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More than 35 Kamehameha Schools alumni reconnected with their Hawaiian identity at a recent huakaʻi to Punalu‘u Ahupua‘a Farms, a KS agricultural park in windward Oʻahu. The hands-on learning experience was hosted by the Pauahi Foundation.

KS alumni reconnect with their Hawaiian roots through 'Āina-based education

He ʻĀina Momona o Punaluʻu – Punaluʻu is a place of abundance

Dec. 28, 2015

Contributed by Mae Nishimura

More than 35 Kamehameha Schools alumni attended a recent huakaʻi hosted by the Pauahi Foundation held at Punalu‘u Ahupua‘a Farms, a KS agricultural park on Oʻahu’s windward coast.

The day included an infusion of interactions with the ‘āina, which serves as a major source of Native Hawaiian identity, education, and ‘ohana. The hands-on activities were laden with moʻolelo spoken in English and ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.

KS staff presenters included Hawaiian Resource Specialist Earl Kawaʻa, Sustainability Manager Amy Brinker, and Land Asset Manager Joey Char.

“This wonderful collaboration connected generations of KS alumni to KS land.” said Char. The cultural practices they shared, the kalo they pulled then prepared – it was a memorable day that showed Punaluʻu is indeed a place of abundance,”

The morning began with the alumni harvesting and cleaning kalo from Ka Papa Loʻi O Kānewai - an ʻĀina Ulu collaborator which conducts eco-cultural education on KS’ agricultural and conservation lands.

“It’s important to share with our ‘ohana the various educational programs on KS lands that are built on Native Hawaiian identity – a key goal in KS’ new strategic plan,” said Brinker.

Later, harvested lū‘au leaves were used to make laulau, which was served that night for dinner, on plates each person made out of lauhala.

Alumni learned about traditional crops, various forms of kalo and farming, while Kawaʻa, shared moʻolelo about mahiʻai (farming). Following the harvest, the group learned how to prepare paʻiʻai (undiluted poi) on papa kuʻiʻai (poi-pounding boards) using the kalo they harvested.

“One of our goals at the Foundation is to engage alumni by providing unique opportunities to stay connected with Kamehameha,” said Pauahi Foundation interim executive director Pono Ma‘a.

“The Punalu‘u huaka‘i reconnected alumni to their ‘āina and culture, and in the process they were reunited with classmates and made new friends within the alumni ‘ohana.”

Once the food was prepared, everyone ate as a group, reflected and shared their manaʻo to conclude the day. Alumni left with an ʻumeke full of ‘ike and ʻono food.

The day’s events were inspired by the Hawaiian proverb: E lawe i ke a'o a mālama a e ʻoi mau ka naʻauao. “Take what you have learned and apply it and your wisdom will increase.” It is a reminder that with knowledge comes the kuleana or responsibility to share it with others.

Photos by Pauahi Foundation Communications Specialist Ben Balberdi. See more photos from the event in the I Mua Newsroom and Pauahi Foundation photo galleries.

A Personal Account

KS alumna Frances Dinnan shares a personal account of her huakaʻi to KS' Punaluʻu Ahupuaʻa Farms along with more than 30 other alumni in her moʻolelo entitled, “Huakaʻi ma Punaluʻu.” CLICK HERE to read Dinnan's story about the hands-on cultural experience made possible by the Pauahi Foundation. About Punaluʻu Ahupuaʻa Farms Located in the moku of Koʻolauloa on the windward coast of Oʻahu, Punaluʻu was home to an extensive system of loʻi kalo that supported a sizable population of Native Hawaiians. To learn more about how KS partners with farmers to increase local food production for a sustainable Hawaiʻi, visit Kamehameha's land assets website.

KS alumna, Sandra Maka Kaleohano learns how to harvest and clean kalo with Ka Papa Loʻi O Kānewai at Punaluʻu Ahupuaʻa Farms.

KS alumni Mark Crabbe, Holden Takahashi, Marissa Lilo and Kahikina Taketa, share a meal with KS Sustainability Intern Max Mukai and Alumni Relations Coordinator Denise Kaʻaʻa.

Alumna Frances Dinnan shows off the lauhala plate and paʻiʻai she made during the huakaʻi. Read her personal account of the experience below.

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