Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea Hāmākua, 2018
huiMAU's Third Annual Community Celebration of Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea in Paʻauilo.
For the second year in a row, hundreds from Paʻauilo and our surrounding communities gathered together to celebrate Hawaiʻi’s first national holiday, Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea. On this 174th anniversary of the day that ea (life, breath, sovereignty, independence) was returned to this ʻāina, Hui Mālama i ke Ala ʻŪlili (huiMAU) organized its second annual gathering to bring our community together for this important holiday, on Saturday, July 29, 2017, in Hauola, Hāmākua.
Photos from #LHEHamakua2017, by Anianikū Chong
For months leading up to the event, drought conditions had fallen upon Hāmākua, drying up food crops and turning pastures brown. After months of prayer lifted up for the return of rain to this ʻāina, the “ea o ka ʻāina” returned on Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea in the form of Hāmākua’s famous Pupūhale rain—bringing life back to this ʻāina, and a breath of fresh air to a community whose well-being is intimately tied to “ke ea o ka ʻāina.” As the rain clouds slowly rolled across the skies in Paʻauilo, our kūpuna called us to move the gathering indoors, to the Paʻauilo Hongwanji, where the century-old gathering place for our community provided a safe, welcoming space for kūpuna and keiki to engage in the day’s festivities and educational activities.
This year’s Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea Hāmākua featured live entertainment by Paʻauilo’s youth and some of Hawaiʻi’s most-celebrated Hawaiian musicians and educators, local food and craft vendors, educational booths, and live art demonstrations. One of the most beautiful ways that our community demonstrated our ea at this gathering was through the practice of kuʻi ʻai (poi pounding). Thanks to over 200lbs of kalo, cultivated, cared for, and donated by the caretakers of kīpuka ʻāina in Hāmākua (and one on Oʻahu)—Aunty Jenn Holani and her Honokaʻa High School students at Paʻalaea; Dave Sansone at The Kohala Center Farm in Honokaʻa; Derrick Kiyabu at GoFarm in Honokaʻa; Kaleo Wong and Hikaʻalani at Ulupō in Kūkanono, Kailua, Oʻahu; and our own HoAMa After School and Summer Program keiki in Paʻauilo—our Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea celebration was filled with the rhythmic sounds of pōhaku and papa kuʻi ʻai (poi pounders and boards), children’s laughter, kūpuna’s tears of joy, and the mūkā of lips enjoying freshly made paʻi ʻai. As one of our speakers for day, Kaleomanuiwa Wong, reminded us, “Pau ke kalo, pau ke Kanaka” (If kalo ceases to exist, so too will Hawaiians). Witnessing our keiki joyfully preparing paʻi ʻai to serve the kūpuna present at the gathering reaffirmed that here in Hāmākua, the legacy of Hāloa lives on vibrantly in his descendants. “Kū ke kalo, kū ke Kanaka,” Kaleomanuiwa said. When the kalo thrives, so do Kānaka. Ola Hāloa. Ola Hāmākua!
Photos by Anianikū Chong.
A special mahalo to our event sponsors!
Videos from #LHEHamakua2017