At a press conference livestreamed on Facebook on August 21st, a hui of Kumu Hula from acrosss the pae ʻāina announced a 30-day Lāhui Kānaka, a kapu intended to help stop the spread of the coronavirus in Hawaiʻi. Video of the press conference is available on OHA’s Facebook page.

Lāhui Kānaka began on August 16th with the rising of the Mauli moon and will continue for three anahulu (10 day periods) until the next Mauli moon on September 14th.

The focus during this time is on mauli ola (wellbeing) and the kumu and their haumāna are committed to modifying their personal behaviors by staying home, limiting gatherings, wearing masks when they must interact, ʻai pono (eating healthy), and daily pule.

“Kapu is a code of behavior to maintain balance, how we should or should not act. It is based on our relationship to our akua, our ʻāina and our fellow kānaka,” explained Kumu Hula Hokulani Holt-Padilla.

“COVID-19 affects everyone differently,” said Kumu Hula Mehanaokalā Hind, who helped to organize Lāhui Kānaka. Hind, who is also OHA’s Director of Community Engagement, added, “one of the scariest things about the disease is that you can have it without showing any symptoms.”

To make it through this pandemic healthy and whole, organizers believe that we must show our aloha for one-another in different ways because our customary greeting of a honi and hug can easily infect those we love the most with COVID-19. This is especially dangerous to our kūpuna who, overall, have been more severely impacted by the disease.

“We need to learn to show our aloha differently, like a verbal greeting, a ‘shaka’ or a smile,” Hind urged. “And we need to stop gathering in large groups! Stop gathering with people outside your household because if just one person is sick, large ʻohana celebrations can become hotspots for transmitting COVID-19. You don’t want your party or celebration to become the origin of sickness for your loved ones.”

“The word ʻaloha’ requires us to have the deepest and most profound sense of respect, caring and kindness for ourselves and one-another,” noted Kumu Hula Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu. “It (also) requires us to remember that our culture speaks to placing the ‘we’ before the ‘me.’”

Organizers understand that the period of kapu will require discipline and focus, but are encouraging their haumāna and others who choose to join them to use the time to focus on mauli ola for themselves and their ʻohana. The hope is that, at the end of three anahulu, we will see a decrease in the daily COVID-19 infection count, and an increase in pono and akamai behaviors within our lāhui and the larger community.

To help share their message with the community, organizers initiated an ongoing social media campaign. The campaign features a series of Public Service Announcements (PSA), developed with support from OHA, with various Kumu Hula sharing their manaʻo about the kapu and COVID-19. To view the PSAs go to: www.oha.org/lahuikanaka/

Lāhui Kānaka Declaration

In response to a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases affecting the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community, a hui of Kumu Hula from across the pae ʻāina agreed to a 30-day Lāhui Kānaka to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Lāhui Kānaka is a kapu that began on August 16th with the rising of the Mauli moon and will continue for three anahulu (10 day periods) until the next Mauli moon on September 14th. It represents a gathering of intentions focused on mauli ola, health and wellbeing to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Hawaiʻi.

The focus during this time is on mauli ola (wellbeing) and the kumu and their haumāna are committed to modifying their personal behaviors such as staying home, limiting gatherings, wearing masks when they must interact, ʻai pono (eating healthy), and pule at noon every day.