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Second Anniversary Edition The Life of the Land Advocating for Avocados An Enchanted Garden in Volcano Raising Crawfish

The Life of the People A Paniolo’s Family Tale Coffee Wives Created a Cottage Industry with Lauhala Do You Know How to Lu‘au? Fun & Sailing 101

The Life in Art Mindscapes of Ken Charon The Man Behind the Masks

"Hawaiian Lands" by Ken Charon



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J a n ua r y - F e b r ua r y 2011

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Keauhou Veterinary Hospital is a progressive small animal hospital. Offering full digital radiology, and surgical options and consultation island wide. For more information about our hospital visit our website.

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"The Life" Celebrating the ar ts, culture and sustainability of Hawai‘i Island

J a n ua r y - F e b r ua r y 2011

The Life in Spirit: 11

Ho‘āla Hou by Kumu Keala Ching

The Life of the People: 19

Sailing 101 Fun and Learning on Hilo Bay


A Paniolo Family’s Tale Memories of Ichiro Yamaguchi


Coffee Wives Created a Cottage Industry with Lauhala The Lauhala Tradition Continues in Holualoa


Community Sharing, Local Style, at a Hands-On Lu‘au Learning and Feasting in Kohala

The Life of the Land:



Saving Kanaloa Trained Volunteers Save Marine Mammals in Hilo


The Enchanted Gardens of Ira Ono Volcano Garden Arts—Gallery, Restaurant and More


Hawai‘i’s Fruit Guru & Avocado Advocate Ken Love Tirelessly Promotes Locally Grown


A Bit of the Bayou in North Kohala This Louisiana Boy Farms Hawaiian Crawfish

The Life as Art: 30

The Mindscapes of Ken Charon Puna Artist Advocates Through His Art


Dancing with Paint The Murals of Kathleen Kam


The Man Behind the Mask Lee Michael Walzcuk

The Life in Music: 58

Rob Yamanoha: One Akamai Hilo Music Man

Ka Puana --- The Refrain: Legend of the Gourd By Caren Loebel-Fried

Departments: Then & Now: Mahaiula Bay.................................................................12 Farmers Markets..................................................................................... 60 Community Calendar............................................................................63 The Life in Business................................................................................71

KE OLA | | 5


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"The Life" Celebrating the ar ts, culture and sustainability of Hawai‘i Island


The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness. [Its sustainability depends on doing what is right.] Proclamation by Kona-born King Kamehameha III in 1843. Later adopted as the state motto.


Barbara Garcia Bowman w Karen Valentine

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Contributing Writers

Keala Ching w Andrea Dean w Fern Gavelek Richard Mark Glover w Pete Hendricks w Colin John Denise Laitinen w Karen Loebel-Fried w Marya Mann Alan D. McNarie w Noel Morata Catherine Tarleton w Devany Vickery-Davidson


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Community Magazine Network member Editorial inquiries & calendar submissions: w 808.329.1711 x2 Worldwide Delivery: Order online at or mail name, address and payment of $24 US/$42 International for one year to: P.O. Box 1494, Kailua-Kona, HI 96745. 808.329.1711 x3 w Fax: 808.882.1648 © 2011, Hawaii Island Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved

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KE OLA is recognized by the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce as a Kuleana Green Business.

Publishers Talk Story...

The Many Faces of Ke Ola


elcome to our 2nd anniversary edition! We knew when we got the inspiration for Ke Ola towards the end of 2008 we would have a lot of fun bringing interesting, positive stories to Hawai‘i Island lovers. We had no idea how great the reception would be! We hear from folks all over the world who enjoy Ke Ola from cover to cover. It truly makes bringing it to you a joy. Did you notice our new tagline? We decided an update was in order to reflect more about what Ke Ola offers. Short and simple: Ke Ola celebrates Hawai‘i Island’s arts, culture and sustainability. We are also in the process of upgrading our website to bring even more delicious Big Island content to you. Look for the changes on that soon. There is no end to the possibilities of stories from Hawai‘i Nei. If we could print twice as many, we would still have an over-abundance of ideas! This island is rich with culture, talent and concern for the `aina—we venture to say more so than any of the other islands, and we know no one here will debate that with us. We want to encourage you to keep sending story ideas—we keep them on file and we’re sure you’ll see some of them in 2011 and beyond. There are many “performers” in the production of Ke Ola. Each new issue has a team of talented people in different roles: writers, photographers, graphic designers, layout artists, advertising sales and ad production people, prepress and finally distribution and “ambassadors.” We thought you would like to see some of the faces behind the pages, past and present. We’ve made a valiant attempt to get photos from everyone, but realize there may be a few left out. For those who don’t appear here, please know that you are just as important and valued. To all of you: MAHALO NUI LOA!

Hau`oli Makahiki Hou, Wishing you a joyful year!

Share Hawaii Island’s favorite magazine with your friends and family...

Barbara Garcia, publisher, marketing & operations


Order convenient First-Class delivery of Ke Ola Here, there or anywhere in the world!

Karen Valentine, publisher and editor

January-February 2011

On the Cover: Second Anniversary Edition The Life of the Land Advocating for Avocados An Enchanted Garden in Volcano Raising Crawfish

(808) 329-1711, ext 3

The Life of the People A Paniolo’s Family Tale Coffee Wives Created a Cottage Industry with Lauhala Do You Know How to Lu‘au? Fun & Sailing 101

The Life in Art Mindscapes of Ken Charon The Man Behind the Masks

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Karen Valentine and Barbara Garcia Bowman

"Hawaiian Lands" by Ken Charon



Worldwide Delivery:

J A N U A R Y -F E B R U A R Y 2011

“Hawaiian Lands in Hawaiian Hands,” by visionary artist Ken Charon, was painted in response to former Gov. Linda Lingle’s attempt to sell Hawaiian lands to balance the state budget last year. It also honors Queen Lili’uokalani, Hawai‘i’s last reigning monarch, a devoted advocate of island sovereignty. See story on page 30.

Mars Cavers, advertising sales, South Hawai‘i

Elizabeth Root, bookkeeper

Tahiti Huetter, ad designer

Mike Portillo, publication design

Stephanie Schreiber, publication design

Adrienne Poremba, advertising sales & distribution, East Hawai‘i

Randy Botti, website & social media

Peter Beemer, photographer

Bryan Lowry, photographer

Bob Brown, photographer

Eric Bowman, photographer

GP Merfield , photographer

Carolyn Greenan, ambassador

Barbara Fahs, writer

Fern Gavelek, writer & proofreader

Deborah Ozaki, Greg Shirley, ambassadors

Ursula D’Angelo, ambassador

Denise Laitinen, writer

Thomas Hagan, ambassador

Catherine Tarleton, writer

Andrea Dean, writer

Bob Dean, ambassador

Devany VickeryDavidson, writer

Ma‘ata Tukuafu, writer

Laura Kinoshita, ambassador Jackie Pualani Johnson, writer Grif Frost, writer

Jessica Kirkwood, writer

Kona Lowell, writer

Rocky Sherwood, writer Richard Mark Glover, writer

Keala Ching, writer & ambassador

Prana Mandoe, writer

Nancy Redfeather, writer

Noel Morata, writer

Margaret Kearns, writer

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Hadley Catalano, writer

Alan McNarie, writer

Kim Cope Tait, writer

Ann Peterson, writer

Cynthia Sweeney, writer

Richard Price, prepress production

Caren LoebelFried, writer

Colin John, music correspondent

WavenDean Fernandes, ambassador

Karen Fuller, ad designer

Marta Barreras, writer

Marya Mann, writer & copy editor

I felt calmer when I left the session & it lasted... I'm doing much better! I was up 20 hours yesterday - we had to work until 1:30AM, so a very long day and that session helped me to be able to do it. It all was absolutely wonderful! and I'm Happy! Again many heartfelt thanks for everything! You really do seem to be passionate about this healing work you are providing. (I am so very glad I found you in Ke Ola!!!)

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With Aloha & Joy, Ana W. • South Kohala


Photo by Bryan Lowry,

I ke alaula, ke ala o ke Akua Ho’āla ‘ia (‘o) Ka’ōnohiokalā Kūkuna ke ola, pi’i i ka lani Kūlia a’ela i ke au hou

At dawn, the path of the Higher Spirit Arises Ka’ōnohiokalā (Sun God) Rays of Life ascend to the heaven Strive onward to a new beginning

I Hikina, ke ala o ka lā Mālama maila ke ala kū i ka ‘āina Hō maila ke aloha, I moe ihola I Komohana, he pōhalia ‘ia

Eastern shore, the path of the sun A careful pathway, steadfast is the land Love is granted, as the sun sets Western shore is a place of dreams

Kūlia a’ela i ke au hou

Strive onward to a new beginning

I Komohana, he pōhalia ‘ia

Western shore is a place of dreams

I ha’eha’e la o Kumu Kahi Puka maila ka lā, Pi’i i ka moana ‘Uhola ke kapa ola o laila Lamalama maila i Puna ala

At the gates of Kumu Kahi The sun ascends above the ocean A cloth of life is presented Enlighten indeed, there in Puna

E ala e, e ala e ka lā Kūlia i ka nu’u ē Piha ka pe’a i ka ‘Eka ē Hoe, hoe, hoe e ka wa’a ē

Arise, arise the sun (source within) Strive to the highest point As the ‘Eka winds fill the sails Stroke, stroke, stroke the canoe

Lamalama maila i Puna ala

Enlighten indeed, there in Puna

Hoe, hoe, hoe e ka wa’a ē

Stroke, stroke, stroke the canoe

E ala e, e ala e ka lā ē

Arise, arise the sun (Source within)

Within our life, we always seek a new path and we find it in the path of the sun—a new beginning. In the past, the sun was honored by our ancestors. From the ocean, the navigator would seek the path of the sun and within the path of the sun they would know that there is a familiar land to them. A new path! Much like the canoe, we understand that our canoe is indeed our body. We navigate our body upon this earth and we seek to find a new path during this new beginning. We have a lot of directions to select, we must choose! At dawn, the path of the Higher Spirit as Ka’ōnohiokalā arises. Its rays are seen as it comes from the center of the heart of the Higher Spirit, a new path! From the gateways of Kumu Kahi, we are able to see the path from Puna. The volcano is creating new land upon this earth. From the East to the West, a new path with a new beginning! Awake, awake your light within as you strive to the highest point. You strive to seek the knowledge of the Higher Spirit, the knowledge of the ancestors, the knowledge of the land, the knowledge of the past, the knowledge of the group (nationality), and the knowledge of peace. As you seek, your sail upon the canoe is filled. As your sail is filled, you take your paddle and move forward. Arise the sun! A new beginning, make changes where changes are needed. Follow the sun as the rays of life encourage a new beginning and live it to its fullest. When times are down, seek the pattern of the sun and follow! A new path for a new beginning! Contact Kumu Keala Ching at

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loko o ko kākou ola, e ‘imi ho’i kākou i ke ala hou a na ka lā i hō‘ike ‘ia i ke au hou. I ka wā kahiko, ho’ohanohano ‘īa i ke ala o ka lā e nā kūpuna. Mai ka moana, huli nā kānaka hoe wa’a i ka puka ‘ana o ka lā a i ka moe ‘ana o ka lā. I ke ala o ka lā, maopopo ho’i i ka ‘āina kama’aina. He ala hou! Like ho’i ka wa’a, maopopo la’e kekahi o kākou o ko kākou wa’a ‘o ia ho’i ko kākou kino. Nui ho’i i ke ala i koho ‘ia a he koho nō! Kālai ho‘i kākou i ko kākou ola i kēia honua nei a huli iho nō i ke ala hou ma kēia au hou. Ma ke alaula, he ala o ke Akua a puka ho’i ‘o Ka’ōnohiokalā a ua ‘ike ‘ia ke kūkuna o ke ola mai ke kikowaena o ka pu’uwai o ke Akua, he ala hou! I Ha’eha‘e o Kumu Kahi, ‘ike ‘ia ke ala mai Puna mai a i Puna he ola hou ma ka wahi o ka lua pele. I Hikina, ke ala o ka lā a i Komohana, ka moe ‘ana o ka lā, he ala hou ma kēia au hou. E ala e – e ala nō kākou i ko kākou kukui o ke kino a e kūlia nō i ka nu’u. I ke kūlia ‘ana, e ‘imi nō i ka ‘ike Akua ‘oe, ka ‘ike kūpuna ‘oe, ka ‘ike ‘āina ‘oe, ka ‘ike kahiko ‘oe, ka ‘ike lāhui ‘oe a ka ‘ike maluhia ‘oe. Inā ‘imi ho’i kākou i kēia ‘ike e piha nō ko kākou pe’a ma ka wa’a. Inā piha nō ka pe’a, e hoe ana i ka wa’a a holo! E ala e ka lā!

Mahaiula Bay – Surfing & Shipwrecks

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By Pete Hendricks

hen the northwest ocean swell is big—usually in fall and winter—a large offshore patch of surf can be seen clearly from Ka’ahumanu Highway, three miles north of Keahole Airport. Mahaiula Bay—now known as Kekaha Kai State Park—has long been a prime, traditional surf site. John Papa I’i, who grew up in the court of Kamehameha I, noted in Fragments of Hawaiian History, “The surf of Kapuailima is in Kawaihae, and Kahaleula is in Mahaiula.” Today’s surfers consider the seasonal break at Kawili Point one of the best. Mahaiula was once the site of a small, but thriving, Hawaiian fishing community. Fishermen brought offerings to Pohaku o Lama, a stone standing in the ocean almost at the water’s edge. The stone represents a female deity thought to be menstruating when the bay turns reddish brown during the spring SS Maui sea trials in San Francisco, 1898. months when algae bloom. The bay is still an important nursery Photo courtesy of San Francisco Maritime Museum area for juvenile fish such as pua, or young mullet. Hawai‘i Island has no interisland, seagoing passenger service here at the early landings. Kailua-Kona and Kawaihae, the main landat present, but until the mid-20th century, people often traveled inings, had small docks, but in water too shallow for ships. Navigation terisland, first on canoes, then on small schooners, and later, aboard along the coast could be difficult, especially at night, where vast steam-powered ships. However, the majority of all things residents expanses of dark lava met the ocean. The only lighthouses in the use still arrives in the islands by sea, and is then towed interisland area were Keahole Point and Kawaihae. by tug and barge. On March 19, 1917, the Maui was carrying a full load of 13,360 Mahaiula Bay contains two shipwrecks highlighting its seagoing bags of sugar from Kohala Plantation en route to Kailua-Kona. Just transport traditions. after midnight, the Maui encountered a severe local storm, likely a In 1917, as the U.S. Senate was debating entry into World War I, “Kona” storm from the southwest. Captain Williamson decided to the steam schooner Maui was in her 19th year of service to the run for the nearest shelter at Kiholo Bay, but the ship’s course was Hawaiian Islands. Built at Union Iron Works in San Francisco in 1897set too close to shore, due partly to a compass error. The Maui drove 98 for Wilder Steamship Company, the SS Maui was a 171-foot, comaground under power on the hard, pahoehoe lava bottom off Mabination cargo and passenger steam schooner weighing 619 gross haiula Bay. The captain sent a ship’s boat toward Kailua-Kona, which tons. With a triple-expansion steam engine of 50 net horsepower, there about 4 a.m. However, a Mr. Maguire up at Huehue arrived she could carry 30 cabin and 150 deck passengers, who brought Ranch on Hualalai mountain heard the ship’s whistle and saw its their own mats for sleeping on the steel decks. lights. Knowing there was trouble, Maguire called the Maui’s comAlthough steam engines were primary power, all the steam pany man in Hilo, who telegraphed Honolulu, as there was wireless schooners of that day still carried sails, which provided more speed communication by 1917. interisland when the wind was right, as well as providing stability in the rough The captain and crew all survived and several attempts were interisland channels. Interisland vesmade in the following month to salvage the Maui, but she was stuck sels of that day had to be flexible too fast to the reef, and eventually and able to carry everything from broke apart. Maui’s remains still people to pigs to provisions—both lie offshore in water about 25 feet live and bulk cargo. deep on rolling hills of pahoehoe Harbor facilities along Hawai‘i’s lava in Mahaiula Bay. The engine, western coast were minimal in boiler, and parts of the hull structure 1917. Ships of any size had to survive to this day. anchor offshore and transfer passengers and cargo by smaller, double-ended boats, called lighters. Hawaiians, with their seagoing and surfing culture, were naturals for ship-to-shore transfer, often taking lighters Underwater shot of the wreck through challenging surf and back of the Maui with fish school. Photo by Pete Hendricks

Mahaiula Bay is now a natural, cultural, and historical legacy for Hawai‘i’s people. v

Contact writer Pete Hendricks at

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KE OLA | | 13

The Maui wasn’t the only vessel to meet its doom upon the pahohehoe at Mahaiula. After the shock of the Japanese naval YP 183 remains; Dr. Suzanne Finney and air attack on Pearl Harbor on West Hawai‘i Exploration Academy stuDecember 7, 1941, there was dents during marine archeology field study. a flurry of military activity Photo by Pete Hendricks throughout the islands. Martial law was declared the same day, as a follow-up invasion was considered likely. Very shortly, a fleet of patrol vessels, both military and civilian, was organized to patrol and defend Hawaiian waters. A number of sampans, primarily owned by Japanese fishermen, became part of the fleet. One such sampan, Fuji Maru, became U.S. Navy YP 183. The Fuji Maru had been built by the S. Funai boat shop in Honolulu in 1930; she was much larger than the original fishing sampan brought from Japan aboard a freighter in 1899. Hawaiian sampans evolved into the high-bow, narrow-entry hulls with sponsons along the sides to resist capsizing in the short, steep seas of Hawai‘i. By the 1930s, Japanese commercial fishermen dominated the industry, and the shoreline along what is now Kewalo Basin and Ala Moana Park in Honolulu was a sea of sampans. The target fish for Fuji Maru was tuna, up to 500 a day, caught by pole and line off the stern of the boat. A number of sampans also fished out of Hilo, usually on one-day trips. The YP 183 was a large boat, 71’2” long by 13’7” beam, 39 gross tons, powered by an Atlas diesel 135 HP engine. Among her ordnance, YP 183 carried a rack of five, old-style “ash can” antisubmarine depth charges. YP 183 “grounded” while she was on patrol off West Hawai‘i on January 12, 1943, according to Naval Historical Society records. Another Kona storm? January is a prime storm month in Hawai‘i, and anyone caught offshore in a blow can appreciate the intensity of local Hawaiian storms. Today, the spread of debris from YP 183 is impressive. Parts are in the bay and some parts are up in the trees above the beach. Large timbers lie up on the pahoehoe lava where they have baked and become desiccated over the years. Reports of extensive damage to Pu’uwa’awa’a Ranch structures at Kiholo Bay in the 1946 and 1960 tsunamis point to significant runup of the ocean at Mahaiula Bay also. Tsunamis probably moved parts of YP 183 inland. Severe storms can also push waves far up on the beach. If you look closely at low tide, the YP 183 engine can be seen in one of the sand channels directly off the beach at Kaelehuluhulu (Second Beach). Also close inshore are several tanks and assorted metal debris. The depth charges were removed years after the wreck.


The Life

HMMRN volunteers practice loading an inflatable dolphin onto a stretcher as part of the network’s Beach Response training.


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hen a rare Blainesville’s beaked whale—which resembles a dolphin—stranded on Maui’s south shore last August, a volunteer alert was issued via Facebook and email. Volunteers with the Hilo Marine Mammal Response Network (HMMRN) were put on notice in the event that the whale would be brought to

Before they deal with live animals, volunteers practice unloading an inflatable dolphin into the Critical Care Pool at the HCRF as part of the stranding network’s Animal Transport training workshop.

the only dolphin and whale rehab facility in the entire state, the Hawai‘i Cetacean Rehabilitation Facility (HCRF) in Keaukaha. HMMRN is a volunteer-based group at University of Hawai‘i-Hilo that responds to monk seal sightings and birthings, as well as stranded and deceased marine mammals. Many of the volunteers with the Hilo Marine Mammal Response Network also volunteer at the dolphin and whale rehab facility. With a coordinated effort between marine mammal responders on Maui, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Coast Guard, and the HCRF, the whale was flown to Hilo on a Coast Guard C130 aircraft. Nearly 40 volunteers were on hand when the whale, later named “Kamaui” meaning “of Maui”, arrived at the facility. All those volunteers came in handy when it came time to lift the whale into the pool. Although HCRF has protocols for lifting an animal into the pool, the equipment is only rated up to 1,000 pounds, leaving volunteers to hand-carry the stretcher containing the 1,800-pound, 11-foot long animal off the trailer and into the pool. When a marine mammal arrives at the facility, staff and volunteers move into high gear. Whales and dolphins at the HCRF require 24-hour care and dozens of volunteers are needed for food preparation, observing and monitoring the animal. “The first thing we did [was] hydrate him,” says Jennifer Turner, assistant director of both the HMMRN and HCRF. Because whales get most of their fluids from their food, the whale was initially given fluids every four hours. “We gave him Pedialyte too, just like you would a kid. Once a day we added a multivitamin to it.”

Continued on page 16

KE OLA | | 15

Whales and dolphins usually eat fish, but beaked whales are Currently, it can accommodate one to two small whales or different, causing staff to change their procedures. “We modified dolphins at a time. Plans are in place for phase two, including a our plan of action to suit his needs,” says Jennifer. “It [was] larger pool to accommodate larger whales and a swim-out pool specialized for him because he’s a deep diver that feeds on squid,” for animals to begin diving and feeding on live fish before they she adds. “He’s not a fish eater, he’s a squid eater.” are released back to the ocean. Making squid shakes was just one of the many jobs volunteers Yet few in the Hilo community realize that they have such a performed. Others monitored his breathing. At least two to four rare and significant facility in their backyard. HCRF is uncommon volunteers were in the pool with the whale around the clock. because it is the only facility of its kind in the entire state. Indeed, Bob Green of Hilo was one of the volunteers in the pool. “I’ve there are few dolphin and whale rehabilitation facilities in the been a diver all my life,” says Green. “It’s been my life, my passion. country. Nationwide, only two dozen facilities are set up to I’m a registered nurse, and I look at this as an extension rehabilitate marine mammals, and only half of those handle of nursing.” whales and dolphins. For such a rare whale to have survived stranding, an inter-island UH-Hilo has the distinction of being one of only three flight and transport to a rehabilitation facility sparked interest universities in the entire country with a dolphin from oceanographers and marine scientists from around the rehabilitation program. “I’m very proud to say that we represent world. Experts flew in from other parts of the country to help one of three University-based whale and dolphin rehabilitation treat Kamaui. facilities in the United States,” says Dr. Turner. “That’s a nice Unfortunately, the beaked whale died two weeks after entering designation for UHH and for Hilo.” the facility from complications due to a combination of factors, Dr. Turner is quite clear that the facility is one of transition including kidney disease, pneumonia, gastric ulcers and a severe and is not meant for long-term care of marine mammals. “The fungal infection. HCRF developed a set of stranding protocols that define the “We are the only ones in the world to have rehabbed a beaked acceptance criteria for animals into the facility,” he explains. “We whale for as long as we did,” says Jennifer’s husband, Dr. Jason cannot keep animals indefinitely, due to our permitting and Turner, associate professor of Marine Biology at UH Hilo and the costs involved. We’re a hospital and are here to get animals director of both HMMRN healthy and back out into and HCRF. the ocean.” That Kamaui was even given Even the name of the facility, a fighting chance for recovery at Poolamau, reflects this transition a facility like HCRF is a miracle in phase. In Hawaiian, Poolamau itself. In the past, when a marine refers to “the transition of the mammal stranded, it usually animals returning to the ocean resulted in the animal being or passing to the next world.” euthanized because there was no A defined plan is developed place to take the animal. for every animal brought to the “It’s been a sad fact that facility. Optimally, the animal is most dolphins that stranded restored to health and released. were euthanized,” says Jennifer. If NOAA determines that “Even five years ago there the whale or dolphin is nonwasn’t anything.” The Turners releasable, it’s transitioned to “were active in a [stranding] captive care at another facility. A network in Texas,” she adds. “And sad fact of life is that sometimes when we came to Hawai‘i we the animals die before they can Hilo Marine Mammal Network volunteers (in yellow shirts) hold a couldn’t believe there wasn’t [a be released back to the ocean. rare beaked whale at the Hawaii Cetacean Rehabilitation Facilrehabilitation facility].” Yet it’s important to try to save ity while doctors perform an ultrasound to look at the animal’s All that changed when the the marine mammals that strand. kidneys and lungs. Hawai‘i Cetacean Rehabilitation “Stranding networks were not Facility opened a little over a year initially formed to save dolphins ago. Funding for the facility, which cost $100,000, was provided by from the natural process of life and death,” says Dr. Turner. “They NOAA. The funding was allocated in July, 2009, and with the sweat were formed as we started to realize that our negative impacts and effort of dozens of volunteers, the facility was permitted and upon the world’s oceans were killing these animals. We’ve learned open by December, 2009. over the years that whales and dolphins are important ocean A partnership developed between UH-Hilo and NOAA, the sentinels, meaning that they often eat the same things we eat, Hawai‘i Cetacean Rehabilitation Facility treats injured and sick and are susceptible to the same toxins and diseases that we are.” whales and dolphins with the goal of rehabilitation or release of In Hawai‘i, whales and dolphins take on extra significance the cetaceans. Its area of responsibility covers all of Hawai‘i, and because they are considered Kanaloa, or ocean deities in Samoa, Guam, and Saipan as well. Hawaiian culture. It currently includes an office and food prep kitchen for the The HCRF is unique in that it is the only cetacean rehabilitation whales and dolphins, as well as a 27,000-gallon Critical Care Pool. facility in the country that incorporates cultural practices in its Staffed with volunteers from the Hilo Marine Mammal Response operating procedures. “We’re the only facility in the country Network, the facility is authorized to house 18 different species of working with cultural practitioners to mesh together stranding whales and dolphins up to 15 feet in length.

Sweet Wind

“We’re the only facility in the country working with cultural practitioners to mesh together stranding protocols with cultural practices, in this case native Hawaiian cultural practices,” explains Dr. Turner.

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Cultural Practitioner Roxanne Stewart connects with the beaked whale Kamaui in the water. The HCRF is the only whale and dolphin rehab facility in the country that incorporates cultural practices into its protocols.

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Continued from page 15 protocols with cultural practices, in this case native Hawaiian cultural practices,” explains Dr. Turner. Cultural Practices is one of the five required classes volunteers need to take in order to work in the pool with the whales and dolphins. Cultural Practitioner Roxanne Stewart, who works at the Ke Ana La’ahana School in Keaukaha, teaches HMMRN volunteers about various Hawaiian cultural concepts, such as the importance of kupuna and Kanaloa. Volunteers also learn about pō, the realm of the gods, and kino lau, other forms an entity may take. These concepts are all contained in the Kumulipo, a Hawaiian creation chant, 2,000 lines long, that recites the origin of the Hawaiian people. “We’re not teaching our volunteers to be practitioners,” explains Stewart, who also holds bachelor and master degrees in the marine sciences field. “We’re trying to broaden their understanding of the native Hawaiian connection to the natural environment as we understand it through the Kumulipo and other resources that have been left to us in the form of chants and other traditions.” While Kamaui’s transition was that of its passing away, Dr. Turner knows that marine mammals can strand at any time and at any place, and a well-trained response team can save lives. Thus, a few months after the beaked whale’s journey to HCRF, Dr. Jason and Jennifer Turner spent one Saturday afternoon training new volunteers in Beach Response and Animal Transport. On a hot and sunny fall afternoon, a few dozen people gathered on the beach along Hilo Bayfront with large inflatable dolphins and blue plastic canvas stretchers. “Beach response training gives volunteers the skills to respond to stranded whales and dolphins and also educates the public on stranding response,” says Jason Turner. “Almost every dolphin stranding case in Hawai‘i has involved members of the public pushing these sick or injured animals back out to sea, not knowing the harm they are doing.”

The two courses are part of the five training sessions volunteers need to take in order to work with marine mammals at HCRF. The other three trainings include Daily Operations (of the dolphin rehabilitation facility), Animal Care, and Cultural Practices. The trainings are usually held on Saturdays and offered about once a semester. They’re bundled together, so volunteers can complete all five courses in about two Saturdays. At least 80 of the roughly 250 volunteers with the Hilo Marine Mammal Stranding Network have gone through the five training sessions to be volunteers at HCRF. “Volunteers are the driving force behind the HCRF and we could not do this important work without them,” says Dr. Turner. The trainings are also essential because marine mammals are protected by federal law. HMMRN, which is permitted through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Division and Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), responds to stranding events under NOAA’s authorization. Therefore, it’s vital the volunteers know the proper procedures to follow. And the practice comes in handy because no one knows when or where a marine mammal might strand and need a helping hand. v


arine mammals are protected by the Marine Mammal Act of 1972. This federal law makes it illegal for unauthorized persons to touch, harass, or prompt the animal in any way to change its natural behavior. Violating this law will earn you fines of $10,000. Remember that these are wild animals and touching and/or harassing them is very stressful to them.

If you encounter a sick/injured marine mammal: • DO NOT touch it or feed it! • Call the Hilo Marine Mammal Response Hotline at 808.756.5961 and provide as much information as possible, including its location and the condition of the animal. • DO NOT push the animal back into the water. They have stranded for a reason and will probably restrand if returned to the water. • Observe the animal from at least 50 feet away and keep pets away from them.

Contact writer Denise Laitinen at Photos courtesy of HCRF - Hawaii Cetacean Rehabilitation Facility

KE OLA | | 17

For more information or to volunteer: HMMRN and HCRF need volunteers for a variety of functions from fundraising to public education to construction and much more. Both groups are on Facebook. HMMRN also holds monthly meetings the first Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. at the Marine Science Building, Room 101, on the UH Hilo Campus. For more information, to donate, or to volunteer with the Hilo Marine Mammal Response Network, go to For more information or to donate to the Hawaii Cetacean Rehabilitation Facility, go to

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The Life

Sailing 101

The sailing club at Hilo, Na Hoa Holomoku of Hawai‘i |

By Noel Morata

Instructor John Olson demonstrates the equipment on the small Sunfish boats. Photos by Noel Morata

Continued on page 20

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here is nothing like being out on the bay in Hilo, especially on a sunny and windy day, one perfect for those who enjoy sailing these deep blue waters. You can expect an ever-changing pattern of cloudy skies and rain, and then, suddenly, beautiful blue skies with rainbows trailing in the distance. The constant variety in the weather can make sailing on the bay an exhilarating and fun experience. An important feature of Hilo Bay that is advantageous for sailing is the breakwall that protects the entire bay from major swells. This makes it a great venue for beginners and more experienced sailors to train and to be able to enjoy the ocean within a safer environment. Combining this pleasant bay with exceptional views of downtown Hilo, the gorgeous Hamakua coastline and the majestic views of both Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa in the background, there is no other word short of breathtaking that comes to mind. The sailing club at Hilo, Na Hoa Holomoku of Hawai‘i, has been actively promoting all forms of boating in East Hawai‘i for the past decade. October marked its tenth year of commitment and active contribution to the community.

The club participates in many local boating activities and collaborates with the University of Hawai‘i, the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Hilo Yacht Club in offering classes, sailing on the bay and other demonstrations to the public. Each month on the first Sunday, the sailing club offers free sailing lessons to the public. It is a great opportunity to meet other boaters with a feeling of camaraderie and sharing of enthusiasm about sailing. People are generous about offering useful sailing tips or instructive suggestions. One of these gregarious sailors is John Olson, an instructor who has been teaching the club’s Sailing 101 classes for more than nine years. John’s love of sailing and teaching is apparent, and he takes the time to explain the basic concepts of sailing, including how to tie those crazy boat knots. It takes some practice to learn each particular knot used on the Sunfish to tie down specific lines. In just one relatively short session, John quickly covers how to rig a boat, sailing terminology, rudimentary safety issues, and the basic concepts of sailing the Sunfish in this bay. This includes how to situate your sail to harness the wind and sail to a particular destination, how to tack or turn your boat, and other operational maneuvers to safely handle the sailboat. “Now, before we let you go off on your own into the water,” John says, “you will have to learn the process of righting your boat, just in case you capsize your Sunfish.” Once each beginner gets on his boat, it is immediately capsized in shallow water

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“Now, before we let you go off on your own into the water,” John Olson says, “you will have to learn the process of righting your boat, just in case you capsize your Sunfish.”


Continued from page 19 by some of the club members. Students are instructed how to safely swim around the boat, step on the rudder, pull the boat or “right” it correctly back into place, and how to climb back onboard safely. It’s a jarring first experience of being capsized, but it’s also an important lesson to learn, because eventually everyone ends up falling into the water or accidentally capsizing the boat. Safety is a key factor for the sailing club and all the members help the beginners, look out for problems and use the club’s powerboat to monitor any situation that occurs during these events. A recent sailing day/sailing class, co-sponsored with the University of Hawai‘i Sailing Club and Na Hoa Holomoku, brought in more than 60 participants and was fun for both club members and beginners. All of the Sunfishes were used for the training classes, and larger, F-J boats and Hobie catamarans were available for the participants as well. Manned by more experienced club members, they allowed beginners to enjoy the ride and see how the larger boats differ in performance from the smaller ones. During the day, Dave Parlow, the vice commodore of the sailing club, gave students free tours on the club’s Hobie catamaran, one of two, 16-foot sailboats the club owns. Dave mentioned that members are welcome to use all the boats, including two 26-foot sloops, a 22-foot catamaran, and one 19-foot sloop, with further training and supervision, but that each member must pass a series of exams in order to use the boats solo.

Sailing and learning with Captain Dan Lappala aboard his 33-foot Hunter sloop, “Prelude”

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Those who are inclined to learn more and hone in on their sailing skills can take any of the classes that Na Hoa Holomoku offers jointly with the University of Hawai‘i at its campus. See their website below for the current class schedule, calendar of events and other sponsored activities, including one day each month when members contribute back by helping to clean and to do maintenance work on the boats. Club membership is very reasonable for single or family memberships. “Basically the dues cover the costs of maintenance of the club’s boats and our organizational costs,” says Dave Parlow. “We keep the dues to a minimum so everyone can join.” Sailing excursions on even larger sailboats are offered by Dan Lappala of Hawai‘i Sailing Tours, also based in Hilo. “Captain Dan,” as everyone calls him, offers customized sailing tours and hands-on training on his 33-foot Hunter sloop. Dan is very personable and has a nice instructional style that puts you at ease when you are handling a boat this size. You get to learn all the key elements to working this sloop from rigging, to lifting the sails, and then mastering different sailing techniques on a larger boat. Embarking on his tours is quite interesting since there are no docks on Reeds Bay, where the boat is anchored. Dan will take you out to the boat via rowboat from the shore, making this a unique and fun way get to the sloop and climbing on board. Sailing in the calm waters of Hilo Bay or even outside the breakwater into the high seas along the Hamakua Coast is a real adventure on this beautiful sloop. Dan gives a lot of interesting details, stories about the history of this area, the various tropical plants and trees, the sugarcane era, the railroads and shipwrecks along the coastline. You might even sight a whale or two. v Contact Noel Morata at

Along the Kona Coast, visitors and kama’aina are invited to join Aloha Sailing Club, which teaches three levels of lessons: Basic Sailing, Day Sailing Skipper and Coastal Cruising. Call 325-5529 or visit

Susan J. Moss

Professional Member ASID, LEED Accredited Professional

Kamuela, HI PH: 808-885-5587

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To find out more about Na Hoa Holomoku of Hawai‘i Yacht Club, visit their website Visit Captain Dan’s website at






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The Life

Yamaguchi family portrait. Shown seated: Harue and Matsuichi Yamaguchi with children, L to R: Jiro, Ichiro and Amy. Standing, are Mr. and Mrs. Yoshikami (Harue’s parents).

OF THE PEOPLE Photo courtesy Yamaguchi family.

n 1920, American women voted in their first presidential election; commercial radio was born; and the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees for $100,000 and a curse. In the Territory of Hawai‘i, Waikiki boasted five major hotels and Duke Kahanamoku brought home his Olympic gold medal. On the Big Island of Hawai‘i, the paniolo town of Waimea—not yet bearing its second name, Kamuela—had a population of about 500,000 cows and 500 people. Samuel “Kamuela” Parker, son of original patriarch John Palmer Parker, died that year, leaving a $6 million estate in trust to his six-year-old grandson, Richard Smart, and the vast dynasty of Parker Ranch in the care of manager Alfred W. Carter. Background photos courtesy of Parker Ranch Archives

In its earlier 20th Century heyday, the Parker Ranch was Waimea, and the paniolo culture was not just how people made a living. It was how people lived. Into this world, in 1922, Ichiro Yamaguchi was born. His memories are deep-rooted in the values of hard work, love of land and family—the stories behind the black-and-white photos of paniolo history. “My father was the first Japanese paniolo and the first Japanese foreman on Parker Ranch,” says Ichiro. Matsuichi Yamaguchi was the son of Hisamatsu Yamaguchi, who moved to Waimea from Hiroshima-ken. Rather than go to work on the Pu’unene or Niuli’i Sugar Plantation like his father, “Matsu” chose the cowboy life and started as a groundskeeper

Continued on page 24

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Proud paniolo papa, Matsu Yamaguchi, with Ichiro.

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Continued from page 23 for Carter’s big white house, now Jacaranda Inn. Fluent in Hawaiian and excellent with animals, he worked his way up to assistant foreman, in charge of the ranch’s herd of prized, purebred Herefords. He and wife Harue made their home in Makahālau until Ichiro was born, and about 1930, the family moved into “Paniolo House.” The small, red house had a wood-burning stove, an outhouse, a furo or bath, a front porch facing Mauna Kea, and a kitchen with built-in meat cooler. As a ranch employee, Matsu received regular rations of beef and bacon—which they traded with Japanese neighbors for vegetables— along with milk, 100-pound sacks of rice, and kerosene. With that and a salary of $120 per month, he provided for Harue and their family, which grew to four boys and four girls. Hard work filled long days that started with pre-dawn milking. “Before, we used to start milking at 6 in the morning,” said Ichiro, “then they

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changed it to 1 a.m., and we would milk again at 1 p.m. Each cow could give five gallons milk.” Did he ever get kicked? “Sometimes, oh yes,” he said, “Especially when you fall asleep!” Ichiro helped his father deliver the still-warm milk to certain people and places. “We had a dairy at Paliho‘oūkapapa. They made butter, cottage cheese, milk, and cheddar cheese in big wheels. Had a room made of rock to keep everything cold,” he said, and added with a smile, “We fed the skim milk to the pigs.” Sometimes Ichiro would help his father and the other cowboys on a drive. “We would leave early one morning, from Waimea, and drive the cattle down to Kawaihae,” said Ichiro. “We had to rope the cattle and drag them into the ocean one by one; the horses were specially trained for that,” he said. “And after the ocean, we turned the horses loose. We took off their saddles and let them run free, like a day off.” They traded salt meat for fish at Chock Ho store. “One whole aku was 50 cents,” said Ichiro. “Oil sardines were five cents. A loaf of bread was 10 cents from Hilo; Saloon Pilot, one cent, one cracker. My father used to buy ‘Butterball’ candy for us. We were lucky.” In between chores and studies at Waimea School, there was some time for play. “We would run and the cowboys would rope us,” said Ichiro. The boys played baseball, or a game called “Pee Wee,” with wooden clubs made from broomsticks. And on special occasions, the ranch pulled out all the stops. “Only holidays at the ranch was Christmas, 4th of July and New Year’s Eve,” said Ichiro. If the ranch was doing well, everybody got a bonus. At Christmas every single keiki got a present, along with special treats like oranges, hard candies and walnuts grown on Waiki‘i Ranch. “The last thing we got was a bugle,” said Ichiro, “because we made so much noise!” On New Year’s Eve, the ranch threw an enormous lū‘au, cooking for days and days. “They had three imu,” said Ichiro, “One for kalua, six pigs, one for laulau and one for kulolo.” The whole town was invited, but, Ichiro said, “First the cowboys eat, then the roughriders second, third was employees, and then the community.” In 1936, when it came time for Ichiro’s father’s “yakudoshi” (41st birthday), Matsu wanted to also celebrate the birth of his newest daughter and asked if the party could take place on Sunday, January 26, instead of waiting for his birthday in April. A festive day filled with food, family and friends concluded on a high note. Monday morning, he went back to work, saddled up his horse, Fumi, and went out to herd sheep on the slopes of Mauna Kea. Fumi tripped on a rock and fell, taking Matsu down with her. Badly hurt, Matsu managed to get back in the saddle, and with the help of fellow paniolo, rode back to Makahalau. He was transported by car to a doctor in Waimea and the hospital in Kohala, but his injuries were too severe and he died the next day.

KE OLA | | 25

Mrs. Yamaguchi was suddenly a widow with eight children and withto run the ranch, Ichiro went to see the new boss and explain his famout her paniolo husband and his Parker Ranch benefits, their future was ily’s verbal agreement with A.W. Carter. In every case, Carter’s word was uncertain. Ichiro, now the man of the house, was 13. honored. “He would never go back on his word. You didn’t have to put in His sister and uncle lived on O‘ahu. They went to A.W. Carter’s writing,” said Ichiro. “He was a great man.” Honolulu home to give him the bad news. “He said, ‘Cannot be!’” Ichiro Ichiro and Alice have been married over 60 years. They have one son recalled. “He called up his son Hartwell, and was mad that he never and daughter, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. The told him himself. He sent my sister and uncle to Upolu Airport on the old family home, “Paniolo House,” has been uprooted, relocated near seaplane and got steamer tickets back for them. He must have bumped North Hawai‘i Community Hospital, and is presently under consideration somebody,” said Ichiro with a smile. “The Parker Ranch car went to meet for an historic exhibition. them. Mr. Carter paid for everything—the funeral, the meal…. He even Ichiro Yamaguchi’s work-tanned hand sports a gold frog ring with set up my father’s grave and the gravestone.” (Now behind the old spry green eyes. “Its name is ‘Kaero.’ It means ‘return’ in Japanese,” he Mormon church.) says. “When you go to Vegas, you want your money to return.” When he Although he missed Matsu’s services, when he was able to come back smiles, his face crinkles into echoing patterns and ripples, like a Hawaiian to the Big Island, Carter immediately went to visit the Yamaguchi family. quilt sewed sometime long ago. Perhaps Kaero helps him return to those “Mr. Carter walked in our house and just…” Ichiro tapped his chest and early days too, and keep them alive for us, in his stories. v waved his hand. “He couldn’t say anything.” Contact writer Catherine Tarleton at “My father had two life insurance policies,” said Ichiro. “Mr. Carter paid the bill sometimes. He came to see my mother with two checks, for $5,000, and offered her the choice of taking the money, or staying on the ranch. She could get 18 pounds of beef per week, three quarts of milk per day and 50 pounds of rice Ichiro Yamaguchi per month.” The family stayed for 53 years. The cowboy who was charged with Fumi turned her loose in the pasture to “retire.” Ichiro worked on the ranch, starting, as his father had, with a bamboo rake on the grounds of Carter’s home. Ichiro’s brother, Jiro, became a celebrated cowboy in his own right, now a member of the Paniolo Hall of Fame. Ichiro joined the Army during World War II and worked as a truck driver, a cook and The old family home, “Paniolo House,” has been relocated near North Hawai‘i a butcher. He returned to the Community Hospital, and is presently under consideration for a historic exhibition. Island after his service with Photos on these two pages courtesy of Yamaguchi family his wife Alice and went back to work on the ranch, for the man who had become like a second father to him. Over the years, as Hartwell Carter took the reins and Richard Smart came back to Waimea

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The Life OF THE PEOPLE This historic, old farm hat is shown with a newer coffee-picking basket of similar design to those of the past. Many historic lauhala items can be seen at Kimura’s Lauhala Shop in Holualoa.


Mrs. Ako, “to teach the coffee wives” how to prepare lauhala and weave. The Kimuras bought the lauhala from someone in Puna, who provided the leaves in neat bundles. The Hawaiian word “lauhala” means “leaf of the hala” and refers to the pandanus leaf used for plaiting. “Mother did it to help the wives and once they learned how to weave, they wove at home and Mother bought their items to sell in the store,” continues Alfreida. An excellent seamstress, Tsuruyo often enhanced some of the lauhala items with her own fabric lining. She also created the first lauhala tote bags. There were many good weavers involved: Mrs. Kinroe, Mrs. Tateishi, Mrs. Iwanaga, Mrs. Kusunoki, Mrs. Oka and (the late) Mrs. Tashima. “These women supplemented their household income by weaving,” adds Alfreida. They wove year-round, working during the coffee season when it would rain. Long-time Holualoa resident Fumie Uyeno Yoshida remembers learning how to weave lauhala as a young teen in the 1940s. She recalls a “lauhala factory” located in the house behind today’s Hualalai Garage. “Seichi and Tomoe Sugawara owned the house and they had seven children who were put to work cleaning, rolling and stripping the lauhala,” says Fumie. A large platform in the back of the house was used for drying the leaves. There were several ladies, who have since retired from weaving, who gathered

Continued on page 28

KE OLA | | 27

imes were especially tough during the 1930s Depression Era in Kona. Cash was scarce among residents of the Kona Coffee Belt along the slopes of Hualalai. To help subsidize their families between coffee seasons, Holualoa wives and mothers learned the Hawaiian art of lauhala weaving, creating a cottage industry and tradition that survives today. They wove baskets for picking coffee, sun-shielding farm hats and large floor mats. Their efforts not only helped put food on the table, but also kept alive the intricate art of weaving objects from pandanus (hala) leaves. The lauhala staples were sold at general merchandise stores along Mamalahoa Highway and served as an important medium of exchange to purchase food and supplies. “Grandfather and mother used to say that nobody had any money,” recalls octogenarian Alfreida Kimura Fujita, whose family owned Y. Kimura Store. “When people used lauhala to barter at our store, that’s how it came into our lives.” Located at the intersection of Mamalahoa Highway 180 and Hualalai Road, the former general merchandise store has evolved into today’s landmark, Kimura’s Lauhala Shop. Alfreida says her mother, the late Tsuruyo Fujiwara Kimura, had a flair for creativity and during those years of hardship, became interested in lauhala weaving. She organized classes to teach local women, primarily of Asian descent, to learn weaving. Tsuruyo invited one Hawaiian woman, whom Alfreida only remembers as

Carol Zakahi still uses prized, antique tools to roll lauhala today. These necessary tools connect her to the people in the story. The hand roller belonged to Carol’s mom, while the mechanical roller was given to her by Fumie Uyeno Yoshida, who acquired it from the Oyamas. Photos by Fern Gavelek

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Continued from page 27 to work on a long table: Fumie’s sister, Mary Uyeno Iwanaga; plus Janet Tateishi Miyose, Doris Yokoyama Nozaki and Nancy Matsumoto Kurihara. Wartime brought a new market for lauhala items catering to the military. The servicemen wanted gifts for their sweethearts and souvenirs. “The market then was mainly on O‘ahu as that’s where most of the men were stationed,” continues Fumie. Items were also sold to travelers staying at the Kona Hotel, which is still in operation today. Lauhala woven in Hawai‘i is highly valued today and the craft is still taught. Gifts and useful items—cigarette and eyeglass cases, stylish purses and fashionable hats—are among the many lauhala creations. According to Alfreida, the Japanese women also created slippers out of lauhala, filling a need that stemmed from the Japanese custom of not wearing shoes or having dirty feet inside the home. The Japanese would wipe their feet before putting on the slippers for indoor use. The sole was made of heavy fabric, cut from a pattern, and the inside of the slipper and straps were lauhala. A diary kept by the late Clarence Yoshito Nozaki of Holualoa has entries saying he and his wife would collect lauhala for weaving in the 1940s. Holualoa resident Carol Nozaki Zakahi recalls how processing the pokey pandanus was a family affair for the Nozakis. Her mother, the late Sadame (Elaine) Taketa Nozaki, would use the leaves to weave sturdy coffee baskets and other sought-after items. Carol explains how everyone helped: “My mom used to make us all gather the green lauhala leaves and boil them to bleach out the color. Then my brother and sisters, grandmother and aunt all pitched in to lay the leaves on the same platform that was used for drying the coffee, the hoshidana.” The coffee hoshidana, which had a trademark roof that could be pulled over drying coffee in the event of rain, was great for drying lauhala. Alfreida also recalls the hard work of preparing lauhala, including getting up at 4 a.m. on Saturday mornings in the 1940s to help out. However, she doesn’t remember her mother’s formula for boiling and bleaching the leaves. “Everyone had their own recipe for bleaching,” she notes. After the lauhala was dried, it was put in the “sulphur box” to deter insects. Different homemade tools were used for softening lauhala (a hand or mechanical roller) and slicing them into desired widths

(a stripper). Women would have their husbands make the tools to get the job done. That might include converting ringer washer machine rollers or udon (Japanese noodle) makers. Rudimentary strippers were nails placed into a peg at desired widths. Later blades were used to give a more refined cut. Samples of these implements, some still being used, can be seen today at Kimura’s Lauhala Shop. While working with lauhala was hard work, Carol admits the cottage industry gave her family the opportunity to make extra money. She said everyone learned to weave small baskets, mats, fans and other, miscellaneous items. “Between caring for us, picking coffee and cleaning houses along the shoreline of Kona, Mom eventually saved enough money to build a house in the 1980s,” Carol says with pride. “We call it the “House that Hala Built.” The family home is located on Mamalahoa Highway near the heart of Holualoa Town. “My mom was one of several who did their lauhala weaving at home,” notes Carol. Others were the late Kimi Sakamoto Kuroyama, Mitsuko Kunitake Ohta, Sadako Sonoda Oka and Agnes and Alice Oyama. “The items Mom wove back in the 1950s were taken down to the Hawaiian lady’s store, to Mrs. Aiu,” reminisces Carol. “This store was located on the corner of Ali‘i Drive and Hualalai Road.” Sadame continued weaving until her later years, teaching at the senior center and participating with others when weavers would gather. Carol says she learned how to weave as a child out of necessity, but “really didn’t start to weave until 2006.” Now she enjoys weaving and makes three sizes of “Horny Honu” turtles that she sells at her beauty shop adjacent to the House that Hala Built. “Weaving lauhala has taught me patience and grounded me to appreciate my hard-working parents and grandparents…” she muses. “I also planted some pandanus trees on our property and have one that honors my mom.” v For more information, visit Writer Fern Gavelek can be contacted at

KE OLA | | 29

Robert Klicka of California gets fitted with a “beachcomber” lauhala hat at Kimura’s in 1986. The style, with its turned-up brim, became popular after it was worn by Jack Lord on TV’s “Hawaii Five-0.” Pictured from back left: Alfreida Kimura Fujita, Thelma Ushiroda and the late Tsuruyo Fujiwara Kimura. Photo courtesy of Alfreida Kimura Fujita


The Life

“Puna Bruegel: Hempmaking” draws on a 500-year-old classic Dutch painting from the Netherlands to interpret Charon’s abundant vision and celebration of Hawaiian life. (29” x 36” Acrylic on hemp canvas, 2009)


30 | | KE OLA

f we could climb inside Ken Charon’s dreamy paintings for a fantastic journey, we might feel the summer breeze on our faces as we trek up an emerald green volcano and wake up in a manger where Hawaiian prophets are being born. From the Big Island slope we could hike down to a soft desert plain, nuzzle up to Muhammad who is hugging Christ, then hop

“Rebirth of Venus Hawaiian Style” pays homage to the Goddess of Love in Ken Charon’s interpretation of Botticelli’s masterpiece. (24”x36” Original acrylic on canvas, 1995)

into a double-hulled canoe and voyage on the ancient ocean of outer space, as acrobatic planets and luminous stars glitter and glow. Wearied by our astronautical feat, we might dive into the sea with dolphin and whale, then rest in the kindly caress of Queen Liliuokalani as she cradles Hawai‘i’s island gems, like chakra points lined up along the rising and falling breath of the royal chest. Best of all, our magical journey through the idealistic, surreal and space art treasures of Ken Charon could alter the mindscape as well as the landscape with his fresh, genuinely visionary approach to human destiny. “I feel that it’s the artist’s role and almost duty to move civilization along,” says the artist, “so I use my art to try to promote things that I believe in, including nonviolence, ecological wisdom, world peace and interracial harmony.” The painter, scholar, pioneer, dream weaver, political activist and leader of art hikes to the top of Mauna Loa wanted to make a painting to help stop the war in the Middle East. “It was 2004 and we were invading Iraq. I decided to paint Jesus and Muhammad, posing and smiling together like people always do.” Except they’re standing on a peace symbol inside rings of color as soldiers drop their rifles in the distance, all showered by a nervy, celestial light. “I made cards of this one,” he says, handing me a 3 x 5 greeting card of “Jesus Meets Muhammad,” which he hopes will convince warring tribes to behave like the family they are. “I went to Europe and brought a hundred of them with me. I would hand them to people in the streets, to people I didn’t know, and to young Arab men when I’d see them. So I was able to make

peace one person at a time. I gave all of them away and only two people objected.” For his noble, mobile art mission, he received dozens of hugs and handshakes. Today, he creates art at his home in the Hawaiian rainforest of Puna District, the Charon Art Farm, a three-acre parcel on the slopes of Kilauea Volcano which has become his “artist’s statement.” Powered by solar energy, surrounded by an organic fruit orchard, gardens and native forest, the home and studio reflect his devotion to helping “more people in the mainstream come to terms with a much needed environmental revolution.”

Chicken Skin Moments Might Do It

Artists Rebecca & Ken Charon in the Art Farm kitchen next to “Within the Ocean of Peace,” a visionary piece for which she posed undersea. Like his son and daughter, Rebecca is found in many of Ken’s paintings. the gates and they all wound up in Time magazine as saviors of the Hawaiian rainforest. That wasn’t the last time that Charon stuck his neck out for a cause.

Messages for the Community

Not far from Charon’s Art Farm, in a typical Charon art exchange, Ken graced the Malia Puka O Kalani Church in Hilo with two murals in exchange for the preschooling of his two children. His sacred paintings in the Catholic sanctuary suggest we can be renewed by reconnecting more deeply with nature. “Ho Mai Ke Ola Hou” or “Source of Life Renew Us” (acrylic on canvas, 1987) illuminates one end of Malia Church near Puhi Bay. At the center of the 209” x 146” canvas, the flaming light of Kilauea Volcano dances in the heart of a balanced triangle of life. The vivid earth below, spacious atmosphere in the middle, and awe-filled heavens above, recalls the many dimensions in which we live—biological and mythic. Showing me a reproduction, he says, “Painting takes me into a zone like meditation, and this is what I see. I have the plants here, two-by-two, as if it’s a Noah’s Ark type of thing. There’s two banana trees, two mango trees, two mountain apple trees, two breadfruit trees.” Upstairs at the Art Farm, he points to “Dream Triptych,” his overview of past, present and future. “I feel like it’s my duty to paint for the community, not just for the people that are going to buy the painting, but to create messages that will inspire people.” With the early afternoon light behind me, so fine are the brushstrokes in “Dream Triptych,” I want to touch the surface of the panels to be sure it’s acrylic on canvas, and not a window looking out on a supernatural, new world. The left panel depicts Hawaii’s indigenous past, the natural kinship engendered by awa ceremony, harmony with nature and agricultural abundance. Today, now, the choice-point, faces us in the central panel. A triangle of life energizes the cellular phonetoting, multi-cultural friends in a free-spirited gathering. Serious

Continued on page 32

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Inside the house, we are surrounded by paintings, ambient colors and forms, testimony to Charon’s lifelong commitment to a greener golden age, blessed by Hawaiian Aphrodites and peaceloving beings. Shamanic prayer paintings of his children, Roy and Nicole, hang in the studio and award-winning “Trash Art” made with bottle-tops soars on the ceiling in the bathroom. His wife, artist Rebecca Rosen Charon, has painted some of the art work lining the walls, and she often poses as an inspired goddess or mythical creature in her husband’s work. Various renditions of her Venus-like proportions rise up in paintings and sculpture that trickle out to the lanai, upstairs into the studios, and into another bedroom. After Rebecca makes tea, we sit at the kitchen table and ponder the daring dimensionality of Ken’s work—one brush stroke, one conversation, and one chicken skin moment at a time. “I have a range of surfaces from super smooth to coarse burlap,” Ken says. “Now I paint everything on hemp, but this mermaid was painted on masonite,” he says, pointing to the three-foot undersea view of Rebecca scuba diving and posing as a mermaid, which hangs in the kitchen. “But that was my smooth stage,” he says. “He has trouble actually doing straightforward subject matter,” says Rebecca. “There are always surprises in them for those who look closer.” She walks to the mermaid on the wall. “I had just gotten to the island and moved here, and Ken thought, ‘Oh, mermaids.’ So he painted (me as a mermaid), but the next thing you know, he turned it into this. So it’s more than just a mermaid. His son’s meditating underneath her.” Art at the Charon farm is a family affair, also an international affair. Seeds for the Charons’ extraordinary vision of a balanced, harmonious, aloha-filled future first sprouted in Paris, France, where Ken lived between the ages of 17 and 30, honing his craft at the American Center for Students and Artists and the Academy Julian. His countless visits to European art museums for close-up investigations of the Old Masters fostered an impressive virtuosity that gave wings to his talent. In 1978, he traveled from Paris to the tropical Seychelles, a trip that changed his life. Living with a local island family for seven months on the isolated archipelago in the Indian Ocean fired his aesthetic sensibilities. He produced 25 paintings and hundreds of photos exhibited later in Paris, and he hasn’t stopped painting since. His groundbreaking religious, surreal and social art pieces have won Biennale medals and international awards along the way, but his vision expanded when he moved to the Healing Island in 1984. Integrating Hawaiian values of malama `aina (caring for the land), lokahi (unity, harmony) and laulima (working together, family), he joined Green Party colleagues in 1990 to protest the geothermal plant in Puna. Some activists chained themselves to

our ancestral past with a new alignment of botanical, social and technical innovation. A solar-paneled, organic future, in other words, like Charon’s Art Farm.

“Puna Bruegel: Hempmaking”

Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel’s “Haymaking” brought to life a vivid scene of the rituals of life in a 16th century farming village, a vanished culture of home, hunts, meals, festivals, dances and games. Using abundant spirit and comic power, Charon drew on the master’s celebration of life in the Netherlands 500 years ago to create “Hempmaking.” “I Punafied it,” he says, which transformed the Flemish painter’s original trio of happy farm women hauling the day’s yield into fit, multi-racial, bare-breasted beauties. Emerald green bunches of freshly harvested hemp are ready to be transformed under a lavender and aquamarine sky into their many valuable cultural uses—food, fuel, paper, medicine and textile fibers woven by a weaver at her loom in the foreground. Did you know, the word “canvas” is derived from the Anglo-French word, cannabis, “made of hemp?”

“Hawai‘i’s Cosmonauts” depicts the voyage of the “Hawaiiloa,” a replica of an ancient ocean-going canoe, comparing it to the feat of astronauts. (20” x 24” Acrylic on canvas, 1995)

Continued from page 31

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and sensuous, one woman smokes marijuana, which expands and grows into a cocoon of new orbed life in the right panel, a future utopia of energetic alignment, a fusion of the best of

Painting for a Cause

Charon might look like a 50-something Harry Potter and paint a little like Salvador Dali, the master of melting timepieces—and one of Charon’s first heroes—but unlike Dali who loved to talk about his own genius, Charon’s favorite subjects are peace and love—Dali without the duality.

ahhh... Home Sweet Home in Hawai’i Nei

So when a friend got into trouble, Charon stuck his neck out again. When Roger Christie, long-time advocate of the religious use of cannabis on the Big Island of Hawai‘i, was arrested by federal authorities, it disturbed Charon’s peace of mind. “He has to wait seven months for his trial so he’s in a federal lockdown over there in O‘ahu and the judge wouldn’t grant him bail because they said he was a danger to the community, and Roger has never hurt anybody.” Thinking the unjust imprisonment of the minister practicing his religion was intolerable, Charon brought together other artists, Sara Steiner-Jackson (“Medical Marijuana”), Barry Wilkinson (“This Bud Is for You”) and Tomas Belsky (“Just Say Know”) who donated their images to sell at the website to benefit Christie’s legal defense team. In exchange for these high-quality (excuse the pun) cannabis-theme art prints, suitable for framing, supporters can support Christie’s legal defense. By bringing his naturalist’s eye to the world of politics, his art exists in a kind of unified field that may reflect the most revolutionary part of Ken’s work. He mastered the European painting traditions and then aimed their full power at transforming many of its dominator values, using old styles and designs to animate his radical, earthy solutions for today’s problems. Charon bathes us in earthly delights. He changes our perspective through organic forms. With his clear-headed mapping of visionary dreams, he charts refreshing new possibilities for culture, inviting us to look at non-ordinary ways to successfully navigate the ever-changing terrain. On this journey, Charon is framing more than paintings; he’s re-framing the conversation. O-o-oh, chicken skin!v

Ken Charon prints and paintings can be purchased by appointment at the Art Farm in Kurtistown (808.966.7343), at and at these Big Island locations: Jungle Love at the Malama Marketplace in Pahoa: 808.965.7775 Volcano Art Center in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park: 808.967.7565 Ken and Rebecca join ART DAY GROUP, a group of artists who converge on the pavillion at Ahalanui /Warm Ponds Park every Friday at 10 a.m. for a public art session. It’s near Kapoho on the Red Rd, between Pohoiki & Kapoho. Art lovers of all ages are welcome. Email Marya Mann at Photos courtesy of Ken and Rebecca Charon

Ken Charon in front of his selfportrait, “The Artist on Hemp,” where he wields an aromatic paintbrush instead of the traditional military spear in his right hand, and instead of a defensive shield, he holds a palette of primary colors in his left hand. Spear and shield are symbols of warring, dominator cultures while religion and art are weapons of peaceful, partnership cultures.

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The Life

Left side of a new mural, on the wall of downtown Hilo KTA supermarket, is the first of a series of murals planned by Hilo Downtown Improvement Association.


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can paint faster than I can write. I have a nickname: “Dances with Paint,” jokes Kathleen Kam, as she works in a face of a lauhala weaver that she’s painting on the wall of downtown Hilo’s KTA store. It’s a warm fall morning, and she’s hard at work, as she has been for a couple of weeks, creating what’s hoped to be the first in a series of panoramic, historical murals that will enliven downtown Hilo’s buildings. This mural essentially combines the story of local agriculture and fishing with historic scenes of old Hilo and the East Hawai‘i Coast. Mahi’ai (traditional Hawaiian farmers) plant taro and tend bananas; a farm worker in heavy, protective clothing packs pineapples into boxes, while farmers harvest papayas nearby; women weave lauhala mats and leis; and a fisherman casts a throw net into Hilo Bay with a heavily forested, pre-footbridge Coconut Island in the background. As is usual with Kam’s murals, this one sports a wealth of carefully researched details. The beach plants near the fishermen’s feet, for instance, are accurately rendered depictions of a real native plant, the beach naupaka. Occasionally, geography or history had to be stretched a bit to get all the details in: the lauhala weavers, for instance, wear authentic vintage aloha wear—a black, pink and yellow aloha shirt decorated with leis and violins; a green shirt emblazoned with a school of Moorish idols; an orange, floral-patterned mu’umu’u. Even though those patterns are authentically vintage to a period a little later than the overgrown Coconut Island, which is based on a postcard circa 1915-1920, a little artistic license allows Kam to cram more history—and more importantly, more of a sense of East Hawai’i’s history— into the mural’s two, 15-footlong, 14-foot-high panels. Kam was a natural choice to paint the first wall in this new project. In 1998, she and a team of students initiated a similar project in Ka’u by painting a mural about traditional Hawaiian culture on the wall of the Punalu‘u Bake Shop in Na‘alehu. The Ka’u project, in turn, sparked an island-wide movement that decorated walls from North Kohala to Pahoa. Hilo got involved in the movement, big time, in 2005, when East Hawai’i Cultural Center (EHCC) refereed the painting of a whole series of murals on the plywood construction fence around the new Judiciary Building site. But when the building was finished,

A large mural is seldom painted by only one person. A good mural artist like Kathleen Kam produces and choreographs a street show that results in a painting. the fence, and the murals, came down, leaving Hilo with little public wall art besides a small painting that Connections Charter School students did in an alley next to their school. Recently, EHCC head Dennis Taniguchi and students at the center’s Furlough Friday program added one more piece to downtown Hilo’s outdoor art collection: a mural of kids eating shave ice at Honoli’i, painted on the wall of the center’s back building, next to Liholiho Park. Since the Punalu’u Bake Shop piece, Kam has painted numerous murals, including a depiction of rainforest flora and fauna on the front wall of the Kilauea General Store in Volcano; a pair of teaching murals at the Keauhou Native Bird Sanctuary; and a giant, 55-foot long depiction of pre-European ahupua’a life on Kamehameha School’s Kapālama Campus. But each new project presents fresh challenges. The KTA painting, she notes, had to be done on removable plywood panels so it could be taken to safety in case of a tsunami. But the biggest difference between this project and her earlier murals was the location, working amidst all the people on Keawe Street. “I’ve never painted a mural with so much traffic through it before,” she remarks. “It’s the challenge of working in a public

Many figures in the mural use models from the Hilo community. A great deal of research goes into the planning of the mural, which is also an educational experience.

Hilo Farmers’ Market customers may recognize the painted figure opening a coconut with a machete; he’s modeled on a man who does just that at the market every Saturday. The lauhala weaver that Kam is working on today is based on Sarah Moon, sister of the Downtown Improvement Association’s Alice Moon and an artist in her own right. Sarah had never worked on a mural before, though; the KTA project became a teaching canvas for her. Kam started her out on backgrounds, then on painting within the lines or doing the spaces between leaves or between the human figures. “I learned new techniques every day...,” she recalls. “It was just great, working so close to something so colorful, so vibrant.... I’ve worked a lot of stage shows, so I just loved the big scenery, the big strokes of the brush. Up close it might have looked a little strange, but if you stand back, the colors all kind of mesh.” Another figure in the painting is modeled on Downtown Improvement Association (DIA) Vice President Jeff Melrose, who’s credited with originating the whole One Wall at a Time Project. “We [the DIA] are not the guys who are going to build the buildings or start the businesses,” he notes. But by encouraging the wall art and hooking businesses up with artists, he believes, his group can enhance those buildings’ values, and more. “This really was an effort to try to enhance the attractiveness of downtown, to contribute to a sense of place and identity by reflecting back the place and the culture that surrounds us,” he says. Shortly after he proposed the project to the DIA, he says, Alice Moon happened to run into Kathleen Kam, who was an old friend. Kam volunteered to do the first mural panel for free. KTA’s newly renovated downtown store was an easy choice for the first mural; its owners suggested the theme, since it was dependent on local fish and produce, and offered to pay for the second panel. The next site for a mural, Melrose says, is still under discussion, but he expects at least one more to get done within the next year. When it does happen, there will be at least one recruit standing by. “I’m ready to do it again!” says Sarah Moon. v Contact writer Alan McNarie at Photos by Norman Negre

KE OLA | | 35

space and being here at 6:15 in the morning most days, including Sunday, and being a public figure and having to switch hats a lot, stopping in mid-stream to talk to people.... Sometimes I actually have to put in swimmers’ ear plugs to cut down on the traffic noise.” But murals are, by their nature, social and sociable art; they are generally painted in public places, and a big one is seldom painted by only one person. A good mural artist like Kam doesn’t just dance with paint; she produces and choreographs a street show that results in a painting. She’s used to working with students and assistants, and knows how to get the public involved in a project. With a mural, she points out, there are jobs at every skill level. Even a passerby who’s never picked up a brush before can help lay down the base coat of paint; after that, an outline of the mural’s figures is drawn on the panels, and much of the early work is simply filling in colors between the lines. More experienced artists can help finish the figures. All told, says Kam, about a dozen people have gotten involved, ranging from casual passersby to “my mentor and former professor, Richard Crawford,” who’s there assisting her today. Her job, she says, is to “try to coordinate the color and line, unifying the 12 painters.” The community has participated in the KTA mural at virtually every level, from research to modeling to actual painting. Community members brought in samples of hala, naupaka and kamani to serve as exemplars for the native plants. The fishermen’s Hawaiian tattoos were painted by a Hilo tattoo artist. Most of the people in the painting are based on real Hiloites, and virtually every detail of the painting has a story attached, involving some community member. Take, for instance, the little bucket of fish heads in the foreground of the fishing scene. It’s there thanks to Ryan Peters, an ag major interested in sustainable farming, who helped with the project, Kam says, from “day one.” “He takes fish heads and mixes them with sugar to make fertilizer,” Kam explains. “He brought in a bucket of fish heads and I painted them. Then he worked as a model. I painted him holding up a fish. I drew in the fish, and then he painted the fish later.” As for the thrownet fisherman, Kam says, “A fisherman actually came by.... He described how some of the weights are draped over the shoulder like a swag. He described it so clearly that I was able to paint it exactly as he described it.”

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The Life AS ART


t’s evening in Hilo, a couple of nights before Halloween. In the workshop space in the utility building behind East Hawai‘i Cultural Center, Lee Michael Walczuk is holding a special mask-making class. It’s not to make Halloween masks, per se—it’s a session in honor of Dia des los Muertos, the Mexican Day of the Dead. Walczuk is showing his students how to make skull masks, using the same sort of symmetrical, fold-and-cut techniques that kids use to make paper snowflakes. First he has them fold a piece of paper in half, cut out holes for the mouth and nose, and cut around the outside of the paper to make the basic skull shape. But then, instead of folding the paper into symmetrical quarters as one would to do a snowflake, he has his pupils make a diagonal fold, and cut another large nick: when the kids unfold it again, their skulls will have eyes. “Make sure you make large eyes,” he tells them. The students are quickly learning how many different shapes and proportions can still look like a skull, so long as they’re white and have four holes in approximately the right places. Some of the “skulls” have peanut-shaped eyes; some are diamond shapes; some skulls are long, with pointy foreheads, others are broad and flattened. Mouths turn up and down and twist in odd ways. Most seem grim and comical at the same time. Using the paper skulls as templates, the students trace them onto sturdier poster paper, cut them out and attach bands of poster paper so the masks can be worn.

Continued on page 38

KE OLA | | 37

“The more time you spend, the better they’ll be,” Walzcuk (pronounced WALL-chuck) reminds them, as he moves from student to student. He’s tall, mature looking, with closecropped gray hair and somewhat melancholic eyes, but his body exudes the energy of a man who’s doing something he loves. Walczuk is capable of far more complex art than paper skulls. He’s a master mask-maker and puppeteer, who’s studied traditions ranging from European commedia del’arte to Balinese shadow puppetry. He’s designed masks in paper-maché, plaster, wood and leather, bronze, and recycled materials, from hyperrealistic “life masks” molded on living faces to wild grotesques. His puppet creations run a similar gamut, from abstract improvisations made from soy-milk boxes and toilet tubes to Muppetlike cloth puppets to carefully carved marionettes; from simple heads-on-sticks to a magnificent, Asian-inspired dragon-dance costume designed for several people to manipulate. He’s constantly coming up with imaginative new permutations of his art, such as the “mask-puppet,” a mask suspended on a stalk above another, blank mask, which is worn over the face of an actor. Private collectors buy his masks as works of art in themselves, though they’re designed to be part of a larger art: to be worn by humans who transform them and, in turn, are transformed by them.

Continued from page 37

He loves putting instruments like that into the hands of others, especially children. For years, he’s taught classes in mask- and puppet-making at East Hawai‘i Cultural Center (EHCC). Kids seem to love him, and he loves kids. At the Dia de los Muertos mask workshop, Walzcuk easily held their interest, moving about the room, popping off information about the Day of the Dead, bantering, praising, advising, helping kids pull surprises out of their sheets of paper. He’s a weird blend of erudite scholar, wildly imaginative artist and extroverted actor, seasoned with a large dash of wide-eyed, childlike wonderment that naturally seems to hold kids’ attention.

Lee Michael Walczuk, master mask-maker, puppeteer, filmmaker, teacher, mime and busker.

Member Artists’ Showcase & Sale

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Walczuk grew up in a Polish-American family in Cleveland, Ohio. Both of his parents were educators, which might explain one part of his personality. But he got the artist and the actor elsewhere. “I’m the oldest of eight children. That was my task: the babysitter,” he reminisced over the phone, a couple of weeks after the Dia de los Muertos class. “My sister and I started in kindergarten and first grade, taking tap dancing and acting classes.” Some of his fond, early memories are of a settlement house that served the Polish-American families in his neighborhood. Settlement houses, once common in urban areas, tried to supply uprooted families with the sort of social support network that rural villages once provided. At the Cleveland settlement house, Walzcuk recalls, “The violin was playing, the piano was playing, somebody was singing. So I was brought up with the attitude that the arts were a part of life. I feel that way about Hilo. That’s why I’ve based myself for the last four years at East Hawai‘i Cultural Center. Tonight, while I was teaching my puppetry class, there was classical piano music in the background. They were giving a concert in the black-box theater upstairs. It’s in that spirit— what we have.” While attending high school, he got seriously involved in acting and trained at the Cleveland Play House. He went to UCLA and played on the basketball team, until an accident altered his career plans. “I was injured rather severely, and they gave me a rather horrible therapy,” he remembers. “I started taking dance classes, and

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I met a Native American who was a dance therapist....” Acting and dance led to mime, puppetry and mask-making. Walzcuk eventually packed up 27 masks and went to spend seven years in Europe, where he acted in several movies and worked as a “busker,” or street artist. “People would put money and bananas and bread in the hat, so I learned that you could make a living as an artist,” he recalls. “I learned confidence in the street as an artist, as a performer and as a human being.” He studied Japanese mask-making and puppetry traditions — “I have a great relationship with [traditional mask makers in] Awaji, which is a little island just off of Kobe,” he notes — and Balinese shadow puppetry. He’s taught in Poland and the Philippines. His house in the Kurtistown area, which he shares with his wife, photographer Renata Walzcuk, is crammed with not only his own masks and puppets, but with exemplars of mask and puppetry traditions from around the world. All of that knowledge now pours into his classes. “We’ve been doing the shadow puppets,” he says. “We’ve been doing the string puppets, we’ve been doing the Muppet-style hand puppets....” And all that training in all those different art forms can make a conversation with Walzcuk a fascinating, and sometimes disconcerting, experience. You never know what subject he’ll veer off into, or when he’ll slip into a role or switch into mime mode or project his personality into a nearby mask, or when he’ll pick up a stick or a box and suddenly bring it to life as a puppet. But that range of talents on display is also an example to his students of the diversity of possibility. “There are multi-talented children,” he believes, “but they lose their talents because [they’re told] ‘You have to do that,’ or ‘You have to use just one [talent].’ All of those other arts led him into cinematography, which he also teaches at EHCC. He holds an MFA in Theatre, Film and Animation from UCLA. “Basically, my work is called animation theatre: the idea that puppetry and theater and cartoon and film—they’re all entwined...,” he says. “The birth of the cinema came out of animation discoveries, the invention of film, the discovery of the magical lantern, which was really the slide projector....”

His cinema class is winding up a unit on documentaries (One of his students is flying off to Las Vegas to do a documentary short about Vegas street people) and is going to tackle film noir next— or, at least, a tongue-in-cheek, Hilo-style version thereof. “We’re looking for non-experienced actors to get involved, because it’s going to be a fun kind of a thing. People who sold sugar cane from the field, or there were some bananas missing from the trees....” he says. He doesn’t make a lot of money on his classes; a Maui non-profit called Ebb and Flow Arts subsidizes some of his expenses to keep the classes going. In addition to the EHCC classes, which he notes are actually open to “children of all ages”—he encourages parents to come with their kids—he works with Hilo’s Adult Care Center and with the Abled Hawai‘i Arts Festival. Eventually, he hopes to open a small theater in Hilo that gives performances every Saturday. But meanwhile, he’s helping the flowers of imagination to open and nourish people’s lives, one person at a time. “If you can create one image, then you’re beginning to use your imagination, because within imagination is that one word: image,” he believes. “If we can help you to find one image, that’s all we need. From that one image, we can then go into an imaginative world.” Ongoing workshops with Lee Michael Walczuk: • Cinema Workshop, Wednesdays 5:30-7:30 p.m. East Hawai‘i Cultural Center – Classes meet in the Annex or Theater. $10 per class. All ages welcome. • Marionette Workshop, Thursdays 5:30-7:30 p.m. Classes meet in the Annex. $10. All ages welcome. To register, or for more information call Brenda at 961.5711 or 935.9085 or e-mail: Advance registration and payment is required for all workshops and classes. Contact writer Alan McNarie at Photos by Renata Walzcuk,

KE OLA | | 39

Walczuk teaches weekly workshops in cinema and puppetry at East Hawai‘i Cultural Center in Hilo.

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Maestro of garden arts, Ira Ono.


n the fern forest of Volcano Village is a magical place, full of art, music, wonderful food and enchanting gardens. The spot is Volcano Garden Arts (VGA), and Ira Ono is the maestro who orchestrated this virtual symphony of gardens, cafe and gallery. Built in 1908, the property was part of the Hopper estate. The original farmhouse was built with redwood brought in to the Big Island from California by ship, rail and horse-drawn wagon. Ira Ono has lovingly restored it with a critical eye for detail and craftsmanship. When Ira decided to turn the building and grounds into a gallery and studio many years ago, he knew he had a huge challenge, but he also saw the possibilities. He took on the transformation with the diligence and purpose of a man with a mission. The gardens, original structure and greenhouses abound with interesting creations made by more than 80 artists, mixed in with some structural antiquities and carefully placed garden art. There are substantial and costly pieces of art, as well as pocket-sized, affordable items and everything in between. It has become a

destination for many visitors traveling to nearby Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. So who is Ira Ono, the man behind the art? Ira Kaufman (now Ono) attended the High School of Performing Arts in New York City and graduated from Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. He has dedicated his life to art and design, which gives the Hawaiian odyssey he began in 1968 a unique character. Stop in at Volcano Garden Arts and ask him to tell you the story of how and why he changed his last name to Ono. Ono means “good to eat or delicious” in Hawaiian. In pidgin it takes on a more general translation of simply “good.” When you arrive at the gallery and gardens, the first impression is one of an Ernest, the pygmy goat is right at art-filled space not contained home with the rest of the objets by walls, but by a forest. To d‘art in the garden.

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Continued from page 41 $6.50 for starters, $10-12 for entrées and desserts at $1$3.50. Beverages available include teas, juices and coffee. Picnic lunches are also available to go. Visitors to Volcano Garden Arts are also welcome to bring their own picnics to the gardens. From The Café, you can wander around the gallery spaces and view the diverse collection of art. Many artists from Hawai‘i Tastefully are represented, and many displayed, of the items available are art for sale. made onsite by Ira Ono. He has a studio next to the gallery where he creates art ranging from ceramic masks, to recycled paper projects, to collages made from recycled items and paintings. He says of his mask art, “Like clouds floating in a calm sky, their creation comes to me in visions, each unique, each bringing its own gift of power. Having no eyes they see, saying no words, they speak.” Every year Volcano Garden Arts participates in a 22-year tradition in Volcano—the Thanksgiving-weekend Volcano Village Art Studio Tour and Sale. Local artists open their studios to the public. It has become a huge event, drawing visitors from around the islands and some from around the world to purchase art and visit with the artists who make it. A variety of classes are offered at VGA. Recent offerings were Basket Making with Recycled Materials, Block Printing, Garden Seminars and Spiritual Retreats. Website: www.volanogarden On the property is also The Artist Cottage at Volcano Garden Arts. This is a one-bedroom, redwood cottage with a fullyequipped kitchenette, Zen bathroom and a sky-lit living space. Website: See Ira Ono’s art at: www.iraono,com

Greenhouse, filled with art, is available for catered events.

Contact the writer, Devany Vickery-Davidson at Photos by Devany Vickery-Davidson

KE OLA | | 43

one side is a 70-year-old tree sanctuary, which was part of the original estate. The trees tower above, forming nearly solid walls and opening into a magical place of peace. Once you are inside the woodland, you understand why it is called a sanctuary. Only a patch of blue sky and occasional sunshine penetrate the space. The quiet you experience in the sanctuary is much like being in a church or temple. It is a refuge for reflection and meditation, or just to breathe in the essence. Outside the tree sanctuary are meandering paths and plantings that lead to an enclosure for Ernest, the resident pygmy goat. Ernest will eat from your hand if you offer him the right flowers. He is quite a character, but this is a place where interesting characters seem to flourish. The grounds encompass 2.7 acres and most of it is mindfully planted, opening up to a great lawn space where outdoor events are held. There are greenhouses filled with art, which are also used for catered events. In the main greenhouse is a large, hand-hewn table covered with objets d’art, and art also hangs from above. On the sides are ceramics, wood work and an assortment of masks, trinkets, mosaics, paintings and weavings, all hand-made by local Hawaiian artists. It is a short stroll up to the back of the old farm Openface artichoke and eggplant house where a light-filled café has an eclectic menu of sandwich with garden salad, one interesting local, organic and of the fresh offerings in the allfresh, vegetarian offerings. vegetarian Café. Ono has made it his practice to create food that is both beautiful and delicious without overstepping his vegetarian lifestyle. He has succeeded in that. Most customers are happily surprised with the bright flavors and seasonings on the menu. Dishes are served on ceramic plates and bowls made by local artists. Some of the food is grown on the property, where they have been experimenting with growing a variety of edible flowers. Nasturtiums of many colors dance upon salads and soups, while herbs and sprouts enhance sandwiches and salads. While the menu is brief, there are sufficient offerings, including house-made desserts. Most everything is made on the premises from scratch, with the exception of the bread, which is made by a cottage baker down the road. Much of what is on the menu comes from the Volcano Farmers Market and thus the menu is quite seasonal and extremely local. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Desserts, coffees and teas are served at The Café daily from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, which are also the hours of the Gallery and Gardens. Special dinners, luncheons, teas and viewing hours can be made by appointment in a variety of venues on the property. Catering is also available for special events. Prices at the Café range from

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The Life

“Localvore” Fruit Guru Ken Love In 2007, Hawaiian farmers produced over 800,000 pounds of avocados, but nearly half of that went to waste. While more than 350,000 pounds of prime avocados rotted on the trees here, Hawai’i’s supermarkets imported more than 1.5 million pounds of avocados from California and Mexico. Ken Love works with Hawai‘i Island farmers and chefs and champions the cause of local fruits to grocers and wholesalers.

Photos by Devany Vickery-Davidson

Ken Love

Hawai‘i’s Fruit Guru & Avocado Advocate |


Avocado Cream Cheese Cake with Tahitian Lime Anglaise, Prickly Pear Gelee with “Linda” avocado pudding and Maui Pineapple Salsa at the Four Seasons

His life is “slow-food squared.” Radical, passionate and driven, he works tirelessly to bring Hawai’i Island to a proper balance of sustainability —perhaps even tipping the scales whenever he can towards tropical fruit. If you knew Ken Love some 25 years ago, you would hardly have expected him to become a leading expert in Hawaiian fruit. Ken was a wire-service photographer based in Chicago, where he grew up on the South Side. His beat was Asia and he occasionally ended up in Hawai’i on assignment or on his way back to Chicago. He was fascinated and appalled at the exotic mangoes, avocados and papayas he saw rotting on the roadsides of Hawai’i Island. Eventually he decided to move to Hawai‘i, much closer to Japan, where he frequently worked. He bought a coffee plantation in West Hawai‘i and started producing the local “gold”—Kona coffee. He now says that the coffee plantation idea was one sold to him by an eager real estate agent and his own susceptible desire to become a farmer of some kind. Ken eventually sold the coffee farm and ventured on to grow and promote exotic tropical fruit. He works with Big Island farmers and chefs to promote Hawaiian produce and determinedly champions the cause of local fruits to grocers and wholesalers, even though it sometimes seems to fall on deaf ears. However, there are people listening on the consumer end, and it is his hope that the market will drive the demand. Big Island chefs are also listening and some are getting on the local bandwagon in a big way. Executive Chef James Babian at the Four Seasons Hualalai Resort is one of those chefs. In June, he and his staff put on an extensive Avocado Extravaganza for the Kona-Kohala American Culinary Federation. Part of the luncheon included an avocado tasting and the result was a feast for both the eyes and the palates of the lucky ACF members that were at the event. Chef Babian utilizes produce and meat from more than 160 local

Continued on page 46

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en Love personifies the word “localvore.” He has been passionately preaching about local fruits and vegetables long before it was in vogue. I first heard of Ken in 2008, when reading Adam Leith Gollner’s book, The Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Adventure, Commerce and Obsession. According to the book, Ken and a group of Big Island fruit fanatics refer to themselves as “The Hawaiian Mafia.” One of their self-appointed jobs is to seek out grocery stores, restaurants and farmers markets falsely selling fruit and vegetables labeled as “local.” Ken shares his enthusiasm for island-grown produce and has become a leading researcher, compiling information and sharing his knowledge throughout Hawai’i and across the Pacific Ocean in both directions. He is part of an extreme group of localvores with a commitment to fruits grown on Hawai’i Island. He is both educator and instigator in this close-knit community of growers, chefs and consumers that call the Big Island of Hawai‘i home.

By Devany Vickery-Davidson

Continued from page 45

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farms and ranches in his kitchens at the Four Seasons. He also supervises a garden on the resort property. Along his path to becoming the “Hawai‘i Fruit Guru,” Ken traveled the world to learn more about growing and producing unique tropical fruits. He also studied close to home, discovering among other things that there are more than 200 varieties of avocados on the Big Island. This is a result of three centuries of traders who ate avocados on their passage from Mexico, Central America and West India, saving the seeds of the ones they liked. Those seedlings were planted and flourished in the ideal climates and soil of the Big Island. Japanese coffee growers on the island grafted and cross-bred varieties, creating even more subdivisions of the species. This is why today some of the avos bear names like Masami, Yamagata and Ohata. Over time, cross breeding and cross pollination—both intended and accidental—created an island with more types of avocados than any other place in the world. In some places on Hawai’i Island, there are entire orchards of avocados and in others, just a tree here or there on residential property. If you hike back into many wooded lots around the big island you will find random avocados growing and thriving. Almost everyone has friends with trees and, when in season, they are shared like the abundant zucchini of mainland gardens. Yet, still, many tons of our local avocados go to waste. Because of the unique climate zones and incredible variety of avocados, island residents have a choice of several kinds of avos at any given month of the year. The farmers markets are full of them in astounding shapes and sizes as well as ranges of fat content; some so buttery you spread them and others with less fat and more firmness for an assortment of uses. The California Hass has 8 percent fat where many Hawaiian varieties like the Kahalu’u tip the scales at 25 percent. It is not like the mainland where you only have two kinds to choose from, one being the Mexican /Californian Haas and the other being the larger, thin-skinned Florida avocados, both of which Love writes off as flavorless in comparison to the Hawaiian varieties. The abundance of varieties is actually a detriment to selling avocados. At farmers markets, only educated consumers know which avos are better for what uses, or when to tell if they are fully ripe. Grocery chains want a single specific variety of uniform size and shelf stability. Because Hawai‘i doesn’t

Celebrate the Big Island’s Avocados! The fifth annual Hawai’i Avocado Festival is on Saturday, February 19th. This free, Zero Waste event will be held at the Amy B. H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden on Hwy. 11 in Captain Cook. An abundance of activities includes tasting and information on growing, grafting and cooking avocados. There will be an avocado recipe contest along with arts, crafts, healing arts, an eco fashion show and a full line-up of performing arts. The event culminates with an avocado-inspired dinner prepared by Chef Cy Yamamoto of the Keauhou Beach Resort. For more information contact Randyl Rupar at 808.334.3340

There are more types of avocados on the Big Island than any other place in the world. As if islanders need more than taste as a reason to eat avocados, there are health benefits to them. There are 13 vitamins that the body absolutely needs: vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate). Avocados naturally contain these vitamins as well as monounsaturated fats (3g per serving of avocado) which helps to lower blood cholesterol if used in place of saturated fats, and lutein (81.3 mcg per serving)—a carotenoid that may be associated with a lower risk of eye diseases. Lutein is also an important antioxidant that may help your eyes stay healthy while maintaining the health of your skin. Lutein’s nutritional support has been linked to promoting healthy eyes by reducing the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in adults 65 years of age and older. The fifth annual Hawai’i Avocado Festival will be held on February 19, 2011, in Captain Cook (see sidebar.) Get out and celebrate the Hawaiian avocado! v Much of Ken Love’s extensive research on Hawai‘i fruits can be found at his website: You can also order posters showing Big Island tropical fruits as well as a variety of specific fruits such as mangoes, avocados and citrus. Contact writer Devany Vickery-Davidson at pineappleprincess@

KE OLA | | 47

have huge plantations growing industrialized fruit, wholesalers and grocers rarely buy Hawaiian avos, even though the flavor is far superior and there are many more sources. Local grocery chains all over the Hawaiian Islands prefer to pay $2.30 a pound for California imports whereas local avos are only 60 to 80 cents a pound. In 2007, Love was part of a study on avocados which found that Hawaiian farmers produced over 800,000 pounds of avocados, but nearly half of that went to waste. While more than 350,000 pounds of prime avocados rotted on the trees here, Hawai’i’s supermarkets imported more than 1.5 million pounds of avocados from California and Mexico. Continued efforts to educate the public are starting to pay off, but ever so slowly. Hawai’i Island’s Natural Food Grocers such as Island Naturals and Abundant Life purchase avocados from local growers, and restaurants are buying more and more locally. Exporting is not the answer to the rotting fruit. For more than 100 years, Hawaiian avocados have not made their way West. In 1908 the California avocado growers got the Hawai’i avocados banned because fruit flies came along with the crops. Small and especially organic growers do not find fruit fly treatments economical. Ken Love says the answer for Hawai’i is to persuade local markets to change their buying habits.

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The Life Water-shortage challenges have motivated Lance Caspary to diversify his farm production, which, in addition to crawfish, also includes coffee, awa, taro and other freshwater fish.


Under a gentleman’s arrangement with Hawi Agriculture and Energy, Caspary recently “cowboyed in” two new crawfish ponds near Hawi, where, for the moment, water flows. A third pond, according to Caspary, has been on hold for 13 months as federal and state regulators debate new pond construction requirements. The trades gust and the rice plants shimmy. Caspary slips his hand into the water and pulls up a green shoot. “Rice is forage for crawfish. It offers a vertical substrate in the water column, like a reef,” he says, as a flock of cowbirds and a pair of Koloa Maoli (Hawaiian duck) fly overhead. “Birds eat the rice and I harvest the crawfish.” Caspary also raises Malaysian freshwater prawns on a limited basis. “I nurse them through the larvae stage, the most critical part, and then sell them,” he says, standing between columns of

Continued on page 52

The red Hawaiian crawfish (‘opae pake) is a freshwater crustacean. A gourmet delicacy, crawfish were at one time on Hawai‘i’s prohibited species list.

KE OLA | | 51

arefooted, Lance Caspary wades into the rice pond and lifts a triangular trap out of the water. As white caps curl below in the sea along the rugged North Kohala coastline, the sun sparkles from Lance’s teeth when he smiles. He winks, then says, “Tell me they wouldn’t like these in New Orleans.” Bright crimson crawfish (‘opae pake) scramble out of his grasp. Some drop, splashing back into the pond. Others swivel bony pinchers to examine human hands. “Produced 45,000 pounds in 2005, but the earthquake put an end to that run,” he says. Louisiana-born Caspary started raising crawfish on the Big Island in 2002. Backed with plenty of low-cost water to make the perfect environment for his freshwater crustaceans on the Kohala Crawfish Farm, things were looking good—at one time he shipped 250 pounds a week to a single restaurant on O‘ahu. Then the Kiholo quake of ‘06 struck. The 6.7 magnitude epicenter nucleated less than 30 miles from his farm. “Things shook,” he says. The worst part for Caspary and other farmers in the area was the damage to the Kohala Ditch. With busted tunnels and cracked flumes, ditch owners Surety Kohala Corp., a land-owning corporate vestige from the sugar cane industry that dominated agriculture in Kohala for decades, could no longer supply water from the lush Honokane Valley, 20 miles to the east. Farmers began pumping from a Hawi well and thanks to Uncle Sam, the nearly 1,000 gallons of diesel needed daily to fuel the pumps was covered by the Civil Defense budget. But not all the farmers were on the well pipeline. “I’m high and dry—still,” he says, standing under a giant monkey pod tree near his barn. “For most people the quake is a distant memory, but I’m still in survival mode.”

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aquarium tanks near his house. “If it’s done right, they can reach nearly a pound in six months.” He planted 500 coffee plants four years ago to help his bottom line. Walking down the rows, he points out the ripe cherries, brilliant red against the green-leafed stalks, then spies a nearly endless series of dark, shriveled clusters. “Drought,” he says. He grinds the seed cluster in his hands. “If it’s not one thing it’s the other—but that’s the life. I’m not complaining. Before farming, I dreaded work, but in spite of it all, I look forward to this every day. The money’s not the same, but it’s more rewarding.” Inside Caspary’s solar-powered home, rounded walls, a table made from koa, guitars, violins and a wooden bench press tell of his talents. “I was a carpenter, built a lot of houses on this island before I injured my back. I was rehabbing in the weight room when this fellow tells me about land up in Kohala. That was ’92,” he says. Caspary has grown a number of crops on the 20 acres including awa, ti and taro. “Something spiritual about growing taro,” he says, his green eyes blinking. He pauses. “All farming really—there’s something incredibly right about having your life and livelihood tied to the land.” Hawai‘i’s only crawfish farmer looks out across the green fields of Kohala. “The taro farmers down in Waipio Valley were real sweet to me, especially when I told them I was here to trap crawfish,“ Caspary said. “That’s where I got my original stock.” To some, crawfish are a nuisance. In Japan they are considered bad luck and the Japanese word for crawfish translates as “cockroach of the river.” Crawfish are known to eat taro and sometimes rice and at one time were on Hawai‘i’s prohibited species list. But in many places like Sweden, they are considered a delicacy and boiled with dill. France is also fond of “ecrevisse,” and in Spain, over 100,000 hectares of “cangrejos de rio” are farmed for the sweet, lobster-like meat. Louisiana continues to be the top producer of live crawfish, while China is now farming mud bug, exporting frozen tail for the crawfish bisque, pie and e’touffee markets on the mainland. Hawai‘i’s palate, shaped by the bounty of the islands, has never feared the exotic. “The Kohala crawfish are a great addition to our other shellfish,” said Morgan Brunnell, chef of the Blue Dragon, a restaurant specializing in global coastal cuisine in Kawaihae. “And most of it’s locally produced. We buy as much as we can from Lance and serve the crawfish as pupu boiled in Zatarain’s with a side of butter sauce, Tabasco and garlic.” Caspary has also raised grass carp and milk fish for food and a variety of freshwater tropical fish. “After the back injury I had to reinvent myself,” Caspary said. “Most of my schemes were commodity manipulations for personal gain, but after involvement with the intricate web of life on the land, the important Hawaiian concepts of ‘kuleana’ and ‘malama ‘aina’ dawned on me quite naturally.” The Kohala Food Forum, a grassroots organization in Hawi, has set a goal for the district to eventually grow 50 percent of its own food. “It’s a great idea,” Caspary says. “I mean, what happens if the barges stop—what happens if they go on strike?” Hawai‘i Island is served by two inter-island barge lines: Matson Navigation and Young Brothers, which shuttles cargo from Honolulu, the only Hawaiian port served by trans-Pacific carriers. And according to, 90 percent of the islands’

food is imported, while the Big Island itself has less than a sevenday supply of food in stock. “It would take 3,500 acres to feed half of Kohala’s population,” Caspary says, “and I doubt we have 5 percent of that in cultivation now, but it’s something to shoot for.” A trade cloud opens and sprinkles as silent circles form on the surface of the pond. “We need more of that,” Caspary says, shielding his eyes against the half-sun sky. He checks the threeinch pipe gurgling water into his pond. “I’m going to over-flood it,” he says. “Who knows when they’ll turn it off again.” He nods at the stacked sets of new pipe and a front-end loader marshaled at the top of the hill. In dry conditions, crawfish dig tunnels into the mud and burrow. “I’m told the crawfish in Australia go into a semi-dormant state and can live five years inside their tunnels,” Caspary says. “They don’t last that long here, but fortunately they do mate in the burrows and whole families emerge if the water comes back in time.” Water and affordable land continue to be a challenge for agriculture in Kohala. Their north island neighbors to the east, Hamakua District, have secured federal and state funds to repair the earthquake damage to Hamakua Ditch, which is owned by Kamehameha Schools and leased to the State of Hawai‘i. Agricultural land leases through the Hamakua North Hilo Agriculture Cooperative are also available to small and large farming enterprises. The privately owned Kohala Ditch has made many repairs since the earthquake but is not yet at its pre-quake capacity. According to the North Kohala Community Resource Center website, a new non-profit entity is being formed to take over the maintenance and operation of the ditch. “In a way, the earthquake was good,” Caspary says. “It forced people of Kohala to come to the table and ask: ‘Do we want farming here?’”v



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KE OLA | | 53

Water shortage caused by drought and damage to the Kohala Ditch has made it a challenge for Caspary to raise his crawfish, which are kept in cages in a marsh, taro lo`i or rice paddy.

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The feast we made together! Poi, lomi salmon, ahi, lau lau, ‘ulu, beef, rice pudding and kululo.


journalism. Entrepreneurship is also a major component of Ka Hana No‘eau’s programs, mentoring youth and families to foster economic sustainability from agricultural activities. The Kohala Style Lu‘au is a fundraiser for Ka Hana No‘eau’s “10 x 10 x 10,000 Project,” a venture that addresses both food self-sufficiency and economic development. Before you sit down for this Hawaiian feast, grab a cup of Kona coffee and get out your calculator. We are going to do the math of community food self-sufficiency. The 10 x 10 x 10,000 project has 10 families planting taro, one foot apart in rows 100 feet long. In 10 months, each of these taro plants will produce eight taro offspring (known as huli). In the second round of planting, each family will have 800 huli to plant. In the third round of planting, the families will have 6,400 huli to plant (800 x 8). Still with me? By the time we get to the fourth planting, each family will be harvesting 10,000 pounds of taro— a month! This is exceptional planning for food self-sufficiency. “This will help our Kohala community to sustain itself with one of our local starches. We also are moving in the direction of raising enough sweet potato and breadfruit so we can eat healthier and, hopefully, reduce health disparities,” says Fuertes. The Kohala Style Lu‘au I attended began with a blessing, two blessings Mia Fuertes and friend demonstrating actually, a light rain poi pounding

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ver been to a lu‘au and got to make your own lau lau? (Say that 10 times fast!) Ka Hana No‘eau and the Hawai‘i FFA (Future Farmers of America )Foundation have created the Kohala Style Lu‘au, where visitors and residents are mentored by Kohala locals in how to prepare all of the traditional lu‘au foods. And then, of course, you can enjoy sitting down to eat ono Hawaiian foods with your new mentors and friends. Funded by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, the Kohala Style Lu‘au brings visitors and new residents together to connect in an authentic way with the people and culture of the local community. “Many visitors to our island, as well as newcomer residents, enjoy only the reception or the actual party,” says Ka Hana No‘eau Program Director David Fuertes. The Kohala Style Lu‘au brings together visitors from the resorts and new and old residents for fun and learning in a cooperative environment. There are three Kohala Style Lu‘au scheduled, and I attended the first one on October 30th at the Kohala Intergenerational Center in Kapa‘au. The lu‘au was a heartwarming experience and left me feeling connected to my community and Hawaiian culture in a deeper way. “Kohala-style preparation is an important part of the festivity, with the true dynamics of people connecting,” says Fuertes. “Once we connect, we naturally want to help each other with our opportunities or issues. This community is about positively helping each other, like a family.” Ka Hana No‘eau is a major driver in North Kohala for community food self-sufficiency and agricultural economic development. The organization brings together mentors with youth to learn and perpetuate traditional and contemporary skills such as growing taro, animal husbandry, saddle making, sustainable farming and

Photos by Edward Pollock

Kupuna Kawasaki and Kupuna Henry Dulan enjoying the lu’au.

out bones with the boys. Someone handed me a piece of pork and I ate it. I was internally disturbed for a moment, but quickly got over it. My bone-picking friend was the one staring with wide eyes later, when I was spotted gobbling down large quantities of pork lau lau and local beef, without any visible guilt. Next I watched Dennis and Lehua Matsuda fillet an ahi and prepare poke. Whenever he is not busy with his duties as the associate director for Ka Hana No‘eau, Dennis is out catching fish. He showed us how to make use of the entire fish. He artfully carved it up and separated the different parts for poke, for frying and for fertilizer. Natural farming methods make use of the fish head for fertilizer. Aunty Lehua runs the sustainable gardening program at Ka Hana No‘eau and many of the veggies

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and Kahu Kealoha Sugiyama invoking a blessing to give the 10 families involved in the 10 x 10 x 10,000 project strength, stamina, understanding, patience, safety and unity. I began my hands-on lu‘au experience by making a plumeria lei. I just got settled down and got a few flowers on the lei needle when a call to come outside was issued—the pig was coming out of the imu and this was not to be missed. I watched the guys pull off the layers—the canvas, the ti leaves—and then pull out the pig. The pig was wrapped in chicken wire (which I learned has to be burned first to burn off the coating on the wire). The whole pig was placed on a large, stainless steel table with sides. Unlike at the resort lu‘au where you get to “oooo” and “ahhh” at the pig and then sit down to the buffet, I was handed a set of tongs. Wideeyed, I stared blankly between the pig and my tongs. “Pick out the bones,” someone said. And there I was—vegetarian girl—picking

After scraping coconut out of the shell with a metal spur mounted on a board, Brent Eru from New Zealand squeezed the coconut for milk.

Dental Health is Systemic Health

Dr. Jacob Head

Dental health is just as important for your pets health as it is for yours. Animals with dental disease run an increased risk of health issues. Heart disease, kidney disease, and gum disease can cause long term health issues for your pet. It is important to have your pet seen yearly by your veterinarian, not for just their overall health but for their dental health as well. Call your veterinarian and get your pet in for their annual exam and annual dental cleaning. Here is to fresh kisses for the new year.

for the lu‘au came from their abundant garden at the Kohala Intergenerational Center. Other lu‘au participants were making lau lau and lomi salmon. I was interested in learning to scrape the meat from coconuts for fresh coconut milk from two well-muscled Maori men (maybe I spent too long at that station?) and talking to a woman from Yap who was teaching how to Val Retang, a native of Yap, taught weave a traditional roof participants how to weave a traditional from coconut fronds. roof from coconut fronds and helped A beautiful woman make lei. came out, kissed me and bestowed a plumeria lei. Recognizing that I was engaged in all of the other activities and might not have time to finish my lei, she finished it for me. Young girls from Ka Hana No‘eau hula halau performed for us while the finishing touches were put on the meal. A beautiful blessing on the meal, and then it was time to eat. I sat at a table with some Kohala kupuna whom I had never met before and we got to know each other. I had lau lau, local beef,

poi, lomi salmon, sweet potatoes, breadfruit, ahi, rice pudding and kulolo (taro pudding). At that moment, I understood why they didn’t pick all of the fat out of the pig. It tastes really good in the lau lau. The kupuna taught me that if you mix the lomi salmon in the poi, it tastes great. Something every local knows, I’m sure, but it was delicious news to me! I also learned that when you mix together people from various cultures with a variety of foods, you get a delicious dish, as sweet as the kulolo, a pudding made of taro, brown sugar and coconut milk. “Kohala is a special place with only 6,000 people living in a small community,” says David Fuertes. “Sharing and enjoying each other while having fun is our way of life. Come with an open mind and have fun.”  The next Kohala Style Lu‘au are on January 8, 2011, and David Fuertes, Program Director February 5, 2011. Tickets for Ka Hana No’eau. are $45 per person. More information can be found at You can make a reservation by calling the Kohala Intergenerational Center at 808. 884.5838. Contact writer Andrea Dean at

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riving over Saddle Road and into Kaumana, on the mauka side of Hilo, I am looking forward to speaking with the multi-talented Rob Yamanoha. Still a young man, Rob wears many musical hats: guitarist, songwriter, producer, performer, studio owner, engineer and record label executive. He is also a devoted family man with four children, a supportive wife and the latest addition to the ‘ohana, a cute, miniature dachshund called Peyton. As I pull into the Yamanoha’s driveway, I am warmly greeted by Rob and the friendly little pup. I’ve been aware of Rob for the past couple of years through his latest original CD—”Better,” a fine collection of “original island soul”—as well as through mutual musician friends. I want to know what makes this musician tick. “I grew up on the North Shore of O‘ahu, in Wailua and Haleiwa, during the ‘70s and ‘80s. We lived a simple, rural village life before

Guitarist, songwriter, producer, performer, studio owner, engineer and record label executive Rob Yamanoha.

the area became popular with tourists and the international surfing scene,” he says. Along with having a little fun surfing, Rob reports, “I took classical piano lessons from age 6 to 15. My parents encouraged me and I became proficient while studying the Suzuki method. I practiced daily in between lessons and this provided me with a fundamental discipline. Along with the classical music, I learned how to play ragtime piano and used to play, ‘The Entertainer’ and other pieces from that era.” Reaching his teenage years, Rob lost interest in classical piano and became more interested in sports, as well as the guitar. “When I turned 15, I realized that the piano was not a ‘cool’ instrument, and I felt a little self-conscious because of it. I always looked up to my older brother, who played ‘ukulele. I liked the popular Hawaiian music of the day, including Ka‘u Crater Boys, Kapena, Makāha Sons and other bands. I liked their voices, sense of composition and the guitar.”

Like many adventurous youth, Rob soon started having feelings of wanderlust and sensed that there was another world outside the idyllic beauty of Haleiwa. California beckoned. He moved to Santa Rosa, where his older brother lived, and enrolled in junior college, working odd jobs. “I loved the guitar but didn’t yet have one, so I saved some money and bought a Harmony acoustic from a pawnshop. The strings were really high on it and tough to play, but my training on piano made it easy to pick out notes and chords,” he said. “I was becoming really interested in music and began thinking about doing it as a career. After junior college I thought about transferring to San Francisco State to major in music.” A family member suggested, however, that this might not be the best choice: a musician’s life is a tough life, being away from home often, with an uncertain future, and no guarantees. Rob respected this person enough to consider taking the advice. “I had to rethink my position. I wanted to be independent and not be a burden on my family. I loved music but was always interested in teaching, so I moved to Hilo and enrolled at UH, where I majored in Hawaiian Language Studies. I felt I was doing something noble and satisfying my interests. I still had a strong desire to play music so kept at that while earning a BA in Hawaiian Language.” During this period, Rob joined the popular, Hilo-based band, Moe Moe’a, a funky, original rock-and-roll band with aspirations beyond the back yard. “I enrolled in a masters program at UH, where I intended to go into counseling. At the same time, Moe Moe’a was getting popular and was composed of many interesting personalities. We made a record, got a deal with a company on O‘ahu, played many shows, and made no money. I took a look at the contract and realized that it was a bad deal and not in our best interest.” “Every cloud...” as the saying goes…This knowledge set Rob on the way to becoming self-sufficient, savvy and akamai. He learned all he could about the music business while taking advice from his future wife, Karla. “I did my homework and got all these books on music business law and contracts. I looked to other artists whom

I admired.” These included Indie DIY Goddess Ani Defranco and and they too have a unique sound. Half the band is based here another Haleiwa native who used to play Little League baseball and the other half on O‘ahu. Their keyboard player is Boom alongside Rob, Jack Johnson. “I thought, ‘If they can do it, so Gaspar, who also plays with Pearl Jam and is a Hawaiian can I.’ So I started studying what they were doing and adapting music legend.” their principles to my career. Then Karla said to me, ‘What are you What does 2011 hold for the hard-working, multi-talented doing with this counseling thing? You don’t seem very happy.’ I Rob Yamanoha? really didn’t feel comfortable with academia anymore, so with her “I am currently working on my next solo CD as well as putting blessings and my determination, as well as a slap of reality, I set the final touches on the 4 Fathers project. I play locally at Cafe out to do music full time. I felt Pesto, Miyo’s and Hilo Yacht Club. I plan that if anyone was going to make on hitting the road in the summer, it happen, it would be me.” playing dates in Seattle, Portland, In 2005, Rob created his own Napa, Sonoma and San Francisco. I will cottage industry, Red Moon always make time for my great kids and Entertainment, LLC, where he wonderful wife.” used his self-taught knowledge Spoken like a true journeyman. v to be a musician, studio owner, producer, engineer and record To see where and when Rob is label owner. To date, things are performing, to hear his music, and obtain looking bright. “I always thought other information, please visit: about my music as a guinea pig. Colin John I play live, record, get others’ is a local musician who also tours on the opinions, and then keep working mainland. Contact him through at my craft, constantly learning. I enjoy helping others and have Photos courtesy of just finished projects with two Rob Yamanoha bands. Kuahiwis are friends of mine, with members from Moe Moe’a and Mixjah and have a great, original island sound. The other band is called 4 Fathers, Rob found that an akamai sense of business helps in his music career.



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KE OLA | | 59

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Hawai‘i Island Farmers Markets North Saturday: North Kohala, across from Hawi Post Office, under the banyan tree. 7 a.m.–noon Saturday: Waimea Town Market at Parker School, 65-1224 Lindsey Road, Waimea/Kamuela. 8 a.m. –1 p.m. Saturday: Waimea Hawaiian Homestead Farmers Market. 64-759 Kahilu Rd., located at Kuhio Hale Bldg. (off of Mamalahoa Hwy., two miles east of Waimea town). 7 a.m.-noon. Saturday: Honoka‘a Farmers Market. Honoka‘a town near Honoka‘a Trading Co. 7:30 a.m. Tuesday & Friday: Kekela Farms Organic Farmers Market. 64-604 Mana Road, Waimea. 100% organic. 2-5 p.m.

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Sunday: Laupahoehoe Farmers Market. Next to the Minit Stop on Hwy. 19. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday: Kino‘ole Farmers Market. Kino‘ole Shopping Plaza, 1990 Kino‘ole St., Hilo, 7 a.m.-noon Saturday: SPACE Farmers Market, S.P.A.C.E. Performing Arts Center, 12-247 West Pohakupele Loop, Pahoa. 8–11:30 a.m. Saturday: Hilo Coffee Mill, 17-995 Volcano Rd., Mountain View (on Hwy. 11 between the 12 and 13 mile marker). 7a.m.-noon. Saturday & Wednesday: Hilo Farmers Market, Corner of Mamo and Kamehameha Ave., downtown Hilo. 7 a.m.

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Sunday: Pahoa Farmers Market. Luquin’s/Akebono Theater parking lot. 8 a.m.–3 p.m. Sunday: Maku‘u Farmers Market, Kea‘au-Pahoa bypass road. 8 a.m.–2 p.m.

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South Sunday: Volcano Farmers Market, Cooper Center, Wright Road., Volcano Village. 6:30–9 a.m. Saturday & Wednesday: Ka‘u Farmers Market, Ace Hardware lawn, Na‘alehu. Saturday 8 a.m. –noon & Wednesday, 8 a.m.–4pm.

West Saturday: Keauhou Farmers Market, Keauhou Shopping Center, Keauhou. 8 a.m.–noon. Saturday: Waikoloa Village Farmers Market. Waikoloa Community Church across from Waikoloa Elementary School. 7:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Sunday: South Kona Green Market. Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden, Captain Cook (across from Manago Hotel). 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. Wednesday: Keauhou Wednesday Market. Lawn at Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort. 8 a.m.-noon Wednesday-Sunday: Kona Farmers Market, corner of Ali‘i Drive and Hualalai Rd. 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday: King’s Shops, Waikoloa, from 8:30 a.m. to 1p.m. KE OLA | | 61

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January-February 2011  H A P P E N I N G S 

JANUARY Sunday, Jan. 2 Hi‘uwai – Annual Saltwater Cleanse Honokohau Harbor Kona Traditional Hawaiian ceremony of cleansing focuses on the year ahead, reflects and releases thoughts and emotions that are no longer needed. At Alula Beach, at the end of the road at Honokohau Harbor, south of the ocean entrance to the harbor. 11:30 a.m. Bring: Catchment or rain water from your land, Hawaiian salt, ti leaf and a potluck dish to share. Be prepared to walk into the water to participate! Ceremony by Kumu Keala Ching, Na Wai Iwi Ola Foundation. 808.355.8889 or email

Monday, Jan. 3, 10, 17 Afro-Haitian & Afro-Cuban Dance Classes Pahoa Lasensua teaches folkloric dances accompanied by live Bata & Conga Percusssion. Hypnotic Haitian rhythms. Excellent instruction, all levels welcome at the Akebono Theater, 6 p.m. $10 per person and tip jar for drummers. 808.573.3442

Jan. 4, 8, 10, 11, 16, 18, 19, 24, 25 & 28

Wednesday – Friday, Jan. 5, 6, 7 Belly Dance Classes Kealakekua Series at The Dancing Tree Studio, located next to Brewalalai Coffeehouse, 79-7491 Mamalahoa Hwy., Kealakekua. Wed. from 10-11 a.m.; Thurs. 8:15-9:15 a.m.;

Wednesday, Jan 5, 12 and Thursday, Jan 6 & 13 Salsa Dance Lessons Pahoa and Hilo Professional Latin Dance Instructor, Lasensua teaches salsa dance classes. Wed. at the Akebono Theatre, Pahoa: 6 p.m. beginners; 6:45 p.m. intermediates. Thurs. at Hilo Yoga Centered: 7:10 p.m. beginners and 7:45 p.m. intermediates. $8 or $15 per couple ($12 both classes same evening). 808.573.3442

Thursday, Jan. 6 Fusion Dance Party Kailua-Kona A weekly, unisex, fun cardio workout combining dance moves from India, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Spain, and more! Located at Pacific Island Fitness in Kona Old Industrial Area. Thurs. 5-6 p.m. beginning Jan. 6. 808.854.1270 or email

Friday, Jan. 7 Belly Dance Classes Kainaliu Series at Yoganics in Kainaliu across from Oshima’s. Fri. 6:30-7:30 p.m. This is a mixed level class – beginners welcome. 808.854.1270 or email

exclusive photo exhibit of the Hokule‘a Voyaging Canoe’s maiden voyage. Fun activities, art exhibits, fire dancing and special presentations by distinguished filmmakers and guest speakers. Various screening venues and event locations. Opening gala evening event Jan. 5 at Hualalai Four Seasons Resort. 808.885.3590 or visit

See the whales while sailing in Hilo Bay

Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 6-8 Hawaii Electronic Music Festival Pahoa, Kailua, Hilo Big Island Love presents the Hawaii Electronic Music Festival, a gathering of visionaries who share love for the island and passion for life. For the eighth year, the intention is to promote underground artists and create events that are intimate, joyous and unique. Based on the Burningman spirit, a celebration of music and dance. Bring an open mind. Visit http://bigislandlove. com/ for more info. Advance tickets at CD Wizard, 808.969.4800 and Palace Theater 808.934.7010.

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Saturday, Jan. 8 Kohala-Style Lu‘au Hawi Come to a hands-on lu‘au and learn how to prepare and serve traditional Hawaiian food. Tickets are $45 per person. Reservations: Kohala Intergenerational Center, 808.884.5838.

Saturday, Jan. 8 Orchestra of the Hawaiian Islands Kohala Coast A concert of Hawaiian classical music with special guest Danny Akaka, Jr. joining conductor Philip Simmons and the orchestra for Byron Yasui’s “Lo’ihi: Birth of an Island.” 5 p.m. at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.Tickets: $75 includes pre-concert reception at 4 p.m. 808.315.0885 or visit

Wednesday-Sunday, Jan. 5-9 The Waimea Ocean Film Festival Waimea and Kohala Coast Series of award-winning documentary films on ocean culture and conservation. Attend presentations by National Geographic whale photographer Flip Nicklin, and Dr. Rodrick Nash, world-renowned environmental studies pioneer. View an

Saturday, Jan. 9 Friends of the Libraries Book Sale Kailua-Kona The Friends of the Libraries, Kona (FOLK) book sale, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on the lanai of the Kailua-Kona Public Library. Funds support the needs and programs of Kona libraries. 808.329.3440, email

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Hilo Hula Days Downtown Hilo Harbor Vistors and residents alike look, listen, learn and experience hula and Hawaiian cultural traditions presented by schools, hula halau and other cultural practioners. Hawaiian artisans and fine crafters teach and share their works. Participants take home hand-crafted mementos and fine memories. Free. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 808.935.8850. Please call Hilo Downtown Improvement Association to request an auxilary aid or reasonable modification.

Fri. 5-6 p.m. These are mixed level classes, beginners welcome. 808.854.1270 or email


Continued from page 63

 H A P P E N I N G S 

Sunday, Jan. 9 Kelly Paige and Matt Snook: Country Music Waimea Kelly Paige, who grew up in Kansas, is a young and fast-rising talent on the country music scene, with a unique style and sound as well as mature songwriting skills. She performs in concert with Matt Snook, a fellow Midwesterner with lots of raw talent and a natural singing voice. Free. 7 p.m. at Kahilu Theatre. 808.885.6868 or

Friday, Jan. 14 Fiber Art Paper-Making Presentation Holualoa Donkey Mill Art Center activity covers Marilyn Wold’s career as an fiber artist, traveling the world and learning about endemic plants from native cultures. A potluck precedes the slide presentation. 6:30 -8:30 p.m. Free. 808.322.3362, email

Saturday, Jan. 15 Hawaii County Band Concert Hilo The 40-member-strong band plays a tapestry of seasonal works, Hawaiian pieces, overtures, movie themes and

 


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Glenn Beck ● Dr. Laura ● Michael Savage Allen Hunt ● Phil Hendrie Good Day USA ● Dr. Bob Martin ● Kim Komando 

other selections. Noon at the Mo‘oheau Park Bandstand in downtown Hilo. Free.

Saturday, Jan. 15 Aloha Saturday Hilo Monthly programs featuring musical performances by Hawai‘i Island musicians and hula halau, along with presentations by community groups. Arts and crafts vendors and food booths. Noon-4 p.m., Kalakaua Park. Free. 808.961.5711 or visit

Saturday, Jan. 15 Night of Jazz Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park 7:00 p.m. Presenting the Honolulu Jazz Quartet and Junior Choy with special guest Moon’s Landing. Kilauea Military Camp. Theater in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Tickets are $25 for first Call 808.967,8222 or Order online at

restaurants on Ali‘i Drive (closed to traffic) in Kailua Village. 1-6 p.m. Free 4 p.m. concert and hula on the grounds of Hulihe‘e Palace. 808.329.1877; or visit

Sunday, Jan. 16 Kamuela Philharmonic Winter Concert Waimea Featuring a performance of “The Planets,” a seven-movement orchestral suite by British composer Gustav Holts, which premiered in 1920. Free. 4 p.m. at Kahilu Theatre, Waimea. 808.885.6868 or visit

Wednesday, Jan. 26 Ladysmith Black Mambazo Waimea The famous, Grammy-winning troupe from South Africa offers a musical cultural emissary of the first quality.7 p.m. at Kahilu Theatre, Waimea. 808.885-6868 or visit

Sunday, Jan. 16

Friday, Jan. 27

Kailua Village Stroll/Palace Concert Kailua-Kona Enjoy beautiful seaside views, lots of friendly vendors, merchants and

Fireside Book Event Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Hear a fireside reading of the new book, Legend of the Gourd, in English and Hawaiian by author Caren Loebel-Fried

 H A P P E N I N G S  and Hawaiian language translator Kaliko Beamer-Trapp, 5:30 p.m. at the Volcano Art Center Gallery. Caren Loebel-Fried will demonstrate the block printing technique she used to create the art for the book. Booking signing, 808.967.8222.

Saturday, Jan. 29 He Lei Hiwa No ‘Iolani Luahine Hula Workshop and Festival Keahou This day-long event honors Hawai‘i Island’s cherished cultural historian, legendary hula master and Living Treasure of Hawai‘i, ‘Iolani Luahine. Performance, talk story, workshops, films; various hula masters – many former students of ‘Iolani – will participate. 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Outrigger Keauhou Beach Resort. 808.324.2553.

Saturday, Jan. 29 10:30 a.m.

Na Mea Hawai‘i Hula Kahiko Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Hula and chant performed outdoors on the hula platform overlooking Kilauea Crater. Featuring Halau Na Pua ‘O Uluhaimalama under the direction of Kumu Hula Emery Aceret. Hawaiian cultural demonstrations at Volcano Art Center


Saturday, Jan. 29 Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum Kainaliu Annual benefit for ARC of Kona at the Aloha Theater in Kainaliu. This popular duo returns with their melodic mix of folk and bluegrass tunes. Voggy Mountain Ramblers opens the show. Tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Open seating. Purchase tickets at the Aloha Theater or Kiernan Music, Kona Wine Market and ARC of Kona. 808.323.2626 or email

Saturday & Sunday, Jan. 29 & 30 Battlefield Band Hilo and Waimea The band integrates bagpipes with fiddle, keyboards, guitar and voice, mixing old songs and tunes with new material, in a unique fusion. Saturday, 7:30 p.m. at UH Hilo Performing Arts Center. 808.974.7310 or order online at Also Sunday, 7 p.m. at Kahilu Theatre, Waimea. 808.885.6868 or visit www.

FEBRUARY Feb. 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 15, 21, 22 & 25 Downtown Hilo Hilo Hula Days - Harbor Vistors and residents alike look, listen, learn and experience hula and Hawaiian cultural traditions presented by schools, hula halau and other cultural practioners. Hawaiian artisans and fine crafters teach and share their works. Participants take home hand-crafted mementos and fine memories. Free. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 808.935.8850. Please call Hilo Downtown Improvement Association to request an auxilary aid or reasonable modification.

Wednesday, Feb. 2 Chris O’Riley and Carter Brey Waimea A classical and contemporary music crossover artist par extraordinaire, O’Riley’s poetic piano interpretations dazzle both young and old. Brey is an acclaimed concert cellist, whose chamber music performance resume is among the best in the business. 7 p.m. at Kahilu Theatre. 808.885.6868 or

Wednesday-Friday, Feb. 2, 3, 4 Belly Dance Classes Kealakekua Series at The Dancing Tree Studio, located next to Brewalalai Coffeehouse, 79-7491 Mamalahoa Hwy. Wed. 10-11 a.m.; Thurs. 8:15-9:15 a.m.; Fri. 5-6 p.m. These are mixed level classes – beginners welcome. Call 808.854.1270 or email mauna.lea.

Thursday, Feb. 3 Fusion Dance Party Kailua-Kona A weekly, unisex, fun cardio workout combining dance moves from India, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Spain, and more! Located at Pacific Island Fitness in Kona Old Industrial Area. Thurs. beginning Feb. 3, 5-6 p.m. 808.854.1270 or email

Friday, Feb. 4 Belly Dance Classes Kainaliu Series of classes at Yoganics (across from Oshima’s). Fri. 6:30-7:30 p.m. This is a mixed level class – beginners welcome. 808.854.1270 or email mauna.lea.

Continued on page 66

KE OLA | | 65

Lorraine Kohn RB, ABR, CRS, Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource

Gallery. 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Free; park entrance fees apply. 808.967.8222.

ď ś H A P P E N I N G S ď ś

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Saturday, Feb. 5

Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival Waimea This scenic event showcases the blooming of Church Row Park’s historic cherry trees and the Japanese tradition of viewing them—hanami. During the festival, a host of activities sprawl eastward from

versatile, and talented musicians. Kilauea Military Camp Theater. Call 808.967.8222 or order online at

Saturday, Feb. 5

Block Printing Workshop Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park An all-day, intensive class with Caren Loebel-Fried. Learn the block printing technique used in her books; this Waimea Cherry Blossom class focuses on printing Heritage Festival on fabric. 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus. Register: 808.967.8222.

Casa De Emdeko, Suite D 75-6082 Alii Drive Kailua Kona, Hawaii 96740


Saturday & Sunday, Feb. 5 & 6 Hawaiian Quilt Show Waimea the Parker Ranch Historic Homes on Quilting is one of Hawai‘i’s indigenous Mamalahoa Hwy. 190 to the Hawaiian arts known world-wide and at this event Homestead Farmer’s Market on Hwy. 19. you can view beautiful quilts and trace Look for pink banners identifying site patterns from the collection of show locations. Enjoy Japanese and multisponsors, Ka Hui Kapa Apana o Waimea. cultural performing arts, plus demonstraThis special show is a part of the annual tions of bonsai, origami, tea ceremony Cherry Blossom Festival. 10 a.m-4 p.m. and mochi pounding and aHawai‘i host of AvocadoatFestival the Thelma Parker Gymnasium. colorful craft fairs. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Free 808.775.0765 or e-mail shuttle transportation among venues. 808-961-8706. ‘Q’uisine of Hearts

Qua lity Printing ( +/$ ,

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Saturday, Feb. 5 Kohala-Style Lu‘au Hawi Come to a hands-on lu‘au and learn how to prepare and serve traditional Hawaiian foods. Tickets are $45 per person. Reservations: Kohala Intergenerational Center at 808.884.5838.

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Saturday, Feb. 5

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Jeff Peterson Slack Key Concert Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park 7:00 p.m. A very special evening of slack key guitar with one of Hawai‘i’s most recognized,

Saturday, Feb. 12

9th Hilo Chinese New Year Festival Hilo Chinese lion dancers snake to Kalakaua Park, which is transformed into a miniChinatown to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit. Performances, displays, cooking and cultural demonstrations show the Chinese influence in Hawai‘i. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Free! 808.935.8850 or visit www. Please call Hilo Downtown Improvement Association to request an auxilary aid or reasonable modification.

 H A P P E N I N G S  Saturday, Feb. 12 7th Annual “Love The Arts” Fundraiser Volcano Village Delicious food, luscious hand-made chocolates, fine wines, live music and a silent auction filled with excellent art and exciting events from 5:30-8:30 pm. This annual event raises funds to continue a wide range of community arts programs for all ages. An enchanting evening in front of the great room fireplace at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus, 19-4074 Old Volcano Rd. in Volcano Village. Tickets: 808.967.8222 or visit www.

Saturday & Sunday, Feb. 12 & 13 Imago – ZooZoo Hilo and Waimea ZooZoo, presented by Imago Theatre, is a madcap revue of illusion, comedy and fun, a delightfully whimsical performance for the whole family. With ingenious masks and outlandish costumes, mime, dance and music, ZooZoo brings playful polar bears, insomniac hippos and a menagerie of other animals to the stage. Wonderful, innovative theatre. 7:30 p.m. Sat. at UH Hilo Performing Arts Center. 808.974.7310 or order online at http://artscenter.uhh.hawaii. edu. Also, 7 p.m. Sun. at the Kahilu Theatre in Waimea. 808.885.6868 or visit www.

of Bob Marley’s music is to live naturally, to honor the land, and to work together to succeed; the mission of “Keep it Green Hawaii” is to promote music and agriculture. Help celebrate with Hawaiian and reggae music, organic farms’ produce and growing techniques, children’s activities, seeds and trees to plant, beekeepers, CPR demos and more. 12-6 p.m. at Mo‘oheau Park Bandstand. 808.216.7372 or visit

Sunday, Feb. 13 Hawai‘i Island Chinese Film Festival Hilo Part of the Hilo Chinese New Year celebration, this festival features films from and about China. Preceded by a lion dance and firecracker blessing! Free at the historic Palace Theater in downtown Hilo. 7 p.m. 808.934.7010.

Sunday, Feb. 13

Waimea Cherry Blossom ‘Q’uisine of Hearts Heritage Festival Kohala Coast Enjoy a sumptuous brunch by island chefs and college culinary students, along with

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Sunday, Feb. 13 Hawai‘i Avocado Festival

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Bob Fest Concert and Agricultural Fair Hilo This annual, fun, family event celebrates the legacy of reggae icon Bob Marley, conceived in 2009 by “Keep it Green Hawaii.” The basic tenet

 H A P P E N I N G S 

Continued from page 67

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craft vendors. Enjoy Makana, Raiatea desserts, wine, handcrafted ales and Helm, X5, The Lim Family, E Kolu Mea Nui, Kona coffee; listen to island music and bid Bruddy Smitty & Friends, Lorna Lim & Pofor silent auction items at thisWaimea American Cherry Blossom linahe, Sudden Culinary Federation Kona Kohala Chefs Heritage Festival Rush and Ben Kanakapila & Friends. 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Presented Valentine’s benefit for childhood nutriby Malama Hawai‘i Nei, the event funds tional education. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at college scholarships for area students the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort. Tickets and provides assistance for community $45 adults/$20 children. 808.329.2522. projects. Age 10 and under free. This is an Thursday-Sunday, alcohol- and drug-free Feb. 17-20 event, no coolers. ‘Ukulele and Slack Key ‘Q’uisine of Hearts Presale tickets $10, Guitar Institute $15 at the gate. Tickets Waimea go on sale Jan. 15 at Open to beginners and islandwide locations. experts, this institute offers 808.938.3688 or visit workshops, lessons and www.laupahoehoejam sessions. Three free public concerts are open Saturday, Feb. 19 to the public and include a kanikapila 7 p.m. Thurs.; Hawai‘i Avocado Festival Hawai‘i Avocado Festival Talk Story 2 p.m. Sat.; and Captain Cook Finale Concert 1 p.m. Sun. Go green, avocado green, at this tion of the tasty and nutritious avocado, Friday-Saturday, Feb. 18-19 featuring tastings, growing demos, Ukulele and Slack Key recipe contest, eco fashion show, farmers Masters Concerts market, performing arts, avo-inspired Waimea dinner and more. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Amy Jake Shimbukuro and Chris Wooten equal B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotancial Garden the ultimate jam on Fri. and headlinin Captain Cook on Highway 11 at mile ers on Sat. are Ho‘okena. The ‘Ukulele marker 110. Free. 808.334.3340 or visit and Slack Key Masters are among the most anticipated concerts of the Kahilu Sunday, Feb. 20 Theatre schedule every season. 8 p.m. Kailua Village Stroll/Palace Concert 808.885.6868 or Kailua-Kona Saturday, Feb. 19 Enjoy beautiful seaside views, lots Laupahoehoe Music Festival of friendly vendors, merchants and Laupahoehoe restaurants on Ali‘i Drive (closed to This year’s event at Laupahoehoe Point traffic) in Kailua Village. 1-6 p.m. Free 4 Beach Park features a rock-solid lineup of Hawaiian entertainers, plus food and

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 H A P P E N I N G S  p.m. concert and hula on the grounds of Hulihe‘e Palace. 808.329.1877; or visit

Tuesday, Feb. 22 Alpin Hong Waimea Take a talented classical pianist and mix in snowboarding, martial arts and video games and you get Alpin Hong, a creative tour de force, opening the eyes, ears and imaginations of audiences everywhere. Hong connects to both young and old with his energy, stunning technique and rare humor. 7 p.m. Kahilu Theater in Waimea. Free! Call 808.885.6868 or visit

Thursday, Feb. 24 & Saturday, Feb. 26 Philadanco! – The Philadelphia Dance Company Waimea and Hilo This American dance company is recognized for its artistic integrity, superbly trained dancers and electrifying performances. “By Way of the Funk,” is a new work that harnesses the energy and culture of funk music. 7 p.m. Thurs. at the Kahilu Theatre in Waimea. 808.885-6868 or and 7:30 p.m. Sat. at UH Hilo Performing Arts Center. 808.974.7310 or order online at

Saturday, Feb. 26 Grow Hawaiian Festival Captain Cook Weavers, hula dancers, kapa makers, storytellers and other practitioners of traditional Hawaiian culture join with biologists, conservationists and horticulturists to explore their common passion for the native and Polynesian-introduced plants of Hawai‘i. Festival attendees will have


Saturday, Feb. 26 “Swing Into Spring” Dinner Gala Kailua-Kona This annual Kona Festivale Chorale event features a sumptuous buffet meal, a cabaret show, live and silent auctions, plus other fun entertainment in King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel Ballroom. Tickets: 808.331.1115 or email

Coming in March Monday, March 7 Takacs Quartet with Joyce Yang Waimea This performance matches up one of the most gifted young pianists of her generation, Joyce Yang, with an ensemble known worldwide for its extraordinary musicianship and keen ability to bring drama, grace and elegance to the interpretation of the string quartet repertoire. 7 p.m. at Kahilu Theatre, 808.885.6868 or visit We make every effort to present accurate information but do encourage you to double-check with the event to verify details. If you have an event you would like to see listed in Ke Ola, please submit your info two months in advance to

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the opportunity to meet, talk, and learn with some of the foremost practitioners of Hawaiian arts, with many opportunities for making cultural items to take home with them. Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden in Captain Cook, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. 808.323.3318 or email

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Glimpses into the stories behind a few of our ads

Ali‘i Custom Gates

Ray Huff, president, left, and Jim Bonham, vice president


strategic career change in 1991 set Geri Stephens on a new path to success in commercial real estate and a thriving business in vacation rental property management. As a self-described “local girl,” she realizes that she’s come a long way. Beginning her career at the bottom of the banking industry Geri F. Stephens, PB, RB, MPM in 1972, over the course of the next 17 years, she worked for multiple financial institutions. Then in 1991, she had the opportunity to work in commercial leasing and got her first real estate license. After working with many commercial projects, including opening new Safeway stores, she later joined Action Team Realty as an escrow coordinator, closing more than 100 escrows per year, she says. “When the owners retired in 1999, I seized upon the opportunity to purchase the property management portion that the owners and I had started. I‘ve spent the past 11 years building the business from 50 clients to its present inventory of about 130.” ATR Properties is now located in the Kopiko Plaza shopping center, which she helped open years before. Her office there is unique. “I have to chuckle sometimes when people walk through the door and think that they accidentally walked into a florist shop,” she says. “My passion for orchids is particularly evident throughout the office.” ATR Properties has faced many of the same challenges as other small businesses. But Geri has now survived two recessions and says the business is going strong. “However, I suppose that my biggest personal challenge was to sustain a successful business as a local girl,” says Geri, who grew up in Kaimuki on O‘ahu. “It can be really tough for anyone trying to succeed with a small business, but for me as a woman, it sometimes can produce extra challenges in gaining acceptance as a real player.” Geri recently received recognition as a Master Property Manager by the National Association of Residential Property Managers. She is one of only two in the state of Hawai’i to hold the designation. ATR Properties handles not only vacation rentals, but longterm rentals as well. “In fact,” Geri says, “that has been a strategy for many of my owners to help offset the downturn in tourism.” Geri’s daughter Angel began working with ATR in 2001. “She received her broker’s license in 2009 at the ripe old age of 24. That makes me feel really good knowing that this little business I started has not only become a family business but is destined to continue for years to come.” ATR Properties is located at Kopiko St. #A5, Kailua-Kona. Phone: 808.329.6020 Email: Website:

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ecorative metal gates are a popular feature of fine homes and businesses all over the island. Ray Huff, owner of Ali‘i Custom Gates, realized that the climate here can be harsh on some metal surfaces. “We saw the need for a long-lasting gate here in the tropics. So after some serious investigation on metals and alloys, we came up with the undisputed, world’s most durable and weather resistant gate,” he said. “We have exclusive rights to America, and a few other countries. We also have very unique designs.” Huff, who has lived on the island for 35 years, and Jim Bonham, vice president of Ali‘i Custom Gates, have perfected their product and their designs over the years. The business has a CG (computer-generated) art studio to rapidly produce prototypes for customer convenience, at no extra charge. “The customer can watch our 3-D artist create and color the gates to their specifications. Then the gate design gets composited over existing photos of the gate openings. This way the customer can see a great representation of what the final product will look like,” Huff says. “Actually, we give the customer too many choices and it is hard for them to decide their favorites. So sometimes sales take a little longer than with other gate manufacturers, but that is unimportant. Having the customer get the product they want to adore and pass on to their children as heirlooms is the most important thing.” In addition to custom gates and other types of gates, gate hardware and all types of railings, the business sells bannisters, security windows and barriers, fences, sculptured wall art, architectural products, crowd control barriers and whatever else anyone can imagine using such materials for. “We will openly debate our prices and quality with any of our competitors,” Huff says. “We have the most durable and beautiful gates that our potential customers will not find stocked anywhere on the islands, or the mainland USA.” Ali’i Custom Gates has recently moved to Kaloko Industrial Area. Their new address is 73-4855 Kanalani St. New phone: 808.327.1768 Email: Website:


ATR Properties, Inc.

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Business success isn’t a quick sprint, it’s a marathon. Make the connection today that will win you the race tomorrow. Are you ready to network with some of the Big Island’s most entrepreneurial and successful business leaders? The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce is ready if you are. Success? Don’t be afraid to surround yourself with it. Contact us today to get information about our next networking opportunity 808-329-1758 or visit





Glimpses into the stories behind a few of our ads

Kona MacNet

Koehnen’s Interiors


Interior Designer Bridget Paulson, Allied ASID

rian Parnell, manager of Kona MacNet, is passionate about “all things Apple.” It’s a good thing, because he shares that passion with everyone who walks into the store in the Henry Street Shops in Kailua-Kona. Parnell has been the manager of numerous Apple computer stores, including one on Maui several years ago. From there he moved to South Carolina, where he owned his own Apple reseller store for several years. When the opportunity came to move to Kona to run Kona MacNet, Brian and his wife Sue were happy to return to Hawai‘i. They have been on the island for more than a year, and Brian says they really like where they are living and especially like the sunsets. “I had been aware of the Kona market for many years,” he said. “There appeared to be a need on the Big Island for a good Apple authorized reseller that was also authorized to service Macs.” The store, which opened in 2008, has its own service manager, Cleland Austin, who moved in from California to run the service department. “Josh Brunner is our most recent hire and brings his love for all things Mac,” Brian says. Since the store opened, it’s taken awhile to build awareness in the market, he says. “We want to make sure that people know we are here and that we have a well-stocked showroom and qualified staff to sell and repair their Macs. We are a one-stop shop for all your Apple needs.” The business caters to all age groups since they offer Apple products ranging from iPods to iPads to Mac computers, accessories and software. “Kona MacNet is continually fine-tuning our product mix. We’d like people to let us know of any products that they think we should stock at the store. Customer input and continued patronage is greatly appreciated,” Brian said. Kona MacNet often hosts FREE events with national guest speakers to teach people on a variety of topics. Previous guest speakers have been from Canon, Adobe, Apple and Lacie and more presentations are planned in 2011. Kona MacNet is located at 75-1022 Henry St., across the street from Safeway and next to Starbucks. Phone: 329-6227 (MACS) Email: Website:

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oehnen’s Interiors has deep roots in Hilo and the home furnishings store has survived more extreme challenges than most—two tsunamis, four floods, several sugar strikes and all of the fluctuating economies since 1929! Karyl Franks, manager, tells the story: “My Grandfather, F.W. Koehnen, started the business on May 13, 1929, when he purchased the assets of Hill Optical Company from W. H. Hill. The emphasis was immediately changed from being predominately an optical shop to the retailing of jewelery and giftware, including fine china, silver and crystal. The furniture business was started by my father, Carl E. Rohner in 1947. The family purchased our present location in 1957 and the jewelry department was eliminated in 1979 with the retirement of my mother, Helie H. Rohner.” The Koehnen’s building, at the corner of Kamehameha and Waianuenue Avenues, had stood vacant for years when the store outgrew its previous location. “The sentimental part of purchasing this building,” says Franks, “was the fact that my grandfather immigated from Germany to work for Hackfeld & company, which built the facility.” Franks was born into the business, being the third generation to run it, she says. Born and raised in Hilo, she left in 1963, then returned to work with the business in 1994. Koehnen’s serves a lot of repeat customers, as well as new homeowners. They have recently renovated the showroom and installed a design center. It offers the services of ASID Allied Interior Designer Bridget Paulson to apply her years of experience and talent for colors and design. She recently returned to Hilo from the mainland. “We strive to find unique items that are well made—and made to last a long time,” says Franks. Koehnen’s Interiors is located at 76 Kamehameha Ave., downtown Hilo. Phone: 808.961.4725 Email: Website:


Brian Parnell, store manager

Ka Puana

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Legend of the Gourd

ong ago in Ka‘ū, Hawai‘i, there lived a young man and woman who loved each other very much. Although they were both from families of ali‘i, their parents did not approve of the relationship. And so one night after darkness fell, they ran away together. There were many from the community who loved the young couple, and followed to help them. And so, on becoming man and wife, the couple also came to be chief and chiefess to these people. The group walked for many days on the sunny Kamā‘oa Plain, along the flank of Mauna Loa, on a journey to a new life. One day at sunset, the chief saw on the horizon a group of rising stars called Huhui. He knew the stormy season was near, and so they built huts to shelter themselves. Then winds from the south blew with drenching rain and booming thunder. The land would soon be ready to plant with seeds for food. When it became known that the chiefess was pregnant, the people were filled with joy. But the chiefess became very sick and died. Filled with grief, the chief and community wailed and cried. One clear night after the period of kapu, the chief laid his wife’s body to rest in a burial cave. On the day the chiefess had been due to give birth, a tiny vine sprouted from her piko, her navel. The vine meandered out of the cave and crept through the forest with leaves sprouting from its stem, tendrils grabbing onto roots, moa, and ‘ala ‘ala wai nui plants. The vine snaked its way onto the plain, its tendrils like tiny fingers clinging to ruts in the pāhoehoe lava. All through the season of storms, the vine traveled up the coast of Ka‘ū through many ahupua‘a. It grew through Pākini­iki, Pākini­nui, and Kahuku. It crept through the tiny district of Kī‘ao, the larger district of Manukā, and into Kapu‘a where it sprouted a white blossom. The sun peeked out from behind the clouds and shined brightly. The changing winds swept the blossom away, leaving a tiny, green gourd. The sun helped the gourd grow a little bigger every day. On a lava ridge above the vine, there stood the hut of a fisherman. This fisherman spied the gourd on the rolling plains below. Wanting it for an ipu holoholona to store his fishing gear, he cared for the gourd, checking it every day until it grew big and fat. After the stem began to wither, he squeezed and thumped the gourd, testing it for ripeness. Back in Kamā‘oa, the chiefess visited her husband in a dream. She cried, “Auwe! Auwe! I am sore and bruised!” The chief awoke and rushed

A legend of Ka‘ū, retold by Caren Loebel­Fried to the burial cave. There he discovered the vine and followed its winding path through the forest and onto the Kamā‘oa Plain. He marveled at the tendrils clinging so firmly to cracks in the lava. The wind pushed him, the leaves waved him on, and as night fell, the vine led him into a shallow valley. Sheltered from the wind, he lay down, touched the vine tenderly, and slept. In the morning, the wind whistled in his ear, waking him. The day was hot and windy. The sun pounded on his head as he followed the vine. Exhausted, he asked, “Where are you leading me, my dear wife?” And then he saw the gourd. He ran and swept the gourd up into his arms, cradled it like a baby, joyfully rocking it back and forth. Just then the fisherman spied the stranger holding the gourd. He shouted, “Let go of that gourd! It belongs to me!” The chief tried to explain, but the fisherman argued, only relenting after seeing the source of the vine in the burial cave. He wished the chief well. The chief brought the gourd home and wrapped it in layers of soft kapa cloth. The next morning, he discovered the gourd had cracked, and into his palms fell two seeds. Suddenly, the seeds began to grow. Two warm soft balls covered with downy hairs quickly filled his hands, sprouting arms and legs. Soon he held in his arms two baby girls. He joyfully hugged the twins and they giggled, grabbing his fingers and holding so tightly, the chief remembered the tendrils of the gourd vine. He knew these girls would be strong and grow up with firm ties to their people and their land. And so the twins grew to be powerful women and great warriors who had many children of their own. The years and generations followed and the twins of the gourd became ancestors to many people. Like the gourd vine, the family spread and settled all over the Kamā‘oa Plain. Near the shore lived fishermen, in the valleys and up the slopes of Mauna Loa lived farmers. The fishermen and farmers traded and shared food from the land and the sea. Soon descendants of the twins numbered in the thousands. And the people called themselves, “The Children of the Gourd.” v From Legend of the Gourd,” published by Bishop Museum Press. Available at Bishop Museum’s Shop Pacifica and other fine booksellers throughout the islands.The author is appearing for a fireside book reading at Volcano Art Center on Jan. 27, 2011, and will conduct a blockprinting workshop at Volcano Art Center Gallery on Feb. 5, 2011. See Ke Ola events calendar for details.

Immerse yourself in our history, culture and landscape with three unique journeys that offer a rare opportunity to experience, appreciate and help preserve traditional Hawaiian ways of life. The ancient arts and crafts of Hawai`i’s history are indelibly woven into the beauty and the bounty of this land- and are ready to be experienced by everyone eager to journey beyond the norm. Come - touch, listen and feel. You will return with a deep connection to this land and its people and a completely new way of looking at your world. Our stories and our warmth await you. Join us‌


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For reservations and program information, call 808-324-2540.

Volcano Art Center Gallery L O CAT E D I N H AWA I ` I V O L CA N O E S N AT I O N A L PA R K



Living Endemic Birds of Hawai`i

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the complete collection by

January 8th - March 6th Original watercolors commissioned to bring awareness to the Hawai`i Endangered Bird Conservation Program (HEBCP)

Phone: (808) 967-7565

Toll Free: (866) 967-7565

January-February 2011