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NKW Blog

Generational Kuleana at the 28th Annual Hāna Kalo Festival

“You coming, ah?” volun-told Captain aka “Cap”, Clay Bertelmann, just before our crew meeting preparing for my first crossing of ʻAlenuihāhā channel. It’s the spring of 2001 and a buzz was in the air as Hāna crew members flew in to prepare for our sail to the 9th Hāna Kalo Festival. Makaliʻi has a long history with the annual festival that began with aunty Kanani Kahalehoe. As a dedicated Hāna Kalo Festival organizing committee member and waʻa crew member, aunty Kanani continuously invites Makaliʻi and her educational programs to be shared with the Hāna community. 

This year was no exception. Aunty Kanani volun-told us to attend this year’s festival. The last time we sailed to Hāna for the Kalo Festival was in 2018 as part of our training for our Hanauna Ola voyage to Mokumanamana. This year we came by land, loaded with our star compass, educational presentation boards, various hand outs and ʻai pono samples. At 7am Saturday morning, at Hāna Ballpark, in our educational tent, the Lincoln-Maielua boys tested themselves by setting up and placing the star compass hale names in

correct order.

Throughout the day, various community members, fellow booth vendors, and visitors came to hear, see, and experience whatʻs good with Makaliʻi and Nā Kālai Waʻa. “Aunty, this is the kind of food we’re taking on our voyages these days” as I baited for a conversation.

To my surprise, aunty Mona responded “I remember driving up with Cap to Waimea from Kawaihae to buy canned food for our voyage day boxes.” Aunty Mona is a Hāna crew member, who was invited to train with Makaliʻi by aunty Kanani over 20 years ago. Aunty Mona is also the daughter of Sam Kalalau, an original crew member of the 1976 Hokuleʻa maiden voyage.

As another aunty gazed upon the presentation boards and locally sourced and preserved provisions of lūʻau beef in pressure canned jars, along with freeze dried kālua pig sealed in mylar bags, she looks to me and bursts, “You folks were in Lahaina for the Unity March! You had a table like this and at the end of the day you gave me a jar of lūʻau stew. My husband, uncle Francis, and I ate it and it was ʻONO!”

This aunty reached in her wallet and insisted on sharing a donation to support our work. I told her “aunty, I need to continue to talk about this jar today. If you're still here when we're done, I want to send it home with you.” Aunty Ese Sinenci was overjoyed, placing another jar of shelf stable lūʻau stew in her holoholo bag.

The annual Hāna Kalo Festival continues to be a special place for us where both Kohala and Hāna districts strengthen their generational relationships and resilience through our voyaging practices on our wa’a and our moku. Mahalo nui aunty Kanani for reminding us to keep crossing the channel and living Papa Mau’s words, “Stick Together, Make Strong, Make Happy”.

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