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Kuʻia Agricultural Education Center / Hawaiʻi Farmers Union Foundation

Kauwela ʻŌiwi Leadership Program

Papahana Huakaʻi


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Protecting Kuleana Lands: students learned the term “kuleana” and defined that “Kuleana Lands” are given by kūpuna with a responsibility to grow food. Wai is Important: students felt the water temperature and studied loli kalo from warmer parts of loʻi compared to paʻa kalo in colder parts. Without water there is no loʻi at all.

Attention to Detail: students learned to be very clean when preparing kalo for poi as well as vocabulary in this process.

Components of Thriving ʻĀina: students brought mulch to a māla at Kuʻia to provide habitat for small decomposers, keep the soil moist, and give nutrients to the plants.

Teamwork: we first set a goal to bring 15 cans of mulch to the māla. Students worked together as a team to complete this goal by doing their best in their individual ways and capacities. They took pride in working under the Lahaina sun and accomplishing the goal they set.

Utilizing Invasives: students caught tilapia, an invasive fish species, for adults in the mākua program to use in their aquaponic system.

Practical Skills: with the help of high school alakaʻi, students learned to tie & bait their hooks, where to locate the tilapia, and knowing when the fish is on.

Patience: students learned to control and manage their excitement so they could properly bring up the fish, waiting for fish to bite, and handle disappointment if the fish didn't bite or came off the hook.

Inoa Kahiko: students learned moʻolelo of ʻUo, the reef and cherished surfspot of aliʻi whose place name has been reduced today to “Breakwall”. While this was a fun day at the beach, learning the place names given by kūpuna, building pilina with each other, and reclaiming a place prioritized for tourist enjoyment and commercial operations all plays a role in their leadership development as future stewards and prevent any further erasure of the stories and names connecting us to Lahaina.

Worms and decomposers: students learned how worms, guinea hens, fish and other small organisms help your plants get the nutrients they need to grow big and strong.

Composting: at Living Earth Systems, students were able to learn about how food waste can be digested by animals and broken down into healthy soil because of their different stomach capabilities.

Kuʻi ʻAi: on this day families were able to kuʻi together, some for the first time, and learn the steps and skills involved in making paʻi ʻai as well as 3 different varieties of kalo grown at Kuʻia.

Lahaina Poi Slingers: through oral history, our community has found moʻolelo that Lahaina had a group of students at Lahainaluna High School known as the “Poi Slingers” who were so adept in the kuʻi ʻai process that they could literally sling poi into the bowls of other students. We hope that one day we will be able to witness the reestablishment of the Lahaina Poi Slingers.

Providers: on this overnight camping trip at Hanakaʻōʻō to conclude our summer program, these keiki put their leadership skills into action by gathering and preparing food to feed themselves and their ʻohana throughout the weekend. As they return to school we hope their foundations as young kanaka have become reinforced to withstand the challenges of the classroom and continue to mālama kekahi i kekahi.

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