band. We only had this one day to get to know each other, finding the same rhythm, pick the right versions of the songs, agree on verses, beginnings and endings. It was an intense and exhausting rehearsal. But it was worth it: The next day nobody could believe that this was the first time we all met and played and danced together. The staff...

19th Century Manuscripts

In 1979, kupuna William Kapahukaniolonookainoahou Goodwin, Aletha Kaohi’s father, gave Roselle Bailey 2 handwritten books of historical information about Kaua’i, especially about the Waimea district. The books, written in the late nineteenth century by an unknown author or authors, contain stories, mele, names, and other material, much of which is unattested in any other source. They are written in a dialect of Hawaiian apparently unique to west Kaua`i and Ni`ihau. Although many nineteenth century journals and other documents about Kaua`i have been collected and studied by scholars, relatively few of these were written by Hawaiians or in Hawaiian. When “Uncle Willie” Goodwin gave Roselle the manuscripts, he told her to “make the words live.” She did this by choreographing and performing some of the mele at the Merrie Monarch festival among other venues. Concerned about the fragile condition of the books, Ka `Imi’s officers and directors worked with Lynn Davis, Head of the Preservation Department, University of Hawai`i at Manoa Library and contracted the department to stabilize the fragile papers. Grants from the Hawaii Council for the Humanities, the Malie Foundation, and individual donors paid for the conservators’ work, and the books are now protected by the latest preservation technology. To inform the public about the manuscripts and the conservation project, we have published a brochure about the manuscript project. We sent the text of one of the mele, “Ia Aloha ia no Ao Waimea”, to various Hawaiian language experts, inviting them to translate and comment on it. One of the responses forms a page of the brochure. Download the Manuscript Brochure Below: Inside | Outside Because the possibility...
Aloha Africa

Aloha Africa

Aloha Africa 2009: A Rewarding Experience I am so fortunate to be able to give the gift of hula.  I have had a handful of inspiring na kumu hula (hula teachers). But, my main resource, Roselle Keli’ihonipua Bailey has been the most inspirational kumu hula in my life. I honor my teachers and their teachers before them by passing on the knowledge. This is how one keeps culture alive. Aloha Africa- a cultural exchange, the brain-child of isa Maria, has been accomplishing just that. isa Maria has made many personal sacrifices and worked persistently to bring  three Ghanaian artists to share their skills of traditional music and dance with Kaua’i. Ernest Borketey, Nii Anang and Obuobi Ashong were initially to arrive together with Mercy Fofoe Addy, a female dancer/instructor, but, because her visa application was not approved, the three men came on their own. The disappointment of Mercy’s absence became a blessing in disguise as it became an opportunity for Nii Anang to teach the traditional dances and songs of their homeland, Ghana.  With Obuobi and Ernest on musical accompaniment, as well as, the constant musical support from Kaua’i members Paul Jardin and isa Maria on drums, and I on percussion, classes were enjoyed by regular participants. Each Thursday Ernest, Nii Anang and Obuobi would come to my home for two hours of hula instruction. isa was alaka’i (lead dancer/assistant) for the class, actively supporting my instruction.   Obuobi willingly took on the role of ho’opa’a   (chanter/drummer), while Ernest and Nii Anang practiced their skills as ‘olapa {dancer}. They learned to enter the dance platform with Ho’opuka, and then, presented...
Re-capping “On Education & Respect”

Re-capping “On Education & Respect”

By Dawn F. Kawahara | June 2008 Published in Kauai’s Hawai`i State Teachers – Retired Newsletter 2nd Place in the National League of American Pen Women – Honolulu Branch prestigious biennial Lorin Tarr Gill Writing Competition. Copyright June 2008, Dawn F. Kawahara. Click here for the...

Letter in support of Vaka Taumako

Letter to Solomon Islands Ministry of Education in support of the Vaka Taumako Project’s application for renewal of its research permit Aloha, In 1976, for the first time in centuries, a voyaging canoe sailed from Hawai`i to Tahiti.  Its hull was fiberglass, its sails and ropes were nylon, and its navigator Micronesian.  Why?  There are two basic reasons.  First, Hawaiians no longer knew how to build and sail the kinds of canoes that had brought their ancestors from the southern Pacific.  Second, in many cases the plants that once furnished Polynesians with building materials had become either extinct or so rare as to make them no longer usable. When Captain James Cook, the first European known to have visited Hawai`i, landed there in 1778, Tahiti was no longer a place to which Hawaiians regularly sailed.  It had become part of the landscape of myth, home of gods and ancestors, a synonym for faraway.  What had changed?  How had Hawaiians and other eastern Polynesians like the Tahitians forgotten how to make the sea voyages that had enabled their forbears to cross earth’s largest ocean and colonize its remotest islands?  Why had people all over the Pacific, and especially the Polynesians, suddenly stopped making their long sea journeys at approximately the beginning of the thirteenth century C.E? No one knows the answer to that question, though theories abound.  Some Polynesian oral traditions speak of wars, famines, family feuds etc. that broke up kinship networks and communities.  Some modern scholars, noting that the end of long-distance voyaging in the Pacific roughly co-incided with the cold spell that in Europe was known as...

My Impressions of India

My Impressions of India by Lynnie – Kananiokeanuenue – July 2007 On our last evening in India, in the last hour of our bus tour of hundreds of miles , as the sun was setting in the sky and upon our long journey, Roselle commanded us to take out a piece of paper and write. Roselle asked us “what did you observe, what did you learn and what were your impressions?” The following is my stream of consciousness, scribbled on scratch paper, as the daylight faded. I saw poverty, the well-to-do and all those in between.  Streets and grounds full of garbage.  Unpleasant smells, basic living conditions, throngs of temple worshippers, beggars, cows and goats, ornate designs, agrarian countryside, a poor country school, a private city school,  the Sea of Bengal, people trying to make a living in shops, on the land,  and in the streets.  Skilled and chaotic driving in cars, 3 wheel cabs, motor scooters, trucks , busses, carts pulled by cattle, lots of food vendors, great Indian cooking, tasty spices, effigies on unfinished buildings, flowers, trees, (no snakes!), funeral processions and beautiful faces. I observed a strong sense of family and tradition.  All the women dressed traditionally-no Western influence.  The people find many ways to celebrate—lots of festivals and dance performances.  They seem to see the good and are accepting of their lot.  People work very hard physically, and therefore are in good condition physically—except for teenagers that look much younger because of poor nutrition—those with less food may not do as well… I learned about Indian Gods (although there is confusion with all the names...

My Experience with Aloha Africa

My Experience with Aloha Africa – A Cultural Exchange by Jessi Jardin When Isa Maria asked me to participate in a cultural exchange with Ghana, I said “yes” without reservation. ALOHA AFRICA was a collaboration of Ernest Borlabi Borketey, master drummer from Ghana, LOVE TRIBE members isa Maria, Melody Harringer, Miliki Lani, Marisa Duggan, Rachel Kattlove, Kay Patrizio, Sharon Gonzales and Jessi Jardin along with TAARANGO’s Paul Jardin and Kalaka. With Ernest as our orchestrator, we learned the rhythmical complexity and cultural significance of Ghanaian music. In exchange, I introduced Ernest to the ipuheke, lei making, foods and medicine of Hawaii. He was a most receptive student. His smile is so radiant.  It speaks to you as brightly as his djembe. When you dance and make music together, there is joy spread throughout the community.  The Hawaiian culture embodies a spiritual way a life.  Hula is life.  Hula is Hawaiian culture. Ernest attended the opening of the Taumako project and joined with us to ho’opa’a “Huki i ke kalo”.  He attended our Ho’ike Hula 2007 in which we performed the India program with halau members who did not go on the trip.  He gave Kaua’i drumming from Ghana.  We gave him Aloha from Kaua’i. On June 23 we celebrated ALOHA AFRICA Ho’ike 2007.  Members of Ka Imi Na’auao o Hawai’i Nei joined with Ernest in opening the show.  With Pu blowing, chanting and hula, our ho’opaa from Ghana was radiant. To culminate the show, we invited the audience to join us for a drum circle.  Most of the audience members rushed to the stage to happily participate in what...
Anna’s Hawaii Experience

Anna’s Hawaii Experience

Dear Roselle, When you asked us: “What did you learn?” — it was your last question in a long row of question regarding our two-week trip to Hawaii. That was not just a trip but a cultural journey. Learning about Hawaiian culture, in this case, meant learning about the biological and geographical environment in which this culture developed. Learning about the traditions and values of this culture and learning about the history and the reality of Hawaii.  The reality of Hawaii is the destruction of its environment as well as its culture. Both go hand in hand as both upheld each other in former times. Hawaii is no paradise.  You taught us this by making us pick up rubbish at the beach instead of relaxing under a palm tree. By making us pull out weeds at historic places or pull out invasive alien plants that endanger the endemic Hawaiian flora and fauna. You introduced us to many wonderful people who are doing this kind of work regularly to save what is in danger of getting lost.  That is the other reality of Hawaii, the other side of the coin you showed us.  It’s the effort to save the Hawaiian environment and its cultural heritage.  In the end and in the beginning of this effort stands the struggle for sovereignty.  But learning about Hawaiian culture, also meant LEARNING ABOUT OUR OWN CULTURE.  Confronted with the difference, we were also confronted with the known.  Cultural habits were exposed and could be evaluated anew. And of course, learning about Hawaiian culture meant learning about Hula.  Actually, your last question—“What did you learn”?-reminded...
Hula Sisters from Germany

Hula Sisters from Germany

Last week’s visit from our Hula Sister from Germany was a welcoming experience in my life. I greatly enjoyed speaking (and singing) German again and connecting with new and old friends, realizing that I already felt quite a deep connection with those who danced Hula with us two years ago in Germany. And what a wonderful surprise to see Susan, Lynny and Cheryl again, together with out Kumu(2) here on Kauai. The “macrame” of our symbol surely works well. It was a great pleasure to go up to Ke-Ahu-A-Laka and sing and dance together, to learn more, and most of all to experience harmony and Aloha. Thank you everyone for making this happen, especially Roselle and Jim for their devotion and Love! Birgitta Many mahalos are due to others besides the core group (Pat, Savitri, Penny, Sherrie, Birgitta, Cherie, Kim, Louise, Fran,et al) who organized food, transport, and events.  Special thanks to Limahuli Gardens, the Koke’e Discovery Center, the Kaua`i Museum, the Kaua`i Visitors’ Bureau, Hoku Char, Dave Boynton, Marsha Erikson, Carol Lovell, Aletha Kaohi, Nancy Mc Mahon, and the hospitable staff of Brick Oven Pizza. A reputed old Chinese proverb (actually coined by an American advertising executive in the early 1920’s) holds that one picture is worth a thousand words.  Here are quite a few thousand words worth of images from the weekend. Kupuna Aletha Kaohi and archaeologist Nancy McMahon explained the historical and cultural significance of Pa`ula`ula (aka the Russian Fort) to the guests. The guests also learned “E Ho`ike Aloha Ni`ihau” and performed it for their hosts during their last afternoon on Kaua`i. Birgitta teaches the...
Letter from Debra Silverman

Letter from Debra Silverman

What a magical day that was the weather had us snuggled in close we were watching and enjoying and sensing the invisible spirits smiling as once again our kumu and her kumu and her students and all the invisible ancestors shared the joy of hula. This shot captured the purple energy floating in the air and we felt the eternal mahalo that we are allowed to be blessed by this a’ina of Kauai. How lucky we were on this Valentine weekend to feel the...

Letter Sent to the Garden Island Newspaper

Aloha tatou, Like many cultural organizations, Ka ‘ Imi Na’ auao o Hawai’ i Nei resembles an iceberg in that at least 90% of its substance lies below the surface. Too often the visible 10%, our performing halau hula, gets 90% of the attention. To give public acknowledgement where it is well and truly due for our recent tour of Germany is probably impossible. So many people gave so much of themselves to make this endeavor a success that we cannot thank them all individually. We cannot even begin to list all the wonderful people of Germany, who housed us, fed us, drove us around, translated for us, held our hands, danced for us, laughed with and at us, and carried our almost infinite mass of luggage up and down the Nibelungenturnfs 125 steps. From Andrea who patiently and unflaggingly co-ordinated everything from airport pick-ups to bag lunches, to Herr and Frou Weiner of Michaelskapelle, the staff of Ristorante Taormina, and all those whose names we do not know, mahalo and aloha nui. To name all those on Kaua’i who have helped us is equally impossible; the list would probably fill an entire page of this newspaper. Special thanks to Margie Faunce, Anne O’Malley, Unlimited Construction, and all the family and friends without whose support we would never have gotten past the Lihu’e airport turn-off. Finally, mahalo to The Garden Island for publishing this letter. Me ke aloha, Heu’ ionalani Wyeth,...