KS middle schoolers carry on the traditions of Makahiki

Mar. 5, 2015

Contributed by Nadine Lagaso

The Hawaiian New Year known as Makahiki usually begins in mid-November and ends in late-January or February, aligning with the rainy season. It is a time set aside for tribute, harvest, sport, and play.

Haumāna from all three Kamehameha Schools campuses gathered on Molokaʻi recently for Ka Moloka‘i Makahiki. The annual event has been going on for the last 33 years and is held on the traditional Makahiki grounds of Nā‘iwa, on the North side of the island.

This year’s theme “Kīpapa nā ho‘okupu, o‘o ka pule – May all your preparations be keen, and your prayers come to fruition,” reminded students not only be concerned with what is happening on the ‘āina today, but to protect and nurture it for future generations.

The event was a great opportunity for the haumāna to create relationships with their classmates from the other campuses and to strengthen their own connections to the ‘āina and their kūpuna.

“It is important for our haumāna to learn about Makahiki because it celebrates thriving communities, a healthy environment, cooperation between people, building positive relationships, and giving thanks for the land, ocean, air, and fresh water that sustains us,” says Clinton Alexander, KS Hawai‘i Middle School physical education and health teacher.

During the three-day event, haumāna offered hoʻokupu (honored gifts) to the Hawaiian God Lonoikamakahiki for the abundance of food, fresh water, and clean air. They also participated in Makahiki games that represent the strength and health of the communities from each district and island.

Haumāna were also treated to a presentation by Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia crew members Keoki Pescaia, Mahina Hou Ross and Mel Paoa.

The crew explained that when preparations and relationships on board the waʻa are strong, the ancestors of each crew member and of the waʻa arrive at the destination beforehand to welcome and celebrate the arrival of the waʻa at every destination.

The Makahiki event was a success thanks to the hard work of campus staff members and administrators, especially KS Hawai‘i Middle School P.E. and health kumu Clinton Alexander, KS Maui Assistant Principal Kamuela Binkey, and KS Kapālama social studies kumu Brad Cooper.

Hawaiʻi campus haumāna Kamahaʻo Kawelu, Tinan Rocha-Younce, Jaden Hisashima, Kuʻuipo Chan, Keely Logan, and Kanani Chan prepare to present their hoʻokupu (honored gift) at the traditional Makahiki grounds of Nā‘iwa, on Moloka‘i.

Hawaiʻi campus ‘ano koa kiʻekiʻe (decathlete) Keely Logan competes in pā uma (standing wrist wrestling) against a worthy opponent.

KSH middle schooler Kuʻuipo Chan displays her medal for being the lanakila (winner) of the moa paheʻe (dart sliding) competition.

KS Maui High School haumāna prepare for the traditional opening protocol of the Makahiki games.

KS Maui’s Healani Tolentino squares off against another middle schooler in a match of uma (hand wrestling).

KSM student Kanekapolei Kana competes in an ʻōʻō ihe (spear-throwing) match.