Maikaʻi Kauaʻi


Kaiāulu (n. 1. Community, neighborhood, village.)

Photo: Sylvia Hussey

Aloha mai kākou,

The first time I visited the island of Kauaʻi I was in high school.

You may recall that last December I wrote about my experience with Future Farmers of America (FFA) as a student at Kohala High School. Among the many opportunities afforded to me as a club member was the chance to travel off-island.

Throughout the year we raised funds for our annual trip to the FFA state conference and for one additional interisland trip – a special trip just for junior and senior club members who had demonstrated strong FFA leadership, regular attendance, and consistent work project contributions throughout the year.

Our club advisor, David Fuertes, is originally from Kauaʻi, so the year we traveled there was especially memorable. On that trip we were immersed in Kauaʻi culture and saw the island through the eyes of Mr. Fuertes, his ʻohana, and his friends.

We stayed with Mr. Fuertes’ sister, Aunty Nancy, in Poʻipū – all of us students sleeping outside on her patio for the duration of our visit. Aunty Nancy took us up to Kōkeʻe to pick maile and mokihana, and then taught us how to make lei – her specialty till today. We traveled to the home of Mr. Fuertes’ brother, Uncle Basilio, in Kekaha Hawaiian Homestead where he taught us to make kūlolo the way their family always made it.

I remember going to Hanalei and marveling at the breadth and beauty of the valley and its patchwork bounty of farms and loʻi, seeing a Kīlauea papaya farm, and visiting the Kaneshiro pig farm in ʻōmaʻo, Kōloa. What struck me then was the powerful sense of community and connection that I experienced on Kauaʻi. The island and its people took us in and embraced us with aloha. I saw how seamlessly the Kauaʻi community integrated ʻohana, moʻomeheu and ʻāina. Maikaʻi nō Kauaʻi.

In this issue of Ka Wai Ola, we discover the story behind the new statue of King Kaumualiʻi at Pāʻulaʻula in Waimea, Kauaʻi. This community-led initiative included hundreds of individuals and organizations from Kauaʻi who gave of their “time, talent and treasure” to honor the last sovereign king of Kauaʻi and Niʻihau, and to perpetuate their community’s collective memory of the king who relinquished his sovereignty to Kamehameha I rather than subject his people to the grief, violence and death that even a victorious war would bring to their island.

Also in this issue, we go into greater depth about OHA’s new Mana i Mauli Ola strategic plan, focusing on our first strategic direction – Educational Pathways; learn how the Bishop Museum has repurposed a discredited 100-year-old research project into a genealogical treasure and created a fascinating exhibit on eugenics and racism; hear how a young Kanaka Maoli doctor from Kapiʻolani Medical Center is using TikTok to encourage people to get vaccinated; and follow the journey of a kumu hula who will present her hālau at the Merrie Monarch Festival for the first time this coming June when the festival resumes.

“Maikaʻi Kauaʻi, hemolele i ka mālie; Beautiful Kauaʻi, peaceful in the calm.” – ʻōlelo Noʻeau

Sylvia M. Hussey, Ed.D.
Ka Pouhana/Chief Executive Officer