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'Aha Lamakū ʻOiaʻiʻo (Summer)

Pāhoa High & Intermediate School

Pāhoa, Hawaii

9-12, Post-high / College

Summer 2023

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Message via Remind App from parent Alisa Keanini:
“Thank you so much for all you do. I was so happy when Kai brought home the Kalo was so amazingly good. So grateful to have this program and so grateful for you. Thank you for taking your time out of your day to teach our teens such good things.”


The ʻAha Lamakū ʻOiaʻiʻo (ALO) Summer Leadership Program aimed to provide Pāhoa High and Intermediate School students with the opportunity to develop a positive sense of identity and pride, an understanding of what it means to be a community leader, connect with NH leaders, organizations, and kūpuna in Puna makai, and begin to practice leadership skills and decision-making.

During the twenty-three (23) days the 2023 ALO Summer Leadership Program, haumāna were able to go on twelve (12) huakaʻi; eleven (11) of these were in Puna makai, and one (1) was to the Archaeological Field School in the Kahuku unit of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. All haumāna that completed the program (no more than three absences) earned 0.5 Elective Credit. There was also a paid internship for a 2022 PHIS graduate, who worked for 19 hours per week at $12/hr.

In Puna makai, we went to various ahupuaʻa with a series of kanaka maoli community leaders to learn about the place, the function, and the stewardship needs that are specific to that area. We went to Kumukahi, Kalaemanu (Kahuwai), Pohoiki, Kaʻakepa (Malama), ʻIliʻililoa, Pohoikiwai (Opihikao), and Kaʻalehuli (Kaueleau). Haumāna studied historical maps of Puna to identify the ahupuaʻa we would be visiting, oli in and out of each location, and had a variety of activities and tasks. At each location, the students kilo and record their observations in their binders. They also used mea kanu, limu, pupu, and iʻa identification sheets to informally inventory the species in that environment. We also made sure to mālama ʻāina and “leave it better than we found it”. Our closing discussions were brainstorms on what they perceived as the proper lawena for that wahi, and discussed the ways these loina could/should be communicated with the public, and how that would impact the space for future generations.

To achieve greater understanding of the places we visited, we worked with UH Geography professor Drew Kapp, HawCC I Ola Hāloa employee Noʻeau Woo-O Brien, Iopa Maunakea and the Men Of PAʻA, Leila Kealoha and Pōhaku Pelemaka, Luana Jones and the Puna Community Medical Center Kīpuka Farmacy, Pacific Island Archaeologist Seth Quintus and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Educational Specialist Jody Anastacio . We also worked with certified lifeguard Bronson Toledo to learn about shoreline/ocean safety, holoholo techniques and protocols, and were able to make and use bamboo fishing poles.

While on PHIS campus for the remaining eleven (11) days of Summer Program, we had three ongoing projects. On Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8:00-9:30, we worked with Ulu Aʻe Transition Project, which provided “culture-based and digital media skills-building learning activities to support a sense of belonging and personal identity essential for the academic, character, physical, and social-emotional well-being of all our students”.

We also implemented Papahana Hoʻonani, a campus beautification project supported by the KKP Hā funding, which enabled the haumāna to plant over 200 native and culturally-useful plants on our campus. The third project was Digital Media Production, which entailed having the students collaborate and compile their huakaʻi photos, notes, and reflections for our ALO website, as well as beginning to build pages for each plant we kanu on campus.

On the final day of program, the ʻohana of haumāna were invited to join us for Hōʻike and lunch at Pohoiki. Students made display posters for each wahi we visited, performed their repertoire of oli and mele, hoʻolauna themselves in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, and shared what they learned about each place and their ALO binders. ʻOhana were invited to share their manaʻo about the places, and how these experiences impacted their keiki.

Throughout these adventures, activities, and exercises, the haumāna were able to identify and articulate the needs for our coastline, community, and future generations. They developed a strong pilina to our ʻōiwi leaders and kūpuna, as well as several wahi pana and our kula. They were respectful, responsible, helpful, and very ʻeleu. They happily embraced all that was asked of them, and overall, I believe they developed a deep sense of kuleana, community and gratitude for the waiwai we are afforded in Puna makai.

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