Ku‘i ahead of Ku‘i at the Capitol

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Josh Fukino taps away at the pohaku he hopes to finish by next week’s Ku‘i at the Capitol.

The rhymic chink-chink-chink pierced through the open air that effectively masked the sounds of the busy Tuesday afternoon — pau hana traffic, late deliveries, and even birds making their way to roost in an area fronting the lo‘i at Kauai Community College.

“This is for the Ku‘i at the Capitol, next week,” said Joshua Fukino, who sat in the shade of a tree flanking the plantation-era ditch and quietly wielding a chiseled hammer to a rock cradled between his knees, sheltered by a wad of burlap. “I’m hoping to finish this pohaku to take with me when we visit the Ku‘i at the Capitol.”

The Ku‘i at the Capitol, coinciding with the opening day of the state Legislature, offers the opportunity to experience the cultural practice of poi-pounding, with taro being provided by organizers.

“This is a kind of cultural renaissance,” Fukino said. “This pohaku should be ready in time, and I’ll use it to pound poi at the state capitol.”

In the meantime, Fukino, making small taps with the chiseled end of his hammer, said he will have it available Saturday when he and a group of individuals host the second Ku‘i at the County from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

It is free and will feature cultural demonstrations.

“Last year, we wanted to go to the Ku‘i at the Capitol,” said Pua Rossi-Fukino. “But with the high cost of transportation and the difficulty in getting transportation arrangements, Councilman Mason Chock worked with us to bring the ku‘i to the county. The ku‘i was meant to observe the anniversary of the overthrow. It is a way of bringing the community together through cultural practice and to show and practice aloha ‘aina on Kauai. The event was so successful, people kept asking us to do another one.”

Fukino said he will have his developing pohaku on hand for people to look at, and learn what it takes to create a pohaku. He will also have kava for people to sample and learn about.

“Chad Schimmelfennig recently did the hale and lo‘i at the Eleele Elementary School,” Fukino said. “He’ll be doing most of the ku‘i with his group. That will free me to work on the pohaku and be available for people and discussions.”

Entertainment will be provided through the courtesies of Pono Nero, Candace and Company, Albert Genovia, and Mark Rossi and the Kauai Community College hula dancers.

“Food security, food sovereignty and food safety are very important topics,” Rossi-Fukino said.

Fukino said he hopes to have more ku‘i at different locations.

“I want to grow this,” he said. “Eventually, I would love to have the people involved in creating kapa, a Hawaiian fabric fashioned from the Hawaiian mulberry, and other cultural practitioners participating to keep the renaissance going.”


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

  1. Your Name Here January 10, 2019 5:58 am Reply

    “Saturday … at the County from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.” Where, exactly, is “the County”?

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