Weaver Kawika Au shares mana‘o with a visiting ‘ohana. Photo: Courtesy of Waimea Valley

Waimea Valley is looking for visiting artistans to share traditional cultural forms with visitors to the sacred site on Oʻahu’s North Shore.

The Nā Poʻe Hana Noeʻau program allows artisans to create work inspired by Waimea’s history and culture while providing an opportunity for visitors to learn about cultural practices and indigenous knowledge. The new program falls under Waimea’s Hiʻipaka Cultural Program, which currently has eight resident artists and cultural practitioners.

“We here at Waimea Valley believe it’s important to have the Hawaiian cultural artisans and practitioners here to share their ʻike and manaʻo which helps to tell the moʻolelo of this wahi pana,” said cultural programs director Ah Lan Diamond. “Visitors can learn about life in an ahupuaʻa and what it takes to create everyday tools and implements, make food and oil, weapons and feather work, weaving and fish nets in order to sustain daily life.”

Visiting artisan Alika Bajo, a stone carver, said visitors to the valley express appreciation for the program and have a genuine respect for the culture and information the artisans share. “We want them to know that the Hawaiians are still here, we just look a little different,” he said. “I feel it’s important to teach our younger generation not only the language but our culture – not just speak but be Hawaiian.”

A pōhaku display by stone carver Alika Bajo. – Photo: Courtesy of Waimea Valley

For Bajo, the reward is getting “to share our culture and the things that make our Hawaiian culture unique, to touch people’s lives and hearts, and to have a profound effect on the younger generation to show them that they are stewards of our earth and the ones whose kuleana – responsibility – will carry our message of love and aloha in the future for the whole world to embrace.” Interested artisans can email wv@waimeavalley.net for more information or questions. Applications may be completed and downloaded at www.waimeavalley.net.