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June 2007

Hawai`i News

A Celebration For A King
Kamehameha Day

By Roy Alameida

Kamehamehadaycelebration.orgOn June 11th, 2007, thousands will gather on each Hawaiian island to honor the legacy of Kamehameha I, the Ali‘i (chief) who was able to unite the Hawaiian Islands under one ruler. The decisive battle at Nu‘uanu on O‘ahu, in 1795, ended years of warfare. And finally, through diplomatic negotiations with Kaumuali‘i, Ali‘i of Kaua‘i, Kamehameha was able to include Kaua‘i under his control by 1810.

This official state holiday was established in 1871 by Lot Kapuāiwa, Kamehameha V, to honor the legacy of his grandfather, Kamehameha I. Ceremonies include chants, hula, music, and the 22-foot floral lei draping of the statues representing Kamehameha. The original statue is located in Kapa‘au on Hawai‘i island near his birthplace, Kokoiki, Kohala. Other statues are located in Hilo, Honolulu and Washington, D.C.

The theme for this year’s floral parade is "Bridging the World through Music and Dance." Colorful floral floats, the grace and beauty of pā‘ū riders representing each of the major islands, and marching units from the community will add to the celebration.

Kamehameha I was known as the greatest of Hawaiian Ali‘i. His legacy continues today with a school named after him whose Hawaiian preference admission policy has been challenged in the U.S. courts. During preparation for battle against the Maui warriors at ‘ Iao Valley, Kamehameha’s words “I mua e nā poki‘i a inu i ka wai ‘awa‘awa, ‘a‘ole hope e ho‘i aku ai (forward my young brothers, and drink of the bitter waters, there is no retreat) became the rallying cry of the Hawai‘i island warriors. According to the mo‘olelo, there were literally hundreds of slain warriors and their sheer numbers blocked the flowing waters of ‘Iao Stream which turned red because of the dead. This well-known battle became known as the battle of Kepaniwai which means “damming of the waters.”

For many Hawaiians, Kamehameha I is a symbol of unity and this day of celebration is a time to reflect upon the Hawaiian culture, language, and history. It is a time to honor, value, and perpetuate our Hawaiian heritage and share it with the global community.


Case against the Kamehameha Schools Dismissed

“John Doe” Accepts Settlement

By Rochelle delaCruz

The John Doe v Kamehameha lawsuit has come to a spectacular end. In 2003, a white student sued the Kamehameha Schools when his application was rejected. The Kamehameha Schools, funded by the trust of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, gives preference to Native Hawaiian students. After winding its way through the courts, the case was pending before the Supreme Court when the plaintiff John Doe agreed to drop it in exchange for a settlement, presumably in cash. For many, it was confirmation that this suit was not about lofty principles as argued by Doe supporters, but about money and greed.

There was surprise and relief when the announcement was made in the middle of May. While some think it will open the door to more lawsuits by other opportunists seeking access to Pauahi’s trust, mounting another lawsuit is a daunting task. And according to Kamehameha attorneys, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision allowing Kamehameha to continue its policy of giving admissions preference to Native Hawaiians will stand. A statement issued by Kamehameha School officials asserts that The John Doe v. Kamehameha Schools case was just one more attempt by a few to chip away at Native Hawaiian rights. Settling this case preserves our ability to fulfill our mission and our right to use our resources for their directed purpose, as a completely private Trust established by the bequest of one of our Ali`i during the time of Hawaiian Sovereignty. Settling this case also reserves the rights of other private trusts – Native and non-Native, as well as the rights of all Indigenous people to control and use resources designated for their benefit.

And yet, the day after the announcement of the settlement, Honolulu lawyer David Rosen sent an email to Hawaiian-rights opponents H. William Burgess and Richard Rowland, asking for their help in finding other plaintiffs who would be willing to join him in another suit against Kamehameha. “I am attempting to put together a group of plaintiffs to bring an action challenging Kamehameha Schools’ race-based admission policy. The lawsuit will be identical to the Joe Doe lawsuit that was recently settled. I hope to have a group of at least 10-20 plaintiffs prior to filing the lawsuit,” said Rosen in the now widely-circulated email. But legal experts say that Rosen will face ethical questions about soliciting clients to make a claim.

In a related issue, the first non-Hawaiian at the Kamehameha Schools Maui graduated this spring. Kalani Rosell, of Italian and Swedish ancestry, graduated five years after his acceptance by the school’s new campus which sparked a debate about recruiting efforts and admission policies. At the time of his acceptance, the school explained that Rosell had been selected for its class of 2007 after they looked at all qualified Hawaiian students. But that drew accusations that Kamehameha was neglecting the students Pauahi intended to serve. A petition drive by alumni and parents called for a review of the admissions policies in order to maintain much-needed opportunities for Hawaiian students.

Following the announcement of the settlement of John Doe v Kamehameha, Dee Jay Mailer, Chief executive of Kamehameha Schools said, “We will move ahead with speed and diligence to extend our reach into our communities to more Native Hawaiian children and families, as our princess intended.”



E mālama o Kaho‘olawe (Part 2)

by Roy Alameida


Part I of Roy Alameida’s journey to Kaho`olawe appeared in the May 07 issue of Northwest Hawai`i Times, along with a brief history of this reclaimed island. You can read them here.

The shoreline at Hakioawa is rocky; the makani or wind is blowing strong; the surf is rough. We swim towards shore; a distance of about 50 yards. It is a test of endurance; a test of ho‘omau (perseverance) as adrenaline races through our bodies. As my feet touch the rocky shoreline, I breathe a quick sigh of relief. I am safe; I am a part of the island, however brief it is. The oli was pono (proper).

The sound of the pū (conch shell) announces the beginning of a new day. The sun slowly peaks over Haleakalā on Maui . Today is a day of exploration; a day of learning; a day of kahiau (giving back). We explore and learn about Hakioawa and the hardships the ancestors endured for survival. We learn that Kaho‘olawe was once used as a penal colony in the early 1820s for those have committed crimes in the Kingdom. We also learn that after the traditional Hawaiian concept of land stewardship was replaced by the Western legal concept of private land ownership as a result of the land reform known as Māhele (division) in 1848, the lands on Kaho‘olawe were leased for ranching of sheep and goats. Cattle were later introduced. The uncontrolled ranching of these animals quickly denuded the island of vegetation.

In 1941, part of the island was leased to the U.S. Navy for $1.00 a year until the lease was to expire in 1952. But, the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the island became the training target for the U.S. military. The ordnance destruction of the island is still visible today. And although the island has since been returned to the State of Hawai‘i, complete removal of unexploded ordnances still remaining on the island is next to impossible. The best we can do today is to mālama (care for) the island as much as possible. There is visible propagation and growth of native Hawaiian plants, but it will be a long time coming before the island is fully blanketed with nature’s floral greenery.

After seeing the scars of the island from air 1,000 feet above sea level, it aches to try to understand why humankind would need to destroy what nature has provided in order to satisfy the need for control. Unfortunately, that need for control has shifted from Kaho‘olawe to Pohakuloa on Hawai‘i island as the military once again feels the need to show its strength using the island landscape as a military target.

E ala e ka lā ka hikina, the beginning of a chant to greet the rising of the sun from the east brings a sense of renewal; a sense that there is hope. The sea is mālie (calm); the wind whispers softly; the fragrance of nature gently wafts the island. It is time to return; I leave not as a malihini (foreigner) but a kama ‘āina (child of the land). I ask the island for release.

‘O ‘Awe kuhi o kai uli kuhikau, kuhikau Pointing tentacle of the deep sea direct, direct
E ho mai i ‘a‘ama i ‘a‘ama aha Grant also an ‘a‘ama and ‘a‘ama for what
‘a‘ama ‘ia au Releasing me from my obligation as your guest

[The island of Kaho ‘olawe is associated with the Hawaiian god Kanaloa, god of the sea and the octopus is a body form of Kanaloa. The ‘a‘ama is a black edible crab found along the seashore of the islands and was often offered as sacrifice to the gods when asking to be released from obligation.]

As the shoreline of Hakioawa slowly disappears, the seven mile journey back to Makena on Maui provides time for reflection. Silently, I ask the kūpuna (elders) to grant me knowledge so that I will be able to continue to share and perpetuate my heritage as a Hawaiian.

E hō mai ka ‘ike mai luna mai e Grant me knowledge from above
O nā mea huna no‘eau o nā mele e Of the elusive words of wisdom within the chants
E hō mai e hō mai e hō mai e Grant me, grant, grant me.

Pau ‘ia


Making Kapa

By Leona Lueders

Last month, we read about Leona’s trip to Hilo for the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival with her hālau Keala O Kamailelauili`ili`i from Federal Way, Washington. This month she tells us more about their experience with kapa and their visit with Auntie Marie MacDonald.

Auntie Marie MacDonald and her daughter Roen amid wauke plants in Waimea on Hawai`i island.

Photo by Tanya Jose

Imagine us, headed to Waimea from Hilo, via Federal Way, Washington …What fun! We arrived at Auntie Marie MacDonald's flower farm bright and early on a sunny morning. Mauna Kea can be seen in the distance, with the rolling green hills in the foreground. It is picture-perfect!

Auntie Marie is renowned for several things. She has 2 books out, Ka Lei (still in print, nearly 30 years later) and Na Lei Makamae, The Treasured Lei (co-written with Paul R. Weissich, former director of Honolulu Botanical Gardens, consultant and landscape architect). She is an ethnologist, educator and was recognized as a "Master of Traditional Arts" by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1990" (from Na Lei Makamae). She teaches workshops on kapa in 6-week classes but we are here in this beautiful setting for one day only!

Kumu Kamaile Hamada strips wauke.

Photo by Tanya Jose


We tour the property and are shown two areas with wauke. Wauke is a paper mulberry plant. Hawaiians used other material to beat into kapa, but wauke grows the fastest and was the most common plant used. The first area is overgrown and wild. The plants are entwined and difficult to get to. Some of them are 20 to 30 feet tall! This is a prime example of how wauke would be when not cultivated properly. The second patch is planted in orderly rows. These grow to about 8 feet and then are cut to get at the inner bark. This inner bark is then soaked and pounded into kapa.

In researching the paper mulberry plant, I found that it is treated as a noxious weed in the southern part of the U.S. and people are trying to get rid of it. We are told that the Hawaiians only used the male plant, which is quite prolific on its own.

We go through the entire process of making kapa. Where our time is limited to this one single day, samples have been prepared ahead of time. We are able to cut a wauke stalk and strip it, and we are fortunate to be able to pound the wauke.

Men made the tools but women made kapa, with the help of young girls who fetched water when it was needed. As the women beat the kapa, they talked story, maybe gossiped as they worked throughout the day. I've read that there were some signals used while pounding--for yes, for no, for warnings of people coming, inclement weather, etc

Auntie Marie walks us through the decorating process. Initially as we toured the property Auntie would rub a plant or flower on some paper. The colors of some are bright and deep. Some of these are used to make plant dyes, some are rubbed directly onto a kapa piece. It will be our privilege to use 2 dyes for printing. One is that red iron oxide color made from alae dirt. The other is a black color made from the charcoal and ashes of a fire.

Tanya Jose of Federal Way, Washington beats wauke inner bark into kapa.

Photo by Leona Lueders

We take our bamboo sticks that we carved earlier ('ohe kapala) and each of us prints on the kapa cloth. As it dries, we learn that this is OUR kapa, to take back to Washington and place in our halau, to remind us not only of this day, but of how industrious our people were.

We learn that throughout the Pacific, indigenous people made and still make kapa. The Hawaiians experimented with color. Ours are the only kapa with blue and yellow, and red and in our kapa, there are no seams, no joints. Kapa was used for clothing, bedding and shoes. Some of it is so soft! We haven't been able to achieve this quality on this day, but we leave with such a feeling of satisfaction.

Leona Lueders was born and raised on O`ahu and is a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools. She lives in Federal Way, Washington where she is a student in oli, `olelo and hula.

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