MY HAWAI‘I STORY PROJECT 2010
An Anthology A collection of 25 stories and poems about Hawai‘i’s environment written by Middle School students of Hawai‘i
Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance, Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance Foundation, and The Pacific Writers’ Connection Honolulu, Hawai‘i 2010
Published for the Middle School students of Hawai‘i by Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance Foundation 1151 Punchbowl Street, Honolulu HI 96813 A publication of the Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance Foundation, Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance, and The Pacific Writers’ Connection, supported by the Hawai‘i Office of Planning, Coastal Zone Management Program, pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Award No. NA07NOS4190079, funded in part by the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended, administered by the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, United States Department of Commerce. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or any of its sub-agencies.
FOREWORD We are pleased to present this My Hawai‘i Story Project 2010 Anthology, the fourth compilation of the 25 best literary works from the 2010 My Hawai‘i environmental writing contest for middle school students in Hawai‘i. With each year’s writing contest we are reminded of the diversity and creativity of Hawai‘i’s student writers, and how these traits aptly mirror the natural environment of our island home. The poems and stories in this anthology speak to our young authors’ contemplations on the state of Hawai‘i’s environment. At times serious, at time playful, the writings convey a strong sense of place and attunement to the natural and cultural history of the Hawaiian Islands. The “My Hawai‘i” Story Project is an education outreach endeavor for Middle and Intermediate schools statewide. The Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance Foundation and The Pacific Writers’ Connection invited all sixth through eighth grade students from all public and private schools across the State to express in either an essay or poem their thoughts and feelings about Hawai‘i’s natural environment. The 2010 contest again was very successful, with a total of 491 entries. We thank all the students for their submissions. Also we would like to extend a special thanks to the teachers who encouraged students to write as part of their class work. The “My Hawai‘i” stories and poems were assessed by a panel of reviewers against predetermined selection criteria. The reviewers had no access to the names of students, nor the schools they attended. Exceptional stories were then re-assessed to find the top 25. This year’s anthology was arranged to create a narrative of exploration and discovery of the Hawaiian archipelago, from the global to intensely personal perspectives. The authors explore its unique natural features, the threats to native plants and animals on land and in the sea, and how the Hawaiian host culture enriches our understanding of the world around us.
© 2010 Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance Foundation and The Pacific Writers’ Connection. All rights reserved. Except for the private educational purposes of the student authors of this book, no part of this book may be reproduced by any means and in any form whatsoever without written permission from the publishers.
Congratulations to all our young writers. Of the winners this year, 21 are from schools on O‘ahu, 1 from Kaua‘i, 2 from Hawai‘i, and 1 from Maui. We encourage more young people and schools to participate in next year’s My Hawai‘i Story Project writing contest and to seek out other opportunities to express concern for our environment, not only through their writings but also by engaging their peers, families, and friends to care for and protect our land and sea – for our own and future generations.
www.hawaiiconservation.org/foundation Deanna Spooner Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance & Foundation
Illustrations by Ronald L. Walker Cover design and layout by Hirasaki Nakagawa Design PRINTED ON 100% RECYCLED PAPER WITH ECO-FRIENDLY INK.
Takiora Ingram, Ph.D. The Pacific Writers’ Connection June 2010
Mahalo nui loa: • All 491 students who submitted their creative writing expressing their feelings on Hawai‘i’s environment;
TABLE OF CONTENTS A Warming but Still Cooling Ball of Matter by Kelly Kennedy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 My Adventure by Micah Morales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 What I Didn’t See by Eileen Roco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
• All teachers from the 28 schools that participated: Connections Public Charter School, Ha- lau Ku- Ma- na Charter School, Hawaiian Technology Academy, Hualalai Academy, Ilima Intermediate, ’Iolani School, Kailua Intermediate School, Kainalu Elementary School, Kamakahelei Middle School, Kamehameha Schools Kapa- lama Middle School, Kamehameha Schools Maui, Kapa’a
The Hidden Island by Cassidy Apo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Dying in Vain by Bich Diem Pham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Where Is My Hawai‘i? by Sierra Yuen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Middle School, Ka‘u- High and Pahala Elementary School, Kea‘au Middle School, Kohala Middle
Beaches of Hawai‘i by Teancum “T.K.” Kaitoku . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
School, Lahaina Intermediate School, Lana’i High and Elementary School, Maryknoll School,
Maybe Not the Best Day Ever? by Sierra Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Na‘au A Place for Learning, Parker School, Sacred Hearts Academy, Saint Theresa Catholic
Please Help My Family by Kelianne Miyaoka . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
School, Sunset Beach Elementary School, University Laboratory School, Wailua High and
Pa‘a ka ‘Opihi by Jaye-lyn Orikasa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Intermediate School, Waimea Middle Public Charter Conversion School, Waipahu Intermediate School, William Paul Jarrett Middle School;
• Celeste Ventresca for coordinating the My Hawai‘i Story Project;
• The panel of 33 reviewers: Boyd Akase, Lisa Baxa, Paula Bender, Sheila Bernardo, Caitlin Burgess, Sharon Chi, Lillian Coltin, Janice Crowl, Asia Fujikake, Kathryn Fujioka-Imai, Nicole Galase, Phyllis Ha, Louella Kohler, Melissa Kolonie, Cari Kreshak, Tom LaBelle, Melia Lane-Kamahele,
He Pua No‘eau... My Hawai‘i by Arielle Taramasco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 The Rainbow of Ko‘olau by Christelle Matsuda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 He Hawai‘i Au by Brittany Adversalo-Clarke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Chirp of the Birds by Kayla Ganir. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Leila Learns the Importance of Native Plants by Dana “Mailani” Neal . . . . . . . . . 28 Hawai‘i: Islands of Beauty by Keoni Kahiapo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Hawai‘i Is the Place to Be by Taylor Goo Sun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Reese Libby, Cynthia Nazario-Leary, Marisa Oishi, Ashvina Patel, Jennie Peterson, Leslie Ricketts,
Just Another Day by Emma Young. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Kelley Sage, Jodie Schulten, Mariza Silva, Rose Suemoto, Jacy Suenaga, Libby Tomar, Caroline
OUR Hawai‘i by Emma Mix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Tucker, Debbie Ward, Nancy Wong, Stanley Yamada;
Soothing to the Ears by Auli‘i Fisher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 My Hawai‘i by Lahela Yuen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
• Our sponsors and supporters of this student writing project: Coastal Zone Management Program in partnership with The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and
The Story of ‘I‘iwi by Jessica Yamada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Where I’m From… by MeiLan Sim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 The Last Hawaiian Tree by Shae Chambers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 The Leaf by Cuyler Bleecker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Other private contributors and donors.
GLOSSARY OF HAWAIIAN WORDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
A Warming but Still Cooling Ball of Matter By Kelly Kennedy Parker School
It started with a bang. Matter, time, and space were created. Within a couple million years, galaxies were roughly shaped, and stars began to light up the dark emptiness of the Universe. A cloud of dust drifts in a disk-like shape around the newborn star, our Sun. This dust comes together into lumps of matter, clashing into each other to create massive spherical orbs of flaming, molten rock. These were continuously pelted with meteors, asteroids, comets, and other space debris. Orbiting the young Sun, they eventually cooled into planets. But there was one who stood out from the rest… A few millennia later… A 5 billion-year-old planet named Earth danced around her mother, the Sun, on an elliptical orbit. She boasted intelligence, good looks, and best of all, life! But she wasn’t happy, and her friends and twin sister, Venus, gathered around to find out why… “Why? Why? Well, I’m feeling uncomfortable, that’s why.” “Well, why are you uncomfortable? Is it that dinosaur overpopulation again?” asked Saturn. “I knew those things meant trouble.” growled Venus. “Well, no…” came the uncertain reply of Earth. “Then what is it?” asked a very grumpy Mars. “I bet it’s a human problem!” shouted Jupiter. Earth answered, “You got it right this time. They’re bothering me all right. Wait a minute…is it just me, or is it getting hot?” “I don’t think it’s just you.” said the Sun. Mars rolled his eyes at the Sun. “No duh.” “Why are they bothering you?” asked Mercury quickly as he dashed around the Sun as fast as he could. “I’m not sure…I think…the CO2 levels are kind of high in my atmosphere, so in other
words, I’m absorbing the Sun’s heat and trapping it in.” coughed Earth. “There she goes, getting all scientific about her ‘atmosphere’.” sneered Mars. Venus flashed Mars a venomous glance and said, “So, if you’re trapping all that heat, then let it go!” “Obviously that’s what you should do.” said Pluto. “I thought you were smart about heat exposure.” “It’s not that simple!” wailed Earth. “If only you knew what I mean…” “Then we’ll find out what you mean!” declared a determined Venus. “Can I make one suggestion?” asked a hyper Jupiter. “And what is that?” asked all the planets except Mars, who groaned. “If humans are causing that much trouble, can’t we just drive them off with a meteor? That would be so cool! Wouldn’t it, Mars, huh?!” Jupiter, in his excitement nudged Mars slightly off orbit, who complained of gravity sickness for days. Later… So all the planets decided to get a shape-shifting dragon, named Lucky, to find out what was bothering Earth so much. He came to them, sipping an exotic drink from a coconut. “Wats’ up, brahdahz?” greeted Lucky. He put on his sunglasses to keep out the glare from the Sun. Venus looked disdainfully at the drink Lucky was holding and pointedly said, “We want you to find out what is causing Earth to feel…so…”
replied the mynah bird. It continued to blabber on about its relatives but was lost as Lucky flew upwards. Caught in a warm gust of wind Lucky plunged down to the salty sea, where he morphed into a fish. There he saw a humuhumunukunukuapua‘a and swam to talk to it. Lucky burbled a “hello”, and inquired, “You know wat go on for da kine global warming?” The fish only paused with a thoughtful look and said, “No luck here, bud, but if you try some fish that live in the reef over at the Big Island, I’m sure they can help you.” Lucky ground his teeth in reflection of what he should shift into next to get him there the fastest. Then he thought, could a whale get there in time? But he shook his head and changed into a man and swam as fast as he could to the Big Island. When he arrived at ‘Anaeho‘omalu Bay’s reef, he was horrified at what he saw. Coral, white as the fluffy clouds in the sky, lay dead in the murky waters. He saw no fish, no wana, and no starfish. They had all gone. Lucky gulped in horror and thought, what happened?! Then, he saw an even more horrific sight. On the beach, there were soda cans, cigarette butts, and plastic bags galore. Broken beer bottles lay hidden beneath the sand where an unlucky seal might slash its way to a horrific end. Lucky almost heaved when he saw the remains of an unlucky dolphin which lay strangled in a fish net meeting its doom. The shoreline water was a ghastly green-brown color, indicating that human waste had been dumped there to ruin Hawai‘i’s perfect beauty! Lucky was angry. With no time to waste and with the evidence he needed, he knew: Earth was warming because humans were heating her up by pumping CO2 and other deadly gases into the air. Humans were ruining Earth’s pristine beauty because they were careless and thought they could do whatever they wanted! But they didn’t always get what they wanted, did they?
“Warm?” Saturn offered. “Yes, warm.” Venus agreed. “Yo, mahalo for da kine offer, but I just got back from Tahiti!” Lucky exclaimed. But Venus just shoved Lucky gently into Earth’s atmosphere. Earth, Pacific Ocean, Hawaiian Chain, Kaua‘i… Lucky plopped onto the sands of Kalapakl– Beach, where he came face-to-face with a mynah bird. Though he knew they were talkative, he had to find a clue about what was happening. He quickly morphed into a mynah bird and clattered a greeting. “Yo, you know wat go on over here?” asked Lucky. “Nah, but one uncle died of one attack over da kine, so you stay safe, no brahdah?”
What I Didn’t See
By Micah Morales Kamehameha Schools Kapa-lama Middle School
By Eileen Roco Sacred Hearts Academy
Sailing and sailing It had been months Me and my brothers sail towards the North Star Waiting for the land of greatness To appear I row in day and sleep at night Moving as swift as the wind One night in those many nights I shut my eyes Boom! Our canoe rocks My malo fluttering What is this immense amount of power? As I look up in awe Fire spits out of the ocean itself Warmth surrounds me Amazed, I felt assured This would be home My Hawai‘i I wake up Still in awe of the amazing dream What a great land The immense volcano Created these unique islands From the mysterious ocean This is my home Hawai‘i
II. The Kupuna Islands I gaze out the classroom window. The trees sway gently in the breeze and with the window slats opened, the wind comes in, scattering my papers on the floor. I pick them up and walk to my desk. My teacher is still talking. About the Kupuna Islands. “When I was young, all we had to do was just wade in the water and chase fish into our nets—now it is very rare to catch fish here…” And he talks and talks about decreasing fish population, decreasing bird population, decreasing monk seal population, and pollution in the water. I listen for a little bit. Then I sigh and return to looking at the trees. Like I really need to know this… I think dully. II. The Museum I stare at the game’s little screen. You need more fish for your crew! You need more… “BUT THERE AREN’T ANY LEFT!” my brother shouts at his virtual fishing line. I leave him, growling and hissing at the game, heading for another exhibit in the museum. I stop. 5
There was a bird lying there, its belly opened, revealing junk. Inside its belly there were bottle caps, lighters, a piece of rope, I walk away quickly. Then I stop again. In the next display there is a huge pile of ropes, bottles, Styrofoam, plastic cups, nets, and other trash all piled up into one big heap against a TV. It was showing a monk seal trapped in a net, thrashing, struggling. This time I watch silently. And think of that day, back in the classroom. III. “Boring” Now I listen in class because today we are writing a report about what my teacher was talking about. I study carefully and use my notes from class to help me write. When I am in the middle of writing, I suddenly stop. In the back of my mind, there is something nagging me. I’m forgetting something. What is it? But I push that away After we are done, I am paired up with this boy. We are grading each other’s reports. I read his and I give him a “Meets” grade. which is 6
not bad for a grade. When I get mine back, I AM SHOCKED. It said at the bottom: “Meets because it was getting kind of boring.” I hide that I am fuming. “Why a ‘Meets’?” I ask. He stares at me. Mentally, I scowl. He does not understand. IV. Beach Thoughts I scan the area around me, full of sand, rocks, and trees. I sit down in the shade of a small one. I’ve forgotten to bring my book today, so I just sit and decide to think and observe people. I see a woman with sunglasses on, lying down on the sand with her elbows propping her up. A pigeon, like all pigeons, walks up to her to see if she has food. She glances at it and tosses a fistful of sand into its face. I narrow my eyes at the lady’s head silently, Thinking about the bird at the museum before observing another person. This one is homeless. He is sitting contently in the shade of a tree Like me closing his eyes and smiling. He seemed happy, and if words could describe what he was thinking, 7
it would be something like this: There is nothing I need…I am perfectly happy… And to myself, I wonder What makes him so happy? And then I realize that it is everything. The salty air. The birds. The sky. The beach. And it is like my eyes are opened to an unseen world. I noticed how the wind whispered and whistled so softly and gently, how wonderful it was to feel it rush through my hair. How the birds seemed to dive and swoop Through the air, with such skill and grace that no teacher can teach. And how the vast ocean and everything in it all of a sudden seemed so mysterious and hidden, And the ocean suddenly seemed delightful and amazing. Then I remember what I had forgotten on that classroom day while writing my report. What I was missing was the people of the islands. The culture, the traditions. The People who make Hawai‘i what it is, are the people of the past. I open my eyes when it is time to go. As I get up, 8
I look around me. Nothing has changed. But the woman is gone and the man is gone. Still, somehow I feel like everything has changed. Then I realize that I am smiling. V. Completely Optional I am sitting at my desk, My mind a total mess of thoughts. Pull out Reading log, wait, there’s no journal prompt today, oh no…look at all of that homework… Soon I am settled in my seat and writing down my homework like everyone else. My teacher, though, stands up, and begins talking about a paper in her hand. I wasn’t exactly listening, but this is what I heard: “…is optional called ‘My Hawai‘i’, a contest similar to the others that we have done in class together, but you do not have to do it,” I see some shoulders relax. “and it is about what Hawai‘i means to you…so if you are interested or would like to just find out what it is, come see me at recess.” Somehow, my mind is transported from the classroom from the homework, and I am thinking about two years ago. The Kupuna Islands. The Bird. The Beach. And for once, it seems to all connect together, instead of just being separate thoughts. It is not until she looks at me that I realize that I was looking up the whole time she was talking. “Again,” She says, “This is completely optional.” 9
The Hidden Island By Cassidy Apo Kamehameha Schools Kapa-lama Middle School
I’m climbing to the top of a mountain Why was I here again? Why did the old lady tell me to come here? The lady who appeared from nowhere Why did I listen to her? Thinking to myself as I hike up the mountain She appeared to just be wandering But then she said to me, “Look out in the distance, and you will see it.” See what? What was there to see? I was now at the top of the mountain Looking out into the distance as she had instructed But I don’t see anything There’s just the never-ending ocean Blue seawater everywhere Sparkling in the rising sun Like little twinkling stars in the ocean Is that what she wanted me to look at? The ocean like a deep blue night sky? Suddenly there was water splashing from the ocean What is that I wondered It appears to be coming from the ocean surface Water spurting skyward But where is it coming from? A big tail appears out of the water Creating a water fall effect
It’s a whale! Is that what she wanted me to see? The mighty whale that splashes water Or the ocean like a deep blue night sky I look down I see something bright It’s red A red roof A red roof with a little ball on the top What can it possibly be? It’s a lighthouse! Is that what she wanted me to look at? Was it the lighthouse with a red roof Or the mighty whale that splashes water Or maybe the ocean like a deep blue night sky? Something catches my eye Looking out at the distance I see something strong and solid Something shaped like a mountain But much bigger than just a mountain It’s like an…. ISLAND That’s what the lady wanted me to see It wasn’t the lighthouse with a red roof Or the mighty whale that splashes water Or the ocean like a deep blue night sky It was her home The island of Moloka‘i There I stand Looking at all these wonderful, beautiful things At the top of the mountain Where am I that I am able to view these magnificent wonders? Makapu‘u 11
Dying in Vain
Where Is My Hawai‘i?
By Bich Diem Pham William Paul Jarrett Middle School
By Sierra Yuen Kamehameha Schools Kapa-lama Middle School
With my whole heart Always caring for the ocean Thoughts floating, not knowing much But the mind matures with age And I seem to notice, She’s dying in vain
Plastic bags, soda bottles And little scraps of food Contaminating our once pure ocean She’s dying in vain
As my wet soaking feet Stride sluggishly across the sand I take a glimpse of the magnificent scene. Something is different, she’s changed and She’s dying in vain Letting my senses run wild A strong old salty smell rushes through my nostrils As I gasp for air, The mist of the ocean sprinkles on my tongue And now reality takes a hold of me again At the corner of my eye Floating carelessly with the current Are the enemies of our island waters Litter, so immense
The light azure tone Turns murkier day by day A vulgar color spreading So deprived of life and love She’s dying in vain As I think of the ocean creatures— Dolphins, honus, monk seals, Coral, fishes, and algae— Affected by our cruel habits Marine life in danger of endangerment She’s dying in vain A feeling of hope and sorrow, Rushes through my heart It’s crying for help like a baby cries for its mother Swish Swoosh Swish Swoosh Our magnificent ocean slowly dying in vain
Strong niu trees bow down their heads the howling wind screams out of the valley and against the walls of an old Ma-noa home A young girl slips silently out of bed careful not to make a peep She heads down the hall her flashlight held aloft pillow and teddy bear in tow Up the attic stairs she creeps glancing around furtively ensuring no eyes have followed her She makes a beeline for the farthest corner Rummages through some old boxes finally unearthing the journal, Her grandmother’s journal She delicately flips through the withered pages pausing only to study a few familiar passages until she finds the one she has been searching for one previously unread by her: June 4, 1939 My dear journal, I went to the ocean today, the kai. And I’ll remember this day forever. Diving off the big, slimy p haku with Papa cheering me on, plunging down into the dark depths, feeling like time didn’t exist. Diving, diving. Bubbles exploded around me, a light, tingling sensation. There were i‘a, numerous schools of lauwiliwili, manini, and uhu, swirling around me, a vibrant cyclone enveloping me in its rapid whirlwind. Hello, Mr. Honu! I greeted the wise, old turtle as he glided past me, probably looking for some sweet limu to chomp on. Heads of lengthy puhi shot out of tiny crevices, curious as to see what all the commotion was about, 13
but just as quickly darted back in. I swam up to the surface towards the shafts of sunlight, desperate for a breath. Breaking the surface, I was gasping for air. I swam towards the beach, and saw to my delight that there was a young monk seal basking in the warm sunlight, her body covered in the fine, golden grains of sand. Hello, little seal! I called and the young seal seemed to understand me. Her clear eyes met mine, she too was saying hello, and so happily embracing the warm weather with locals. Later, it seemed as if she had had enough of the summery air, so she lumbered off into the kai once again. Driving home, I thought of how beautiful everything was, how lucky we are that we can live here. The reef, so colorful and alive, teemed with the Hawaiian sea life. It is our island paradise. Oh, what a marvelous, magical day. The clean, cool air, the pristine wai, and the copious amount of our native creatures. Mahalo ke Akua for my Hawai‘i.
Where are these creatures? The pristine wai? The cool, clean air? The young girl creeps down the attic stairs no longer concerned about being seen She heads down the hall flashlight off pillow and teddy bear dragging behind her
Setting her light down she tosses her pillow and bear before her and slips silently into bed
The young girl gently closes the book Pondering
Gazing up her eyes fill with tears that begin to stream down her face
She has been to the beach before jumped off big p haku dove among the reefs
Her heart breaks after reading what she has read learning what she has learned
Was this what Hawai‘i once was? The reefs abundant with i‘a? The honu gliding by?
She softly sighs then whispers up to the heavens “Where, o where is my Hawai‘i?”
Never before has she seen the Hawaiian monk seal its sleek, shiny coat Never before has she seen the i‘a surrounding the shores of the islands their bright, vivid scales Never before has she seen the wise, old honu its ancient eyes full of knowledge
Beaches of Hawai‘i
Maybe Not the Best Day Ever?
By Teancum “T.K.” Kaitoku Kamehameha Schools Kapa-lama Middle School
By Sierra Jackson Kailua Intermediate School
Palm trees sway,
So let us all kōkua,
The ocean glitters,
Work together as one,
The reef is home,
Let’s take care of the ocean,
To many critters.
And get the job done.
Like the eight armed he‘e,
Mahalo for reading,
In his small cave.
I hope my message is clear,
The small sea horse,
To take care of aquatic species,
Who sways with the wave.
Or they soon won’t be here.
The scary moray eel,
Mālama the ‘āina,
Who lies very still.
Take care of the land,
And the yellow tang,
Give respect to the ocean.
Through the reef they mill.
Let’s all lend a hand.
The prickly, purple wana,
To keep the ocean clean,
Who hide out in small holes.
Whatever the cost,
And the humuhumu,
And teach the next generations,
Who has a pig-like nose.
So it won’t get lost.
But they are all in danger,
Of taking care of the ocean,
For we really trash,
The responsibility is ours,
The place they call home
Pick up the ‘ōpala,
Now it’s costing us cash,
You don’t need super powers.
To clean up the reef,
I come to the end,
From all this pollution,
Of this poem on the oceans,
They’re losing their homes,
Take care of the reef,
This is no illusion.
We need your devotion.
Na Leo, a spunky dolphin living nearby Ka-ne‘ohe, was just cruising along his home reef one day. It was his new “best day ever”, and the clear waters reflecting shards of light made a beautiful picture. The sheer beauty was astounding. The blue water flowed around him and cooled his body with soothing strokes. “Oh yes!” he crooned to himself. A school of fish swirled around, and his friend Kahoku the angelfish swan up to his and excitedly spoke to him, “Hey, Na Leo, have you seen the murky cloud yet? Even old Meka can’t figure it out and he’s the wisest of our school!” “Wow. What do you think it is Kahoku? I want to see it!” Now Kahoku paused for a moment and slowly deliberated his answer. “Well… I honestly don’t know… One of our school went inside and came out, and he couldn’t breathe! It was so odd! Then he floated to the ground… When we asked old Meka he swam down and saw something around his neck but didn’t know what it was. It’s over by the river mouth with the “smooth-rock-tunnel-that-goes-on-forever”, and he waved his flipper in the vague direction of the river. “Cool! I’m going to go there! See you later bud!” Na Leo told Kahoku, and he did an exuberant flip and began to swim vigorously toward the river mouth, diving and performing complex acrobatics around the reef outcroppings. When Na Leo got closer to the river mouth he slowed down in shock. Foreboding and curiosity took over his body like an all-consuming black wave. The reef went from a multi-colored paradise to a desolate, gray zone. The water became cloudy and clogged with dirt. The rivers current curled the dirt into twisted clouds. Na Leo shivered, “It just looks so… dead.” he mumbled to himself. Not far from the gorgeous reef with a massive variety of fish and colorful coral, was this gray, empty and barren landscape. “What happened here?” Na Leo shouted out into the empty water, “Who did this?!” and he started to sob, floating lower to the destroyed coral. When his graceful body touched the bottom he was surprised by an odd feeling. Instead of the soft sand he looked down to find, in horror, rotting fish and animals. “No! no! no!” he shouted, “This is enough!” and lunged forward determinedly, swimming fiercely, anger powering his movements. The farther he went into the reef, the more signs of destruction and death he saw. Cans tore into his flank and scored bloody furrows in the smooth skin, plastic six-packs caught on his mouth and flippers. Slowly the water got darker, and he was barely able to see a couple of feet in front of him.
Finally he got to the smooth tunnel and found more of the dirty water and sewage pouring out in great fountains. “No…” Na Leo said softly. Pain coursing through his body at the destruction of his world, he began to slowly swim back, letting the current carry his grief-stricken body. Suddenly, out of the blue, a crisscrossed mass of brown ropes and fishing wire locked Na Leo’s fins in an inescapable tangle. Panicking, he desperately tried to free himself… soon he could feel exhaustion overtaking him and fell into a deep sleep… And he slept… The next day in the newspaper the headline read “Dolphin caught in mass of trash”. It informed the readers that a young and injured dolphin had been caught in one of the nets and soon he would be released, albeit with injuries. It also told the reader that it was the pollution from the sewage plant and people littering. Soon after people were standing on the beaches and around government buildings protesting the release of trash into the ocean. The government attempted to remedy the problem and clean up Na Leo’s home, “the example of our neglect”. A while later… Na Leo woke up after being released back into the ocean and swam back to his reef home. Kahoku, his little friend, swam up to him and exclaimed, “Na Leo! We thought you were gone too! I got so worried and scared for you! Where were you?” Na Leo sighed, “I swam up the river and then I got injured.” he said expressionlessly. “You did? Where? What was up there?” Kahoku suddenly noticed the deep scars on his friend’s once glossy hide. “Oh… it must have been… bad.” “Yes, it was. I never want to go up there again.” he replied. “Yes, yes, that’s what I wanted to tell you! After you were gone for a couple of days I went to find you, and it’s all clean again! And now you’re here! I want to show you! Come on.” Kahoku told him, once again excited. Na Leo looked at him in surprise, “What did you say?” “Come on! I’ll show you!” Kahoku cried, already beginning to swim toward the fateful river mouth. Na Leo followed, easily keeping up with the smaller fish. When they came into view of the mouth he gaped, once again, but this time it was not with horror. The water was crystal clear, and fish were already starting to move back in though the coral wasn’t already grown back completely. “See?” Kahoku asked triumphantly.
Please Help My Family By Kelianne Miyaoka ’Iolani School Hello there! I am Puna, and I am a lobe coral, which is a common coral here, off the North shores of O‘ahu. I am two hundred forty-two years old, which is relatively young compared to my great grandpa who will turn eight hundred twenty in a couple of weeks! I have an enormous family that loves to eat tons of plankton and algae. We are all friendly here, and we play and provide food for fish. The fish provide food for the humans that live on this small green island in the middle of the Pacific. The fish also help us coral too, by eating the ever-growing seaweed. But, lately there has been some over-fishing that is affecting my family and me in the ocean and also the fish. One cold Friday evening, Kohola, my older sister, and I were feasting on some drifting plankton. “HELP!! HELP!!” said the voices of many nearby frightened fish. Kohola and I quickly spat out our food and turned around to see a large pouch that seemed to have been capturing our friends. “What is that mysterious thing taking away our friends?” I questioned. “Whoa! A big fishing net, used to fish out great quantities of fish,” answered Kohola. “Ohhh! I have been seeing those a lot lately,” I said. “Puna, don’t worry about it. Let’s go to sleep now – it’s getting late.” “Okay,” I sighed. On Sunday, I babysat Nalu, my younger cousin, and we played hide-and-seek. “HELP!! HELP!!” said more voices just like the ones on Friday. Nalu and I looked toward the sunset and saw the same exact net that Kohola had told me about on Friday. My eyes began to water as I saw my really close friend Kalepa struggling to find her way out of this fishy mess. In just a couple of seconds my best friend had vanished. After that it had gotten worse and many of the fish were taken away, and I could really tell. The neighborhood had gotten lonely, and all my friends were slowly slipping away like the clouds way up in the sky. The ever growing seaweed has been spreading and isn’t good for the environment. I guess I took the fish for granted before, but now that they aren’t here I have noticed that they benefited the reef. The decrease in population of fish is affecting my family also, because my family is getting weaker and weaker. I don’t think that the humans in Hawai‘i understand that us coral reefs help them in several ways. We first of all give them food from all the living creatures that dwell in the coral reefs. We even protect the islands’ shorelines form erosion. Most of all, we made Hawai‘i a tourist attraction because we have shaped the beautiful beaches of Hawai‘i. Without us, any snorkeling or diving activities wouldn’t exist. So please try to conserve Hawai‘i’s coral reefs, and we will keep on returning the favor.
“Yes, I see.” Na Leo said softly, and to himself he also said quietly, “The ‘a-ina is restored.” 18
Pa‘a ka ‘Opihi By Jaye-lyn Orikasa Kamehameha Schools Maui On the pa-hoehoe rocks of Flemings Beach many ‘opihi relaxed. The ‘opihi weren’t afraid of being picked because no one would dare come down to Flemings Beach. The waves were too rough. If anyone stepped foot on one of the rocks, they would huli, flip, then ho‘oka‘a ilalo, tumble. On the prodigious rock sat two bigger ‘opihi. Their names were Kapena and Kolohe. Kolohe was an older ‘opihi, but he had much knowledge to share with tiny, new ‘opihi. He knew just what to do, just in case someone came down to pick them: be pa‘a. “Kapena, don’t be frightened, but people are coming. They are going to pick us. I know it. Hawaiians know not to pick the small ones. They have nothing for them to eat. No mo‘ meat. Warn the others. Now!” Kolohe informed Kapena. “Ai, these guys going get hurt. I…I…I told the others, but what are we…we going to do?” Kapena stuttered trying to stay calm.
After about ten minutes of poking at Kolohe and Kapena, Pekelo blurted out to Maika, “Man! They’re on there tight! Do you think it’s a sign? Maybe Ke Akua is trying to tell us to leave them alone. C’mon, let’s go. Hele mai, hele mai.” As they turned and walked away, Maika answered, “Really, you’re right. I won’t die without ‘opihi. It’s just a tasty snack to have. Could you imagine how much affliction they go through? Man, I really wouldn’t like it if someone barged into my hale and stuck a knife under my butt!” They continued to walk to their rugged 2001 4WD truck. Then they heard a little whisper that said, “Mahalo.” They looked around, but didn’t see anyone. Pekelo and Maika were discombobulated. “Maybe it was the ‘opihi thanking us for not picking them!” Pekelo chuckled. “Maybe! It could’ve been, you never know!” “I wonder if they heard us. I really am grateful. Not just because I didn’t get picked, but also for your knowledge. Thanks for comforting me throughout this unexpected visit. People don’t know how to just take what they need, but I’m glad these guys realized that our species may be gone soon, so they should leave us alone.” Kapena stopped for effect then continued, “Mahalo Kolohe, mahalo.”
“Be pa‘a. Keep gripping the rock as hard as you can, as if a tidal wave were about to hit us. Also don’t freak out. Stay calm.” Kolohe spoke softer than before. “Okay, if that’s all I can do, then fine. Pa‘a. Pa‘a. Pa‘a. Kay, I pa‘a now.” Kapena coold his jets and watched the Herculean Hawaiians walk over with their knives. The men chatted before they attempted to balance on the rocks. “Remember, we can only take a few. These little guys are next up on the endangered species list, “ Maika instructed Pekelo. “I know, I know. Just one or two, and not the babies. The keiki still need to grow. No fall kay? We could be severely injured out here,” Pekelo spoke back. One step at a time, being cautious with every move they made, Pekelo and Maika approached the ‘opihi. They spotted Kolohe and Kapena first. Kapena was spotted because of his glistening shell, while Kolohe was spotted because of his huge shell, and the limu that stuck to it. The shell was like a China man’s hat on Kolohe. “1, 2, 3. Hold on tight! They’re coming for us. Be pa‘a,” Kolohe advised Kapena. “Right! Pa‘a! Pa‘a! Pa‘a!” The pain in their soft spot grew as the knives slipped and poked under them. As the two ‘opihi gripped the rock, they tried to stay stable. 20
He Pua No‘eau... My Hawai‘i By Arielle Taramasco
Kamehameha Schools Kapa-lama Middle School I am Hawaiian, a legal resident of Hawai‘i. I have always been proud of the fact that I came from Hawai‘i, one of the most beautiful places in the world. But about a year ago, my paradigm of the whole scenario I had in my mind about Hawai‘i changed dramatically. When I was twelve in the summer of 2009, I was one of the very fortunate youths who were chosen on an all-expense-paid trip to Hilo to study under the UH Na- Pua No‘eau. Na- Pua No‘eau was a program where only select students were chosen and taught to integrate Hawaiian culture in a specified field of work. Of course, Hilo was very different from my island of O‘ahu. During my stay there I learned more than my instructors could have ever taught me. The class I was signed up for was Forest Ecology. On my first day, my class and I were shown the vast forests of the island of Hawai‘i. I can say that I was very shocked to see the sight that was in front of me. All I saw from the point of the tall rise where we stood were miles of the most beautiful Hawaiian forest you could ever see. It was so breathtaking: the ‘o-hi‘a trees of all colors were in full-bloom, there were endemic birds flitting around sipping their nectar, and everything was in perfect harmony. The only threats were us, the people who tore down the very land that had been theirs to begin with. One thing for me stood out from the rest: The only places that had the Hawaiian forests were nature conservancies. There was no other place on the biggest island in the Hawaiian chain that could support a living Hawaiian forest other than a nature conservancy. When I came back to the dorms I reflected on what I saw. Never before had I seen such a natural beauty. The fact that it was one of the few natural beauties that I have seen in my life was saying something to me. We lived in Hawai‘i, a place that is supposed to be a tropical paradise, but I had never once seen anything close to this. We tore down the very beauty that Hawai‘i had become known for, and we couldn’t even give space for a forest to grow outside of a conservancy.
own water if the plants’ water ran out. By the time we were done, nearly one acre of endemic flora had been planted. Besides the extraordinary support from our instructors and each other, the one thing that motivated me to continue with our mission was that every day when we came back from our “classrooms in the forest”, we passed a native tree, usually ‘o-hi‘a. One thing that I learned from our lessons was that the ‘o-hi‘a grow under unmerciful and difficult conditions. Could our cities be that bad that it was just too much for that one tree to grow? Oh, how I wish I were there to care for you, little tree. If only I could carry you to the conservancy where you could live forever. In appreciation for what I learned and the Hawaiian natural beauty that is still struggling to survive, I write this poem:
When I Saw You First As I stood on the hill Overlooking you that day, Your beauty touched my heart, That is all I can say. As I tried to breathe As I felt your breeze Nothing could match The birds, the wind, the trees. All of your colors I saw From the rare white ‘o-hi‘a to the red ‘i‘iwi Please let me stay
Fortunately, my entire class was thinking over the same thing. We were all from different islands, so none of us had ever seen anything like that either. For the next two weeks, we made the unanimous decision that we were all going to help the ‘a-ina. We didn’t want to do it any other way besides our native way. So every day, we oli-ed our way into the forests, we got rid of all of the invasive species we could get our hands on, and we planted native and endemic Hawaiian plants – all the Hawaiian way. We used na- ‘o-‘o- to make the hole in the earth to put the precious plants in, and then watered them with our 22
In your vast, vast beauty. I admit, I took for granted Your striking quality, blessed, Please, do not send me home to the city, Let me stay in the wonders of the forest. Just stay like this, in your majesty, Peaceful, Never let them take you, You’re much too beautiful…
The Rainbow of Ko‘olau By Christelle Matsuda ‘Iolani School
The old, gray mountain looked sadly over the island of O‘ahu. He closed his tired eyes and tried to recall the time when the world was not so bleak. But Ko‘olau was in a state of depression, and no matter how hard he tried, he did not believe he would ever be happy and green again.
tected all of their islands forevermore. Wai‘anae and Dia cried looking at the flat land of Ko‘olau, thinking about the efforts he made to help them even if it was too late for himself. Yet somehow they knew he was happy, and over the new Ko‘olau Plain shone a rainbow, the very first for the past 25 years. It’s not just your Hawai‘i, it is everyone else’s too. So appreciate Hawai‘i’s unique environment and protect it.
For now there were two tunnels where his stomach should’ve been. Ko‘olau was bald, and tiring. His home was gone, demolished and made into factories and buildings. The water he drank had a slight tinge of brown, and the air had a bitter smell. He only had two friends left on the island: Diamond Head and Wai‘anae. His other friends had all gone to Kaua‘i which, unlike O‘ahu, had greenery and blue oceans. All O‘ahu was used for nowadays was manufacturing and landfills. Because of all this, Ko‘olau stopped keeping track of the time about four years ago. He figured it must be about 2051 or 2052 by now. Ko‘olau was sick but Diamond Head and Wai‘anae often talked to him. Diamond Head or Dia, spoke about how people had once admired her beauty. Wai‘anae turned to face Ko’olau. Unlike Ko‘olau, Wai‘anae still had specks of green. But none of this talking was doing them any good. They all knew they were forgotten and merely hazards and obstructions to the flying cars. Ko‘olau knew he didn’t have much more time to live, and he didn’t want to die like that. He wanted to become green again like he was twenty years ago. He remembered when he was happy looking over the blue waters of O‘ahu and the beaches; when he loved smelling the fresh rain that fell from the clouds. Throughout his lifetime Ko‘olau never turned down an opportunity to help someone. He helped out by letting a family of birds live in his trees. He created a freshwater pool for the frogs to live in and the list goes on and on. Ko‘olau, remembering this, came up with an idea. It wouldn’t be enough to save him, but it might just save Dia and Wai‘anae. He gathered all of the animals, plants, hills, and clouds for whom he had once done favors and asked them to do him one in return. The animals planted seeds, and the hills grew them. The clouds rained and asked the stars to shine above O‘ahu. The newly planted trees minimized the pollution, and the fish tried their best to clean up the coast lines. Soon enough, animals and birds started migrating back to O‘ahu. Dia and Wai‘anae became green again. However, by then, Ko‘olau was too sick to recover. He collapsed, but in a world of happiness and peacefulness. The humans realized their wrongdoings and pro-
He Hawai‘i Au
Chirp of the Birds
By Brittany Adversalo-Clarke University Laboratory School
By Kayla Ganir Kamehameha Schools Kapa-lama Middle School
He Hawai‘i au I am Hawai‘i He keiki ‘o ka ‘a-ina I am a child of this land Ke kuleana au i ka m lama ‘o ka ‘a-ina It is my deep responsibility to take care of this land Na- wahi pana ‘o ka ‘a-ina Many sacred places are on this land
Flapping and chirping furiously a baby ‘i‘iwi tries to fly Failure comes as she falls to the ground on the cool forest floor she lies
‘O Keolanahihi i ka wahi pana ‘o ka moku ‘o Hawai‘i Keolanahihi is a sacred place on Hawai‘i Island:
The baby continues to cry so the mother wraps her with her wings
Smooth talking winds, I sleep dreamily, cool air while I read my book.
For even the birds of the forest know that the end of Hawaiians are nearing
Away back to the nest she takes her all babies have their flaws Hugging and shushing with all those mother things
Wind’s sweet voice kissing my delicate face as I lay on the shore.
This voice speaks of trouble the Hawaiian race is disappearing
Its mother comes to the rescue delicately grabs the baby in her claws
E m lama au in a wahi pana ‘o na ku-puna I will take care of these sacred places of my ancestors
The chirping of the birds is a mo‘olelo that is told By the ku-puna of the forests that are ancient and old
The Hawaiian species and the people all have an understanding We must keep our old traditions and keep our Hawaiian race standing Passing down stories knowledge like the chirp of the native birds
Calming the baby down mother whispers very low
We must perpetuate our culture our language must be heard
A story of the native birds to tell everyone should know:
So stop crying little ‘i‘iwi soon you will learn to fly
The chirp of the native birds is not gossip nor noises
And you must pass down this story so you and the Hawaiian culture can soar high
It is far more important it is the sound of ku-puna voices
Cold winds push Through the extravagant Forest’s tender ha-pu‘u
Leila Learns the Importance of Native Plants By Dana “Mailani” Neal Kamehameha Schools Kapa-lama Middle School
“Don’t worry Leila,” Leila’s dad assured her, “it’s Friday, just one day of left of school and then the weekend.” “Why does my first day at a new school have to be today?” Leila whined as she saw no malls, highways, or tall buildings like at her former home in Honolulu, “it’s just one day difference than if I go on Monday.” “You will be fine,” Leila’s dad said again as he opened the door to her new classroom and whisked her in, “have a good day Leila!” “Aloha! You must be Leila. I am Mrs. Kaiona and I am very happy to have you in our class.” Mrs. Kaiona had a warm smile that seemed to brighten the cloudy, overcast sky, “You may sit in any open seat. Everyone please introduce yourself to our new student.” As the class introduced themselves, Leila thought of how the names were similar to those at her old school – Justin, Christina, Jill, Adam, and Peter – but then she heard a particular boy’s name that she had never heard before, Ho‘omalu. As the day dragged on, it was finally time for lunch. Leila sat alone at her table thinking about how much she missed Honolulu. She missed her friends back home, the tall buildings, the malls, the sounds of cars passing her school, and the rumbling of the city buses, then a voice said, “Is this seat open?” Unable to hide her surprise she looked up and saw Ho‘omalu and mumbled “Sure”, more to her sandwich than to Ho‘omalu. As lunch dragged on he asked her where she was from, if she liked it here, and what she misses back home. Leila replied only halfheartedly to these questions. When he asked what her parents do for a living she replied, “My mother does not keep in contact with us, and my dad is a hotel investor.” “Then why would you move here? Waimea, Hawai‘i isn’t very popular for tourism.” Ho‘omalu inquired. “Tourists and celebrities are starting to go to places like this and, of course, they want huge hotels, golf courses, water parks, and shopping malls. My mom just recently inherited a forest area with huge trees about two miles east of here, and gave it to my dad. He is investing to build a hotel resort.” replied Leila. Suddenly Ho‘omalu had a look of complete concern and deep sadness. “Is he going to
clear the whole forest, all those plants, native trees, and homes of animals just for people? After school please come with me, I want to show you how important the plants are to the people who live here.” After calling her dad, Leila and Ho‘omalu started to walk towards the area her dad wanted to build the hotel resort. Once they got there Ho‘omalu told her, “The land and plants here in this forest are so important. They are unique from the rest of the world, especially here on the islands of Hawai‘i.” Then they started to walk further into the forest. Immediately, Leila noticed the huge trees and luscious ferns. Her ears detected the sound of gentle chirping from red and black ‘apapane birds. These plants were beautiful even though they did not have brightly colored flowers or elegant fragrances. As they passed under a magnificent tree, Ho‘omalu told Leila, “This is the koa tree. The Hawaiians used it for things such as canoes and weapons. It’s only found in Hawai‘i.” Leila imagined bulldozers knocking down this tree, and she felt a stab of sadness. After coming to a cliff that overlooked the whole forest, Leila could smell a fragrance gliding in the gentle breeze, “That is the fragrance of the alahe‘e, it means ‘slippery fragrance’. Up close you can’t smell the fragrance, but in the wind you can. All these plants that are native to Hawai‘i are so unique. They found their own way here, adapted, and changed so that survival in Hawai‘i was possible. Some of these plants are found nowhere else in the entire world. Some of the birds and other animals in the forest depend on these plants to live. What if you were a bird that depended on the plants and humans wanted to take away your home? This is how it is for the animals and plants.” Leila now knew the importance of native plants in Hawai‘i and to preserve the plants. That night Leila pleaded to her father not to build the hotel, but instead make it a sanctuary for the plants. “No Leila! For the hundredth time! This hotel will be very successful for both you and me. We will be rich, can travel, and you can have whatever your heart desires!” Leila’s dad replied. “What my heart desires is for you to see for yourself why we need to keep Hawai‘i’s natural beauty untouched.” Leila convinced her father to go to the forest to see for himself the importance of the area. When Leila’s dad walked into the forest, at that point he understood why his
Hawai‘i: Islands of Beauty
daughter felt so strongly about preserving the forest. He smelled the fragrance of the alahe‘e gliding in the breeze and heard the joyful chirping of the ‘apapane bird; it was at this moment that he decided to make this area a conservation area. Every day we must encourage people to cherish the native plants and animals because we determine Hawai‘i’s future. What Leila did was a monumental task, but we all can do little things in our communities to help. By planting one native plant or clearing invasive species these small tasks help keep Hawai‘i unique. Native plants and animals are in a dire condition and will never meet the eyes’ of future generations if we continue to put money before the protection of nature.
By Keoni Kahiapo Kamehameha Schools Kapa-lama Middle School
Hawai‘i, A place that is unique in more ways than the mind can think. Occupied for centuries by people, And not just any people, but the Hawaiian people, Which have a culture that cannot be described with words. And now this sacred land has been handed down from generation, To generation, never losing its essence, And it has now been handed all the way down to me, And now I call it “My Hawai‘i”. The responsibility is great, but I must take on the challenge, For if I don’t, the beauty of this place will fade away. But for now, we enjoy the elegance of these islands, Blue, gleaming ocean; white, crisp, sand. And the mountains stand boasting with pride, The work of continuous volcanic action, towering, patrolling the land. Breathtaking, green, vivid... mountains, Always to be remembered as a unique symbol of these islands. The plants and animals that call this place home are just as special, Many of which are unique only to our Hawai‘i. Each and everything has its purpose, Everything was in sync, not one thing out of place. And all of these wonderful things are found in one set of islands, It is as if Hawai‘i is the leftover crumbs from God’s hands, Crumbs leftover from the rest of the magnificent world, These were unique crumbs, for their beauty would surpass that of the rest of the World. So now, all I can say is, Hawai‘i.
Hawai‘i Is the Place to Be
Just Another Day
By Taylor Goo Sun University Laboratory School
By Emma Young Kamehameha Schools Kapa-lama Middle School
‘O Hawai‘i ku‘u wahi ku-ikawa-
A bold, wise, koa tree stands tall and proud Overlooking the magnificence of Hawai‘i, its home Charm and beauty surround the koa As it spends each day gazing over the lands it calls home, it is hypnotized by alluring grace
He wahi uluwehi a nani ‘o ia ‘O ia ku'u one ha-nau Pono no ka-kou e ma-lama ia- ia Ma-lama i ke kai Mālama i ka ‘a-ina Ma-lama i kekahi i kekahi ‘O keia mau mea ‘ekolu na- mea nui Ina- hana ka-kou i ke-ia mau mea, ola mau i ka ‘a-ina, ola mau i ke kai, a e ola mau i na- po‘e o Hawai‘i E ma-lama ka-kou i ka ‘a-ina o Hawai‘i i ma-lama ‘ia ‘oe e ia Hawai‘i is my special place It is a lush and beautiful place
Looking up towards the baby blue sky Graceful birds glide along with the gentle breeze Long, soft, cotton-like clouds drift slowly toward the mountain The vibrant yellow sun shining upon the vast land The koa looks upon the towering mountains Smothered in lush greenery From the tallest trees with over a thousand leaves, to shrubs shorter than a young child Such a majestic and lovely sight
It is my birthplace We need to take care of it Take care of the ocean Take care of the land
The broad ocean then captures the koa’s attention Glistening, calm waves tumble along the golden shore A sleek dolphin leaps out of the serene waters with joy
Take care of each other These three things are very important things If we do these things, the land lives, the ocean lives, and the people of Hawai‘i live on If we do these things, the land lives, the ocean lives, and the people of Hawai‘i live on
The once shimmering yellow sun now starts to dim into a dull orange Rays of reds and oranges and yellows erupt from the source A picture perfect sunset After a long day of looking over his homelands, he is once again amused by such elegance It has just been another day surrounded by stunning beauty
OUR Hawai‘i By Emma Mix University Laboratory School
My dad just got a job working for the state. As a ranger of Ka‘ena Point State Park, he gets paid to make sure everything there is in order. To do this, he goes four-wheel driving, he gets to talk to people, and he gets to investigate and look for ancient sites. He actually gets PAID to do that! He loves his job! One time, I got to go with him to work. Ka‘ena is the northwestern-most point of O‘ahu. We live in Kailua, so it was a really long drive just to get to the ENTRANCE of Ka‘ena. As we continued driving to the park, the road got bumpier and bumpier, dirtier and dirtier, and there were more and more potholes at every turn. Eventually, the pavement turned into loose gravel, and the gravel turned into dirt. Finally we reached the entrance to Ka‘ena. That’s when I saw the road in. There were HUGE dips in the road. Mud was in huge pits in the ground, and the road had – well, I wouldn’t really call them bumps, so let’s just call them little hills for now… When we first entered, my dad got out of the car. He placed an offering at the gate and asked permission from Akua, who is also known as Ka- ne, I‘o, and Iesu. He chanted Oli Ka-hea, Oli Komo, which is a common chant that asks for permission. For Hawaiians, it is very important to ask permission. If you don’t it’s kind of like walking into your grandma’s house, opening her fridge and saying, “Hey, Granny, can I have a cookie?” Even if the heiau is your family’s, it is still good to ask permission before entering.
some of the things that Akua (God) had created. The sand was almost pure white near the shore. There was a roped off path for people to walk inside of. Outside of the barrier there were birds’ burrows. My dad and I walked down the trail. We finally got to the shore. Three or four Hawaiian monk seals basked in the warm rays of the sun, and the entire beach was made up of large, perfectly round pieces of coral! The waves crashed violently against the large lava rocks at the shoreline, and seabirds glided gracefully in the sky above. Just when I was settling in, my dad told me we had to head back home. I was really sad to leave, but I knew that with a dad as the ranger for this breathtakingly beautiful place, I knew that I could count on him to bring me back whenever I wanted him to. On the way home, my dad told me about the threats to the birds there at Ka‘ena Point. One single dog had killed 100 birds in one day – it wasn't the first time – and rats constantly ate their eggs. The land was dying too. People were driving on the road the wrong way and making “scars” in the land. Just then a thought came to my mind. I may have been able to come here, but will the children of the future be able to see this wonderful place?
We need to take care of the land, so that in the future, we will still have vast landforms and amazing animals to admire. I learned that on this very important day of my life. It's not just MY Hawai‘i – it's YOURS too – so take care of it.
My dad got back into the car, and we started driving. From the moment we passed the gate, the road was extremely bumpy. The huge Bronco rocked all over and the back hit the ground constantly. We kept driving for about 20 minutes – twenty LONG minutes. It seemed like an hour! Finally, we turned onto the beach. The name of the beach is Manini Cove. We walked down to the shore, where I couldn't even believe my eyes! The whole entire beach was littered with HUNDREDS of shells! You could literally just walk around picking up handfuls by handfuls of the world's most rare seashells, including the bubble shell! I actually only found one, but I found broken pieces of some too, and it's unlikely for most people to even find one that is intact more than once in their ENTIRE LIFE! That's pretty much how rare they are in MOST places! When we were done shell sweeping, we got back into the truck and continued back along the path to the tip of Ka‘ena Point. When we got there, I was even more amazed by
Soothing to the Ears
By Auli‘i Fisher Kamehameha Schools Kapa-lama Middle School
By Lahela Yuen Kamehameha Schools Kapa-lama Middle School
Ka leo nahenahe o ke kai the soothing voice of the sea
Leaves of a palm tree gently sway in the wind, howling at every gale The waves of a seemingly endless ocean wrap me in a blanket of clear, blue water Birds are humming, doing their usual route from branch to branch The sun is heating my body, drenching me with sweat from my head to my toes Grandma is picking mangoes, while Grandpa is weaving a ti leaf hat Babies are crying, calling out for their mothers in the middle of the night Tourists are at a lu-‘au, enjoying the variety of cultures and foods we have here A Hawaiian monk seal is flapping its tail, making tiny ripples in the water And his friend, the honu, is peeking his head above the water, silently awaiting his chance to be seen The tallest mountain in the world, continuing to stretch, reaching for the heavens The Gods are watching us, guiding our way with every passing day Ku-puna are passing on their knowledge to their children, in hope that they will do the same And the Children of Hawai‘i are in class, learning about this beautiful island paradise we call home What is this place you ask? This is my Hawai‘i On the other hand, some people see it in a different perspective The streetlights of Honolulu, shining brightly against the deserted sky, the stars too ashamed to be seen A Hawaiian monk seal, crying out in the deep endless waters of a once thriving land Birds are hiding, waiting until the time is right to return to their homes Ka-naka Maoli are cradling their newborn children hoping that they won’t become as the wicked people who took our land and killed our people Honking horns fill the streets, cars at every stoplight Trees are being cut down, stealing the lives of all who inhabited And here I am, sitting in my room, pondering on what we were, but not anymore
It sings to me as I drift away in to a deep sleep in my island home Ka leo nahenahe o na- manu the soothing voice of the birds Wakes me up from a peaceful sleep so I may play with my island friends ka leo nahenahe o ka ua the soothing voice of the rain gently taps the leaves of my island forest ka leo nahenahe o na- mauna the soothing voice of the mountains strong and bold with a beauty like no other ka leo nahenahe o ku‘u one ha- nau the soothing voice of my native home is lovely as can be ka leo nahenahe o na- ka-naka maoli the soothing voice of the native Hawaiian people brings back ancient stories and the culture of my island home ‘A‘ohe leo No voice my island is destroyed and I am left with only a memory Ua mau ke ea o ka ‘a-ina i ka pono ‘o Hawai‘i
We were Hawaiians… and this was our Hawai‘i But one day, it was snatched away, never to return to what it was. What is this place you ask? This is my Hawai‘i
The Story of ‘I‘iwi By Jessica Yamada ‘Iolani School
“Hurry up, ‘I‘iwi!” ‘Apapane chirped. “Wait! You’re flying too fast!” I answered. I followed ‘Apapane as best as I could; I made sure her red feathers kept in sight. She zipped through mazes of koa branches and past other eating honeycreepers. “PALEELAH!” she squeaked. “What?!” I squawked. But I heard her too late and crashed into Palila, the king of honeycreepers. “Sorry, King Palila,” we said in unison. Palila looked down on us with his golden feathers on his head ruffled and messy. He was a big, strong, defiant bird, but had a reputation for being short-tempered. Unfortunately, Palila’s eyes squinted at us in rage. We gulped as we expected the worst. “You!” Palila bellowed. “How dare you show such disrespect to me?” “We’re very sorry, your highness,” I chirped. “It was an accident.” “An accident?” he spat. “You call attacking me an accident?! You two are as worthy as cat food!” We gasped. Suddenly, a small bird with golden feathers flew next to Palila. He looked at Palila and shook his head. We gasped again. “Father,” he said in an arrogant, yet annoyed tone, “Don’t you think that’s a little too harsh for a small bump?” “Son!” Palila squawked. “That was no bump! I could have been skewered by that beak!” The golden bird ignored him. Palila grumbled and flew away. “Please excuse my father. His old age has clouded his mind from common sense,” he said in a friendly tone. “I am Prince ‘Amakihi. Feel free to visit again. I could use friends other than my father and the other nobles. How does tomorrow morning sound?” “Sure!” ‘Apapane peeped cheerfully. I glared at her for agreeing so rashly. “See you then,” he whistled as he elegantly flew deep in the forest. The sky turned
pinkish-orange as the sun started to set. “Come on!” ‘Apapane called as she led the way home. I sighed and followed her. The next morning I awoke and realized that something felt wrong; the sky was pale, the atmosphere had changed, and no birds chirped. I heard nothing but an eerie silence. I flew up to ‘Apapane’s nest and woke her up. She woke with a start. “What’s wrong?” she asked looking in every direction. “I don’t know,” I admitted. Just then, I saw our neighbor ‘Elepaio fly past us. “Wait, ‘Elepaio!” I called. ‘Elepaio stopped and landed in front of us. He had a look of fear in his eyes that I’ll never forget. “What are you doing here?!” he gasped. “You must evacuate immediately!” “Why?” ‘Apapane asked. “What’s going on?” “Monsters!” he gasped. “There are strange tall creatures at the border! You see, they’re huge, and they’re destroying the entire forest! …And us!” “Why?!” I asked in shock. “I don’t know, but you must evacuate immediately!” he shrieked and quickly flew away. We tried to follow him, but we lost sight of him in the tangle of branches. We heard a loud crash nearby, and we flew in all directions in panic. I turned to see where ‘Apapane had flown, but she had disappeared. I called for her, but she didn’t answer. Another thundering crash boomed nearby and I panicked and took off into the forest. I tore through the winding branches until I collided into something. “‘I‘iwi!”
that used to be covered in beautiful trees. Strange, tall, square-shaped rocks and one long, flat, hard stone covered the ground between the structures. We couldn’t see any ‘o-hi‘a flowers or koa trees for miles. We flew in silence. But we soon became exhausted, and I began to doubt that we could make it. Just when we had given up, the landscape started to change. We saw dirt instead of stone. Wildflowers and shrubs grew here and there, and the strange square stones no longer littered the ground. A forest finally came into view on the horizon. We quickly flew above the fence and into the ancient forest. Fresh clean air and the smell of ‘o-hi‘a and ma-mane flowers greeted us as we entered. The forest was much smaller than it should have been, but we were grateful it was even there. A few days later, we had finally settled deep inside the forest. I met many different species of birds. Sadly, I learned that many were the last of their kind and their homes had also been destroyed by the monsters long ago. I also learned that good monsters, called humans, protected this forest from harm. Unfortunately, the humans only have the power to protect a small amount of forests, and many more are slowly being destroyed because their kind are overpopulating and need more room to build their square-shaped nests. Yet I still have hope that one day, our species will thrive again, and that we could live side-byside peacefully with the humans like how many animals have learned to do so. “That was a good story, ‘I‘iwi! But there wasn’t a moral,” a small yellow bird squeaked. “You weren’t listening, were you, Akeke‘e?” ‘I‘iwi chirped. “The moral is that humans should conserve the forests of Hawai‘i. Also, one tree may seem meaningless, but it’s ‘home-sweethome’ to another.” “Oh!” Akeke‘e peeped.
“Prince ‘Amakihi!” I tweeted in recognition. “Listen!” ‘Amakihi yelled. “My forest is under attack. We need to flee to Ma-mane Forest!” “What about everyone else?” I asked urgently. ‘Amakihi shook his head. “I’m afraid that those who are unable to fly or escape in time will not make it,” he said gravely. “Come on!” I followed the prince out of the forest. We fluttered high into the air like the sea birds. I glanced back and saw a glimpse of the monsters. They wore bright yellow colors and controlled longer and bigger monsters to tear down the once strong and magnificent trees. Birds screeched and scattered in all directions. The sight made me sick. After a few minutes, the forest had disappeared on the horizon. We flew over flat plains
Where I’m From…
The Last Hawaiian Tree
By MeiLan Sim Kailua Intermediate School
By Shae Chambers ‘Iolani School
I am from valleys of tingling life From three day family backpacking trips across the land of ouchy a‘ato peaceful pa-hoehoe I am from munching on native raspberries and gazing at delicate silverswords. From relaxing at Paliku- cabin with a deck of cards saying, Haleakala- National Park or tearing up Kaua‘i’s invasive, Ka-hili ginger From an Easter at Keauhou, nine long miles into the Ka‘u- desert’s untamed coast, revealing a reef of fantasy, color, and wonder I am from “I survived the Ha-na Highway!” and, “Don’t feed the Ne-ne-!” I am from the strum of an ‘ukulele, the beat of an ipu, the sound of a conch shell, the Seven Eleven® Spam musubi wrapper, the rhythm of O‘ahu’s north shore currents, and the respect for our ancestors’ bones. Yes, this is where I am from, I am from Hawai‘i
“Beep, beep, beep!” goes the bulldozer. It is the beginning of winter, and I can hear nearby trees falling down as they are cut, their branches cracking as they hit the ground. I can hear the yells of the humans, so many of them, running around on the ground. They cut and destroy the forest, and build their factories and business offices, whose constant pollution contaminates the air. The smoke coming from the machines intoxicates me. I sigh, and the wind blows through my branches, making the leaves on them rustle in the breeze. Surrounded by chaos, I start to think back to many years ago when things were peaceful here in the forests of Hawai‘i… I am very old, the years have flown by me, and I have lost track of my age. I have lived in Hawai‘i all of my life, and I remember when the Hawaiian forests were filled with wildlife. There was a bird on the branches of every tree, and the ground was barely visible under all of the ferns and shrubs. My bark, covered with moist moss, my leaves wet with fresh rain, and my branches extended out of my trunk, resembling a young man stretching his arms out, reaching for the sky. Things were so tranquil. The sky was a light shade of blue, and I used to watch the clouds pass above me. Every day, filled with sunshine, with the sounds of the forest, was comforting, the birds chirping, and sound of running water from a nearby stream. I look back on those days now, wishing I could have cherished them more. Over the years the sky became less and less blue, and I could no longer hear the birds chirping. Winter is slowly coming to an end, and now the only sounds I can hear are the machinery of the humans, slowly destroying more and more of the forest one day at a time. I hear the saws cutting down all of the trees, and slowly the forest around me grows thinner and thinner. Soon I am the only tree among all of the bare land that the humans have created. The days when the forest was teeming with life was many years ago. My trunk has grown thick, my bark has grown dry. Among all of the humans and buildings and machinery, I stand as a lone soldier, the last one of my kind. I feel so lonely, my friends cut down and hauled away. It’s only a matter of time before they cut me down too, saw at my trunk, and cut my long branches off. I want them to cut me down because anything is better than seeing this destruction, seeing my home being destroyed everyday. If only things hadn’t gone this far, the humans had not cut down the forest and destroyed the habitat of all the animals. Things are too late now, though. Soon after I am cut down, all of the trees will be gone. 43
Spring has finally come, but now instead of being filled with joy by the many blooming flowers, sadness consumes me because the spring I once knew is gone. I can feel the humans sawing at my trunk and my branches wretched back and forth. I can feel myself falling toward the ground. I have finally been cut down, and now there is nothing left of the Hawaiian forest that I used to call home. There is no more evidence of the animals that used to live here or the trees that once stood here, their roots buried deep into the ground. In my last moments as I fall to the hard dirt ground, I remember back to my old home, the old forest, my forest.
The Leaf By Cuyler Bleecker University Laboratory School
Fluttering down through the dappled light of the canopy Coming to rest on the surface of the stream Carried by the gentle currents of the cool water Past mossy grey stones and under cold brown pebbles Where the red crayfish dart in and out of the shadows And the grey morning haze blankets the dark mountaintops above The leaf floats Down into the dry plain where earth is a dusty brown Under ancient palm trees and a cloudless blue sky Where the ko-lea skim low over the fields And the workers bend over in the wet taro patches Their faded red and blue shirts against a backdrop of brown and green As the clear water swirls around their ankles and the taro shoots The leaf floats Now into the estuary where the land meets the sea The leaf drifts out away from the white beach Where the water laps against powdery sand And the sea breeze rustles the naupaka shrubs A jet black â€˜iwa bird circles overhead as the leaf bobs on the sea And the setting sun paints the clouds a shade of pink over the ocean Soon the island is just another small leaf floating on the horizon
GLOSSARY OF HAWAIIAN WORDS a‘a- – stony lava
Ka‘ena – a dune ecosystem region located on the westernmost point on O‘ahu
‘a-ina – land, earth
Ka-hili ginger – a ginger plant from the Himalaya region
akeke‘e – a honeycreeper
kai – sea Kalapaki Beach – a beach on the southeast coast of Kaua‘i
Akua – God, goddess, spirit alahe‘e – a large native shrub or small tree (Canthium odoratum; Plectronia odorata) with shiny leaves and small, fragrant, white flowers. The wood is hard and was formerly used in making the ‘o-‘o- digging stick; also used medically.
ka-naka maoli – Hawaiian people Ka-ne – the leading of the four great Hawaiian gods
‘amakihi – A group of small endemic Hawaiian honey creepers (Loxops virens)
Ka-ne‘ohe – place on windward O‘ahu
‘Anaeho‘omalu Bay – bay located on the South Kohala coast of the island of Hawai‘i
ka‘u- – the name of a district on Hawai‘i
‘apapane – Hawaiian honey creeper (Himatione sanguinea)
keiki – child, children
‘elepaio – a bird in the flycatcher family, believed to be the goddess of canoe-makers
koa – a large endemic forest tree (Acacia koa) in the Pea family
Haleakala- National Park – large national park located in Maui
ko-kua – help, aid, assistance
Ha-na Highway – highway on Maui that connects Kahului and Ha-na
ko-lea – Pacific golden plover, a migratory bird which comes to Hawai‘i about the end of August and leaves early in May for Siberia and Alaska
ha-pu‘u – an endemic tree fern common in many forests of Hawai‘i
Ko‘olau – name of the windward mountain range on O‘ahu hele mai – come, “let’s go” kupuna – ancestor, grandparent (pl. k puna) honu – native green sea turtle humuhumu – referring to the humuhumunukunukuapua‘a, a native reef triggerfish (Rhinecanthus rectangulu)
Kupuna Islands – the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, called the Kupuna Islands as they were formed prior to the main Hawaiian Islands lauwiliwili – butterfly fish (Chaetodon miliaris)
i‘a - fish or any marine animal leo - voice ‘i‘iwi – scarlet Hawaiian honey creeper (Vestiaria coccinea) limu - general name for all kinds of plants living under water ‘io – endemic Hawaiian hawk
lu-‘au – Hawaiian feast
ipu – bottle gourd mahalo – thank you ‘iwa – Frigate bird (Fregata minor palmerstoni)
“Mahalo ke Akua” – thanks be to God
pa-hoehoe – Smooth, unbroken type of lava, contrasting with ‘a‘a-
ma-lama – take care of
palila – grey, yellow, and white honeycreeper endemic to the island of Hawai‘i
malo – loincloth
Pekelo – a boy’s name meaning “rock”
ma-mane – a native leguminous tree (Sophora chrysophylla), which thrives at high altitudes
po- haku – rock
manini - very common reef surgeonfish (Acanthurus triostegus), also called convict tang
puhi – eel
mano- – shark
ua – rain
Ma-noa – a large valley on O‘ahu
“ ‘Ua mau ke ea o ka ‘a-ina i ka pono ‘o Hawai‘i” - The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness
manu – bird; any winged creature
uhu – parrotfish
mauna – mountain; mountainous region
wai – water
mo‘olelo – story, tale, myth, legend, fable mynah – bird native to southern and eastern Asia
Wai‘anae – western O‘ahu mountain range wana – sea urchin
nahenahe – soft, sweet, melodious naupaka – native shrub found in mountains and near coasts, known for their light-colored flowers that look like half flowers ne-ne- – Hawaiian goose (Nesochen sandvicensis) niu – coconut palm tree (Cocos nucifera), common in tropical islands of the Pacific and warm parts of eastern Asia ‘o-hi‘a – an endemic tree (Metrosideros polymorpha) in the Myrtle family Oli Ka-hea, Oli Komo – chant composed by Kaho‘okele Crabbe one ha-nau – birthplace (n ) o-‘o- – digging stick, spade ‘o-pala – rubbish, trash ‘opihi – limpets pa‘a – firm, adhering, fixed, stuck, secure
Published on Sep 16, 2010
For the past three years the My Hawai'i Story Project, a middle school (6th-8th grade) environmental writing contest, has touched the lives...