Honolulu CC’s Hoʻolauleʻa celebrates Hawaiian culture, sustainability | University of Hawaiʻi System News

May 24, 2024 | by magnews24.com

people weaving leaves
Weaving class with Robert Silva

More than 300 people participated in Honolulu Community College’s Hoʻolauleʻa 2024 in April to honor the rich traditions of Hawaiian culture and the importance of sustainable practices. This was the first year, post-COVID-19 pandemic, that Honolulu CC was able to bring back the in-person, one-day celebration of Ka Māla o Niuhelewai (the garden of Niuhelewai).

This event featured numerous activities, including hands-on sustainable activities, informative sessions about native plants and wildlife, a Trash 2 Treasure competition, and concluded with lunch featuring kalua pig and sweet potato cooked in the imu, poi and veggie luau stew. Additional festivities included live entertainment, a plant seedling giveaway, lei-making, a resource fair and Makahiki (Hawaiian festival) games.

people prepping food
Honolulu CC crew getting lunch ready

“Ka Māla o Niuhelewai recognizes the kūpuna of the ʻāina o Niuhelewai (elders of the land Niuhelewai) who provided the community with sustenance from kalo (taro) and iʻa (fish) before the diversion of Niuhelewai Stream to the Kapālama Canal in the 1930s. Mahalo to the Honolulu Community College campus and the greater community for the support to bring back the kalo to this ʻāina.” said Alapaki Luke, chair of Kūlana Hawaiʻi and Hawaiian programs division coordinator (Nā Papa Hawaiʻi). “The campus embraces its kuleana (responsibility) to the Native Hawaiian culture and language by promoting the learning and participation of place-based and cultural values to inform all campus work areas. Mahalo nui loa.”

12 years of kalo harvest

Ka Māla o Niuhelewai began in March 2011 with the planting of more than 20 varieties of Hawaiian kalo, supported by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the campus. It serves as a learning venue for students, staff and community groups, enhancing their understanding of traditional Hawaiian knowledge, such as subsistence farming in an urban setting and sustainable stewardship.

Every April, when the kalo is ready for harvest, Honolulu CC celebrates with an annual Hoʻolauleʻa. This year marks 12 years since the first kalo was harvested from Ka Māla o Niuhelewai in 2012.

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