Legacy of culture lives on

There is no such thing as “mine is not good enough” when it comes to Hawaiian culture, Anake Kuuipo Morales of Kona said Sunday.

“The most important thing is you are doing it,” said Morales, a craftsman in lauhala. “When Anake Esther Makuaole passed, people from Kauai called saying, ‘We don’t have any more lauhala weavers.’ Our kupuna didn’t want to get involved at first because they didn’t want any pilikia (trouble). But they thought about it and said, ‘We going kokua (help).’”

Makuaole was joined by several practitioners of Hawaiian culture Sunday at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa to wrap up a weeklong tribute to Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Piikoi.

The prince’s legacy, through the creation of the Hawaiian Homes Commission, is one of advancing the Hawaiian people and preserving the culture.

Opening with the protocol honoring Kuhio, the craft fair and cultural demonstrations offered insight into a variety of areas which are relevant and pertinent today.

The Hawaiian practitioners were joined by Tracey Pilch of Anchorage, Alaska, who was helping watch a table by Matilda Langi offering Polynesian-inspired crafts.

The partnership demonstrated how different cultures inspire growth in other cultures.

“I’ve been coming here for 20 years,” said Pilch, an art professor in Alaska. “I come to visit Matilda and through her, have been able to portray the Polynesian people in my paintings.”

Anake Janet Kahalekomo had several generations of her ohana on hand, the younger ones having fun with tops fashioned from kukui nuts while the older people explained paakai, or salt making, kalo, and hooulana i ka lau niu, or coconut frond weaving.

“This is the Hawaiian way of family,” Janet said.

“You let the young ones do so they learn. The salt is free — you cannot buy salt from me. But the plastic bags the salt is in, we have to buy. So, I tell the young ones if people offer money, you say ‘thank you’ because some people get offended if you don’t accept their money. We’re not better than anyone else — we just say ‘thank you.’”

The air of culture continues to shine at the Grand Hyatt Kauai because Makalii Thronas has done a great job stepping in where Aunty Stella Burgess left off, Morales said.

“At first, I was worried,” she said. “But even now, the air is different at the Grand Hyatt Kauai. You can feel it.”

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