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Students of the Kamehameha Schools Ipukūkui program concentrate on their next move in a game of kōnane, much like that which will be played at the event.

Makahiki comes to Kaka‘ako

Nov. 17, 2014

Contributed by Kau'i Burgess

Kamehameha Schools and the PA‘I Foundation have partnered to bring makahiki to Our Kaka‘ako in celebration of the season of Lono – a time set aside for tribute, harvest, sport and play.

“Hosting makahiki in Our Kaka‘ako helps to bring authentic Hawaiian culture to this place," says Kirra Downing, marketing specialist at Kamehameha Schools. "There are no other makahiki events of this size in town, and we’re just grateful to Vicky Holt Takamine from PA‘I Foundation for partnering with us to bring this traditional event here to Mother Waldron Park.”

Makahiki celebrates the harvest season, and traditionally lasts about three months, beginning in mid-November and lasting through late January or February. It is a period set aside to honor Lono, a Hawaiian deity associated with fertility, agriculture, rainfall. In ancient times, ceremonies hosted by an island’s ali‘i, were performed to properly open and close the traditional festivities which included feasting, games, chanting and dance in which men and women participated.

Very much like tradition, the Kaka‘ako Arts and Makahiki Fest will kick off festivities with an opening ceremonial procession and ho‘okupu (honored gift) presentation. Ho‘okupu will be in the form of food donations (canned goods) which will later be given to the Hawai‘i Food Bank. Each canned item will serve as free admission to play the makahiki games.

After the opening ceremonies, games and competitions will get underway. Families and individuals are encouraged to play the makahiki games and enter the kōnane tournament.

“All traditional makahiki field events will take place throughout the day," adds Downing. "Attendees can learn how to play kōnane, join the kōnane tournament, try their hand at ‘ulu maika (a form of bowling), and participate in a simulated traditional race called the slippery fish relay. It will be a family day of fun.”

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the day’s festivities will also include Hawaiian entertainment, cultural demonstration booths, an arts market and food trucks to ensure everyone's ʻōpū (stomachs) are filled.

More information about the Kaka‘ako Arts and Makahiki Fest can be found at  


Aloha Kamehameha Schools staff and faculty. We are looking for volunteers to help staff makahiki events, rides and games. All volunteers will receive an event T-shirt. If you are available to kōkua, please email Kirra Downing at


Location: Mother Waldron Park
507 Cooke Street

Date: Saturday, November 22
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Free parking will be available at 555 South St. Packet pickup is at 8 a.m. and the opening ceremonies begin at 8:30 a.m. Bring canned food items for free scripts.

Ipukūkui participants compete in a friendly game of pā uma, standing wrist-wrestling.

Hukihuki, known as tug-of-war in western society, is also a favorite among makahiki competitors.

The Kaka‘ako Arts and Makahiki Fest will happen on Saturday, November 22, at Mother Waldren Park.


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