top of page
Mōhala i ka wai

Nurture Cultivate Inc.

Ahupua‘a o Hau‘ula and Ahupua‘a o Kahana, Oʻahu


Summer 2023

click on the image to enlarge


“I love the fact that the kids learn in Hawaiian. It gave my kids a different perspective on learning. A different perspective on life really. They would have something new to tell me or something they've learned. Our ohana loved it! Learning the Hawaiian language was definitely the best. Learning something completely different and new like the Hawaiian language was I think very humbling for my kids. I loved how they learned about our ocean and about the water we drink, and about exploring the ʻāina we live on. I honestly loved every bit of it. The drop off and pick up was very convenient! I loved the fact that it was free with free lunch and snacks every single day! This was by far the best program I could ever put my kids in. Learning the Hawaiian language has always been a must for our ohana and for our community. I just want to thank everyone who has made this program possible for our keiki, for our community. Mahalo!!”
~Tyrah Padeken, Makua


We are pleased to present our comprehensive report on the successful completion of the Mohala i ka wai program. This program aimed to foster a deep connection between students and the environment, particularly focusing on the ʻāina and wai, while instilling a sense of Hawaiian culture and traditions.


"Mohala i ka wai ka maka o ka pua," is the guiding ʻōlelo noʻeau for our summer program. "Unfolded by the water are the faces of the flowers." This metaphorical phrase encapsulates the idea that just as flowers bloom and thrive when nourished by water, so do people flourish when they are nurtured and cared for.


In the context of our program, this ʻōlelo noʻeau takes on a profound significance. It symbolizes how our learners, like flowers, unfold and thrive when they are connected to the nurturing ʻike and teachings of their ʻāina and wai. By engaging with the guiding questions and immersing themselves in the lessons about wai and ʻāina, our learners have had the opportunity to metaphorically "mohala" (unfold) through the knowledge, cultural practices, and environmental awareness that they've gained.


As the "maka o ka pua" (the faces of the flowers) symbolize the blossoming of life, our learners' growth, understanding, and deepened sense of aloha ʻāina reflect the blossoming of their potential. This journey of unfolding, guided by the water of knowledge and connection to the ʻāina, propels them along a path of becoming Kanaka ʻŌiwi leaders who hold a profound reverence for their culture, environment, and community. Just as flowers grace the world with their beauty, our learners are poised to grace our communities with their knowledge, passion, and commitment to mālama ʻāina and mālama wai.


The guiding questions were skillfully integrated into our program to serve as measuring instruments, allowing us to gauge the growth and development of each Learner from the first day to the culmination of the program. The transformation that occurred within each student was reflected in their responses to these questions, illustrating their enhanced understanding and connection to the concepts of mālama ʻāina and mālama wai.


Guiding questions and responses from 3 Learners:


1. Why is wai important to our ahupuaʻa?

Learner #1: "Wai is important to the ahupuaʻa because all living things need water to live and thrive and without the wai there is no life."

Learner #2: “The importance of wai is survival and it is one of the main resources we use in life.”

Learner #3: “Wai is important because it is our main source of life and it provides stuff for us.”


2. What is your kuleana to the wai of this place?

Learner #1: "Our kuleana to the wai of this place is to, whenever I go to the beach, pick up the trash and throw it away."

Learner #2: “My responsibility to the wai is to pick up trash on the beach.”

Learner #3: “My responsibility to the wai is to keep it clean so it can get better and have more life in it and it doesnʻt get dirty.”


3. Is the wai of Hauʻula healthy?

Learner #1: "Our wai is pretty healthy because in the water most of the coral are thriving, but it isnʻt too healthy because some of the coral is bleached."

Learner #2: “It is very healthy. You can tell because coral is growing and limu and all sorts of fish.”

Learner #3: “It is pretty healthy I'd say because the water is clear and the ocean there is a decent amount of fish and limu.”


Program Objectives:


Our program revolved around two measurable objectives:

1. Mālama i ka ʻāina: We strived to enhance students' understanding of the land and Hawaiian culture. This involved lessons encompassing traditional practices, ʻōlelo hawaiʻi, moʻolelo, and knowledge that binds our learners to the ʻāina.

2. Mālama i ka wai: Our second objective emphasized the importance of caring for water resources. Students learned about the significance of water, their kuleana towards it, and how to assess its quality.


Lessons and Activities:


Throughout the program, Learners engaged in various enriching activities:

- Limu: Learners identified 17 native and 1 non-native limu in Wahiopua (Hauʻula beach park), collected samples to make their own limu-press, and learned about its ecological importance. The involvement of Uncle Wally Ito and Aunty Pam Fujii from the Limu Hui provided invaluable insights.

- Koʻa: Learners identified 7 different types of koʻa found in Wahiopua, contributing to their knowledge of local ecosystems.

- Moʻokūʻauhau: Learners delved into ancestral lineage and local history, connecting them to Hauʻula and the moʻolelo of Makuakaumana and the brothers, Hānaimoa and Helumoa.

- Hale Building: Practical skills were gained as students learned traditional lashings, deepening their understanding of indigenous architecture.

- Loko iʻa: Students participated in the restoration of Huilua fishpond by removing invasive limu species (gorilla ogo), contributing to the revival of traditional Hawaiian aquaculture.

- Water Quality Testing: Practical learning included measuring pH, temperature, salinity, and turbidity of local waters to gauge environmental health.

- Beach Cleanup: Students actively participated in cleaning the beach, collecting a total of 379.9 lbs of trash over a 9 day period.

- Cultural Connection: The program ensured students were rooted in Hawaiian culture through ʻōlelo hawaiʻi, moʻolelo, mele, hula, hana keaka, and pule. Participants even had speaking parts in the final hōʻike.

- Instagram Campaigns: Awareness campaigns were conducted, addressing issues such as responsible gathering of limu, litter removal, ocean safe sunscreen use, and the Hawaiian moon phases.


Cultural Embrace and Outdoor Learning:


We emphasized the integration of Hawaiian culture and language in various ways:

- Learners confidently introduced themselves, their mākua, and their ahupuaʻa in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.

- Engaging moʻolelo of Makuakaumana and Hānaimoa-Helumoa were acted out.

- Mele and hula performances showcased cultural expressions, such as: Mohala Hauʻula, Aloha Kākou, Mele Pōʻaiapuni Wai, Papakū Makawalu, Kamaliʻi ʻIke ʻOle, and Ka Uluwehi o ke kai.

- Participants learned and performed pule, strengthening their connection to Hawaiian spirituality:  E hō mai and Nā ʻAumākua.


Partners and Collaborations:


1. Board of Water Supply - Our visit to the Waihee tunnel allowed Learners to connect theoretical knowledge to real-world observations. Learners could see how the water flowed, carved its path, and interacted with the terrain.

2. Hōʻala ʻĀina Kupono - Our visit to our neighboring ahupuaʻa, Kahana, allowed Learners to explore another ahupuaʻa, kilo the flow of their wai, and help to eradicate invasive mangrove.

3. Honolulu Fire Department - Learners were trained in CPR and AED, adding a vital layer to their skill set, fostering confidence within them to positively impact our community.

4. Mālama Pūpūkea-Waimea - At Kapoʻo, Pūpūkea, Learners had the opportunity to explore a different wahi and compare what is in their kai in comparison to what is in the kai of Hauʻula.


Program Impact:


This program, an outdoor learning experience at Hauʻula beach park, grounded in Hawaiian values and practices, has successfully achieved its objectives by fostering a deeper understanding of ʻāina and wai; nurturing a profound sense of aloha ʻāina, paving the way for their growth as future Kanaka ʻŌiwi leaders in our communities; through hands-on activities and cultural immersion, Learners have not only gained knowledge but also a strong sense of responsibility and connection to their environment.

bottom of page