Fun and games in paradise

  • “Hawaiian Games To Play”

Games are a part of every culture and Hawai’i is no exception.

Hawaiian games are exciting and fun, even if you are just a spectator! Reports note how hundreds, even thousands would attend.

Just as those that engage in the perpetuation and revival of Hawaiian tradition, culture, and language today, those Hawaiian ancestors truly cherished these games and held them dear to their hearts.

“Hawaiian Games To Play” has been a wonderful addition our store’s Hawaiian book offerings. This second edition, tall, 80-page, beautifully-illustrated hardcover book features fifty-four traditional Hawaiian games, such as hakoko (Hawaiian wrestling), moa pahe‘e (dart sliding), and kōnane (Hawaiian checkers). It provides a how-to on each game along with explanatory illustrations.

The games are intended for all ages and are appropriate for classrooms, family gatherings, makahiki, and community events. Dr. Mitchell’s carefully researched descriptions offer unique insights into Hawaiian traditions of skillfulness, intelligence, and creativity.

The text — accompanied by Oliver Kinney’s lively illustrations — offers important clues about Hawaiian language, culture, social relationships, and connection to the ‘aina (nature).

These games and sports are currently being revived all over Hawaii in schools as well as communities both rural and urban. To the casual viewer, these games may appear to be frivolous fun. However, a deeper look would reveal that they are well-designed exercises that develop physical, mental, and spiritual strength.

This book’s author, Dr. Donald Kilolani Mitchell, was a major force in establishing Hawaiian studies both inside and outside the classroom. He received numerous honors and awards for his scholarship, teaching, and lifetime commitment to Hawaiian studies, particularly for his defining work on the “cultural peaks” of pre-contact Hawaiians.

His dedication to keeping Hawaiian culture alive and sharing it with others has paved the way for many to follow in making Hawaiian culture a living part of our world.


Ed and Cynthia Justus are owners of The Bookstore in Hanapepe.


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