An Ancient Adventure

WAILUA — As Ilima Rivera prepares for her seventh annual Kauai Kau Wela Summer Festival, the founder and director looks forward to uniting Hawaii’s past and present.

The theme for the festival is “Ho’oikaika a Ho’olokahi,” which means strengthen and reunite.

“Whether you live here on the island or are visiting, it helps educate them of the Hawaiian history and Polynesian culture and there’s a lot to share and learn,” she said.

The event is Saturday and Sunday at the Kamokila Hawaiian Village. It will feature games, Hawaiian food and live entertainment from musicians Larry Rivera, Haunani Kaui and Tahitian drummer Heifara.

Rivera is dedicating the festival to the “King of Polynesia,” comedian King Ernie Menehune, who died on Prince Kuhio Day, March 26.

The opening ceremony is at 11 a.m. both days and it is one of the festival’s highlights.

Rivera, joined by three other double-haul canoe paddlers and the Hawaiian warrior Punoho Kekaualua III, will travel down Wailua River toward the village’s Oracle Tower.

Rivera will hold a “niu,” or coconut tree seed, in her hands as she performs a chant meant to ask for knowledge and guidance from above. A large stone bell will herald their arrival and mark the beginning of the festivities.

Another highlight Rivera is a reflection room called Wailuanui0hoano, which means, “the ancient word of Wailua.” The room is meant to tie the past with present as it features paintings and photos from the start of the village in the 17th century until present day.

“It was something that had to be done,” Rivera said. “The room was small but it got the preservation of the culture; what we wanted to preserve.”

The room, open from noon until 3 p.m., will also feature ancient Hawaiian weaponry, hula instruments and a large koa bowl out of which King Kaumualii and his family ate.

“I’m very proud and honored to be a part of Kamokila Hawaiian Village and I’m there sharing my ‘manao,’ knowledge, with people all over the world about the history,” Rivera said.

Gates will open at 9 a.m. Advance tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Tickets at the door are $12 and $7.

For tickets, call Rivera, (808) 822-5929.

On the days of the festival a taxi driver will be available at Opaekaa Falls to drive guests to the village, 5443 Kuamoo Road in Kapaa.

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