homepage logo

Aloha ‘Aina Unity March to foster collective voice for change

By Staff | Oct 8, 2015

LAHAINA – The Aloha ‘Aina Unity March-Maui (AAUM) is coming to Lahaina on Sunday, Oct. 18.

Hosted by the Aloha ‘Aina Project and Na ‘Aikane o Maui, the procession down Front Street is an extension of the inaugural Aug. 9 Aloha ‘Aina Unity March in Waikiki, where over 30 organizations joined forces and a reported 10,000 walked in unified support of Aloha ‘Aina across Hawaii.

The Aloha ‘Aina Project is a multi-island coalition working on numerous fronts to protect our mauna and all natural and cultural resources. Its goal is unity, awareness, education and activation.

“The Aloha ‘Aina Unity March-Maui will be an event where once again thousands will gather to join in a collective voice for change. We hope this event will strengthen and culminate the numerous efforts across the island to protect our resources, both natural and cultural,” event Coordinator Tiare Lawrence announced in a post on the event’s Facebook page.

Lawrence explained to the Lahaina News in an interview last week, “We encourage anyone and everyone of all color, of all races to participate, because we feel that with unity, the decision makers are going to take us more seriously.”

“Not everyone can agree on everything,” the Lahainaluna High School graduate (Class of 2000) continued, “but the one thing we can agree on is our love of the land and our love of the ocean. It is an important part of our lives. Aloha ‘Aina Unity capitalizes on unity. It is just getting anyone and everyone involved.

“We are joining forces with the environmental groups, with the hula halau, with the huis, with businesses, with the local farms, because we really want to protect and preserve our sacred spaces, our cultural sites, our agricultural land, our oceans. We want to see water released in our rivers; we want to see our ecosystems thrive,” she advised.

The Aloha ‘Aina Project call has been heard. A hui of organizations is joining the force of marchers, Lawrence wrote on the AAUM Facebook page, including the Aha Moku O Maui, Aloha Foodscapes, Babes against Biotech, Daryl Fujiwara Graphic Design, Friends of Moku’ula, GMO Free Maui, Green Party Hawaii, HAPA Hawaii Action, HawaiiSEED, Hawaii Center for Food Safety, Hawaii Farmers Union United (Mauna Kahalawai Chapter), Hawaii’s Finest, Kako’o Haleakala, Keiki Soccer Pros, Kihei Ice, Kukulu Kumuhana ‘O Maui, Maui Huliau Foundation, Maui Tomorrow, MOM Hui, Na Kupuna O Maui, No Ka Oi Adventures, Ocean Defender-Hawaii, ‘Opihi Maui, Pesticide Action Network North America, Point of View Farm, Protect Kaho’olawe ‘Ohana, Savitt Family Foundation, Save Honolua Coalition, Save Olowalu, Shaka Mouse, SHAKA Movement, Sierra Club Hawaii, Simpli-Fresh Farms and Farmers’ Market, Styrophobia, Vote Hawaii and World Centric.

The numbers are growing, and Lawrence would like to see 8,000 strong converge on Front Street at Mala on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. for the procession pre-rally.

“Let it be the biggest march in Maui’s history. We can do it in UNITY to save what we love so much, our Maui, our ‘aina, our wai, our keiki,” she urged.

Ke’eaumoku Kapu (Na ‘Aikane o Maui) is overseeing event protocol.

On the Na ‘Aikane Facebook page, he posted this message on Sept. 16: “Through prior discussion, it was advised to us by the Aloha ‘Aina committee that the expectations of this march was to bring everyone together, malihini me na kanaka. It was for all to walk in unity, to share the problems we all face such as water, ocean, our lands and resources (and) to express the devotion through Kapu Aloha.”

Kapu Aloha stands for unconditional love for everyone and everything, and to act with only kindness, love, empathy and respect.

The Na ‘Aikane leader detailed the schedule of the day’s activities.

A private ceremony at Pu’u Keka’a will commence at 6 a.m. Forty selected kanaka will leap into the waters off Black Rock in a lele kawa (leap of faith).

Kapu stressed, “The ceremonies at Pu’u Keka’a are private.”

Once out of the water, the 40 will proceed from Kaanapali, joining the pre-rally at Mala by 11 a.m.

“We are starting at Mala at 10 a.m.,” Lawrence said. “We encourage people to be there at 10 a.m. to listen to the speakers. We are going to have some powerful speakers at Mala. Then at 11 a.m., we plan to start our march down Front Street.”

“Wear red; bring a lei.”

Kahili will be made in advance at a workshop.

“Imagine 40 kahili lining Front Street,” Lawrence said. “The statement will be powerful. Culturally, it sends a bigger message. Lets people know we are connected, and we are proud people.”

The procession will make one stop at the Banyan Tree to honor ali’i and kupuna.

“We are going to be paying tribute to our ali’i at the Banyan Tree. Na Kupuna O Maui will be there to greet us,” Lawrence said, “and accept our ho’okupu that we are going to be offering.”

“I am asking everybody, all the participants,” Kapu added, “if they want to contribute, bring one lei; and, if they see any kupuna under the tree – once the mele aloha is done – just lei one kupuna.”

From there, the march will proceed to Moku’ula.

“We are also going to be giving ho’okupu and Hawaiian protocol at the ahu at Moku’ula, paying our respect to Kiha Wahine and the restoration efforts of Moku’ula,” Lawrence said.

Festivities will continue to Kamehameha Iki Park across the street. A stage will be set up for entertainment and more speeches. Napua Greig and her halau will perform

“A lot of the nonprofit groups are going to be setting up informational booths. We are working on feeding our lahui – we are working with a lot of local farmers, who will be donating luau leaf, kalo, ulu; and we plan to make free luau stew,” she explained.

“We encourage everyone to participate. Bring your Hawaiian flag, your signs, whatever you’re passionate about as far as Aloha ‘Aina is concerned.

“Join our hui of organizations coming together in support of protecting the ‘aina,” Lawrence said, adding, “The long term goal of the Aloha March is to build the necessary alliances with multiple environmental and cultural groups to support an Aloha ‘Aina Conference and build an Aloha ‘Aina voter block that can compete with the largest voter blocks in the state before the 2016 election.”

Parking is available in the backfield at Moku’ula. Shuttles to Mala will be available commencing at 8:30 a.m.

“We’re going to be making a map that we will be putting on our Facebook page that people can share. We’re also setting up a text alert that we will be letting people know where to park,” Lawrence explained.

“We’re also a zero waste event,” Lawrence advised. “We’re asking people to bring their own refillable water bottles. We will have water stations set up.”

Questions? Call Lawrence at 276-7685 or e-mail her at alohaainaunitymarch@gmail.com.