On Thursday, August 28, 2014, the 7-12 grade students and teachers of Kawaikini Public Charter School worked on the Mālama Hulē‘ia project site in the first of a series of partnering activities. Kawaikini is a school that emphasizes traditional Hawaiian values through the Hawaiian language. The partnership with Mālama Hulē‘ia involves hands-on environmental fieldwork as well as Hawaiian cultural education with a commitment to seeing the restoration of the ‘Alēkoko (Alakoko) fishpond. Prior to arriving at our project site, Malia Chun met the students and teachers at the ‘Alēkoko overlook and explained the cultural importance of the fishpond and how Mālama Hulē‘ia’s long term goal is to restore this treasure, which is now overgrown with mangrove. Carl Berg then introduced them to our project site and explained the environmental reasons for what we are doing in restoring the Pu‘ali Stream, Hulē‘ia River and ‘Alēkoko fishpond.
According to Kumu Rebecca Cate, the alignment of Kawaikini School with Mālama Hulē‘ia is based on our shared vision:
“Kawaikini is a K – 12 school that is in the moku of Puna – the same moku as Alakoko. We care for our ‘āina and desire to pass this passion on to our students. We are hoping to partner with Mālama Hulēʻia to learn from the wealth of knowledge this foundation has. Whatever we do at Kaiola will assist us with the restoration of Alakoko. We have a shared vision to see Alakoko restored and we want our students to be active participants of this process – over how ever many years it may take to accomplish this. We believe this process has immeasurable educational value that directly aligns to our school’s vision.”
Kawaikini School’s long term commitment to our cause is greatly appreciated. Mahalo to all the students and teachers who will help us to realize our vision.