Saturday, June 25, 2022 |
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ANAHOLA — Lily Eden of New Zealand said Friday’s dedication and blessing of Aha Moku signage was like following footsteps.
Eden, who works with Kanoe Ahuna on the Kauai Nui Kuapapa, or Moku signage project, said the contingent from New Zealand who arrived for the blessing are direct descendants of Tainui Waka and Te Arawa.
“This is like a homecoming,” Eden said. “We are literally following in footsteps.”
Kauai Nui Kuapapa is a project designed to revitalize Kauai’s rich cultural heritage utilizing signage and state-of-the-art technology to identify the borders of the six moku on the islands of Kauai and Niihau, states a County of Kauai press release.
The project was developed by Keao NeSmith, executive partner of Na Hoku Welo, in response to Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr’s vision that culturally appropriate signage would help create awareness of Kauai’s traditional land divisions.
“It is hoped that knowing the traditional names and unique stories and characteristics about our place on the island will lead our Kauai communities to talk with each other about our island home while fostering a stronger sense of community and mutual caring,” NeSmith said.
This aspect was demonstrated earlier when Kamealoha Smith, serving as the emcee for the blessing, unveiled a book created by children on the Puna and Koolau moku, centering on the beaches and its immediate vicinities.
The collaborative effort with funding support from the Office of Economic Development, the Kauai Visitors Bureau and the Hawaii Tourism Authority was highlighted with the simultaneous sounding of pu, or conch shells, at the six locations representing the entrance and exit points of the moku.
“Each of the moku has its own character,” Carvalho said. “Some things grow in some places and not in others leading people to talk and work with each other. Within the moku, there are about 55 ahupuaa, or subdivisions within a moku — a major district from mountain to the sea. We eventually want to identify the ahupuaa along with identifiers for waterways touching Kauai’s main roadways.”
Joining the dignitaries, the Daughters of Hawaii led by Regent Julie Watson took advantage of the dedication to visit Kauai and boost the efforts of the newly-formed Kauai Chapter of the Daughters as well as offer an oli hookupu along with a puakenekene lei.
Signs were placed along Kuhio and Kaumualii highways at the point of entry and exit of each of the five moku on the island of Kauai.
Additionally, a sign representing the moku of Niihau was placed at Koopueo, commonly known as MacArthur Park, in Kekaha.
Each site coordinated a noon blessing, with the pu sounding six times, one for each moku, followed by the blessing and hookupu offering. In addition to the signs being unveiled, an informational and interactive website was also brought to life.
Other partners working on Kauai Nui Kuapapa include the Kauai Museum, who helped host the Daughters of Hawaii, the Kauai Historical Society and Garden Island Resource, Conservation and Development.
NeSmith, in his welcoming remarks, also noted support from the Office of the Mayor, the Kauai County Council, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee Dan Ahuna, DataSpace Industries, Datawise Consulting and Pass the Projects.
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