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March/April 2011 M a r c h -A p r i l 2011


The Life of the Land Native Fishing Rights Cacao—from Tree to Mmmm Healing Grass:Vetiver

The Life of the People Auntie Marjie Spencer 13 Grandmothers Horse & Buddy Three Ring Ranch

The Life in Art Rod Cameron: Capturing the Ephemeral

"Hula Kane" by Rod Cameron



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Hawi North Kohala Come for the Day or Stay and Play for the Weekend! Looking for a way to experience a taste of Old Hawaii? Come visit beautiful, green, historic North Kohala. Hawi and Kapa’au, once sugar plantation towns, offer a delightful array of small shops, eateries, and wonderful art galleries!

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

M a r c h -A p r i l 2011

The Life in Spirit: 11 Aloha e Ku‘u Māmā

by Kumu Keala Ching

The Life of the People:

19 Roses in My Heart

Auntie Marjie Spencer

23 13 Grandmothers Raining Wisdom

41 Horse & Buddy

A Match that Builds Independence for Special Riders

45 Kona’s Unique Three Ring Ranch

Wild Animals at Risk Receive Sanctuary from a Fellow Survivor

53 ...And Trees Fly Forward

Puna Farmer’s Bhakti Yoga Practice is Immersed in Farming

The Life of the Land: 15 Rights and Respect for Native Fishing

How Can Shoreline Preservation and Native Fishing Co-exist?

33 If Only Chocolate Grew on Trees ...or does it?

36 The Reef as a Community: Cold and Fuzzy New Book Portrays Fish in a Different Light

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49 Healing Grass: the Amazing and Versatile Vetiver Sturdy, Upright and Deeply Rooted

PHOTO: Mary Kay Cochrane

The Life as Art: 27 Capturing the Ephemeral

The Passion and Palettes of Painter Rod Cameron

The Life at Home: 57 Feng Shui Hawaiian Style

Expand, Grow and Manifest with the Wood Element

The Life in Music: 60 Jazzy Maggie: A Musician for Life 74 Marooned!

By Scot C. Nelson and Craig Elevitch


Then & Now: Puako...............................................................................12 Community Calendar............................................................................63 The Life in Business................................................................................71

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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.


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KE OLA | | 7

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

Publishers Talk Story...

We’re Unique – A

loha, dear readers. As if a great alchemist were working with us to conjur up the most enlightening stories, plucked from every nook and cranny of the island, here is another example of just how diverse and unique is this place where we live. Often, we get story suggestions from Mainland press-release “factories,” which spit out promotional materials in hopes that magazines will need something to fill in the spaces between the ads. Not only does this material look foreign to us, it reminds us that we aren’t a Mainland-style magazine. These stories would look strange to our readers. In Ke Ola, we seek to reflect our own, unique communities with stories that remind our readers that we are a unique ecosystem in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. If we choose—and many Hawai‘i Islanders are choosing—to create our own model community, our own “country,” if you will, there’s nothing stopping us but our own mindsets. Just to demonstrate this reality, in this issue you will find: reef fish with personalities; chocolate that grows on trees; a place where Hawaiian hawks and zebras cohabitate to teach others and a new variety of grass that could help save our precious soil.

8 | | KE OLA

We don’t usually print stories that promote controversy, but we do try to gently remind our readers that there are issues on this island that we must face if we wish to live together in harmony. One such issue is the rights of native fishermen versus the rights of landowners and the public to control the shorelines. It’s worth recognizing that native Hawaiians did a very good job of preserving these islands for many generations prior to the arrival of new interests and new ways. It’s also worth learning about and understanding others’ points of view. Ke Ola has a reverence for kupuna, and this issue highlights one kupuna who is finding joy and energy in expressing aloha to all. There’s another story about the “uprising” of indigenous grandmothers, both around the world and on this island, answering a prophecy and a call to help make a better world. So, join with us in celebrating spring, Earth Day, and our own special corner of Earth. Aloha,

Karen Valentine and Barbara Garcia

Ke Ola distributes 22,000 free copies on the Big Island. These are compliments of the businesses that advertise in each issue. To show your appreciation, please join with us in supporting all the advertisers! Let them know you saw their ad in Ke Ola! You can also have Ke Ola delivered to your door by subscribing. First-Class subscriptions (in addition to the 22,000 complimentary copies) are available for $24 annually in the U.S and $42 internationally. Go to

From Readers...

✿ Aloha Karen & Barbara, The 2nd Anniversary Edition of Ke Ola Magazine was truly a celebration of the wealth we have in our Hawai`i Island communities. I truly enjoyed reading all of the articles and especially “Coffee Wives Created a Cottage Industry” by Fern Gavelek. That article brought back memories of an interview I did with my mother, Master Lauhala Weaver Lily Sugahra. But even more so... the sulphur box that sat in our backyard and going to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park to collect sulphur by quickly scampering out of the car with empty tuna cans covered with foil. The sulphur would burn in that box and would also bleach the lauhala to a pearly white color. Mom passed away last year but I know she would have enjoyed reading this article too!

✿ Aloha: Re: latest Ke Ola issue: pure mana for us, we are pouring over it. [We’ll be on the island in a few weeks.] We’re spending the first three nights in Volcano Village. Our long time friends are staying in Hilo so we will visit the mural(s) and the gardens and cafe. You at Ke Ola are conjurers in the best sense. Reading certain articles “puts us in mind of” —no, better said— recreates feelings and sensations experienced in the place/situation described. It’s top-notch journalistic craftmanship but it’s more; it’s truly sharing the mana of a place, experience, person, animal. A hui hou. Hapuna Harry (Harry Smith)

n MD FACEP Claudia Christma ician hys Board Certified P

Malama Pono, Leomi L. Bergknut

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The Life of the Land Native Fishing Rights Cacao—from Tree to Mmmm Healing Grass:Vetiver

The Life of the People Auntie Marjie Spencer 13 Grandmothers Horse & Buddy Three Ring Ranch

The Life in Art Rod Cameron: Capturing the Ephemeral

"Hula Kane" by Rod Cameron



On the Cover:

This study of a kane hula dancer was commissioned for the 2011 Merrie Monarch Festival poster. Oil painting by Hawai‘i Island artist Rod Cameron.

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KE OLA | | 9

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The Life

A Dedication to a Mother —

Mother Earth

‘O ‘oe ka lani, e ho’onani nei Nāu e ku’u ‘ike, e kāko’o nei ‘O ‘oe ka lā, e ‘alohi nei, Nāu e ku’u aloha, e ‘imo’imo nei ‘O ‘oe ke ao, e ho’omalu nei, Nāu e ku’u pili e pumehana nei ‘O ‘oe ka ua, e ho’opulu nei, Nāu e ku’u kahu e ho’opakele nei ‘O ‘oe ka mauna, e kilakila nei, Nāu e ku’u ‘i’ini e ha’aha’a nei ‘O ‘oe ka waolani, e wehi nei, Nāu e ku’u alo e kāhiko nei ‘O ‘oe ke kahawai, e hānai nei, Nāu e ku’u ola e mālama nei ‘O ‘oe ke kai, e ho’ōla nei, Nāu e ku’u haku e kia’i nei

Papahānaumoku ka wahine ola a he mana kona e kāu pono ai iā kākou i ko kākou ‘ala. Na Papahānaumoku i noho pū me Wakea a hanau nā moku o Hawaii nei. Ua koho ‘ia i ka mālama ‘ana i nā keiki he nui. Like ho’i i ko kākou māmā, he koho kāna e lilo i wahine mālama keiki. No laila, he kuleana ho’i ko kākou e pili me ka ‘āina. Pehea kākou e ho’okō ai i kēia kuleana? E ‘ikepili kākou i ka honua a ho’opili ka ‘ike i ko kākou ola. Na ka lani i kāko’o i kou ‘ike, na ka lā i ‘imo’imo i kou aloha, na ke ao i pumehana i kou pili, na ka ua i ho’opakele i kou kahu, na ka mauna i ho’oha’aha’a i kou ‘i’ini, na ka waolani i kāhiko i kou alo, na ke kahawai i mālama i kou ola a na ke kai i kia’i i kou haku. Me kēia Aloha e ku’u Māmā e!

You are the sun, radiantly present For you are my delight, shining brightly You are the cloud, protectively present For you are my beloved, so affectionate You are the rain, drenching present For you are my guardian, to guide always You are the mountain, statuesquely present For you are my aspiration, humble always You are the forest, beautifully present For you are my image, adorned always You are the stream, presently nurturing For you are my life, caring always You are the sea, presently living For you are my dream, leading always

Papahānaumoku (Mother earth) is a woman with many gifts to rightfully share with us upon our path. Papahānaumoku sat with Wakea (sky father) and gave birth to the islands of Hawai‘i. It was her choice to care for her children. Very similar to our own mothers, they had a choice to become mothers of generations. Therefore, it is our responsibility to become one with the land. How do we carry on such responsibility? We seek to understand and become the life of the land. A relationship to the heavens that sustains your vision, the sun that shines your love, the clouds that warm your beloved, the rain that guides your guardian, the mountain that humbles your aspiration, the forest that adorns your image, the stream that nurtures your life and the sea that leads your dreams. With this, love always to My Mother! A dedication to all mothers of past, present and future generations for you are the heavens, the sun, the clouds, the rain, the mountains, the forests, the streams and the sea that leads a life of dreams. I dedicate this piece especially to my mother, Charlene Leianueanue Ching. Contact Kumu Keala Ching at

KE OLA | | 11


You are the heaven, brilliantly present For you are my vision, sustained always

Puako – A Resilient, Ocean-Focused Community

12 | | KE OLA


By Pete Hendricks

uako, on the northwest coast of Hawai‘i Island, had been a fishing and salt producing settlement centuries before the arrival of Captain James Cook in early 1779. When Cook left Kealakekua Bay to continue his ill-fated third voyage, he intended to explore the remainder of Hawai‘i’s west coast and Maui before heading north to search again for the Northwest Passage through North America. Cook’s ships, Resolution and Discovery, also carried Hawaiian passengers bound for Maui. One of the men, Koa, told Cook that water and shelter could be found in Kawaihae Bay. Cook sent Lt. William Bligh, later Captain Bligh of the famous Bounty mutiny, ahead in the pinnace, an open boat powered by oars and sail, to reconnoiter. Bligh was probably in the area between Anaeho‘omalu Bay and Kawaihae, where he found no significant water or shelter. Bligh, however, did experience the fierce, mumuku winds, which sweep over the Waimea plains and accelerate down the slopes to the sea. Puako residents surely saw Cook’s ships. On his way back to the Resolution, it is recorded that Bligh and his crew rescued three Hawaiians whose canoe had been overwhelmed by the winds and seas. In a spell of fierce mumuku, Resolution sprung her foremast and Cook made the fateful decision to return to Kealakekua for repairs. The Hawaiian residents of Puako, meanwhile, were surviving as they had for many generations, obtaining their meager water supplies by drip-collecting systems in caves, small springs and anchialine ponds of brackish water with a tidal connection to the ocean. The name Puako is connected to the story of a Hawaiian princess of the same name and her lover, Lalamilo. “Puako” can mean either “the tassel of the sugar cane” or “the flower of the Kou tree.” One of the most extensive fields of petroglyphs in Hawai‘i attests to the resourcefulness and longevity of the Hawaiian presence at Puako. In the early days of Puako, between Puako Bay and the south end of the present Puako Beach Drive at Paniau, there was likely little food cultivation. The reef fronting Puako is unique for the island in its extensive reef flats with spur-and-groove, underwater formation and a healthy community of coral, fish, and invertebrates. Coconuts have also been a valuable asset, and the inhabitants traded fish and limu (algae) with uplanders for staples such as taro and sweet potato. Puako Hawaiians were probably drafted to help reconstruct Pu‘ukohola Heiau for Kamehameha I in 1791. Soon after, many inhabitants of the whole region were harvesting and carrying sandalwood from nearby leeward slopes down to waiting ships for the new export industry. The first visit of a whaling ship to Hawai‘i, the Balena in 1819, brought a new industry which was to dominate the economy of these islands until the mid 1800s. In 1835, the beloved Reverend Lorenzo Lyons described Puako after walking there from Waimea: “Puako is a village on the shore, very like Kawaihae, but larger. It has a small harbor in which native vessels anchor. Coconut groves give it a verdant aspect. No food grows in the place. The people make salt and catch fish. These they exchange for vegetables grown elsewhere.” Lyons dedicated Puako’s Hokuloa Church in 1860.

Puako Bay looking north (Photo by Pete Hendricks)

Influenza, measles, and smallpox devastated local populations at mid-century. Madam Pele was at work too. A massive lava flow from Mauna Loa reached the ocean south of Puako in 1859, traveling between today’s Mauna Lani and Waikoloa Resorts. The smoke from the flow was easily visible from Puako, and the lava and its residue killed much of the marine life on nearby reefs. Puako continued relatively unchanged toward the end of the 1800s, until the coming of commercial sugar cultivation. Sugarcane had been one of the plants brought to Hawai‘i by the Polynesians from the south. In 1895, Wilmot Vredenberg discovered some finelooking sugarcane on a trip through Puako. Vredenberg showed the cane to R.R. Hind, who decided to expand his North Kohala sugar production there. The Hinds acquired a piece of land from Parker Ranch, which had used Puako for winter cattle forage and occasional shipping of cattle from the bay. The sugar plantation grew to include the wharf (whose pilings can be seen just south of the present boat launch ramp), a piece of shoreline and much of the current kiawe forest east of present Puako Beach Drive. Puako Plantation grew to include a processing mill, dormitories and camp for about 300 workers, a store, office building, warehousing and a honey operation. A small railroad brought sugarcane to the mill. Like many landings in Hawai‘i, small ships could come into Puako Bay, but even-smaller vessels had to carry the bags

S.S. Humu‘ula (From a Hilo Navigation Company Christmas card)

Contact writer Pete Hendricks at

KE OLA | | 13

of sugar out from the little wharf. The freighter Humu‘ula, still remembered by some old-timers here, later called at Puako. In 1897, R.R. Hind had the beautiful steam sailer Upolu built in Alameda, California, to service the Hind coastal enterprises and Honolulu needs. The Upolu was 86.5 feet long with a beam of 18.8 feet. The little coastal and interisland steamer was a great success. Unfortunately, Upolu met her end on April 2, 1901 in Puako Bay, in good weather, under the command of a captain unfamil- Upolu in San Francisco 1897 just before her maiden voyage to Hawai‘i iar with the reef. Upolu struck hard (Photo courtesy of San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park) on her approach into the bay and was a total loss. Puako is the ocean entry for a huge watershed, stretching hundreds of square miles up the Mauna Kea slopes. Winds, persistent drought and rare flooding eventually doomed Puako Plantation. Production declined from 835 tons of sugar in 1909 to 185 tons in 1913. An outgrowth of the sugar operation was honey production, which was taken over by the Goto family when the mill closed. By the late 1930s, the operation shipped more than 500 five-gallon containers of honey annually. Another shipwreck occurred at Puako Bay in the early 1930s, involving a Swedish ship, one of several transporting honey to U.S. and Swedish ports. Occasional cattle grazing and various commercial crops, such as cotton and tobacco, came and went over the years until 163 Puako houselots were developed in the early 1950s. Today a mix of modest, original cottages and substantial homes make up the Puako community. Puako continues to be an important ocean entry for small boats, with a few moored in the bay and most launched daily from the state launch ramp. Just to the north of the launch ramp is the five-acre future home of Kalākaua Marine Education Center (KMEC), a planned UH Hilo marine laboratory. QUEST (Quantative Underwater Environmental Survey Techniques), a popular course which attracts students from Hawai‘i, mainland and international institutions, will be taught at KMEC. KMEC is planned as a community-friendly research and education center. The Puako community has always been ocean-oriented and in modern times has contributed funding to ocean water quality monitoring and management. The small, resilient community of Puako is committed to maintaining the health, productivity and resiliency of the unique ocean ecosystem it shares. ❖

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The Life

Maika Kuamo’o (foreground) and friends learn to throw net from Oli Turalde (at right, bending over). (Photo by Craig Elevitch)


The kapu system was overthrown in 1819, and the islands were caught in the net of cultural change. Much has shifted: fishing techniques, laws, environment and attitudes. Nowadays, tourist and other recreational uses of the ocean outweigh respect for native fishing. Even regulations meant to conserve the ocean hurt fishermen. Sometimes the need for conservation is forgotten in the heat of anger or the push for survival. Fishing has become a business and sport as well as a subsistence lifestyle. So how does one respect native fishermen in today’s world? “Don’t chase the fish away,” says Oli Turalde, age 22. That’s Rule of Respect No. 1. For a beachgoer, this means if somebody is pole fishing, throwing net, or spear diving, don’t swim or paddle out near them. If they’re fishing off boats, keep your distance. “You see someone diving out there with their boat anchored,” explains Oli’s father, Keoni Turalde, a subsistence fisherman and former commercial diver. “People go by with their boats or jet skis… making big noise. That’s not respect.” He recommends giving fishermen the whole bay, or at least more than 150 feet. That’s easy, but it’s just a start. What else shows respect? Big ticket issues that chase fish away include pollution and destruction of reefs. Conservation efforts aimed at reversing these trends often outlaw native fishing practices that are hurt by this same pollution and destruction. So, if you are in a position to make decisions affecting the long-term health of ocean habitats, please consider the marine environment, the fish, fishermen, and our local diet. Factors like chemicals used on golf courses, agricultural run-off, sewage systems, non-point pollution and blasting the coast to create false lagoons affect whole ecosystems. Naturally, these factors affect fish habitat, which is fundamental to fishermen. ❁Continued on page 16

KE OLA | | 15

few years ago, a Hawaiian fisherman noticed a huge ball of akule boiling off the pier at Kailua-Kona. He tucked his whip net under a boogie board and circled the fish. It was a grand catch! However, he knew he had to be smooth bringing it up, because Kailua Pier is in Zone A of the Kailua Bay Fisheries Management Area, where no net fishing is allowed. Just as he prepared to pull in the fish, a big tour boat drove in and parked over the net. The fisherman waited. Hours later, the boat pulled out and he hauled the net in. It was full of fish-heads. The puhi, or eels, had chomped every fish. What a waste! What disrespect! The tour boat operators didn’t even know they ruined the catch. Did the lawmakers realize that, in protecting marine life, they also criminalized our fisher’s natural and native act? This disrespect can be a result of ignorance. The general public may not know how to be respectful of fishermen or of Native Hawaiian rights. Fishing people, on the other hand, may not appreciate modern conservation laws. It is imperative that we conserve marine life and ocean habitats; Native Hawaiian fishing practices must be respected in the process. Additionally, it is important to support people of all races who wish to eat from the ocean. In times gone by, respect for fishermen was a given. “The professions of fishing and farming were the important, honored professions of our people,” wrote Daniel Kaha’ulelio in 1902. Skilled fishermen and farmers were sought after for marriage, because they were like Social Security: they would feed you in old age. Conservation was built into the kapu, or system of religious law. For example, ‘opelu were caught and eaten from roughly July to January, at which time aku was not touched under penalty of death. From January to July, aku were open, and ‘opelu were forbidden.

law. Hawaiian rights to gather on undeveloped lands—including the ocean—were expressly preserved when the private property model of land tenure was implemented in 1848, and they have been upheld in court to this day. (A recent decision was Public Access Shoreline Hawai’i v. Hawai’i Planning Commission in 1995.) Article XII, section 7 of the Hawai’i Constitution (1978) says: The State reaffirms and shall protect all rights, customarily and traditionally exercised for subsistence, cultural and religious purposes and possessed by ahupua’a tenants who are descendants of native Hawaiians who inhabited the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1778, subject to the right of the State to regulate such rights.

“No Fishing” zones provide a refuge for fish reproduction, yet they chase native Hawaiians out of traditional subsistence zones. How can we respect native fishermen and preserve ocean resources?

❁Continued from page 15

16 | | KE OLA

And this leads us to Rule of Respect No. 2: Don’t chase the fishermen away. Unfortunately, fishermen get pushed out all the time. Native Hawaiian fishermen get fenced off their traditional fishing trails, blocked by massive developments, even criminalized for the food they catch. The right to fish and eat turns out to be a hotly contested cultural conflict; it involves 150 years of constitutional

Book today and feel better tomorrow!

Landowners, take notice! The western concept of exclusivity, or the ability to keep people off one’s land, does not apply universally in Hawai’i. Cultural practitioners can enter private lands to do traditional practices. Specifically regarding fishing, native Hawaiians have the legal right to access the coast, and generally the humility to do so in a respectful way. As Oli Turalde puts it, “We get rights to beach access. We can be five feet away from the highest waterline. If they [landowners] build one wall, we can go on ‘em.” So don’t fence off fishing trails. It hurts, says the elder Turalde, when people suddenly cannot go where they have been fishing all their lives. Furthermore, native fishermen request, if you buy shoreline property, don’t imagine you own the beach. (Beaches are public property.) Don’t build back-to-back developments that change the nature and culture of a place. If you undertake a conservation project, do so supporting native fishing practice. If not, we may convert subsistence areas to tourist attractions, lose

knowledge of feeding ourselves, and suffer more social ills. Problems develop when people are cut off from their ancestral work. A fisherman I’ll call Lawai’a, since he asked me not to print his name, throws net and sells fish door-todoor for a living. He shares how expanding developments make him feel. “[Some resorts] so big, for just get to the ocean, might as well go somewhere else,” Keoni Turalde and friend display a nenue, he says. “[At] the caught to feed their families. guard shack, the (Photo by Prana Mandoe) guards tell us the public parking is full, and we go inside, no-one stay there…. [The residents] asking me where I live. I tell them, ‘Where they from? ’ They say they are residents, and I say, ‘So am I…’”

“As one people trying to survive, we are smothered,” he continues. “Swarmed… They come over here and make us feel like foreigners… Make you feel shame for what I do in my life. They make you feel like you taking too much, just for live.” Both Lawai’a and Turalde were raised in long-time Hawaiian fishing families, and both have had run-ins with the law. For Turalde, it was over turtle. As a boy, turtle was his family’s meat. In the 1960s, however, turtle steak and ornaments became a craze, and the honu population plummeted. In 1978, the green sea turtle was listed on the Endangered Species List. Turalde was once charged for catching turtle, just for home consumption, but the charges were dropped when he asserted native gathering rights. Now he reminisces. “As a kanaka maoli [native Hawaiian], I been eating turtle since I was a baby. Raised up in my grandma and grandpa’s lifestyle— they had 20 kids—and eat what they feed me, and learn what they been taught by their parents for the same kind of living…. Hopefully the state would let the kanaka maoli catch turtle and eat turtle again.” Here we see a native food banned because of over-harvesting for the retail industry; the conservation law that followed both enabled the honu population to come back and shut down a traditional Hawaiian practice. For our second fisherman, Lawai’a, the run-in with the law had to do with location. A game warden saw him walk through Wai’opae Tide Pools, a conservation zone, with a throw net. His wife says that, although court transcripts affirm the warden never saw him throw net, and although he was just carrying his net to a legal fishing ground (which is not against the law), her husband may face jail time. Continued on page 18

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“Can I come back tomorrow and fish where I once was from?” asks Lawai’a. “Is this my heritage?” Many people respect fishermen like Turalde and our anonymous informants; we love to eat fish, and fishermen are generous folks. Nevertheless, today’s cultural landscape threatens their lifestyle. Turalde suggests that when new people come to the islands, they should get to know native people and the local lifestyle better. “We [are] just the poor surviving in this high cost of living, in this American way of interaction,” he explains. So show some respect. Take care of fish and their habitat. Welcome native fishermen. This is, after all, their home. We can appreciate the many time-tested ways in which they know how to make a sustainable living. Listening to them, we can learn how best to nurture our natural island home. ❖

Works Cited: Kaha’ulelio, Daniel. Ka ‘Oihana Lawai’a: Hawaiian Fishing Traditions. Mary Kawena Puku’i, trans. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu: 2006. Malo, David. Hawaiian Antiquities. Dr. N. B. Emerson, trans. Honolulu, 1898. Hawaiian Gazette Company, Ltd.: 1903. www.hbs. Public Access Shoreline Hawai’i. html Richardson, W. Knox. “The Art and Science of the Green Sea Turtle: Early ‘Life Force’ Icon Thrives as ‘Modern Kapu.’” Oahu Island News. December 2004. “The Green Sea Turtle.” The Hawaii Association for Marine Education and Research, Inc. Web%20Pages/Education/Marine%20Life/Turtles/gree n_turtles.htm “Regulated Fishing Areas on Hawai`i Island.” Division of Aquatic Resources. State of Hawai’i: 2008-2010. dar/regulated_areas_hawaii.html#kailua_bay “Marine Life Conservation District.” Division of Aquatic Resources. State of Hawai’i: 2008-2010. mlcd_waiopae.html Contact writer Prana Mandoe at

Roses in My Heart


Auntie Marjie Spencer |

By Catherine Tarleton

so she could entertain with the different groups at conventions. “I was singing in five clubs at one time,” she said. “I stopped so I could concentrate on teaching.” In 2002, Auntie Marjie received the Waikoloa Foundation’s “Naupaka Award” for perpetuating the aloha spirit and preserving Hawaiian culture through her teaching of traditional Hawaiian language, dance and song. “It was an honor to receive the Naupaka Award,” says Auntie Marjie. “I was the third. The first was Gloriann Akau and the second was Daniel Akaka.” In 2009, she was nominated for a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) National Heritage Fellowship, for her many contributions to Hawaiian culture. Her music is her love, but unlike many of her contemporaries, Auntie Marjie didn’t grow up in a family of musicians or hula dancers. “My father didn’t like hula,” she said. “He was too Victorian. I had a very strict upbringing.” Born in 1924, Marjie was the eldest of her father’s third wife’s 14 children (there were already seven from his first two wives). She had a birthmark near her ankle. “When Dad saw it, he told my mother, ‘She’s going to go, go, go, go.’ And that’s what I’ve done,” she said. Her father worked as a schoolteacher in Puakō and postmaster in their home town of Kukuihaele on the Hāmākua Coast. He was also a forest ranger in Waipi‘o Valley, and when he camped, it was seven-year-old Marjie’s job to take the pack mule in with supplies.

❁Continued on page 20

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arjorie Naholokahiki Burke Spencer has a little while to talk story before she teaches ‘ukulele class at the resort. Her Hawaiian bracelets jingle on smooth, unspotted hands as she waves and gestures, occasionally touching her face, occasionally checking her watch to be sure she’s on time for class. “I never check my watch when I’m playing,” she says. “I want to play as many songs as I can.” At 86, dressed in signature mu‘umu‘u, long string of pearls, lauhala hat and lei papale (hat), she is an active and energetic ‘ukulele teacher, hula dancer, singer and “ambassador of aloha,” according to everyone who knows her. Auntie Marjie Spencer teaches weekly ‘ukulele classes in Waimea, Waikoloa, Waikoloa Resort and Mauna Lani Resort, where visitors from the U.S., Canada, Japan and elsewhere come back year after year to play and sing along with her island “regulars.” “The best time in my life is right now, because of the people and because of what I do—sharing music and ‘ukulele,” she says, “and it’s why I’m still here.” Auntie Marjie is one of those remarkable women who decided to finally follow her own bliss and reinvent herself after raising her family and retiring from work. At age 68, she went to the Waimea Senior Center and began to listen, watch, learn and, as she says, “practice, practice, practice, practice and more practice.” She joined the Ka‘ahumanu Society, the Waimea Hawaiian Civic Club, Waimea Hawaiian Homestead Association, Waimea Senior Citizens Club and the Hale O Nā Ali‘i. She learned hula and ‘ukulele


Photos by Catherine Tarleton

The Life

Recipient of the Waikoloa Foundation’s “Naupaka Award” for perpetuating the aloha spirit and preserving Hawaiian culture, a true “ambassador of aloha,” Auntie Marjie Spencer says the best time of her life is now.

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❁Continued from page 19 “The mule knew where to go,” she said, “so I would just sit there and… zig-zag, zig-zag.” She waves her hand back and forth. Growing up in the 1930s, she helped in the family garden and went fishing with her dad in Kaupulena. “There was no such thing as unemployment,” she said. “We made our own fun.” She remembers playing in the sugar cane flume and making bean bags from Bull Durham pouches stuffed with leaves. “We didn’t have jacks, we had little pebbles. And the ball was a small lemon. It would bounce,” she said. “And Mother would get a thread spool, cut both ends and put it on a guava stick. That was our yoyo.” Marjie attended Kukuihaele and Hōnōka‘a Schools until her junior year, when her parents sent her to Honolulu Business College. “I studied ‘comptometry,’” she said. “It’s like an adding machine. I was very fast, and I would help Dad in the post office.” After Margie graduated, she began work for the FBI as a fingerprinter. “Everybody in the state of Hawai‘i, all the fingerprints came to me,” she said. In 1944, when she was 20, Marjie came home for the holidays and took the sampan bus to Waimea to see her sister. But when it was time to go back to Hōnōka‘a, the bus never came. “In those days we had no car, no phones,” she said. “So I went to the police. That was at the time when thousands of soldiers were in town,” she said. In 1943, Waimea had, almost overnight, become home to 25,000 Marines from the Second Division— mostly survivors of the devastating battle on the island of Betio in Tarawa Atoll. They arrived by truckloads into the sleepy paniolo town, ill-equipped, many physically ill and unprepared for the winter weather. The troops were quickly adopted by Waimea. Enterprising residents set up hamburger stands, laundries and shops, and Parker School was used as a USO Club for recreation, concerts and dances. It was not uncommon at the time for a police officer in one area to give someone a ride to the police station in another part of the island, particularly a young, single woman in a town bursting with Marines. “I was still on the phone,” says Auntie Marjie, “When somebody came over and said, ‘Ma’am, that officer would like to take you home.’ And I said ‘Oh…?’ “Oh!” A handsome policeman in uniform and holster waited politely across the room. Officer Peace Spencer was on his way to provide police presence for one of the public dances, and Marjie went along. She remembers sitting and waiting, watching couples dance, enjoying the music. At the end of the night, he took off his gun belt and held out his hand. “We danced the last dance,” she says, her eyes far away. She doesn’t remember the song, but she relives the moment when she hears her favorite, “Could I Have this Dance, for the Rest of My Life?” “When I hear that song, I say ‘My God—it’s me.’” Peace and Marjie were married for 48 years and raised five children. She worked as administrative director for the Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy, and when the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel opened in 1965, Marjie became one of the original employees as a cashier/PBX operator, and then executive secretary and activities director. “It was at the Mauna Kea,” she said, “When I would see these people—musicians with their beautiful aloha shirts and mu‘umu‘u, carrying their ‘ukulele. And I thought ‘That’s what I want to do.’” When she retired, she began her second life, learning hula and ‘ukulele. It wasn’t long before she was performing and teaching. Auntie Marjie was teaching at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows when Sharon Torbert, now a Waikoloa resident,

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was visiting from the mainland with some friends. As they strolled through the hotel atrium, Sharon recalls that a lovely woman in mu‘umu‘u and hat with lei pāpale greeted them. She gave Sharon a lei, answered questions and shared an impromptu hula lesson on the spot. The next day, at the King Kamehameha Day Parade in KailuaKona, Sharon saw this same smiling “ambassador of aloha” on one of the floats and she was waving at them. Police Officer Peace Spencer gave a ride Years later, after to young Marjie in 1944 Waimea, and it Sharon and husband led to a 48-year marriage. Morris had moved to the island, they signed up for ‘ukulele class, and there she was again—Auntie Marjie. “She became a very significant person in my life,” said Sharon. “Her gentle, loving ways just endeared her to me so much. She is patient and willing to show you over and over again; as much as it takes until you get it. She makes me feel special, just like she does everyone else in our class. She always tells us that she is still on this Earth because of us.” Sharon spearheaded Auntie Marjie’s NEA nomination last year, and although she has not yet been awarded, the nominations remain open for five years. “All these people have become my extended family,” Auntie says. “They have become roses in my heart. I could walk in my garden of roses forever.” For the NEA nomination, Daniel K. Akaka, Jr., Director of Cultural Affairs at the Mauna Lani Resort at Kalahuipua‘a, compared her way of sharing-teaching with that of traditional Hawaiian grandparents. “In our Hawaiian culture, the elders, the kūpuna were greatly respected and revered as the teachers, the kumu, the tree of knowledge. In the days of old, the mākua—the parents, tended to their daily chores while the grandparents took on the role as the educators for their grandchildren. Although the sands of time have shifted and the modern world encroaches, there are a few in the Hawaiian community who are still bearers of the torch and who embody the values and the teachings of old, the Aloha spirit. “Aunty Marjie’s kuleana or responsibility is to share her knowledge of hula and playing the ‘ukulele. Although many can teach these skills, not all can teach in the time-honored way of the kūpuna. At an age when most people would look at this time in their lives as a time for rest and retirement, Aunty Marjie unselfishly uses her precious time for teaching.” “It’s been a joyous ride,” she says. “There are not enough hours in the day.” She checks her watch—to be sure she’s on time for class. v

Pua Plantasia Gala A benefit for Kona Outdoor Circle

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22 | | KE OLA

Photo by Alvis Upitis

Kona Outdoor Circle Keeping Kona Clean, Green and Beautiful since 1948

When Two or More are Gathered in Grandmother’s Name “There was a prophecy on Turtle Island and the mainland that it would be women that bring in the new era,” Ma’ata says. “And 13 is a very powerful number.” With 13 lunar cycles in a solar year, the moon travelling 13 degrees across the sky every day and our human bodies having 13 major joints, the number 13 certainly seems to be significant—a major rhythm of nature. The back of a certain turtle shell has 13 segments, and some say these 13 segments represent the 13 tribes of the Native people in North America.

In the fall of 2004 the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers first gathered from all over the world—Alaska, North, South and Central America; Africa; and Asia. They came together in upstate New York and, within three days, they formed a Global Alliance. “We gathered from the four directions in the land of the people of the Iroquois Confederacy,” says the Global Alliance Statement. “Affirming our relations with traditional medicine peoples and communities throughout the world, we have been brought together by a common vision to form a new global alliance. We are the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers. We have united as one. Ours is an alliance of prayer, education and healing for our Mother Earth, all Her inhabitants, all the children and for the next seven generations to come.” From this foundation, like a rain of wisdom, other grandmothers’ circles have formed—one of them the 13 Grandmothers Pacifica—in Hawai‘i and beyond. “What we’re trying to do here is to bring back the ancient wisdom teachings that have been lost,” says Ma’ata, whose father in O’ahu descended from Tongan royalty. Fahu, or eldest daughter in a family of 14 children, Ma’ata was raised in Tonga and Hawai’i. “There are four main concerns here on the Big Island that the 13 Grandmothers Pacifica are addressing,” she says. “First, we’re helping grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren, for whatever reason, whether their kids are in jail or on drugs or are incapable.” The Big Island Grandmother Circle also supports a healthy, clean, green environment and encourages a grounded and personal, wisdom-oriented spirituality that will help heal societal issues like drug use. Lastly, they share the principle that unifies all grandmothers’ circles: they are remembering, gathering and sharing native knowledge, “to strengthen and empower people, to bring back the balance that has been lost.” After organizing the first Big Island Grandmothers’ gathering in February of 2010, which drew more than 300 people, the three elders began meeting to plan this year’s event, to be held at Hawai‘I Volcanoes National Park.

❁Continued on page 24

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hen the Grandmothers come from the four directions and speak, the world will heal.” -- Hopi Prophecy Grandmothers circles are arising. Out of the native lands, in cities, and across the many islands and continents of the planet, indigenous grandmothers, shamans and medicine women have been called together to share sacred wisdom and earth-based healing traditions. Although they are grassroots groups, rising up out of our families and communities, they are daring to dance up a storm—a rain of collective, indigenous wisdom. These wise, wonderful grandmothers have such an urgent, egoless message of peace that they have drawn hugs from the Dalai Lama and harassment from the Vatican—for asking the Pope to rescind historic church doctrine that played a role in the genocide of millions of indigenous people worldwide. Grandmothers are coming into their spiritual power and it’s an awe-inspiring event to watch, experience and learn from, especially when the ancient tradition of grandmothers circles is being shared in a Kamuela living room. Three tutu wahine grandmothers are showing me the way of wisdom circles. Tutu wahine Maya Yonting-Dornes and grandmother Jon Marie Kerns sit comfortably on the couch. Behind them, through a large picture window, sits the voluptuous Mauna Kea, glowing beneath the 11th-hour sun. These spiritual elders are meeting at the home of tutu wahine Ma’ata Frances Tukuafu, a vivacious 45-year-old, “the fiery one,” who sits athletically on the floor, cross-legged and grinning as she speaks of her passion.



The Life

atherdmothers G , 2010, Gran ry kend a ee ru w b Fe 31 e h ar’s Marc mony of th ye re is ce th g t n A si lc r. o lo C Crate e at V ano ge of Kilauea e will conven in h a an) w tu tu ing at the ed s and nda Merrym randmother (Photo by Li p. m a C ry gathering, g ta Mili

❁Continued from

24 | | KE OLA

page 23

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!!!) With Aloha & Joy, Ana W. • South Kohala

Although she grew up on Maui, tutu wahini Maya Yonting-Dornes now lives on Hawai‘i Island. In between, she trained in Christian, Japanese Buddhist and Hawaiian lore from her grandTutu Wahine B. J. Springer holds the ho’okupu, mother before an offering for Pele, while Tutu Wahine Maxine Kahaulelio looks on. (Photo by Linda Merryman) moving to New York to train in the western corporate world. Auntie Abbie Nape’ahi told her that she would be a “bridge,” says Maya. I had no idea what that meant. Now I know: it involves the ancient form of ho’oponopono.” Ho’oponopono, the Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness, often recommends communication through a third person and offers to set things right after a quarrel or misunderstanding. By preventing small annoyances from becoming larger wars, ho’oponopono could be the remedy the world is waiting for. Actually, we don’t have to wait for it any longer, since the grandmothers are speaking, and the world is “hungry for it,” says Ma’ata. “We are not backed by government, or by a religious affiliation, but what we have to offer as circles of grandmothers appeals to those who are searching for spirituality and don’t know how to name it. It is quite nurturing for people to be in the presence of the grandmothers,” she says. Many are hungry not just to listen, the grandmothers say, but to speak about their concerns, the dangers of patriarchal customs, and how the human domination of nature can be replaced with partnership principles, respecting nature, women and men— of all cultures. Ma’ata experienced firsthand some of the patriarchal bias that exists in Polynesia. While on a recent trip to Aotearoa/New Zealand, at the grandmothers’ first welcome ceremony, women were not allowed to speak at all. “I felt the rage rise up in me as I had forgotten how patriarchal the customs are, both in my own Tongan culture, as well as the rest of the Pacific,” says Ma’ata. “I had to ask myself why this was, and how can we, as 13 Grandmother Circles, help to bring in equality.” Recent history has scant record of the women leaders of ancient tribes—in Native American cultures as well as indigenous cultures around the world—India, Africa, Europe and the Americas. A search will reveal more matrilineal cultures than today’s society remembers. Often, they are recorded as those who ruled over eras of peace. Perhaps it is time to come back into balance, to simple healing diplomacy through grandmothers’ circles. Wisdom circles cultivate honor, respect and a breadth of knowledge that restores wise, feminine perceptions in a world which has been dominated by aggression and power struggles. By helping to restore the grandmother qualities of empathy and understanding, we—the grandmother in you and the grandmother in me—may facilitate a new era of peace: in rings, wheels and circles of honest conversation, ceremony and celebration.

The Talking Staff and Sacred Bowl Traditions

“We’ve used a little butterfly kachina doll, a feather or whatever is there,” says Ma’ata of the talking staff tradition, which is a centerpiece of grandmother circles. When they pass the talking staff, whoever holds the chosen feather, flower or gemstone has the attention of everyone in the circle. No one else can speak except that one person, until they are complete. Native Americans used the talking staff—the law of the land, not the government—to bring people of different tribes and cultures together to communicate respectfully and peacefully with one another. In grandmothers’ circles using the native talking staff tradition, individuals create a collective. Ma’ata is bi-cultural and at home in many communities. She recently sat with Grandfather Warren, Cherokee Wisdom Keeper, in his Turquoise Lodge in Indiana, where they discussed her role in bringing the 13 Grandmother movement to Pacific cultures. In her travels, she carries a beautiful ‘umeke (gourd bowl) which collects the breath of everyone who attends the circles. When women, men, and people of all cultures gather at Volcano Military Camp March 31 – April 3, they will focus collective intelligence, speak, listen, celebrate and “breathe together” in ‘ohana, focusing visualizations and prayers for creating the new world we choose.

The Prophecy

The Ripples Spread

If the Earth were a lake and it began to rain ancient wisdom, there would be a drop of caring, an expanding circle, then shared insight, a larger ring, and more dots becoming circles that expand in intersecting wheels as the rain drenches the already wet body of water. Soon, the whole stagnant surface of the lake would be

Resources: For details on the March 31 – April 3, 2001 “13 Grandmothers Pacifica Gathering” at Kilauea Military Camp within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island, please visit The International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers: A new Grandmothers’ Circle is gathering on the island of O‘ahu in 2011 (Date TBA). Contact writer Marya Mann, who is herself of Native American ancestry, at

KE OLA | | 25

For the grandchildren, for the next seven generations, for all relationships, the 13 Grandmothers Pacifica speak of peacemaking and sharing the custom of sitting in grandmother circles, of bringing back the ancient ways of birthing and raising children, of performing rights-of-passage ceremonies for young girls, of restoring the respectful way of communicating in wisdom circles. They bring teachings from the lands of the Navajo, the Lakota, Cherokee and Iroquois. From the islands of New Zealand, the mountains of Tibet and the archipelago of Japan. From the Mainland and Maui. They are already meeting on the Big Island in circles large and small, bringing 13 indigenous grandmothers from the Pacific Rim together with caretakers, kahuna, spiritual teachers and with all of us. “There’s a place for everybody,” says grandmother Jon Marie Kerns, one of the bi-cultural leaders of the Indigenous Grandmothers movement on the Big Island and beyond. “Healing is environmental, emotional, physical and mental, and that means that our communities heal because we’re involving everyone, not leaving anyone out. “In a Hopi prophecy it is said there will be five worlds,” Jon Marie says. “The first world was taken by ice, the second by fire. The third was the great flood. The fourth would have hunger, disease and war, and that’s where we are right now. Yet as we awaken and bring our hearts together in a circle, we will have an opening to a path of health and harmony again—a fifth world—so that’s why in Hopi and many native traditions throughout the world everyone is saying we want to share the circle in order to create that heartbeat that will grow a new life for our children on this sacred planet.”

shattered, transformed and reinvigorated by heaven’s nectar, drops of insight, love and understanding. Tutu wahine Maya is one of those women who waits and watches closely as the voices of wisdom unfold, listening to others attentively, and after everyone else has spoken, she smiles humbly and says, “Well. . .” and then brings forth the truth everyone has been struggling for. Today, sitting in a blue cardigan and white jeans, she says, “The new world is inside, not outside. You arrive at a point where you trust. That means you’ve stepped out of your own way. “I’ve gone through the fire of controlling. We’re all controllers in recovery, but when you have a moment of epiphany, after you stop sabotaging yourself, you see the real kupuna values. Children even have grandmother energy.” When Maya was 50 and her husband died, she realized he had been the excuse for “not paying attention to myself.” She grew into her grandmother self after his passing and began to trust her innate wisdom. From a career as a pioneer in New York’s SOHO to working with leading state and island rural health associations, she has learned, “Trust requires paying attention. To others, yes, but to ourselves also. “We’re not doing this to change the world; we’re changing “One grandmother can change the world; 13 ourselves and grandmothers can birth a new one,” say Big bringing back Island members of 13 Grandmothers Pacifica: the circles to From the left, tutu wahine Maya Yontingreplace the Dornes, grandmother JonMarie Kerns and tutu plantation menwahine Ma’ata Frances Tukuafu. tality, where (Photo by Marya Mann) one group did for another. Now, we’re doing for ourselves and in the process helping to give our children natural preparation for the modern world. “We want to bring people together and simply let the ripples spread.” Ho. ❖

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



Colors of a Living Volcano March 12 through April 17, 2011

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Rod Cameron

Signing of the 2011 Merrie Monarch Festival poster VAC Gallery on Tuesday, April 26 from 11AM–2PM

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Toll Free: (866) 967-7565


he eight-year-old boy stood, transfixed, as the rest of his friends ran ahead during their tour of Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. They turned around, worried about young Rod Cameron. The object of his fascination? The fold of skin over the hand of the Madonna, placed under the arm of the body of Jesus, in a marble replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta. That fine detail struck the young man as “some kind of genius.” “From that moment, I was inspired to be an artist,” Rod says. Years later, with a multi-layered career behind him, the accomplished artist Rod Cameron displayed his dry, laconic sense of humor while sitting in his sunny Beach Road Studio in Hawaiian Paradise Park. With a totally deadpan face and only a twinkle in his eye, he joked, “That fella caught my eye. I thought, this guy’s got the talent!” With the inspiration of no less than perhaps the greatest artist who ever lived, Cameron’s life path was illuminated for him as a

painter who has never stopped exploring the depths and heights to which color and light may take him. For the second year, he has been invited to create the image for the annual Merrie Monarch hula festival poster. It’s fitting perhaps that this festival poster commission should come not too long after his return to Hawai‘i, mirroring his first commercial art project in Hawai‘i, back in the ‘70s—t-shirts and flyers for another festival, the first Diamondhead Crater Music Festival. Hawai‘i called to Cameron soon after finishing his college art studies in Southern California. A buddy who had returned from Vietnam with silk-screening skills invited Rod to come to O‘ahu to be partner in a t-shirt business. They obtained the design rights for the music festival and had the time of their lives, working day and night, but also being in the center of the “Hawaiian Woodstock” music scene with the most popular ‘70s entertainers of the day.

The business prospered, up to a point, Rod says. “We’d make a lot of money, then go surfing and party.” After two years, Cameron returned to California, where he had an opportunity to study with another master, Keith Ward, a famous illustrator in Palm Springs. He delved into fine painting and plein air, took workshops and worked as Ward’s apprentice, which included the role of studio janitor. After a fortuitous assignment driving a car from Palm Springs to Puerto Vallarta “stranded” him in the tropical resort with nothing to do but paint for two months, Rod returned to Los Angeles, landing a job as art director for an agency and eventually forming his own design agency. The firm’s clients included the Los Angeles Times and a number of toy manufacturers, such as Mattel, Hasbro and Warner Brothers. Finding a niche that called for him to create point-of-purchase displays, posters, packaging and exhibits, Cameron traveled worldwide on the international toy show circuit. During this time he was also an adjunct professor at University of California Santa Barbara-Extension

Dancer Kau‘ilani Quihano of Halau Hula Ka Makani Hali ‘Ala O Puna was the model for this painting that was commissioned for the 2010 Merrie Monarch Festival poster.


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and illustrated over a dozen children’s books. He has been honored with more than 60 awards for art, illustration and design; including a National Ben Franklin Gold and two Silver Awards for the books. Still nurturing a dream to some day return to Hawai‘i, Cameron was thinking of a way to fund his move. The answer came in the realization that toy inventors earn royalties that create an ongoing stream of income. So he came up with a marketable idea in bubble blowers that don’t need a bottle of soap to make the bubbles. They just dip in water—much less mess. Throughout Cameron’s commercial art career that spanned the transition from drawing board to computer, he never left his core talents in hand illustration, using the media of airbrush, gouache and pen and ink to render his projects. And, he never lost his passion for painting like the masters did, in oils. “I like the malleability of the paint. It takes awhile to dry, so you can keep working it. I build up layers that I call veils of color.” In addition to Michelangelo and the Impressionists, Cameron’s inspirational artists include John Singer Sargent and Lucien Freud (grandson of Sigmund Freud). All are proficient in rendering the human figure and portraiture. “I always return to the figure,” says Cameron,

Late-afternoon painting of a rainy street scene and Hilo’s Palace Theatre , a plein air study that won the “Hilo in Our Hearts” arts competition in 2004.

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“because in the body you have all the elements of nature—the hills and valleys and colors.” All the forces of nature have led him to his latest passion— painting the ephemeral landscape of the volcano and most specifically, the dancers who interpret it in the ancient kahiko style of hula. As a plein air painter, Cameron is adept at Cameron invented several toys—including painting this bubble blower—for major toy outdoor manufacturers. landscapes. Sometimes, however, he has to simulate the atmosphere in the studio. This he has done in recreating the glow of the volcano casting its light upon the hula dancer. “For an artist, being able to paint with the light source coming out of the ground—that’s just the most amazing thing,” Cameron says. A raised platform or stage puts his model at a level where the painter’s eye is at “ground level.” Professional lighting with colored gels casts the red and yellow colors that distinguish his paintings. Kumu Hula Ehulani Stephany and Halau Hula Ka Makani Hali ‘Ala O Puna, of Nanawale have become collaborators with Cameron in providing models, costumes and background accompaniment for his Merrie Monarch poster paintings. After watching a performance by the halau at an art show opening at Pahoa Museum, he asked the kumu if she could help provide models for his paintings. She graciously agreed and introduced him to the wahine and kane models that would become inspirations for the past two years’ posters. Kau‘ilani Quihano posed for the 2010 image and Kuane‘omea Cariaga was the kane inspiration for this year’s poster. Kumu Ehulani —who also appears in the background of 2011 poster art—led them through the authentic Pele (volcano) dances on his special studio stage. Along the way, she also

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Creations by Keiko

Tiles by Scarlet

Verna Keoho

Victoria McCormick

Patricia Marsh

Bryan Lowry

Koa Pens

Al Furtado

Honu Heart Designs Sand Pendants

Barbara Hanson

Karen Thrasher

Starborn Creations

❁Continued from page 29

Upcoming Art Events with Rod Cameron: “Colors of a Living Volcano” – Volcano Art Center Gallery. Opening, 5 – 7 p.m., March 12. Figurative Drawing & Painting Workshop with draped model – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., April 9, SKEA, Honaunau. Call Birgit at 808.936.5008 or Rod at 808.982.8428. Figurative Hula Painting Workshop with live hula model – April 16, Volcano Art Center. Class limited to 15; intermediate and advanced artists 18 & older. Call 808.967.8222 for information and to register. Signing of Merrie Monarch posters – 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., April 26, Volcano Art Center Gallery, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Prague Painting & City Tour – May 23 – 29. praguepaintingworkshop&tour.html Contact Karen Valentine at

“Treehouse Walk”

The artist in his studio, on steps leading to the stage used for creatively lighting subjects in volcano landscapes (Photo by Karen Valentine)

KE OLA | | 31

consulted with the artist to assure the appropriateness of the dancers’ positions for the paintings. A misty, veiled atmosphere of reds, yellows and oranges surrounds the dancers in traditional Pele dance regalia as they portray the stories of the volcano, seen reflected in their eyes. Kumu Ehulani says Cameron is “getting more and more inspired by the spirit of our living volcano and I can see it in him.” “There’s such an ancient, almost primordial atmosphere here that is unique to anywhere else in the world,” says Cameron, whose passion about this phase of his painting career is evident. “I’m not a commercial illustrator anymore. I’m not interested in portraying the hula dancer in the romantic style. I want to be true to the authentic hula and to everything I paint.” It’s not important for his dancers, for example, to have thin, models’ figures, he says. Watch for the painter, with Kumu Ehulani and her dancers, who will be riding on a float in the 2011 Merrie Monarch Festival Parade on Saturday, April 30, in downtown Hilo. Cameron is now preparing for a show at the Volcano Art Center Gallery, “Colors of a Living Volcano,” opening March 12. The paintings are still in process as this article is written. “Every show I do has a certain amount of experimentation. I’ll try different things.“ He works at different sites around Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and says he’ll work right up until the show opens. “I like doing a show that is site-specific, and there’s so much in one place with the volcano. The range of colors and subjects is phenomenal. I want to paint in a zone, night and day. The beauty of immersing oneself into an area like this is that you start dreaming it.” Since the time he was eight years old, Cameron has taught himself art techniques, and after formal training, he is still learning. “I am now in a phase experimenting with the Fibonacci sequence,” he says. It’s a mathematical proportion that applies to the relationships of parts in most everything in nature—seashells, flowers, animals and the proportions in the human body. An extension of this learning is the exploration of the Japanese proportional rectangle, Cameron says. Rod Cameron the painter is now, also, Rod Cameron the teacher, conducting a schedule of workshops. On April 16, he will be teaching a workshop in figurative painting with a live hula model at Volcano Art Center, Niulani. Then, in May, he will host a painters’ tour to Prague, Czech Republic, featuring a five-day plein air workshop and touring. Prague is a city with many attractive scenes and beautiful, historic buildings to intrigue the artists, he says. He will be accompanied by friends, artist Margaret Stanton and guide and interpretor Maj Jiri Baleg, who has lived there since before the “Velvet Revolution,” and knows the city from the inside. Mixing his love for the “old world” scenes with his passion for primordial landscapes in formation, Cameron has a full palette of colors and subjects from which to draw. ❖

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The Life



mmmmm…….chocolate! Many people consider it one of the major food groups. And with good reason—it not only tastes good, but makes you feel good while boasting health benefits. The botanical source of chocolate is cacao (pronounced ka-cow); the tree’s genus, Theobroma, is derived from Greek theo (god) and brosi (food), meaning “food of the Gods.” Theobromine, a stimulant, is an alkaloid of the cacao bean that’s used medicinally as a vasodilator (widens blood vessels), heart stimulant and diuretic. No longer just a guilty pleasure, chocolate possesses cacao flavonoids with potent antioxidant capability. Increasing evidence confirms cacao’s ability to inhibit the oxidation of bad cholesterol (LDL) by 75 percent. These flavonoids have also been linked to immune system health. With all these attributes, it seems like everyone should be growing cacao in their backyard and whipping up a batch of chocolate once a week. Right? The reality is, first, that cacao grows best at about 20 degrees north or south of the equator, and Hawai‘i is at the far northern edge of that range. Furthermore, concocting chocolate from cacao is a measured, multi-step process.

Keauhou Couple Leads the Way

Bob Coop Cacao beans grow in football-shaped, multi-colored pods on the trunks er, owne r of Hawaiian and branches of cacao trees. The cacao pod contains 30 to 40 seeds and it Chocolate Original displays takes 20 to 25 pods to get two pounds of cocoa. an opene Factory, dc during a plantatio acao pod When does cacao become what we commonly know as cocoa—the stuff n tour. used to make chocolate? According to Pam Cooper, co-founder of the Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory (OHCF), the terminology changes during the processing. “Once the pods are carefully cut from the tree and the beans are fermented and dried, cacao beans are then commonly called cocoa beans,” she explains. Pam and husband Bob Cooper are the “go-to” source for people who want to grow cacao or make chocolate in Hawai‘i because they do it all at their Keauhou plantation. OHCF grows cacao, buys it “wet” from 15 West Hawai‘i growers, processes the raw product and turns it into delicious milk, dark or the rare

enlarge their orchard to 1,500 trees. Pam says OHCF is capable of processing 65,000 pounds of beans annually. “To process this much, we’d need to add personnel and up processing time to 50 hours a week,” shares Pam, who says current supply and demand doesn’t warrant increasing production. “There aren’t enough beans being produced for us at this point and so far we’re meeting market demand for our chocolate.” In addition to selling their chocolate to a stable of chefs and to the public online and via statewide retailers, the Coopers offer informative plantation tours (with chocolate sampling) on Wednesdays and Fridays, “The Coopers showed it can be done and they had to go it alone for quite some time,” notes Dr. H.C. “Skip” Bittenbender, beverage crop specialist with the University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources (CTAHR).

Finding What Grows Best in Hawai‘i

Dr. Bittenbender is leading a new field project on cacao in an effort to provide prospective growers with quality stock. The study is part of a Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) task force for bringing Hawai‘i cacao to the marketplace. Along with limited processing capacity, a 2009 HDOA study cited “lack of

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KE OLA | | 33

criollo chocolate. OHCF makes about 8,000 pounds of single-origin (Hawai‘i) chocolate a year, processing 5,000 pounds of cacao beans. Marking their 10th anniversary, these natives of North Carolina purchased their six-acre farm with 1,350 cacao trees in 1997 from retired urologist Dr. Clarence Hodges, who had planted their property’s acre of trees in 1992. He was part of the push to grow cacao on the Big Island as an experiment for several big chocolate companies, a venture which unfortunately didn’t pan out. Bob, a retired country club manager, didn’t move to Hawai‘i to make chocolate. But his cacao was producing beans and the possibility of making the first chocolate grown and made in the U.S.A. challenged him. So Bob sent his beans to Spain to be rated. After receiving favorable findings of “prominent and forthright in flavor,” he applied for a loan from the state Dept. of Business and Economic Development to finance processing equipment for a micro-operation. With the first batch of chocolate produced in 2000, OHCF became and continues to be Hawai’i’s only major “tree to bar” processing plant in the state. Since then, the Coopers have invested over $1 million in loans and grants to establish their factory and

❁Continued from page 33

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quality plant stock” as one of the main issues keeping cacao from becoming a major island crop. It found “optimal Una tree genetics and best Greenaway environment haven’t with justbeen established picked cacao in Hawai‘i.” g rin du pods Native to the her “From central and western r” Ba Bean to Amazon region, cacao workshop. is grown commercially in the humid, tropical regions of Brazil, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Indonesia and Nigeria. It grows best in fertile, well-drained soil with light shade. In its natural habitat, it thrives as an understory plant at altitudes up to 3,000 feet. With Hawai‘i situated at the northernmost latitude of cacao’s growing range, the challenge of the field study is determining which cacao “selections” grow best in the state’s many microclimates. The methodology behind the study is to use four each of 10 grafted selections at various sites that contain germplasm (genetic resources) spanning the major cacao varieties: Criollo, Forastero, Trinitario and their hybrids. Dr. Bittenbender says grafting is done to produce hard-working trees. “We’re after trees that produce flowers that set to raise yield, not just any seedling that flowers,” he emphasizes. This is important as cacao, unlike coffee, is an open-pollinated tree, meaning two trees need to cross-pollinate to bear fruit. With two different parents, cacao trees grown from seeds don’t inherit the exact traits of their “pod parents.” Instead they are a mixture of the two. “The study will show how environment impacts yield and quality while also making germplasm, in the form of branches,” adds Skips. The branches will be available for cacao growers to graft to existing trees or new seedlings. In addition, he says the study will involve fermenting and drying the beans to evaluate the sensory properties and flavor of cocoa liquor—a key component of chocolate making. To date, field trials are planted on the Big Isle in makai Honaunau and Hawi, with mauka Honaunau, Hamakua and Puna eyed for the next plantings. Four O’ahu sites are also underway. Dr. Bittenbender estimates there are currently about 100 acres of cacao under cultivation statewide. The bulk of it is spread out among growers on the Big Island and O’ahu. The state’s largest grower is Dole Food Company on O’ahu, which farms about 13,000 trees on 20 acres of former sugar land. According to Dan Nellis of Dole, the food giant uses only its own cacao to make Waialua Estate Chocolate. The product is manufactured by Guittard Chocolate in San Francisco.

A Vision for the Hamakua Coast

Tom Sharkey in Papaikou is a busy Big Island grower with a vision for the industry. He cultivates cacao and uses it to make small batches of his Hilo Shark’s Chocolate. He also sells beans to chocolatiers online and grows seedlings for prospective growers. He manages 2,000 trees for others who have bought ag lots along the Hamakua Coast. The avid chocolate lover also offers chocolate-making workshops.

Tom says he visited the Coopers and “was inspired and challenged” to try cacao farming. The Minnesota native, who has a viticulture degree and worked in the vineyards and wineries of California, has always enjoyed growing things and “making the most out of them.” He started growing cacao 11 years ago, has 300 trees and produces 750 pounds of dried beans annually. Looking ahead, Tom envisions the Hamakua Coast as a cacao destination with plantation tours and chocolate tastings, similar to Napa Valley with its wine or Kona with coffee. He estimates 5,000 trees have been planted in the area within the last four years and expects to see product in three-to-five years. “I think there’s a possibility for cacao to be a viable industry on this island,” Tom muses. “There’s so much land here, it seems like a natural. But we’re going to need thousands of pods, a co-op to buy the pods, a processing facility and a chocolate factory.” Saying he’s like a “steamboat captain” for getting it going in East Hawai‘i, Tom encourages “as many people as possible to get into it.” He recruits new growers by selling his seedlings at farmer’s markets. During chocolate-making workshops, Tom demonstrates how “the average Joe” can make chocolate using equipment ordered online or from converted existing appliances. His chocolate-making reference is the website, Dr. Bittenbender credits John Nanci, the website’s founder, with fueling the growth of Hawai‘i’s cacao farming as a cottage industry. “Nanci did earth shaking work when he experimented with consumer-level food processing equipment to figure out how to make small batch chocolate,” Skip explains. “He made it doable without specialized equipment.”

From Garden to Kitchen

Hawai‘i Cacao Chapter

In 2003, a cacao chapter was established as part of the statewide Hawai‘i Tropical Fruit Growers. Its goal was to share information on the industry’s history, genetics, orchard health, branding, marketing and representation. While the chapter still offers a website at www.hawaiicacao. com, President Gini Choobua says the organization has been inactive for three years. “It takes leadership and active members to keep it going and everyone is busy,” she says. Gini grows over 1,000 trees in Holualoa at Likao Kula Farm and says keeping the plants pruned properly is the biggest job, but an important one. “Cacao will turn into a multi-trunk bush with too much canopy,” she explains. “You don’t want all that shade as sun is needed for fruiting.” While Gini has sold wet beans to the Coopers, her farm is now doing its own fermenting, drying and marketing dry beans. “We provide dry beans that are roasted and then sold as a healthy cocoa bean snack in a joint venture with Greg Colden of Kokoleka Lani Farms.” Whether it’s determining quality stock, recruiting more growers, increasing processing capability or tackling a host of economic variables, the local cacao industry is hoping for a sweet success. After all, the reward is chocolate! ❖

Resources: Original Hawaiian Chocolate Company plantation tours (with chocolate sampling) on Wednesdays and Fridays, Hilo Shark’s Chocolate – 808.895.6600 Chocolate Alchemy – Una Greenaway’s upcoming Bean-to-Bar workshops are March 17-18 and April 20-21. Contact 808.328.8888 for details.

Kona Chocolate Festival

Get your chocolate fix 6-10 p.m. April 2 at the Kona Chocolate Festival Gala on the grounds of Kailua’s King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. The festival includes three days of workshops March 30-April 1; they delve into how to grow cacao, how to make chocolate and tips for using it in the kitchen. New this year is an activity for keiki. The fun gala offers culinary stations, chocolate body painting, a towering chocolate fountain, live entertainment by Cyril Pahinui and dancing under the stars with Island Salsa. Chef Sam Choy oversees chocolate judging and attendees can vote for the People’s Choice Award. Gala tickets are $35 pre sale (CD Wizard, Hilo and Kona Wine Market) or $40 at the door; premium Aloha Circle seating is available. For details on all events, visit or phone 808.987.8722. Contact writer Fern Gavelek at All photos by Fern Gavelek unless otherwise noted.

KE OLA | | 35

Una Greenaway of Kuaiwi Farm grows about 100 cacao trees organically at a 2,000-foot elevation in Kealakekua. She started with 200 seedlings in 2001, sourced from the Coopers. “We have found cacao to be very particular, it doesn’t like it too wet or too dry. For the first couple years, it was difficult to control rose beetle, but now the trees have matured and it doesn’t seem to be an issue,” she shares. “The cacao flower is pollinated by the midge fly.” Using the Chocolate Alchemy website, Una Greenaway and husband Leon make chocolate for personal consumption. During two-day “From Bean to Bar” workshops, the couple Kevin Lomas and Tom Sha demonstrates rkey of Shark’s Cacao and Cof fee chocolate-making (Photo courtesy Tom Sha rkey) to anyone who wants to learn. It’s a 48-hour process that starts with beans that have already been picked, fermented and dried. They use a hops crusher called the “Crankandstein” to crack the beans into nibs. The chaff is removed with a hairdryer and then the nibs are run through a Champion juicer to produce the pudding-like cocoa liquor. It’s put in a concher for 24 hours with powdery sugar and cocoa butter purchased from the website.

The next day, fun continues with tempering: a tricky step involving proper moisture, temperature and spreading technique. It’s done in thirds. Then the chocolate is poured into molds to set for an hour at room temperature before refrigerating. “After visiting the Coopers, we asked ourselves, ‘how can we do it?’ and the Chocolate Alchemist shows you how on a small level,” details Una. “It’s hard work. It takes the beans 10 days to ferment at our elevation. But, we’re growing and making our own chocolate!”


The Life 36 | | KE OLA


ne day in 1955, young Robert Wintner’s father took him to a Miami, Florida drugstore and bought him a two-dollar mask and snorkel—“the deluxe, with the ping-pong ball”—then took him to the ocean. He poked his face in the water and saw a sand crab wave a claw at him. Little Bobby was hooked. Fifty-five years later, he still describes himself as a “waterlogged, gill-breathing reef addict.” Most Hawai’i residents probably know Wintner as “Snorkel Bob,” the purveyor of ocean recreation gear and author of outrageous tourist ads featuring snorkeling and surfing pets. But he’s also the author of several novels, including Horndog Blue, In a Sweet Magnolia Time, Whirlaway and Toucan Whisper, Toucan Sing. And he’s long been an environmental activist; he’s sailed on the Sea Shepherd Society’s crusades against Japanese whalers, had a major hand in the push for the Papahānaumokuākea National Monument in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, and advocated tirelessly for protection of reefs against threats such as aquarium fish collecting. His latest project, a 200-page book called Some Fishes I Have Known: a Reef Rescue Odyssey (Skyhorse Press), combines all of these talents and reveals yet another side of this renaissance fishman: he’s also one of the islands’ best underwater photographers. “I suffered, like a lot of guys do, from shrinking camera syndrome, so I kept getting better equipment,” he muses. “I never anticipated getting the shots that I’m getting now.” Some Fishes I Have Known is literally a book unlike any other: part reef guide, part coffee-table book, part satire of reef guides and coffee-table books, and part environmental crusade. Most nature books tend to adopt a semi-reverential attitude toward their subject; this one starts out with that joke about the last

This is a gregarious Napoleon wrasse Robert Wintner (a.k.a. Snorkel Bob) met on the Great Barrier Reef. The Maori or humphead wrasse is often described as reclusive and shy. Wintner says “Not this big boy; most personable, engaging and social--became our dive leader for 20-30 minutes, leading to points of interest along the bomie. He was about four feet long and hefty.” (All photos by Robert Wintner)

thing that goes through a gnat’s mind as it hits a windshield (euphemized answer: its derriere.) But behind Wintner’s irreverent façade is a deadly-serious message: Hawai’i’s reefs are under siege, and there’s more to lose than you might think. And there’s nothing silly about the photographs, which are breathtakingly (no pun intended) spectacular. What makes many of these pictures so unique is the same premise that Wintner says many people miss when they talk about coral reefs. Reef fish aren’t just swimming ornaments: they’re personalities: living creatures with brains and individual foibles, capable of a wide range of interactions with other creatures, including bonding. Wintner calls them “cold and fuzzy.” He recalls one stop on his recent mainland promotional tour for the book: a Buddhist-oriented radio station. “They told me that I was the main topic of their dharma class,” he recalls. “They wanted to pose the question that their class had processed all week: ‘Do fish have souls?’” Wintner thought a moment before answering. “It’s an anthropogenic question. It assumes that all humans have souls... I told them I don’t like the question. I’d like to rephrase it. Can a fish be a friend of mine? And the answer is, ‘Yeah, just look at these pictures....’” That assumption—that fish can be friends, or at least can develop relationships with people—is one thing that makes these pictures different. Most fish guides picture fish in profile— sometimes laid out on a slab, dead—so they’re easy to identify. But in Wintner’s photos, marine animals are doing things: mating, stalking, schooling, guarding their territories, cleaning each other, or looking right at the camera, checking out the photographer as he checks them out.

“If a fish continues a personal behavior like feeding without being concerned by your presence, that’s a sign of trust,” Wintner believes. “You go out there without a spear, without a hook, and things change. Things are different,” he says; if you don’t automatically assume the role of a predator, the marine community may start auditioning you for other roles. He’s faced off sharks, schooled with mahimahi, played hunting partner with a giant moray and even been tapped on the back by an apparently amorous honu. (Maybe from a turtle’s perspective, those dive tanks look like a shell?) Wintner really does have longstanding, personal relationships with some fish—a huge yellow margin moray, for instance, whom Wintner has named “Kukla” after an old children’s TV show character. Kukla, who’s about six or seven feet long and a foot in diameter, hangs out near a submerged rock in the Molokini marine sanctuary off Maui. “He’s come out and free swam with me several times,” Wintner says. “He gets between me and my buddy like we’re a trio.” When a big predator swims shoulder-to-shoulder with you, notes Wintner, that may be an invitation to hunt together, as morays and ulua often do. He recalls a similar incident when he was part of a Sea Shepherd crew in the Caribbean. The ship’s captain, Paul Watson (who later became famous as the hero of the Discovery Channel reality series, Whale Wars), had stopped the ship to pluck a derelict oil drum out of the water, and allowed the crew to take a swim break. But there were already swimmers in the water: five mahimahi were “hanging out under the drum.” After a few minutes, Wintner recalls, “They started integrating with the swimmers. This big bull came up, and again, it was shoulder to shoulder, and I think it was trying to team up.... “ Halfway around the globe, near Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, he made another acquaintance: this time, a Maori wrasse. “The guy came up to me. We literally went nose to nose, and then he went sideways, so I got a [camera] shot.... He’s described in the fish books as shy and reclusive and unengaging. But he literally became our dive leader. He led us to points of interest, to nooks and crannies, to interesting scenes and coral formations. He stayed with us for probably 20 minutes, with body language exactly like another diver. He was part of our group....” That’s another thing he doesn’t like about many fish guidebooks: they rarely talk about fish behavior, and if they do, he says, they tend to speak of an entire species as if its members all act the same way. “That’s like humans are aggressive or humans are shy and that’s not the case,” he says. “It’s not the species, it’s the individual.” Not that people can’t make some generalizations. With sharks, for instance, it’s generally a good idea to show some aggression yourself. “With a shark, it’s all body language,” he says. “If you have the wherewithal to move aggressively, you have a better chance of surviving the encounter. There was a guy years ago. He was the very first guy to get out of a cage with great white sharks. He noticed that people would cower and then the sharks would attack the cage. So he got out of there, and he kept moving forward, and the sharks left him alone.” It’s that collection of individuals interacting—both human and animal individuals—that makes the reef a “reef community.” The reef’s complex web of interdependent relationships can’t be duplicated in an aquarium. Some fish, such as parrotfish and butterfly fish, eat coral, creating the white sand where other fish,

such as flounders, garden eels, and beach crabs, live. Others, such as tangs and surgeons, eat algae, which would otherwise smother the coral heads. Still others, such as cleaner wrasse and cleaner shrimp, eat the parasites off other reef denizens; others are hunters, keeping populations in check. Which is why Wintner unabashedly hates the marine aquarium trade. Yellow tangs, which make up about 60 percent of the aquarium trade, are algae grazers who can live 40 years in the wild, he notes. Removed from their support network on the reef, however, “Ninety-nine percent of all yellow tangs sold into aquarium slavery die within a year, many in transit.” Other fish have even lower survival rates: “Hawaiian cleaner wrasses die quickly without other fish to clean. Ornate butterflyfish and other butterflies starve (to death) in 30 days without live coral to graze, but they ship out daily with a 15-day live guarantee.” Meanwhile, back at the reef, algae goes uneaten, sand goes unmade, and parasites go uncleaned. The reef community unravels a little further, like a rundown urban neighborhood. Wintner has watched while formerly abundant species such as blueline butterflies virtually disappeared from many reefs. Beneath irreverent Snorkel Bob wisecracks in Some Fish I Have Known lies a hard undertow of anger and grief: “At Puako on the North Kona Coast, blueline butterflies are down 98 percent, while at Honaunau farther south (Pu‘uhonua O Honaunau) they’re gone—finito, caput, no mo stay, or as the DAR [State Division of Aquatic Resources] put it, “experiencing a 100-percent decline.” Wintner is already nearly finished with a sequel, entitled Every Fish Tells a Story, due out in May with 400 new photos. “I think it really hones in on the reef community as it symbolizes the world community,” he says. The new book expands its geographic focus, featuring new pictures from Australia and St. Croix. But the message, while expanded, remains the same at its core. “People use this phrase, ‘reef community,’ without thinking about it,” he says. “Well, think it over.” ❖ Continued on page 39

Wintner says: “This is my friend, Kukla, the yellowmargin moray eel who lives on the north side of the sand channel in Molokini Crater off Maui. He usually hangs out with cruises at 20-60 feet, often joining divers. I estimate Kukla to be about 25, based on his size (6-7 feet long, maybe 10-12 inches in girth) and his dental wear. He’s curious, social and gentle when treated with courtesy and respect. I call this shot: Aaaaaloha.”

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❁Continued from page 37

Update on Aquarium Fish Gathering

Commercial aquarium gathering continues to go on in Hawai‘I, but at least for some fish, the practice just got slightly more humane. On Friday, January 21, 2011, the Maui County Council passed a resolution banning some practices of the aquarium fishery as inhumane. Those practices including “finning” (trimming a live fish’s fins, usually with a scissors, so they can’t puncture plastic shipping bags) “fizzing” (puncturing swim bladders to relieve internal pressure, so fish can be brought up from deep water faster) and starving fish prior to shipment in order to reduce feces in transport bags. But the county ordnance only affects fish in waters off Maui, Molokai and Lanai. As Division of Aquatic Resources scientist Dr. Bill Walsh points out, the majority of the aquarium fish industry is based on the Kona Coast. The Division of Aquatic Resources has proposed its own reforms of rules governing the industry, including a new “Fish Replenishment Zone” along 1,500 feet of shoreline at Ka‘ohe (a.k.a. Pebble Beach). Additional new rules would put limitations on numbers of species of fish and place some size restrictions on yellow tangs, which make up the majority of fish caught in the industry here. Those rules have gone to the Attorney General’s office for approval—where they’ve now sat for over a year. For many local residents, however, those rules don’t go far enough. Kona State Sen. Josh Green and Maui State Sen. Shan Tsutsui introduced bills last year to ban the aquarium fishery altogether. Those bills were held up in committee, but Wintner and other activists have vowed to keep pushing for them. Contact writer Alan McNarie at

(808) 325-2502


KE OLA | | 39


“Here is the ulua portrait from page 132, Some Fishes I Have Known. I call this shot Portrait of the Artist as a Young Fish. The big jacks are often socially engaging—perhaps suggesting a symbiotic partnership for a hunt—but in my experience, only in a marine protected area (MPA). Those who approach the ocean only as a source of meat might scoff at this idea, but the fact remains: the fish see. The fish feel. The fish know.” —Robert Wintner

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The Life

Patrick Dungate of Kona practices trotting while volunteer Kalia Goo offers encouragement.

“I’ve seen it with my own eyes,” says an uncle of one participant. “Kids don’t want to respond to people [and] you put them on a horse and bingo. It’s remarkable stuff. Somehow the horses sense that the riders are different and really respond to them.”


A Match that Builds Independence for Riders with Special Needs |


GABI’s first hoa, one of a P f . o e ih K for 10 years Boyson s been riding a h , ts n a ip partic

GABI was created a decade ago when special needs teacher Mary Jo Allen and a group of parents searched for activities specifically for special needs kids. Around the same time, Heidi Clayton, who had 10 years experience as a therapeutic riding instructor, moved to the Big Island. Mary Jo learned Heidi was on island and together they formed the GABI 4-H program. The program offers lessons every Tuesday afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m. The lessons are a half-hour each with a maximum of four participants for each session. Each one is paired with a volunteer who leads the horse. Lessons are $20 a week, although most of the program participants are involved with organizations, such as ARC of Kona, Full Life and Goodwill, which cover the cost of the lessons. Today, participants and volunteers from all over the island are involved in GABI. “When I started it was mostly kids,” says Michele Schipa, who has run the program for the past four years. “Now we have a lot of adults. And a lot of our kids have grown up and are young adults. It’s cool to watch them grow.” GABI volunteers also vary in age and background. Some are relatives of the participants, while others are interested in horses or are students fulfilling community service requirements for school. All go through a special orientation training covering horsemanship and GABI rules and regulations. “I really, really rely on my volunteers. This program wouldn’t exist without them,” says Michele. Some volunteers lead or walk beside the horse while others observe on the sides. Volunteers help out in the stables too, grooming the four horses dedicated solely to the GABI program. As Heidi and Michele prep the horses and riders for a weekly lesson, Heidi points out many of the benefits of the program. Horseback riding helps build self-confidence; increases coordination, physical strength, balance and flexibility; and it improves communication skills.

❁Continued on page 42

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oyson Kihe guides his horse back and forth between narrowly spaced poles; zig zagging through the entire row of poles without knocking over a single one. It’s an advanced move requiring balance, focus and skill. Boyson smiles as onlookers congratulate him on a job well done. But this is no rodeo competition. And Boyson is no ordinary rider. He is one of 20 participants in the Give a Buddy Independence (GABI) 4-H program based at Iolani Stables in Honoka‘a. The onlookers providing encouragement are GABI staff and volunteers. GABI is a therapeutic equestrian program for people with cognitive and physical challenges. Horseback riding “helps with balance, flexibility and focus with safety and fun in mind,” says Heidi Clayton, a North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) certified instructor who is one of the founders of the program.

By Denise Laitinen

❁Continued from page 41

Michele Schipa, who runs GABI, displays one of the special reins used for participants who are paralyzed or may have a hard time holding reins.

Like Heidi, Michele is a NARHA certified therapeutic riding instructor. Both women move effortlessly as they match equipment to riders and horses, all the while talking story with the volunteers and participants as they arrive. Gearing up the riders, the women need to consider the participants’ height and weight, as well as disability. Safety is always at the forefront and all riders must wear helmets. “We have special equipment,” says Michele pointing to a row of saddles for adults and children. Depending on the participant’s challenges, they may need special reins. Michele displays the ladder reins they use for riders who are paralyzed or who have trouble holding onto reins. They also have reins with colored sections so participants know where to hold their hands. “We try not to use bits on the horses. We use side reins instead,” she explains. And the stirrups have protective coverings to prevent their feet from sliding through the stirrup. But tacking, the gear equipping a horse to ride, is only half the issue. “It takes a special horse to be in this program,” says Michele. The four GABI horses—Fred, Silky, Lulu, and Poco—range in age from 16 to 32. All were donated to the program and have been specially trained to deal with unpredictable riders. Michele points out that while she has been fortunate to have several people offer to donate horses to GABI, the horses aren’t always appropriate for a therapeutic riding program. “The horses must be physically able to walk, trot and canter,” she says. “They must also be mentally strong and capable of handling when a rider acts unexpectedly or has a tantrum.”

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      


  

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 

 

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Heather and Then there is the meshing of horse and riders are quickly changed and the next Kalia and human personalities. The skill level set of four riders is led down to the arena. are all smile s as and personality of the rider needs to be After stretching, they quickly set about Kalia leads h er factored into pairing each of them their various lessons. Heather is guided along around the with an appropriate horse. And both a wooden platform that simulates a bridge riding arena . horse and participant need to be and crossing cavalettes—bars on the ground matched with compatible volunteers similar to those found in parking lots. As the to provide an enjoyable, yet rider, Heather must instruct the horse to pick safe, experience. up its feet to cross the cavalettes. In short order, all four riders are “The program has a full trail course,” explains mounted and ready to be led down a Michele. “If participants were to enter a horse short hill to the riding arena. Given competition, they would have to cross all the considerations that go into a bridge.” All the aspects of a trail course are saddling the riders and pairing offered here.” them with horses and volunteers, Inside the arena, Rose practices putting cups it’s a testament to Michele and Heidi’s on poles. Michele points out that Rose is working horsemanship that the process goes so smoothly and quickly. on independence, so she doesn’t have a side Every session starts with stretching exercises while seated on walker, only a volunteer to lead the horse. Nearby, Michael is the horse. Then it’s on to the lesson. Michele plans lessons based putting his horse through the paces, moving effortlessly from a on the participants’ skill and needs. walk to a trot to a full canter then back to a trot as volunteers look “Some days just being on. It is an impressive feat to watch. Like Boyson, Michael is one on the horse is enough,” of the advanced riders, having been with the program for a says Michele. “Every week decade. He is all smiles as he receives well-deserved is different,” she explains. compliments on his riding skills. the “They build on what f Watching from the sidelines, relatives and volunteers comment o e .  on ton, , and Odin they learned the that the program has a wonderful effect on all involved. “I’ve seen y a l C I i Heid rs of GAB previous week. It’s it with my own eyes,” says an uncle of one participant who wished e d foun important to make to remain anonymous. “Kids don’t want to respond to people sure everyone has a [and] you put them on a horse and bingo. It’s remarkable stuff. safe and fun time.” Somehow the horses sense that the riders are different and As she speaks, really respond to them.” v Boyson is led on a trail ride, Resources: while Nathan If you would like to learn more about the GABI 4-H program, Bigelow of call Michele Schipa at 808.896.7700 or Heidi Clayton at Kea‘au is riding 808.896.6849. GABI is a 501(c)3 non-profit that relies heavily on in the arena. donations. If you are interested in making a charitable At the same donation, call or email time, Heidi leads Odin, In the Kona area, the Therapeutic Horsemanship of Hawai‘i a young autistic boy from Kohala, (THH) Kona Branch at the around the ring and Patrick from Kona Horseplay Equestrian Center practices trotting. Their experience runs the gamut. in Honalo also offers a Boyson has participated in the program since its inception a therapeutic riding program. decade ago, while Patrick has been a volunteer and participant Riding sessions are held on for just six months. Saturday mornings from They also come for different reasons. For Boyson, GABI provides 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. a tie to his past. “Boyson grew up in Waimea so it’s important THH, a 501(c)3 nonto have that horse connection,” explains Deborah Say, a Direct profit organization, is a Support Worker with Full Life in Hilo. In addition to being a Direct NARHA center member Support Worker, Deborah and her husband, Aaron, are Boyson’s with three registered foster parents, who recently legally adopted him. Aaron also NARHA instructors. For volunteers with GABI, leading Boyson on the horse. more information Every week, Deborah drives Boyson and six-year-old Nathan, contact Nancy another Full Life participant, from Pahoa to Honoka‘a for their Bloomfield at riding lesson. 808.937.7903 or “Riding horses helps Nathan with his strength and coordination,” check out www. Micha explains Say. “When he first started, Nathan could barely sit up on and tr el practices c o the horse; now he can ride.” Contact writer He has tting aroun antering p a r The half-hour passes quickly and the riders head back to the t Denise Laitinen at icipate d the ring. for sev accom eral years a d in GABI stable where another group of participants is ready to go. Saddles wahineokekai@ n plishe d rider d is an .   

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Ann Goody is curator and director of the state’s only fully-accredited, USDA licensed, exotic animal sanctuary, Three Ring Ranch. The non-profit sanctuary houses and rehabilitates raptors and endangered species, such as this sea bird. Photos courtesy of Three Ring Ranch


Kona’s Unique Three Ring Ranch

Wild Animals at Risk Receive Sanctuary from a Fellow Survivor |

relocation due to the then-imminent closure of the Molokai Ranch Safari Park was Oreo, a pregnant zebra. After the arduous task of securing state and federal permits, the couple brought Oreo, her newborn filly, Zoe (a rare, blond zebra believed to be the only one of its kind existing in the world today), two oryx and Frazier, a South African crowned crane, to their five-acre home situated above Kailua-Kona. These five animals, including Oreo and her million-dollar baby Zoe (blond zebras are estimated to occur only once in three million births and don’t survive in the wild since their coloring makes them easy targets for predators) were the real founders of Three Ring Ranch Animal Sanctuary, according to Ann Goody. And while that may be true, it was her childhood passion for working with wildlife in California’s San Fernando Valley and the hours she logged volunteering with the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency that led to Ann Goody’s present status: a federally permitted wildlife rehabilitation expert who earned the permits required to begin operating the sanctuary here in 1998. Now in its second decade with more than 130 ‘critters’ in its care, Three Ring Ranch Animal Sanctuary provides animal rescue, rehabilitation, and in some cases, a forever home for native and exotic species found throughout the Hawaiian Islands. The state’s only fully-accredited, USDA licensed, exotic animal sanctuary, Three Ring Ranch is a private, non-profit animal facility. It also holds state and federal wildlife permits that allow it to house and rehabilitate raptors and endangered species. Over the years, curator Ann completed her dissertation and earned her doctorate degree in 2001. With husband Norm and a team of devoted volunteers, she has cared for creatures large and small—from newborn nene chicks, Hawaiian hawks and goats to giant land tortoises and, of course, zebras and oryx among other exotic creatures. Many of these animals were formerly located at zoos, such as the Molokai Ranch Safari Park, or big game hunting reserves in the state.

❁Continued on page 46 A frivolous request for a zebra from husband Dr. Norm Goody turned into reality and the pregnant female became the first resident of Three Ring Ranch. Soon after, a rare blond zebra, Zoe, was born.

KE OLA | | 45

ometimes it takes a few wake-up calls before setting out on an intended life path. For California native, Ann Goody, it was an amazing series of events—a combination of both incredible luck and disastrous, near-death experiences—that redirected her from her pursuit of a career in nursing to becoming founder and curator of Hawai‘i Island’s Three Ring Ranch Animal Sanctuary. “In 1994 I was living in Bear Valley when a stop at McDonald’s resulted in a trip to Hawai‘i Island…it was one of those ‘peel-andpeek-to-see-if-you-win’ contests. I did and I won,” she said. “I loved the island and five months after my return from that trip, I entered another contest, an essay this time, and won again. The incentive (another trip to the Big Island) was huge! I packed my bags, flew to Hawai‘i and never left.” Luck and lots of love continued smiling on Goody during her early years here. While working in health administration and preparing her dissertation for a doctorate degree in Philosophy of Health Service Management, she met anesthesiologist Dr. Norm Goody and within just a week had agreed to marry him. The first of what Goody calls her “idiot slaps,” however, was lurking just beyond the couple’s wedding day. “In June 1997, the day after our wedding reception, I was struck by lightning. Literally a slap in the face, it struck my right cheek and exited through the bottom of my left foot, cooking way too many things on its way out,” she said. Tough, optimistic and the ultimate survivor, Goody fought to recover, but just three months into her year-long convalescence she suffered another, nearly-fatal blow. Snorkeling with Norm near Miloli’i, she suddenly found herself prey for a large tiger shark. Hit hard and tossed high into the air, she was shaken but not bitten, as witnesses on the beach watched amazed that she had not been killed or severely injured. Luck aside, her year-long recovery from the lightning strike was anything but easy and some days were much more difficult than others. On one of those especially brutal days, Norm asked what he could do to make things a bit better for her. She jokingly replied, “A zebra would be nice.” Norm wasn’t laughing and he certainly wasn’t joking about doing whatever it took to help Ann through her dark days. Once again, luck stepped in. Among hundreds of animals requiring

By Margaret Kearns

❁Continued from page 45

The sanctuary’s school programs are open to students attending public and private institutions, as well as to those being home-schooled.

“Native animals brought to us with injuries are cared for and released whenever possible. Those unable to return to the wild (non-native species or those native species too severely injured or ill to survive) enter our resident animal population, where they live out their natural lives at the sanctuary,” she says. And now, a few of the most recent arrivals are providing time for a bit of monkey business amidst all of the serious work being completed at Three Ring Ranch. In late 2010, Goody said, the ranch was contacted by a Hilo resident who, due to health concerns, could no longer care for her three pet monkeys—one capuchin, one Java macaque and one rhesus-Java macaque hybrid. While monkeys are among the many animal species banned from entering the state, Goody explained that the woman had acquired the monkeys prior to the prohibitive regulation and was able to keep them as part of the state’s “grandfathered-in” provisions. The frisky trio is among the growing population of permanent

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residents, she said, and has already provided a challenge for participants in one of the sanctuary’s school programs. Educational programs are open to students attending public and private institutions, as well as to those being home-schooled. Ann affectionately calls the young students her “baby chicks.” “The nickname is a term of endearment I use for these kids since they spend a lot of their time here following me around learning the proper handling and care of the different animals,” Goody said. “In this specific case, it was my ‘baby chicks’ who were taking part in the facility’s After-School Mentoring Program and were tasked with brainstorming ideas to keep the monkeys active and happy in their natural, outdoor enclosure. For the monkeys’ new living space, the kids participated in everything from initial planning and design of the enclosure to contributing ideas on what accessories would make the most positive and fun environment for the monkeys—trees, swings, rope-and-ladder suspension bridges among them.” Another beloved recent addition to the sanctuary’s resident population is Cody, a six- month-old North American bison calf that Goody bottle-feeds several times daily. After years of waiting, Goody said, the Hokukano Ranch in Konawaena gifted Cody to the sanctuary early this year. Goody is convinced Cody will be a star teaching animal for both the formal school programs

and the educational excursions offered by appointment to the general public. “The bison is such a unique species, one that was nearly extinct not long ago,” Goody said. “Cody has lots to teach us, including the importance of protecting and nurturing all of our natural resources.” While for Goody the sanctuary is a last stop on a career path littered with chance and near tragedy, its stated mission is: “To positively impact the environment while educating Hawai‘i’s children about their place in the natural world. The goal is to assist in the development of an environmentally responsible generation of youth. We teach about the fragile ecosystem we impact on a daily basis, while giving students and visitors a rare chance to view the animals up close.” Among its many efforts to “positively impact the environment,” Three Ring Ranch serves as a state-designated amnesty station. Non-native species, potentially destructive to the islands’ natural flora and fauna, may be dropped at the sanctuary “no questions asked,” according to Goody. “We immediately report to the Department of Agriculture any alien species we discover or that is delivered to us and follow its precise direction in the placement of the animal in a mainland location. However, no one delivering one of these animals to us will be reported to authorities.”

❁Continued on page 48 From Queen Ka‘ahumanu Hwy. drive up Hualalai Road. Turn Left at Mamalahoa Hwy. (180), where art galleries and local shops now occupy historic buildings from Hawai‘i’s past. Take a leisurely stroll through our quaint village . . .You’ll be glad you did.

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Please visit Sunny & Mel Pau‘ole’s friendly art studio, next to the Pink Hotel.










KE OLA | | 47

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Each office independently owned and operated.

Cody, a six- month-old North American bison calf.

❁Continued from page 47 “It’s an unfortunate reality that exotic animals are entering the state illegally nearly daily. Some are seized by local authorities and need permanent placement or temporary sanctuary while awaiting transport to a more appropriate, out-of-state location and that’s where we step in,” Goody said. Others, she noted, slip by regulators and enter the state undetected. “Exotic animals have complex needs, so for the animals’ welfare (and to avoid criminal penalties) we encourage people to call us if they have or know about anyone possessing an alien or exotic species.” And that’s just one of many opportunities individuals have to help out, she said. “Island residents and visitors are our best eyes and ears. When you’re out and about enjoying the islands, contact us immediately at 808.331.8778 should you come across injured or sick animals on the side of a road, a trail, or along the shore,” she said with this added caution: “Take care not to approach or attempt to assist, as it could be dangerous for you and the animal.” Goody says she and her team receive hundreds of calls each month from individuals here on Hawai‘i Island and throughout the state. Fortunately, in many cases, it proves to be a false alarm. “Often good-intentioned individuals phone with concerns about green sea turtles or the occasional monk seal being stranded on the beach. After a few questions, we explain these sea critters are simply snoozing before returning to their ocean home!” Often, however, it is a true emergency, she said, and we work closely with the individuals, asking that they stand by and observe the injured animal, sea mammal or bird, tracking its movement until our team or the appropriate wildlife agency is able to arrive on scene. Goody stressed: if in doubt, contact us. “We welcome the calls—emergency or not.” While the sanctuary is not open to the public, private educational excursions are offered by appointment to small groups (limited to 12 maximum). The excursions are about two hours in length with a minimum suggested donation of $35 per person. Proceeds from all donations are used in the care and feeding of the animals; contributions are tax-deductible, as the sanctuary is a 501(c)3 non-profit facility. v For more information, visit or phone 808.331.8778. Contact writer Margaret Kearns at Photos by Jenna Roussy


Jason Fox is one of only a handful of certified vetiver technicians in the United States.


applied for a passport. “I was looking for something else to do. One circumstance led to another, and I found myself here on the Big Island,” began Fox. Vetiver was introduced to Fox while working on a farm in Papa`aloa. “This farmer, Solomon, introduced me to some people who were pioneering visions to benefit the islands. I connected with a kid who had access to vetiver slips, and my visions began propagating outward from there,” he said. Guiding me into his property, Fox invited me into the charming and rustic common house that he had hand-built. It was no more than 100 square feet, yet felt perfectly spacious. The structure’s ladder, fences and many tools used around the property were created from waiawi wood, a type of guava that surrounds his land. As I scanned his property—weather sunny, winds light, sky and ocean expansive—he sat down and shared the more-detailed account of how he arrived at his current locale and vocation. “Just before I left for Hawai`i, my dad told me he had an old college buddy who moved to the Big Island years ago. He briefly mentioned his name, Jim Dahlberg, and told me if I ever bumped into him, to say hi,” said Fox. As fate would have it, this whimsical request became a reality as, coincidentally, Fox ended up working with Dahlberg’s son, Peter. A series of synchronicities led him to then meet Jim Dahl-

❁Continued on page 50

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ust past the 7-mile marker, above Mamalahoa Highway along the Hamakua Coast, sits the quaint little town of Papaikou. The directions read: hang a left up mauka about a mile; there will be some cows on your left. Then hang a left as the road turns to gravel and cinder. “You can’t miss us.” And so the story goes. I approached the elevated property to discover endless rows of thickly bladed grass, swaying with the breeze. A youthful man of 28, sunglasses shielding his eyes, with a silhouette strong and selfassured, came out from a patch of neatly maintained greenery. “Glad you could make it,” he greeted, holding a handful of verdant foliage to feed to his own personal living lawnmowers, a herd of sheep grazing the land. As he approached, I noticed seven feather tattoos lightly drifting down his arms. I could immediately sense his humble persona. Jason Fox quite literally surrounds himself with his greatest passion: vetiver grass—a tenacious, clumping perennial grass that has protective, healing and artistic properties. Like many specialized farmers, he began his current activities not yet the keen and innovative activist he would eventually become. Formerly from Philadelphia, Fox was on a journey of selfdiscovery when, in 2004, he became casually interested in wind and solar energy while growing tomatoes and cucumbers for a local farmer. Seeking to travel, he sold all of his belongings and

❁Continued from page 49

a l e H Malama

Caring for your island VaCation Home wHen you are away miCHele Baker

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berg and share with him his dream of growing vetiver. Dahlberg contacted a friend who was able to help him find a piece of land to lease. Today Fox is one of only a handful of certified vetiver technicians in the United States and operates his own organic, commercial farm on a 22-acre plot of land. He realizes that this land and its bountiful resources are central to our survival and believes this grass is essential to our sustenance. Hawai`i is famed for its lush, tropical vegetation and rich valleys. But the same rainfall that nourishes the land can create severe flooding and run-off with potentially devastating effects on the island’s eco-system. Remarkably, vetiver is tolerant to toxic minerals. It filters antibiotics and removes heavy metals from soil and water. “It is actually for this reason that I fell in love with the grass. When I started studying it, I realized I could help undo the mistakes people made in the past.” One such mistake includes the soil pollutants left over from once-flourishing sugarcane industries. The success of vetiver as a moderation plant gained significant attention from the works of Don Miller. In 1999 and 2000, Miller took a group of devoted volunteers into the southernmost area of Vanuatu, where they hand-planted vetiver in the troughs of gullies, in an area that had lost its shell fishing and whose reefs had been destroyed. Within 10 years of vetiver’s germination, the shell fishing industries were back and the once-dead reefs were again thriving. Today, these types of success stories are countless across the globe. “The World Bank began funding vetiver after he [Miller] restored the shellfish ministries and native trees. He pioneered some incredible stuff,” continued Fox. More than 100 countries use the vetiver system technology today for some globally beneficial measures, including the reduction of landslides and highway, road, railway, dike, canal and infrastructure collapse. Vetiver improves wetland and soil composition, including the renewal of native plants. On the Hawai‘i Island in particular, where tsunamis pose a great threat and earthquakes of varying magnitude occur daily, rigid structures, including cement devices, do a poor job of absorbing flow and wave energy from these quakes. Often, unnatural devices simply transfer the soft soils to another place, which aggravates the disaster, rather than reducing it. “Most walls are passive, simply waiting for the slopes to fail. And when the slopes do fail, the walls also fail. We’ve see it time and time again,” said Fox. Defending Hawai’i, quite literally against a concrete way of thought, Fox contends that as a developed country we rely too heavily on rigid materials to stabilize areas that could be naturally secured using certain plants. Vetiver has a strength value of approximately one-sixth of that of mild steel, while its roots penetrate 12 feet deep at maturity. Imagine rows of thick, tall grass with an equally dense web of weaving roots inter-connected within the earth. “This tells you the soil isn’t going anywhere, which is exactly what we need here in Hawai‘i,” Fox continued, “Concrete undoubtedly causes havoc, just counting its use of fossil fuels and shipping alone. I can plant thousands of dollars worth of vetiver for what people are spending millions on. We don’t have to bulldoze land, or build rock walls. There’s a natural solution to everything,” Fox said. Fox has already planted rows of vetiver on the hillsides of a handful of properties on the Big Island and Kaua`i, with the

public’s attention yet,” he said. Fox has given a handful of presentations around the island, most recently an informative talk for the board of engineers in Kona on vetiver’s abilities to preserve, maintain and protect the islands. With his holistic approach to understanding not only vetiver’s capabilities, but plants in general, he concludes: “What I’ve come to realize is that it’s hard for people to trust that plants can provide for us what man-made creations can. This is the underlying issue with our society today. It’s even seen in our relationships with food and medicine. We’re so disconnected. I want to be a part of re-introducing that connection.” It’s like anything really—a bandage approach to building, to food, to health and well-being will eventually worsen the problem. Touring his property, it’s no doubt that Fox walks the talk. The life he has created for himself is simple, yet deeply profound. His acreage is 100-percent sustainable. He lives without a current of electricity; at nighttime his living quarters are illuminated by candlelight. He uses a solar panel for his pump and a compost toilet to recycle waste back into the earth. At one point I asked where I could pee, and he pointed to a patch of plants outside. “It’s really good for them; urine helps them grow,” he smiled. We explored further as he taught me how to pull and re-grow kalo, the sacred Hawaiian root-vegetable, and placed a few of them into a cloth bag for me to take home. He sliced off a stalk of fuzzy white sage, pulled out a couple yacon and added them to the gift bag. Additional displays of life rising from his land include a three-year-old avocado tree that had just begun to produce fruit, flowering patches of Okinawa spinach, native `awa plants, Mexican papaya trees, cassava, okra, banana trees, squash and pigeon peas. As we walked back to the cabin he calls home, I notice a mountain-fed stream soothing to the ear flowing just below, and from his window, the tip of a waterfall is seen off in the distance. Branching above, an ancient mango tree protects his sanctuary. I left to return to Hilo revitalized, gaining a new sense of appreciation for sustainable, efficient and conscious living, and of course, the value of vetiver. This plant is perhaps a metaphor for life; we become deeply rooted in our essence by trusting in our natural environment, bending Vetiver has a strength value of approxigraciously with the mately 1/6th of that of mild steel, while winds of change and, its roots penetrate 12 feet deep at matuin doing so, find our rity, providing natural soil stabilization own natural state for prevention of severe soil erosion. of being. ❖ Resources: Jason’s website: The Vetiver Network International: Contact writer Jessica Kirkwood at

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intent of helping to prevent soil erosion. One house in Papaikou withstood 32 inches of rain in 48 hours last winter, after much of its foundation had washed away several times in years prior. In a past earthquake, another house in Hilo slid off a cliff, and so their neighbors have looked to vetiver as a preventative solution. Fox is very pleased with the results. “This really isn’t a profit-making business. My goal is to have people using vetiver properly in Hawai‘i, and to understand it, so we can have clean and stable systems,” he affirmed. One of the main hesitations of introducing external plants to Hawai‘i is that the eco-system is so undeniably fragile. Many people are afraid of invasive species. “It’s definitely a touchy subject here on the Big Island.” But sunshine vetiver, the kind grown by Fox, is not fertile. The seeds are sterile, and so, it’s not invasive. “It’s minus-8 on the invasive scale, which is the lowest posVetiver is a tenacious, non-invasive, clumping sible measure.” perennial grass that has protective, healing, and artistic properties. What’s more, it doesn’t compete with the plants it is protecting, it can grow in a wide range of climates, is affordable and easy to maintain. It wasn’t so much Fox’s extensive knowledge of this seemingly unassuming grass that engaged me, but rather his passion for its abilities. “It’s a miracle grass, really. Vetiver has so many uses,” he said. Originating in India, vetiver is related to lemongrass, citronella and palmarosa, and is one of the very oldest plants on earth. As tough as the plant is in physical composition, it also has quite a soft, unseen and spiritual aura that has stimulated human beings for millennia. In India, it was placed on funeral pyres as a symbol of reincarnation and ever-lasting life. In aromatherapy, it was traditionally used to heal someone experiencing shock, as it is said to center, ground, calm and restore. Others burn vetiver to protect, re-balance and harmonize their homes. The scent, which is most often hydrolyzed into oil, stems from its roots. It is brilliantly earthy and exotic. The first time I was introduced to the aroma, I was instantly hit with an overwhelming dose of nostalgia and intrigue. It’s no wonder the perfume industry of haute couture uses it as a base in a myriad of fragrances such as Channel, Coco and Miss Dior. As a tea base it is useful for alleviating cramps, and has antibacterial and antifungal agents. Many artisans craft bags, placemats, and lampshades by weaving the roots. It is also used as a repellent for rodents and insects, including termites. Vetiver is clearly a treasure to Fox, but to most, the word has never even passed through their vocabulary. “A level of insight about the plant hasn’t been brought to the

Chris Johnson

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Call “Auntie Geri”

The Life OF THE PEOPLE Sankirton Das nurtures and sells fruit from his farm, NitaiGaura’s, a shortening for Nityanda Gaurangar, a lord and one of the 108 representatives of Krishna.


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ankirton Das bucks entanglement with the material world through the practice of farming on five acres in Puna. “It allows me space to funnel consciousness. I chant all day,” he said. In the afternoon light, Sankirton’s tan torso, the color of a broken-in saddle, is complemented by the black, worn-smooth prayer beads hanging from his neck. “Farming’s not glamorous, but it’s my propensity in this life,” he said. “It doesn’t take a lot of focus to pull weeds,” he said looking out across the short-cut grass of the orchard in Puna near the old, lava-razed railroad hub of Opihikao. Sankirton’s farm is named Nitai-Gaura’s, a shortening for Nityananda Gauranga, a lord and one of the 108 representatives of Krishna. His land is now nearly level. “A friend with a D-9 did the hard part. Then I leveled the dips and contours with a pick and shovel. That took about a year,” he smiled. “I brought in 100 loads of biomass from the big county mulcher.” It took three years and five months to bring it from an overgrown, rocky parcel to a lush, fruitproducing farm and Sankirton does the work himself. He grows the fruit organically and uses no irrigation. “Mulch is important. Keeps the moisture in and really helped the plants to survive the drought we had last winter,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of vegetable gardens, but as my body got older I realized trees were the way to go, less bending.” Sankirton sells the fruit at the Sea View Farmers Market every Saturday.

“I always have bananas, avocados, lemons and limes. Seasonally, I have oranges, tangerines, temple tangor, soursops, star apples and starfruit,” he said. Under the roof of his shed, green bunches of bananas hang for market while pots, shovels and soils litter the ground, along with cuttings and starts from other trees he’s experimenting with, including cacao, Brazilian plum, Surinam cherries and a citrus plant from the world of science fiction called Buddha’s Hand. The strange fruits hang heavy on the limbs and their long green fingers seem to grasp at thin air. Sankirton grew up Paul Manning in Miami Beach, offspring of Jewish parents. With no thought to farming, he surfed and dreamed of far-away ocean breaks. Just after high school his best friend became vegetarian and Sankirton followed suit. “It had a mellowing effect on me and opened up my spiritual quest,” he said standing in the shade of a lemon tree. “I’d never thought about the karmic reaction of killing an animal to eat.” Tradewinds fluttered the leaves while a rainbow hung over the sea, its colors thinned by a passing cloud. “Killing anything has karmic reaction, but yanking a head of lettuce from a plant is much less than slaughtering a cow,” Sankirton said. Nicknamed “Sunshine,” Sankirton travelled around the Mainland and spent time in Columbia University’s dorms during the student take-over in 1968. He met up with the Weather Underground, Black Panthers and the Yippies in Washington, D.C.; he tripped on acid in Boulder and made Dead concerts in Berkeley before catching a jet for Kaua‘i. Continued on page 54

❁Continued from page 53 In Hanakāpā‘ai Valley he met up with a yogi. “There were a lot of us, camping, living off the land, digging life, but I was just beginning to see how the material world can never satisfy the soul,” Sankirton said.

“Even the trees are cleansed when they hear the name of God.”

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Now almost 40 years in the spiritual practice of Bhakti Yoga, Das lives a simple life, enjoying the bounty of his farm and aligning himself under the direction of his spiritual master. “When he accepted me as a disciple about 15 years ago, I became Sankirton Das, a name that means to chant out loud and hear the name of God. It’s powerful and allows me to link up with the Supreme Being,” he said. “Even the trees are cleansed when they hear the name of God.” Nestled between coconut palms, citrus and banana trees, Sankirton’s solar-powered, one-room house is decorated with images of Krishna. Prints of the beautiful boy with the intense stare and the multi-pawed lion hang life-like in the corners. Incense censers and books like the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna Krishna and The Golden Avatar lie on open shelves. He walks across the purple plywood floor and squeezes juice from a pink Eureka lemon, then adds water and raw honey. “I’m not interested in religion,” he said as the Maha Mantra played in the background. “It might lead to spirituality and it might not. Jesus did not teach Christianity. He simple delivered

ultimate truth and taught in accord with the time and place Buddha’s Hand and people’s consciousness.” Sankirton believes an epoch passed many eons ago when people were more God-conscious and more loving toward each other. He describes the present state on earth as “down a notch in consciousness” and “short-fused, short-memoried and short-lived,” beset by “chaos, quarrel and confusion.” “There is refuge in the platform of God’s pure love,” he said as he carefully folded his knees on the floor. “I am self-sufficient only through the Supreme Being’s will. I can’t grow a tree, but God can.” But tending God’s garden on the wet side of the Big Island may be risky business. “It’s the worst job in Puna,” he said. “I’m constantly pulling weeds and constantly coming into contact with the slugs,” he stretched his body and winced.

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One year ago, Sankirton contracted rat lung disease, scientifically known as Angiostrongylus Cantonensis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is a disease generated by a parasitic worm found in the pulmonary arteries of rats. Virulent and destructive to humans, the parasite evolves to the infective stage as it matures in the digestive system of slugs and snails that have eaten rodent feces. Parmarion Martensi, a tiny slug from South East Asia and a new arrival to Hawai‘i, has shown in a recent study to be infected with the parasite 77 percent of the time. Infected slug slime found on fruit, vegetables or the hands, if ingested, can be life-changing. “I had a spinal tap.” His thin lips quivered. “It travels in the spinal fluids and eventually works its way into the central nervous system,” he said.” They’re not sure what to do with it, gave me a lot of drugs. I spent four months in the hospital and I’m just now recovering my strength, but the pain has not gone away.” According to the CDC, the disease, a form of meningitis, was first identified in Taiwan in 1944. Recent outbreaks have also been reported in New Orleans, Kingston, and Kaohsiung. “I’m an eternal soul. I don’t know where I’m picking up from— somewhere down the line, I don’t know—I don’t know why, but there’s no coincidences,” he rubbed a bead on his necklace. “I’m not a raw foodist. But please, wash all your fruit and vegetables.” He walked between the rows of avocado and starfruit planted just outside the shade of the banana trees that line the perimeter of his farm. “Sometimes when I’m digging and I see an earthworm, I think, ‘child of God.’ Life like that—the soul much more covered up, the consciousness not developed—it’s still in process, one of the 8.4 million forms of material life that the soul can transmigrate

through. The human form is rare—we should cherish it. And trees…” he looked across the grassy slope toward the citrus. “Trees fly forward.” ❖ Contact Richard Mark Glover at Photos by Richard Mark Glover

KE OLA | | 55

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The Life

Feng Shui Hawaiian Style

Expand, Grow and Manifest your Dreams with By Marta Barreras, Master Feng Shui Practitioner the Wood Element The wood element in this kitchen brings good health and prosperity to the home’s occupants. It is present in the cabinet doors, the counter and columnar post, as well as in the light green walls and rattan barstools.


ave you been faced with a need to change your life plans lately? Has the economy or other recent challenges impacted your business, your vitality or your relationships? As job loss, foreclosure and unexpected events have continued to stress our nation this past year, millions of people are likely to be wondering if they will have the strength to endure more potential challenges in 2011. Faced with recent unexpected changes and an unpredictable future, many have felt forced to simplify their lives, while others have found themselves working longer hours for less pay. Overall, it seems that our materially prosperous nation is being driven to reconsider what constitutes true wealth in life. Although the nation’s economic condition is not likely to change dramatically in this next year, 2011 presents us with the opportunity to look within and find new ways to transform old problems into expansive possibilities.

“Ancient Secrets are Now Revealed”

Laka, the Hawaiian goddess of hula and prosperity Art by Doya Nardin/

Generations of ancient Hawaiians passed down secret wisdom that empowered them to live in harmony and balance with the abundant forces of nature. The knowledge of these native people came from their deep interconnectedness and reverence for the natural environment. The Hawaiians of old worshipped the goddess Laka, whose graceful power could move through them while practicing the sacred

The Wood Element as Medicine

Both the ancient Hawaiians and Chinese Taoists view the elements of nature as inseparable from our personal life essence. Taoist philosophy states that the five elements in nature (wood, fire, earth, metal and water) compose the basic building blocks of everything in the Universe. Therefore, according to this perspective, these elements are also present within our bodies and within everything in our physical environments. According to the wisdom of Chinese medicine and acupuncture, the wood element symbolizes new beginnings: birth, growth, vitality and expansion. It represents the phase in which new energy and ideas take form. Just as a plant synthesizes sunlight into the carbohydrates that make up its solid form of leaves, stems and roots, the wood element represents the transformation of creative energy and ideas into physical manifestation. Nourished by the water element, which inspires the source of our creative ideas, the wood element governs the actions that bring our inspired dreams into physical reality. The wood element also engenders abundance and generosity. Just as a tree can create endless branches, blossoms and fruit from just one seed, the energy of the wood element can help you tap into a wellspring of vitality and prosperity when you sow its seeds properly in your life. When your personal wood element is in balance, you are expansive, clear thinking,

❁Continued on page 59

KE OLA | | 57

Waiho Wale Kahiko

dance of hula. Traditional hula performances are begun with a ceremony in her honor, combined with an offering of a specific succession of Hawaiian plants. The goddess Laka represents the personification of the wood element. She symbolizes abundance, fruitfulness and creative action that attracts prosperity.

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❁Continued from page 57 focused and decisive. You take inspired actions that help you to realize your goals, and your capacity for problem solving is acute and precise. Healthy wood gives you a vital sense of growth and balance, like the branches of a tree that expand out from a trunk that is deeply rooted into the Earth. When your personal wood element is deficient or out of balance, this can result in low self-esteem, passivity, indecisiveness and anger. Physically, it can manifest as blurred or weak vision, liver toxicity, allergies and pimples.

Feng Shui and the Wood Element

Chinese medicine offers a multitude of ways to create balance and benefit from the wood element in your life. Feng shui (pronounced “fung shway”), the ancient art of space alignment, is one of them. It is a branch of Chinese medicine that can be likened to the application of acupuncture on your space. Feng shui optimizes the flow of energy in your environment. Since you are literally bathing in the energy of your home or workplace, enhancing the quality of this energy can have a profound, positive effect on your mental and physical well-being, as well as on all other areas of your life, including your relationships and finances. Wood element energy relates to good physical health, mental focus and an abundant sense of prosperity. It is represented by the green color family, trunk-like columnar shapes, wooden accessories, textiles and plants of any kind. The areas of your home that specifically relate to the wood element are the Health and Family area (located at the middle one-third portion of the left quadrant of your home from the entrance) and the Wealth and Prosperity area (located at the far left corner of the home from the entrance – just above Health and Family). ❖ Before: This home has “Mandarin duck” stairs (a staircase that is split and goes in two opposite directions) in the Health and Family area.This splitting of directions can create disharmony or family discord.

Add Strength and Momentum to Your Life with the Wood Element Would you like to increase your energy levels while enhancing family and community relationships? Try placing a healthy plant in a beautiful green pot in your Health and Family area to affirm family harmony. Or you can place a vase of brightly colored flowers here to enhance your business networking and increase your connections within the community (your “extended family”). Would you like to accomplish your goals with greater clarity and efficiency? Since the wood element can enhance mental focus, try placing a healthy plant on your desk to help you complete a writing project. Or you can place a light green bedspread in your children’s bedroom to enhance study habits and improve school grades. Would you like to improve your flow of prosperity this year? Financially speaking, the wood element helps to activate growth, expansion and manifestation. Try placing a healthy plant or some green table runners in your office to add positive energy to a new business endeavor or to add positive momentum to a new income stream. Color your Wood: Greens (Fresh and Vibrant) Blue-Green Teal Shape your Wood: Columnar, Trunk-like shapes Columns Pillars Pedestals Poles Stripes

Wood Element Enhancements: Plants – live are best Wooden furnishings and accessories Wooden floors and cabinets Floral prints Art depicting trees, gardens, foliage Plant-based textiles

Contact Marta Barreras at

KE OLA | | 59

After: The Feng Shui remedy was created here by adding a healthy plant in a vibrant blue pot to uplift and connect the discordant energy. In addition, a beautiful rose quartz crystal was placed next to it for harmony and love. There was also a Buddha statue placed out in the garden (seen from the right side window) to represent compassion and unity for all the family members.

Feng Shui Tips:


The Life


alking into and experiencing a Maggie Herron show is like stumbling serendipitously into a tropical jazz oasis: soothing, calming, exciting and eminently enjoyable. The sounds that emanate from her piano, combined with her jazzy, sensual voice, make for a relaxing and satisfying sonic experience. She has what musicians call “major chops”—the facility to play and sing technically demanding passages with what appears to be little effort. Combine this with graceful good looks, a swinging band, and a repertoire that runs the gamut from Brubeck and Gershwin to original compositions, and you have a musical force to be reckoned with. I would describe her and her music as part Michelle Pfeiffer in “The Fabulous Baker Boys” (sans the attitude), part Diana Krall, and mostly Maggie, doing what she does best. I recently spoke with the long-time Big Island resident, who resides on the windward side amidst starkly beautiful, black lava and tropical flora, about her life, family and music.

Early Years: A Career Bloomed Early

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“I grew up in a large family, the ninth of 12 kids, in Muskegon, Michigan,” Maggie said. “Every one of us took at least a year of piano lessons. That was my mother’s rule. My oldest sister, Mary, and brother, Terry, both

took it seriously and studied, performed or taught music for years.” Maggie says she was thoroughly enamored of music from as early as she can remember. “I loved singing and making up songs on the piano. I started with private lessons by the 2nd grade and was the church organist by the 4th grade. In my teenage years, I practiced at least six hours a day. I played in recitals at least twice a year and always with a new repertoire. When I was 13, I won the concerto contest in town and played the Beethoven Second Piano Concerto with the symphony orchestra. I had to play it by memory, which was difficult and challenging, considering how nervous I felt. I never doubted that playing music was my path in life.”

The Middle Years: Family Time and Hawai’i Calling

The middle part of her life was divided between her love and responsibility to her family, says the mother of two kids, along with her constant desire to immerse herself in her music. “I first came to Hawai‘i in 1976 with my boyfriend. My first gig, five nights a

week, was at the Travel Lodge on Banyan Drive in Hilo. After I got pregnant, my boyfriend and I moved back to the Mainland, got married, and my son was born there. We all moved to the Big Island full-time in 1979. The big allure for me,” she says, “was the seemingly impossible concept of living in a place that was warm year-round. I grew up in Michigan. The idea of swimming in the ocean in January was like a miracle to me.” She played local gigs in Hilo and Kona, and loved the Big Island, she says. “I swam almost every day, played gigs with a lot of different musicians, and later played concerts with Cecilio and with Kapono. I played keyboard for each of them and was a featured vocalist.” After seven years on the Big Island, Maggie moved to Honolulu, where she performed five nights a week. For 12 years she lived and performed on Lana‘I, where she was the nightly musician at Manele Bay Hotel. Four years ago she moved back to the Big Island, and is happy to be back. “I was hired at KHBC Radio to do the Jazz Show, initially because Buddy Gordon remembered me from the ‘80s,” she says. “He was sure I’d have a following of music lovers. I currently play two nights a week at Kaleo’s Bar and Grill in Pahoa with Paul Lindbergh, one night a week at the Mauna Kea Hotel, and regularly at the Hilo Burger Joint.”

“My new CD, “Maggie Herron, In the Wings,” has me playing the grand piano, and the ensemble is stellar. Paul Lindbergh, my music partner for close to four years, is on sax and flute. The bassist, Dean Taba, and drummer, Noel Okimoto, are a tight rhythm section, both technically adept and creative musically. Trumpet player Eldred Ahlo is an absolute delight to play with, and what a player! Except for “Woodstock,” all the songs and instrumentals are written by me. And I’m chomping at the bit to record the next CD soon. The song ideas keep coming and the sheer joy of music is a force that stands alone.” You can catch Maggie at her local shows previously mentioned, as well as at The Kona Music Festival on Saturday, April 2, at The Keauhou Beach Outrigger. Other artists appearing that day include The Olliephonics, bigblueO, Colin John Band and The Deanna Bogart Band. ❖

What’s in the Future for Maggie?

Contact Colin John at transpacificblues@

“My aspirations for the future are to record, write and perform as a musician for the rest of my life, with dedicated and talented players—in concerts, local venues, on the mainland, in Europe, and with Hawai‘i always as my home,” Maggie says.



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❖ H A P P E N I N G S ❖

If you have an event coming up in May, June or later this year, please email all details to editor@ before March 20.


Downtown Hilo On cruise ship days, harbor visitors and residents alike enjoy hula and Hawaiian cultural traditions presented by schools, hula halau and other cultural practioners. Hawaiian artisans and fine crafters teach and share their work. Free hula shows are held at 11 a.m. and at 12 noon, featuring live Hawaiian music and gracious hula dancers. Free. March dates are Mar. 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 15, 18, 21, 22, 28, 29, and 31; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please call Hilo Downtown Improvement Association to request an auxiliary aid or reasonable modification. 808.935.8850.

Girls’ Day Diva Festival

Thursday, March 3 Hilo This special annual event features a performance by Craig A Meyer of his popular hit show “Almost Elton John.” The 7 p.m. performance is preceded from 5 – 6:30 p.m. by food sampling courtesy of 12 women-owned and -operated businesses, silent auction and door prizes. UH – Hilo Performing Arts Center. Call 808.974.7310 or

Hawai‘i’s Feathered Treasures

Great Waikoloa ‘Ukulele Festival

Saturday, March 5 Waikoloa Beach Resort Annual celebration of Hawai‘i’s favorite instrument and music;

Mauna Loa Birding Hike

Saturday, March 5 Volcano Join renowned wildlife biologist and photographer Jack Jeffrey for a morning of bird watching in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. This field exploration consists of several stops with short hikes along moderately-difficult trails. Good physical conditioning is a must. Pre-registration required. Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. 808.967.8222 or visit

Portuguese Day in the Park

Sunday, March 6 Hilo A celebration of all things Portuguese! Portuguese Chamber of Commerce members prepare Portuguese bean soup and bake bread in the “fourno,” then offer it free to everyone. Live music, sweet bread, pickled onions, sausage, and malasadas also for sale. There is a booth to look up ancestry and history of the Portuguese in Hawai‘i. Fun for the whole family. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Gilbert Carvalho Park, Hilo. Free. For more information, call 808.935.0547 or email

Open Stage Night at The Dancing Tree Studio

Sunday, March 6 Kealakekua Performances in dance, theatrics, poetry and music. Have a special talent you would like to share? This is a free monthly party open to the public. Open to everyone. Performances around the theme of “water.” 7 – 10 p.m. 79-7491 Mamalahoa Hwy., Kealakekua. Sign up to perform by visiting or call Seatree at 808.990.1417.

Takacs Quartet with Joyce Yang

Monday, March 7 Waimea One of the most gifted young pianists of her generation, Joyce Yang performs 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, Kahilu Theatre,Waimea. 808.885.6868 or

Kona Brewers Festival

Saturday, March 12 Kailua-Kona This annual festival promotes craft brewing in Hawai‘i and promotes recycling. Expect about 60 craft beers from Hawai‘i and the U.S. Mainland, plus gourmet food. Preceded by a special Brewer’s Dinner, Golf Tourney and Run for the Hops. Held under swaying palm trees at the King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel; 2:30 – 6:30 p.m. For tickets, 808.331.3033 or visit

 Visit the famous  Visit the Famous Ka‘ü Coffee Farms Ka‘ü Coffee Farms.  Enjoy your stay in  Enjoy Stay in HistoricYour cottages, Historic Cottages, homes and Homes mansion.and Mansion.  Order Order Fresh Fresh Farm Farm Foods from Ka‘ü Ka‘ü. Foods from

Na Mea Hawai‘i Hula Kahiko

Saturday, March 12 Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park See traditional hula and chant performed outdoors on the hula platform overlooking Kilauea Crater, featuring Halau Ha‘a Kea o Kinohi. 10:30 a.m. Hawaiian cultural demonstrations at Volcano Art Center Gallery, 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Free; park entrance fees apply. Call 808.967.8222 or visit

Spring Wind Quintet

Sunday, March 13 Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park The Spring Wind Quintet, recognized as one of the country’s leading woodwind quintets, has been a major force in the development of chamber music in Hawai‘i. The group has an extensive and varied repertoire and will peform a world premier for this event. Kilauea Military Camp Theater in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. For ticket info, call 808.967.8222 or visit

14th Annual Big Island International Marathon

Sunday, March 20 Hilo Run the coast of old Hawai‘i along the Pacific Ocean, through tropical rainforests, past exotic waterfalls, and along black lava beaches to finish at historic Hilo Bayfront. Run with elite runners in a small running field. Start time: 6 a.m. Event includes 26.2 Mile Marathon; 10.8-mile run and 3.1mile fitness run/walk from Hilo Bay around Queen Lili’uokalani Gardens. For info and to register, call 808.969.7400 or visit

❁Continued on page 64

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Thursday, March 3 Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Meet wildlife biologist and photographer Jack Jeffrey and view his images of Hawai‘i’s forest birds while learning more about their importance and the efforts being taken to preserve and protect their habitat; 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., Volcano Art Center in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Free; park entrance fees may apply. 808.967.8222, or visit

2 – 7 p.m., The Queen’s Market Place at Waikoloa Beach Resort. Master of Ceremonies, the “Ambassador of Aloha,” Danny Kaleikini hosts three stages. Since 2001, the Great Waikoloa ‘Ukulele Festival has drawn audiences from everywhere and ‘ukulele artists from around the world. Big Island ‘ukulele enthusiasts can strum along and play their part with a great lineup of ‘ukulele masters. ‘Ukulele give-aways, food booths, ‘ukulele lessons and more. Free.

Stay in the historic village of PŠhala near Volcanoes National Park, PunaluÔu Beach & HawaiÔiÕs longest uninhabited coast

❖ H A P P E N I N G S ❖

❁Continued from page 63

“Kokua Kailua” Hulihe’e Palace Concert and Village Stroll

         

      

          

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  

          

Sunday, March 20 Kailua-Kona Free Hawaiian music concert featuring the Merrie Monarch’s Men’s Glee Club with hula by the halau of Etua Lopez on the Palace’s South Lawn at 4 p.m., presented by the Daughters of Hawai‘i. Bring your own beachmat or chair. Before and after the concert, stroll through Kailua Village (from 1 – 6 p.m.), enjoy outdoor cafes and restaurants, local musicians and artists. For more info about the Village Stroll, visit

Kamuela Philharmonic Spring Concert

Sunday, March 20 Waimea The second of three annual concerts during the year, presented by this talented, locally-based orchestra, will feature a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Beethoven’s Symphony #6, the “Pastoral.” Free community event. 4 p.m. at the Kahilu Theatre, Waimea. For more details, call 808.885.6868 or visit

Haili Men’s Invitational Volleyball Tournament

March 21 – March 26 Now more than a half-century old, this popular sporting event features novice to nationally ranked AA players from around the United States. The five-day tourney is held at the Hilo Civic Auditorium and other locations around Hilo. Call 808.961.3633.

Talking Hawai‘i’s Story Workshop and Book Signing

Thursday, March 24, Kealakekua Kona Historical Society is hosting Warren Nishimoto from the UH Manoa Center for Oral History at Christ Church Community Center. He will be presenting a rich sampling of the oral histories he and his co-editors have compiled while researching their book, “Talking Hawai`i’s Story.” Some of Kona’s oral histories being presented are from cowboy Willy Thompson; farmer/ entertainer Martina Fuentivilla; plantation worker/boxer Severo Dinson and farmer/road worker John Santana. The book is available for purchase and signing following his presentation. Refreshments will be served and potluck pupus are always welcome. 5 – 7 p.m. A short membership meeting precedes the program, but non-members are welcome. Earlier in the day, Warren is teaching a free workshop on oral histories and how to record them from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more info call 808.323.3222 or email

Annual Spring Dance Concert

Saturday, March 26 Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park This popular yearly dance concert features innovating new works by talented Big Island choreographers and dancers. Ballet, modern, jazz, hip-hop and more. Kilauea Military Camp Theater in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. 7:30 p.m. For tickets, call 808.967.8222 or visit

25th Annual Magic Spectacular

March 26 Kainaliu Big Island Magic Club has booked a “headliner superstar” in addition to talented local magicians to mesmerize the audience. There will be two shows at the Aloha Theatre: a matinee at 2:30 p.m. and an evening performance at 7 p.m. Sponsored by the Big Island Magic Club, the event benefits Society for Kona’s Education and Art in Honaunau (SKEA). Tickets at the door. For more information, call 808.323.9707, SKEA at 808.328.9392, or email

The Art & Traditions of Hula at Kilauea

Saturday, March 26 Hawai‘I Volcanoes National Park Hula kahiko informance and demonstration with Kahula ‘O Nawahine Noho Pu’ukapu under the direction of kumu hula Ana Nawahine-Kahoopii. The young dancers of this halau, based in Kuhio Village, Waimea, present a 45-minute info session on traditional hula and chant at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the hula platform. From 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. halau members are available at the VAC Gallery for audience to talk story and have a close up look at their hula implements, adornments and costumes, as well as take photos. Bring sitting mat and rain/sun gear for outdoor presentation (weather permitting). Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (HVNP). Free (or by donation with funds supporting future programs); park entrance fees apply. Call 808.967.8222.

APRIL Hilo Hula Days

Downtown Hilo On cruise ship days, harbor visitors and residents alike enjoy hula and Hawaiian cultural traditions presented by schools, hula halau and other cultural practioners. Hawaiian artisans and fine crafters teach and share their work. Free hula shows are held at 11 a.m. and at 12 noon, featuring live Hawaiian music and gracious hula dancers. Free. This month’s dates are April 1, 4, 5, 12, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 25, 26, 29, and 30; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please call Hilo Downtown Improvement Association to request an auxiliary aid or reasonable modification. 808.935.8850.

Lavaman Waikoloa Triathlon Festival

Friday – Sunday, April 1-3 Waikoloa Beach Resort In conjunction with the annual Lavaman Triathlon, the 1st Annual Lavaman 5K Sunset Fun Run takes place on Friday, with registration at Bike Works Beach ‘n Sports at Queens’ MarketPlace at 3 p.m.; race starts at 5 p.m. and a music concert follows the race. On Saturday, the Lava Kids Aquathon (swim and run) takes place for kids under 7 thru age 16, along with a Health & Fitness Expo. Free to the public. The Annual Lavaman Triathlon is Sunday at the Waikoloa Beach Resort. This Olympic distance triathlon starts at 7:30 a.m. with a 1.5k swim in Anaeho’omalu Bay, a 40k bike on Queen K Highway and then a 10k run through the resort’s hotel grounds and lava fields, finishing on the beach. Greet first finishers at Anaeho’omalu Bay at 9 a.m. For more information, call 808.329.9718 or visit for more info.

Kona Chocolate Festival and Symposium

Saturday, April 2 Kailua-Kona This sweet and distinctive festival celebrates chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. Taste creations by the top chefs and chocolatiers of the Big Island, enjoy wines, gourmet dining, live music and more. King Kamehahema Kona Beach Hotel in Kona. 808.987.8722 or visit

Spring Art Market

Saturday and Sunday, April 2 and 3 Volcano The fine arts market features original works of photography, painting, jewelry, and sculpture available for sale directly from the artists. Our free Art Market is open to visitors and residents of all ages. Free demonstrations and hands-on activities take place throughout the day for keiki and adults. The weekend’s activities include ongoing art demonstrations, a guided family nature walk, creative keiki activities, food booths and more! Booth spaces available to artists who are Hawai‘i Island residents and who are not currently featured in Volcano Art Gallery. Contact Anne for info: 808.967.8222 or email Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village.

Kona Music Festival

Saturday, April 2 Keauhou This event, previously the Kona Jazz Festival, takes place at Outrigger Keauhou Beach Hotel at the luau grounds, 3 – 10 p.m. Musicians featured: Maggie Herron, Big Blue O featuring M. Kalani Souza, Colin John Band, The Olliephonics, Deanna Bogart Band. Full bar and food for purchase. Free Parking. Tickets available at Soundwave Music, Kailua-Kona. $50

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Pops Menagerie with Kona Festivale Chorale

Kona Coast History Cruise

Saturday and Sunday, April 2 and 3 Kailua-Kona One of Kona’s finest choral groups presents this annual concert at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel Ballroom. For tickets and more info, 808.331.1115, email or visit

Open Stage Night at The Dancing Tree Studio

Sunday, April 3 Kealakekua Performances in dance, theatrics, poetry and music. Have a special talent you would like to share? This is a free monthly party open to the public. Open to everyone. Performances around the theme of “earth.” 7 – 10 p.m. 79-7491 Mamalahoa Hwy., Kealakekua. Sign up to perform by visiting

Saturday, April 9 Kailua-Kona Cruise to Captain Cook’s Monument on an historical cruise to Kealakekua Bay. This three-hour cruise is filled with facts, stories, legends and cultural arts. The sightings of whales and dolphins are often an added treat. From 4 – 7 p.m. on board the Body Glove cruise boat at Kailua Bay Pier. Pupus and beverages served, no-host bar. Call 800.551.8911 for reservations.


Sunday, April 10 Kainaliu The Kona Music Society invites you to an afternoon showing of the film “Amadeus” at the Aloha Theatre—a spring fundraiser. For more info: or call 808.960.3800 for more details.

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❁Continued from page 65

 

“Kokua Kailua” Hulihe’e Palace Concert and Village Stroll

Sunday, April 17 Kailua-Kona Free Hawaiian music concert featuring the Merrie Monarch’s Men’s Glee Club with hula by the halau of Etua Lopez on the Palace’s South Lawn at 4 p.m., presented by the Daughters of Hawai‘i. Bring your own beachmat or chair. Before and after the concert, stroll through Kailua Village (from 1 – 6 p.m.), enjoy outdoor cafes and restaurants, local musicians and artists. For more info about the Village Stroll, visit

Puna Music Festival

April 20 – May 3 Kapoho A two-week event coinciding with the annual Merrie Monarch Festival, the Puna Music Festival focuses on music and hula. Classes and presentations include mele, oli, ‘auana and kahiko hula, vocals, ukulele/guitar, huna, and excursions. Local artisans share their knowledge and native crafts. At Kalani Oceanside Retreat at Kapoho in Puna. For ticket info, call 808.965.0468 or visit

          

 

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The Art & Traditions of Hula at Kilauea

Saturday, April 23 Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Hula kahiko informance and demonstration with Kahula ‘O Nawahine Noho Pu’ukapu under the direction of kumu hula Ana Nawahine-Kahoopii. The young dancers of this halau, based in Kuhio Village, Waimea, present a 45-minute info sesssion on traditional hula and chant at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the hula platform. From 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. halau members are available at the VAC Gallery for audience to talk story and have a close up look at their hula implements, adornments and costumes, as well as take photos. Bring sitting mat and rain/sun gear for outdoor presentation (weather permitting). Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (HVNP). Free (or by donation with funds supporting future programs); park entrance fees apply. Call 808.967.8222.


Opening April 22 Kainaliu Aloha Performing Arts Company presents “Loot” onstage at the Aloha Theater. The play is a “scathing assault on money, the law, the Catholic Church and several other sacred institutions, constructed as a Wildean drawing room comedy of the blackest hue.” The wild adventures that occur among thieves, a missing body, the dead Mum’s nurse, the widowed husband, and a

❖ H A P P E N I N G S ❖ cians/singers; 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Outrigger Keauhou Beach Resort and Kahalu‘u Beach Park. 808.329.1758 or visit Presented by Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce and University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program.

Merrie Monarch Festival

Merrie Monarch Parade (Photo by Kenji Kuroshima) corrupt and brutal police inspector make for a vitriolic, deadly serious black comedy. Through May 7. Reserved seating; for tickets visit or call the box office at 808.322.9924.

Earth and Ocean Festival

Saturday, April 23 Keauhou The Earth and Ocean Festival is designed to showcase and emphasize the unique treasures of Hawai‘i Island via booths and educational activities on coral reef and ocean stewardship, traditional Hawaiian cultural practices, products and foods made in Hawai‘i, education on conservation practices in Hawai‘i, film and slide presentations, and features Hawaiian entertainment, including hula performances and musi-

April 24 – 30 Hilo Hawai‘i’s most venerable hula celebration and competition with week-long festivities including exhibitions, musical entertainment, arts and crafts fairs and lots of hula with competitors from all around Hawai‘i and the world. The week begins on Sunday, April 24, with a free ho‘olaulea at Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium. Wednesday evening is a ho‘ike with free exhibitions of hula and music at Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium. Hula competitions begin on Thursday with the Miss Aloha Hula Competition, group competitions in kahiko (ancient) on Friday and ‘auana (modern) hula on Saturday. Saturday morning is a colorful parade through downtown Hilo. Except for the hula competition, events are free. Call 808.935.9168 or visit

Imiloa Celebrates the Merrie Monarch

April 26 – 29 Hilo’s Imiloa Astronomy Center gets into the hula festival spirit with a series of entertaining

and educational presentations, workshops, performances and demonstrations by cultural experts about hula song composition, lei making, music and genealogy. Call 808.969.9704 or visit for more information and complete schedule of events.

Slack Key Concert

Friday, April 29 Volcano Slack key virtuoso, Jim “Kimo” West performs in concert with opening act Dennis and Christy Soares. Kimo is a 2008 winner of the Hawaii Music Awards and 2009 Na Hoku Hanohano, (the Hawaiian ‘Grammy’) nominee. He is also a composer and musician with many TV shows. Kilauea Theater, Volcano Art Center.

10th Annual Hoku Concert Series

Saturday, April 30 Kailua-Kona The 10th Annual Hoku Concert Series presents an evening with Dennis McNeil, a hospital soireé benefit for Kona Hospital Foundation at the Bayhouse Hokukano Retreat, Keauhou-Kona. Tenor Dennis McNeil has sung for 5 United States Presidents and other Heads of State. He has performed in all 50 states and around the globe with symphonies, musical theatre, and leading opera companies including the Met. McNeil has also sung with the Grateful

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❖ H A P P E N I N G S ❖

❁Continued from page 67 Dead, Lionel Richie, and Steve Miller. For this exclusive concert, he will sing selections from his versatile repertoire of popular melodies. The event begin at 6 p.m. with a wine and pupu reception. Concert from 7:15 – 8:45 p.m. General seating tickets, $100 per person, Preferred seating tickets also available. Seating is limited. Call Kona Hospital Foundation at 808-322-4587 or email to

COMING IN MAY May Day is Lei Day

Sunday, May 1 Waikoloa Beach Resort Celebrate this time-honored tradition with the resort’s day-long, resort-wide event highlighting Hawai‘i’s diverse culture. Live, local entertainment, authentic Hawaiian arts and crafts, performances by talented hula halau, lei-making contest and Lei Queen.

Lei Day Festival

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Sunday, May 1 Volcano A family event celebrating Lei Day for all ages with lei-making demonstrations, lei contest and display, hula and ‘ukulele performances, talk-story sessions, guided tours of the native

forest and more. Lei contest is open to all ages and cash prizes are awarded for outstanding entries; 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Free. Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village 808.967.8222 or visit

“He Mo‘olelo o Ka Lei”

Sunday, May 1 Hilo This Lei Day event kicks off a celebration of the “story of the lei” for the month of May in Hilo. Event features Hawaiian music by well-known entertainers, hula, lei-making demonstrations and the heritage, history and culture of the lei. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Kalakaua Park in downtown Hilo. Free. For more information, call 808.961.5711or visit

May Day Mele

Sunday, May 1 Hilo This free, aloha-filled music festival will feature hula, ‘oli (chant) along with a stellar lineup of Hawaiian musicians and short videos about lei-making by local filmmakers. 2 p.m. at the Palace Theater in Hilo. Free. Visit or call 808.934.7010.

Rod Cameron conducts figure painting workshop.

1st Saturdays Art Sampling

Volcano Village Free art demos the first Saturday of every month, 10 a.m.–1 p.m. The community is invited to come try your hand at a new medium and meet local, professional artists. Previews of upcoming workshops. Tea and snacks available for purchase. Donations toward supplies welcomed. For more info, call Anne: 808.967.8222 or email:

Contemporary Quilt Workshop March 4-8 Honaunau Learn to use your own photo to make a pattern for a contemporary quilt with Esterita Austin, a nationally recognized fabric artist. Using portraiture as the genre for inspiration. Three class choices: five days; three days; or two

SKEA – The Society for Kona’s Education and Art, Mamalahoa Hwy., between mile markers 104 & 105, Honaunau, offers Spring & Summer Art Camps in March and June, for children ages 5 through 12. For adults, a range of options for classes in fiber art, art from found objects, hula and Pilates are offered. Check the online calendar at for details, or phone: 808.328.9392.

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days. In all classes, leave with a piece ready to finish at home. A selection of sheer fabrics will be provided in the class kit. All classes will be held in South Kona at SKEA. Class size limited to 15 students per day. Fabrics are all fused; no sewing machine needed. Cost $75/day. www. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information, call 328.8848, email or visit Introduction to SoulCollage March 12 and 13 Volcano and Kapoho Using intuition, imagination, and found images, make a personal and powerful set of cards that are designed to become “your map and compass through life, a reflection of your multi-faceted self.” Images and some card blanks provided. 1:00–5:30. Fee: $60 per class. For directions, more info and to register, email or call 808.572.9362 Spiritual Journey Weekend March 25-27 Spiritual Journey Weekend, “Building Your

Foundation for a Better Life,” with Kellyna Campbell, author and spiritual healer. Volcano Art Center, 19-4074 Old Volcano Rd. Volcano Village. Workshop Friday March 25, 6 – 9 p.m, Saturday 26, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday 27, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Lunch included, by Cafe Ono. Fee: $270. Come to complimentary introduction, Thursday, March 24, 6 p.m. Call 808.967.8222 Figurative Drawing & Painting Workshop April 9 Honaunau Class with painter Rod Cameron and draped model, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. at SKEA, between 104 and 105 mile marker on Hwy. 11, South Kona. Call Birgit at 808.936.5008 or Rod at 808.982.8428. Figurative Hula Painting Workshop April 16 Volcano Village Workshop with painter Rod Cameron and live hula model, Volcano Art Center. This five-hour class includes instructional lecture/

Creativity Opportunities

Ready to try your hand at painting, ceramics, drawing and other artistic endeavors? Here is a list of organizations offering workshops and classes on Hawai‘i Island. com or call Brenda Eng and Joy Vogelgesang at 324.0350. Donkey Mill Art Center–Located near the artist community of Holualoa along the Mamalahoa Kona Heritage Corridor, Donkey Mill offers studio space, guidance for emerging artists, and painting, sculpture, origami and ukulelebuilding workshops for all ages year-round. Stop by 78-6670 Mamalahoa Hwy. Tues–Sat.: 10 a.m.–4 p.m. for to view the Art: Passion and Perspective exhibit or contact Kate Jacobson, 322.3362 & visit North Kohala Artists Co-op (NKAC)– Sharing space with Kenji’s House Gallery allows artists

to develop and offer space, art classes, meeting and other art-related gatherings such as a series of Life Drawing Sessions. At Kenji’s, open daily 11 a.m–5 p.m., they sell their work at reasonable prices without gallery commissions. In Kapa’au on the north tip of the Big Island of Hawai‘i. Take Akoni Pule Highway (Hwy. 270) through Hawi toward Pololu. Kenji’s house with NKAC will be on the right as you arrive in Kapa’au. Call or call 884.5556 for details. East Hawai’i Cultural Center -- Home to an alliance of multi-cultural arts and community hui, among them the Big Island Dance Council and the Philippine Women’s Circle, the Center

demonstration, five hours with live model and a critique. Class limited to 15; intermediate and advanced artists 18 & older. Call 808.967.8222 for information and to register. BellyDance Classes Ongoing Nouveau Gypsy Fusion Style dancing with Stephanie Bolton. Classes at The Dancing Tree Studio in Kealakekua: Wednesdays “Wake N Shake,” 10 – 11 a.m.; Thursdays “Wake N Shake,” 8:15 – 9:15 a.m.; Fridays “Girls Night Out,” 5 – 6 p.m. Nouveau Gypsy Fusion Style at Yoganics in Kainaliu: Fridays “Girls Night Out,” 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Learn the ancient and evolving art of bellydance—it’s great exercise and lots of fun! Beginners welcome! Call 808. 854.1270 or visit for more details.

offers art talks, a floral group, marionette workshops, galleries, a performance space and art studios for woodworking and visual vocabulary classes. EHCC also hosts the festive annual Hawai‘i Artists Recycle Trash Art Show. Located at 141 Kalakaua St. in Hilo. Call 961.5711 or visit Volcano Art Center -- In quaint, friendly Volcano Village, VAC offers everything from painting and nature photography to etched metals and block wood and linoleum print classes as well as native Hawaiian arts workshops. Events are held at 19-4074 Old Volcano Highway (at the corner of Kalanikoa), located just a mile from the National Park entrance. Open 7 days a week, 9 a.m. –5 p.m. Call 808.967.7565 or visit

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Kona Stories– An independent bookstore located in South Kona, this lively shop offers Feng Shui, Qi Gong, ladies craft nights, writing groups and sacred geometry art classes with Francene Hart. Recently moved from Mango Court in Kainaliu to Keauhou Shopping Center, Kona Stories is open Mon. – Sat. and closed some holidays. Check out www.konastories.

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Glimpses into the stories behind a few of our ads

Healthy Skin Clinic


Alice Adee, M.D.


he company name— Noho’ana—means “way of life.” “That is really what we are promoting, a new way of thinking about how you use and generate power for your business and home, your way of life,” says Julia PaschoalCano, president of the solar technology firm. Five years ago, she and her husband, Julia Paschoal-Cano, President John Cano, president of Cano Electric, Inc., saw a rising need for a company whose sole focus was that of renewable energy power systems and energy conservation technology. They created Noho’ana Solar in 2008. “When we first started, most consumers didn’t understand what solar photovoltaic was. Half of our calls would be for solar water heaters. We have spent a lot of time and money educating potential clients about what solar PV is and how it can benefit the home or business,” she said. “We show people how to make the most of a system, by pairing it with other energy conservation technologies. We have also spent a lot of time cleaning up messes left by unlicensed inexperienced solar installers claiming to be experts.” Noho‘ana Solar is located in Kea‘au, but their clientele includes homeowners and small business owners all over the Big Island and Maui and Moloka‘i as well. They handle a number of different brands of equipment. “We don’t try to make one brand fit every home. Every customer is different with different energy needs. Certain inverters or solar modules work better under different circumstances. We pride ourselves in thinking outside the box when customers have special circumstances. We are also one of the few companies that will do a mix of solar systems: grid-tie, off-grid, grid-tie with battery backup and hybrid systems (solar and wind),” Julia says. Julia had worked in sales and personnel for most of her professional career when, in 2003, she joined her husband in his electrical business. There she worked in the field with him, wiring houses for new construction and renovations. They started installing solar PV systems in 2006. “We liked the technology so much that we both took courses in designing and installing solar PV,” she says. Born and raised on the Island of Maui, Julia moved to the Big Island in 1991, living in Pahoa, Hilo and now Kea‘au. “Back then power outages were a monthly occurrence in my neighborhood. I began to understand why so many people in Puna live off the grid,” she says. Noho‘ana Solar’s main office is located at 16-180 Mikahala Place in Kea‘au. Phone: 982-7480 Kea‘au; 322-7252 Kona; 244-7676 Maui Email: Website:

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r. Alice Adee came to Hilo from California in 1992 as a young family practice doctor with two babies and no job. After briefly working for Bay Clinic, she started her own practice. After a few years, she decided to narrow the focus of her practice to skin surgery and aesthetics. “I’d always done a lot of surgery in my practice and loved it,” Dr. Adee says. “I took many extra courses and training in aesthetics, especially in the use of injections. My long-time medical assistant, Tracey, took training to become a licensed aesthetician. So, about 10 years ago we named the office Heathy Skin Clinic to reflect our new focus.” About three years ago, Dr. Adee bought a 1938 landmark home and had it rezoned and extensively remodeled. “I wanted to keep the old-Hawai‘i feel. I tried to create a relaxing, spa-like atmosphere in a medical environment. People actually enjoy being in my waiting room—not too many doctors can say that!” The Healthy Skin Clinic treats people of all ages and genders. “For the aesthetics services, most of my patients are women between 30 and 60 who want to retain their beauty without surgery or anything that looks unnatural,” says Dr. Adee, who received her medical degree from University of California-Davis. “I have many male aesthetic clients as well. Most of my patients are working people whose appearance is important in their profession. We try hard to keep our services affordable and work with our patients over the long term. Some treatments, such as those for skin cancer and skin diseases, are covered by insurance. ” In addition to recommending skin products to preserve and rejuvenate the skin, Dr. Adee uses high-tech modalities including intense pulsed light (for treatment of age spots, skin texture, vascular lesions, hair removal and acne), chemical peels and microdermabrasion. Dr. Adee loves her work. “My practice is now sustainable— I don’t think I’ll ever burn out. It’s given me the freedom to enjoy other things in life as well as my job.” The Healthy Skin Clinic is located at 70 Olona St. in Hilo— on the corner of Kino‘ole and Olona. Phone: 969-6664 Website:

Noho‘ana Solar Technologies

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Glimpses into the stories behind a few of our ads

Malama Pono Health Care


Claudia Christman, M.D.


Owners: (left to right) Alex Austin, Heather Austin, Leolani Welsh, Tony Welsh

lose friends and business associates for more than 25 years, Alex and Heather Austin and Tony and Leolani Welsh, found life in the northwestern part of the mainland a little gray. Even though they loved the area, says Tony Welsh, vice president and operations manager of the plumbing firm, “We wanted to see what it was like to live and work in the almost continuous sunshine, and warmth of Hawai‘i. Besides…plumbing is plumbing. There are no boundaries,” he states. “Everyone needs a plumber from time to time, and we loved the thought of living and working in the Hawaiian islands. It just seemed the Big Island, and Kailua Kona in particular, would be ideal for a start-up business such as ours.” Beginning in October of 2006, the two couples combined talents into the business structure of Plumbing Strategies, Inc. (PSI). Alex is president/RME, Heather is office manager, and Leolani helps out with business promotions and customer relations. “When we arrived, we didn’t know a soul here,” Tony says. “There was a lot of pounding the pavement and networking. It took a long time to build trust and relationships in the community, which is the key to long-term success in any business here.” PSI focuses on plumbing service and drain cleaning, but is also qualified to do large commercial projects, “install the plumbing in your dream home, add on to a bathroom or kitchen, remodel your condo plumbing, change your water heater, and locate your cesspool. If it has to do with plumbing…we do it.” They pride themselves on their customer service and professionalism, and most calls are scheduled for the same day, Tony says. The firm has personnel with diverse plumbing backgrounds, including plumbers with heavy commercial experience, residential construction, and service and drain work. “Whatever you can throw at us, there is someone within our company that is qualified to handle it.” PSI is in the Kona Town Storage complex off of Pawai Place in the Old Industrial area, just below the ELKS club. Phone: 808-325-2502 Email: Website:

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laudia Christman has a deep-seated desire to help people live healthy lives. She began her medical career as a nurse practitioner who helped people manage chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. “Seeking new learning,” Dr. Christman says, “I went on to become a board-certified physician specializing in emergency medicine, which allowed me to help people in a very challenging acute-care environment. I derived much satisfaction from my work at major trauma centers and most recently, Kona Community Hospital. But after 12 years working as an ER doctor, I realized that I missed the opportunity to provide the kind of healing care that can take place out of a hospital setting. I opened Malama Pono Health Care to provide the kind of medical care I would want to receive. Dr. Christman’s patients encompass anyone who has non-life threatening health issues or concerns, she says. “My primary areas of emphasis include general health matters, urgent care, and hormone balancing for men and women. “Both as a physician and a nurse practitioner, I have always prioritized the personal aspect of providing medical care. I take the time to listen to the patient and tailor my medical services to the patient’s needs.” A seven-year resident of Hawai‘i Island, Dr. Christman finds she has to balance her personal life with her business. “The biggest challenge is making time personally for the good health habits that I support with my patients. I feel strongly about incorporating healthy choices into one’s life.” She is an avid scuba diver on this island and serves as a referral physician for Divers Alert Network (DAN). Malama Pono Health Care has a convenient location at Pottery Terrace, adjacent to Jackie Rey’s, with easy parking. “I began my private medical practice in Kailua-Kona because I wanted to combine my medical skills and training with my love of the Aloha spirit. My journey has definitely shaped who I am,” says Dr. Christman. Malama Pono Health Care is located at 75-5995 Kuakini Highway (Pottery Terrace), Kailua-Kona, HI 96740. Phone: (808) 345-5054 Email:

Plumbing Strategies, Inc.

Ka Puana


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From Noni: The Complete Guide for Consumers and Growers by Scot C. Nelson and Craig R. Elevitch

n a sense, the human race is marooned on a small island in a vast sea of space. The island is called Earth. On this island, we depend on plants for survival. The existence of the human species is made possible by our intelligent use and understanding of the plant kingdom. On a smaller and more literal scale, this is also true for islands in the tropics as well. Imagine that you are shipwrecked and marooned on a remote, uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean. In order to survive you will need water, food, first aid, fire, and tools. You are injured, thirsty, hungry, afraid, and desperate. Hardly able to move, you stretch your arm across the rocky beach and grab onto an odd-looking, lumpy, soft, smelly, yellowish fruit at the base of a tree growing on the beach. You hold the fruit to your parched lips; the cool liquid seeps from within, quenching your thirst. You notice immediately that the pain of your cracked lips is eased. You eat the whole fruit and fall asleep, wondering briefly if the odd fruit has sedative properties. You awake feeling refreshed. You drag yourself to the shade of a coastal tree with large, green, glossy leaves, and stinking fruit. You pick up more of the fruits and rub a ripe one on your injured leg; the pain subsides and the wound tingles with healing energy. You notice a fruit with the tooth marks of a rat, and you think of spearing one of the pests with a stick from this strange tree and roasting it over the coals of a fire made from its wood. After locating a piece of sharp, angular basaltic rock, you lash the stone to a stem of this tree and secure it with

strong grasses, making a temporary axe for construction and selfdefense. You use sticks from the plant to dig holes. You find much later that when you grind the seeds of this plant between rocks and apply the mixture to your scalp, the troublesome lice are finally repelled. It occurs to you that this odd plant could well have saved your life. The plant’s leaves and fruits sustain you until the island’s vegetation can recover from the effects of the storm that sank your ship and also blew down most of the trees on the island (but not this odd plant). You recognize that the plant (and there are many of them along the coast) can provide for you a renewable supply of many things required for your immediate survival. This odd plant that saved your life is noni, one of the outstanding multipurpose plants used by man. Excerpted from Noni: The Complete Guide for Consumers and Growers by Scot C. Nelson and Craig R. Elevitch. Nelson is a botanist and plant pathologist, and Elevitch is an agroforestry specialist who has edited or co-authored several books about trees of Hawai‘i and the Pacific. Noni: The Complete Guide is available in local bookstores, from, Google Editions, and from Nonithecompleteguide. com. Photos by Scot C. Nelson and Craig R. Elevitch

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March-April 2011