‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i mastery at Merrie Monarch

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs congratulates Ecstasy Jetta Laverne Kamakalikolehua Ligon of Ka Lā ‘Onohi Mai O Ha‘eha‘e who won OHA’s Hawaiian Language Award during the 2018 Merrie Monarch Miss Aloha Hula competition. Ligon, who was first runner up for Miss Aloha Hula, performed a hula kahiko titled “Ka Li‘a,” a six-part chant written about the Lanakila train in honor of Queen Lili‘uokalani. In an interview during the Merrie Monarch broadcast, Ligon explained, “What’s special to me about this hula kahiko is that it runs through the moku of Wai‘anae and that’s where I’m from so I can connect to this mele.” - Photo: Courtesy of Kumu Hula Tracie Lopes

Disaster aid and satellite classes provided on Kaua‘i

Devastating flooding in Kaua‘i, East O‘ahu and Waimānalo in April prompted the state Legislature and governor to quickly approve $125 million in relief aid for those communities.

The House and Senate sped up passage of the state budget – finalizing it a week earlier than usual so the disaster relief appropriations could be released with little delay, said House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke.

Rep. Nadine K. Nakamura, who represents Hanalei, Princeville, Kīlauea, Anahola, Kapa‘a and Wailuā, thanked those who have stepped up to help residents on the north shore of Kaua‘i, where homes were destroyed and rockslides isolated remote communities. She added, however, that Kaua‘i was blessed that no lives were lost during the flooding. “The people of Hawai‘i have really come together to support Kaua‘i in its time of need and we are looking forward to the release of funds to help us get back on our feet.”

The heavy rains and landslides prevented 51 students from Waikoko, Wainiha and Haena from being able to reach Hanalei Elementary, Kapa‘a Middle and Kapa‘a High schools. In response, the state Department of Education has opened a temporary educational site at the Hanalei Colony Resort to serve students through satellite classes.

“We thank the administrators, teachers and staff who are there to support our keiki and families,” said Kaua‘i Complex Area Superintendent Bill Arakaki. “This will provide a safe place for our students, bring a sense of normalcy and help to meet their social, emotional and learning needs. We also would like to thank our students and ‘ohana for their aloha, love and strength as we all work together to restore our community.”

2018 Kaulana Mahina calendar available

Our kūpuna became expert farmers, fishermen, navigators and healers through consistent and intentional observation of their environment. Today, observing the phases of the moon can help re-establish that connection to the environment and ancestral knowledge.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs research department created a 2018 Kaulana Mahina Calendar that can be referenced throughout the year. The calendar includes general fishing and farming observations and encourages users to record observations that are relevant to them, and thereby become more aware of intersections between daily life and patterns in the natural environment.

The downloadable calendar, a chart of moon set and rise times and a chant to help learn the moon phases are available at www.oha.org/culture/kilomahina.

‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i ‘Oe promotes Hawaiian language

Kanaeokana, a network of ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i, Hawaiian culture and ‘āina-based kula (schools), has been working collaboratively to develop an education system grounded in the ‘ōlelo (language) and ‘ike (knowledge) of Hawai‘i.

During the Merrie Monarch Festival, Kanaeokana ramped up its efforts to normalize ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i through use in everyday contexts. At Merrie Monarch, the hui supported vendors and customers who conducted business in Hawaiian – some vendors even offered discounts and incentives to customers who used ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i in their transactions.

The Merrie Monarch activities were part of the larger ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i ‘Oe campaign aimed at strengthening Hawaiian education from preschool through college.

Those interested in developing a deeper connection to place through language will find a number of resources at kanaeokana.net/olelo including online and classroom language classes and ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i resources to increase understanding of the language. The site even offers “cheat sheets” with useful phrases to use at work and in the classroom.

2018 Kaulana Mahina calendar available

Nene’s endangered status may be lifted

Eleven young ‘alalā (Hawaiian crows) released in the Pu‘u Maka‘ala Natural Area Reserve on Hawai‘i Island last fall are thriving in their native habitat.

‘Alalā have been extinct in the wild since 2002 but preserved in Hawai‘i through a partnership with the San Diego Zoo Global’s Hawai‘i Endangered Bird Conservation Program. The birds released into the reserve are showing more natural behaviors, giving hope to conservationists and researchers at the University of Hawai‘i-Hilo that the endangered crow population may begin to recover.

According to the zoo, the ‘alalā are foraging on native fruits and insects and interacting with the ‘io, or Hawaiian hawk, the ‘ālalā’s natural predator.

“We are beginning to observe behaviors that appear to be responsive to the changes and threats available in natural habitat and we are working on evaluating this scientifically to see if the birds’ rich behavioral repertoire is being recovered now that they have been reintroduced into the forest,” said Joshua Pang-Ching, Research Coordinator of the San Diego Zoo Global’s Hawai‘i Endangered Bird Conservation Program.

The news about the ‘alalā’s progress came soon after a recommendation from the U.S. News and Wildlife Service to downlist the Hawaiian goose, or nene, from endangered to threatened status due to a concerted recovery effort including captive breeding, predator control and habitat protection, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

In 1930, the nene population had dwindled to 30 but there are now 2,800 geese today. Threatened status would continue to protect the nene from non-native predators, such as cats and mongooses, habitat destruction and motor collisions.

AARP grant supports positive community change

AARP is accepting applications for its 2018 Community Challenge grant program, which offers funding for “quick-action” projects as part of a nationwide Livable Communities initiative.

Nonprofits, government entities and other organizations will be considered on a case-by-case basis, with funding ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the scale and length of the project.

The program is accepting applications in the following areas, detailed in an AARP news release:

  • Delivering a range of transportation and connectivity options in the community through permanent or temporary solutions that increase walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, access to transportation options and roadway improvements;
  • Creating vibrant public places in the community through permanent or temporary solutions that activate open spaces, improve parks and improve access to amenities;
  • Supporting the availability of a range of housing in the community through permanent or temporary solutions that increase accessible and affordable housing options; and
  • Other innovative projects to improve the community.

The application deadline is May 16 by 11 a.m. in Hawai‘i (5 p.m. ET) and projects must be completed by Nov. 5. Apply at AARP.org/CommunityChallenge.