LAHAINA - For the village community of Lahaina, the celebratory ho'olaule'a of David Malo Day at Lahainaluna High School represents the nurturing and propagation of the cherished culture of Hawaii. It's an evening of pageantry to pay homage to one of this island nation's first patriots and his beloved alma mater.
This year's David Malo Day takes place on Saturday, April 28, on Boarders' Field in the heart of the historic campus at the foothills of Pu'u Pau Pau (Mount Ball), where the chosen grave site of David Malo overlooks the changing tide below that he feared would alter the course of Hawaiian culture.
The event is the brainchild of former Lahainaluna Principal Ralph Murakami and the founder of the school's Hawaiiana Club, Jimmie Greig, in 1969 to teach students to give back to the community that supports the school.
A poi supper will be served at 5 p.m., followed by a sunset pageant at 6 p.m. performed by the Lahainaluna Boarders' Chorus and Hawaiiana Club.
According to LHS Curriculum Coordinator Lori Gomez, the theme for the 43rd annual David Malo Day Ho'olaule'a is "Malama na mea I hala; Lamalama ke ala I mua" (Looking forward; listening back). The theme has been composed into a chant by Kumu Pomai Krueger, the Hawaiian language teacher at Lahainaluna.
Gomez, a longtime educator and current advisor to the Boarders' Chorus and the Hawaiiana Club while helping coordinate the pageant, added, "The Boarding Program has a concept of work/study while at the same time learning resiliency, independence and collaboration, and the Hawaiiana Club seeks to learn the legacy left us from our host culture through song and dance.
"We are an island community with island values, mores and tradition, existing in a diverse population and in progressive times. We live and build on the strength that comes from our diversities and similarities. We are most appreciative and grateful for the excellent support and nurturing given us by our immediate community and from the island of Maui and beyond. We exist because of our island 'ohana (family) and the values of our host culture imbedded in our school. They are a way of life for us."
In the preparation for David Malo Day, Gomez explained that, within the theme, the students are taught to "show where you're going without forgetting where you're from, and that the past is the lesson, the present gives choices and the future is forever. It's not a matter of preparing for the storm - it's a matter of learning to dance in the rain."
David Malo was born on the Big Island and grew up in association with people of high rank, as his father was a soldier in the army of King Kamehameha I.
He moved to Lahaina in 1823 and then became one of the original students at Lahainaluna Seminary - later to become Lahainaluna Technical and High School.
He became a renowned religious leader of the Christian faith, an educator, historian, writer, politician and entrepreneur. He wrote several books on the history of Hawaii that detailed the ancient history, religion and customs of the Hawaiian people.
William Alexander, who was often associated with Malo in his work on Maui, referred to him as "one of the brightest trophies of the gospel in the islands. Many of his predictions have come true. But his efforts for righteousness and justice have borne fruit and will continue to do so. For, that kind of seed does not die."
Indeed, the seeds do flourish with new fruit and blossoms, as Lahainaluna's David Malo Day continues through its 43rd rendition led by Gomez; school Principal Emily De Costa; Musical Producers Kahala Greig and Ui Chang; Choreographers Ilima Greig and Kumu Pomai Krueger; Student Activities Coordinator Art Fillazar; Farm Foreman Bobby Watson and Alan Yamamoto; Jean Miyahira, Rae Matsumoto and the entire administration office; the faculty and staff; and, perhaps most of all, the sterling personas of the Boarders and the Hawaiiana Club.
Malama pono - to nurture in a motherly way that which is good and righteous. For information, or to purchase tickets ($15 each or a table of eight for $175), call 662-4000.