LT is Woven into the Close-Knit Community of Molokaʻi

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Photo: Hoʻokanaka ʻAha Kāne leaders
Hoʻokanaka ʻAha Kāne leaders are helping to uplift Molokaʻi ‘ōpio kāne.

Submitted by Kīpuka Molokaʻi

This summer, a hui of ʻōpio kāne (young men) from Liliʻuokalani Trust (LT) participated in the Hoʻokanaka ʻAha Kāne program at Kiowea Pavilion & Park on Molokaʻi.

For three nights, they camped under the stars, participated in warrior training, honed their speech and debate skills, deepened their connection to Hawaiian culture, and explored culinary arts, fishing, and agriculture.

Photo: Hoʻokanaka ʻAha Kāne
At Hoʻokanaka ʻAha Kāne, young men deepen their connection to their culture. – Photo: Kīpuka Molokaʻi

The ʻōpio kāne are from LT’s Kīpuka Molokaʻi, nestled in Kalamaʻula at the Kūlana ʻŌiwi complex.

Hoʻokanaka ʻAha Kāne was an uplifting experience for the hui. “My favorite part was learning the haʻa,” said a participant. “At first, I felt shame, but watching and learning with the other kānaka, I stood proud to be with them in the men’s house. I felt stronger together, as one.”

They also participated in crafting and wielding the ʻihe (spear), where they focused on their target, threw with intention, and defended themselves. The activity was a metaphor for establishing strong pilina (hitting the target) and navigating bullying and negativity (dodging and defending).

Hoʻokanaka ʻAha Kāne is one of several programs highlighting LT’s commitment to the Molokaʻi community. As dedicated team members of LT’s Kīpuka Molokaʻi, it is our privilege to support our island’s families by offering youth culturally rich programs like Hoʻokanaka ʻAha Kāne. Our work aligns with Queen Liliʻuokalani’s vision to enrich the lives of Hawaiian children, the mission of her Trust established in 1909.

At Kīpuka Molokaʻi, we provide enriching programs to empower our youth and support their families. Our social services team provides year-round counseling for kamaliʻi ages 0-17, along with management services, social-emotional learning, and family-strengthening groups, such as the Hoʻopono Program.

Additionally, through global and national partnerships, our youth are introduced to new technologies and innovative fields, enabling them to collaborate with peers worldwide and learn from industry professionals.

We enjoy engaging with Molokaʻi’s families at community gatherings. Our activity tables and booths enable our youth workers and social workers to share information about our organization while carrying on the legacy of our Queen. Additionally, our teammates feel privileged to volunteer every year at our local high school, where we speak at Career Day, participate in mock interview panels, and join students on their Challenge Day.

On Molokaʻi, kamaliʻi and their ʻohana embrace a lifestyle defined by purpose, a harmonious bond with nature, and a laid-back pace. Through our endeavors, we hope to inspire the youth to honor their heritage while pursuing educational and personal development. We are optimistic that our ʻōpio will always have a special place like Molokaʻi to call home, and that LT will continue to guide them.