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Ho‘oulu benefit to support Lahaina’s Hawaiian Language Immersion Program

By Staff | Sep 27, 2018

LAHAINA – It’s Ho’oulu time, Maui! Celebrate with Kula Kaiapuni O Lahaina, the West Side Hawaiian Language Immersion Program (HLIP), on Saturday, Sept. 29, at Lahaina Gateway Shopping Center from 4 to 8 p.m.

The fourth annual fete is the cultural event to attend, with ono grinds, live entertainment, keiki zone, local vendors, silent auction and rummage sale.

Support the next generation and the upcoming seven. With the language, the culture will thrive.

“E ola ka ‘olelo Hawaii” – the Hawaiian language is alive and well, with its roots well established and growing on the West Side.

“At Kula Kaiapuni,” Kumu Kau’i Spitalsky explained, “cultural seeds of enlightenment are planted every day through the traditions and customs based on our Hawaiian language.”

“The hua’olelo ‘ho’oulu’ is a very special Hawaiian word! It comes from the root word ‘ulu’ or to grow. What a clever name to bless our event, as the Kaiapuni program of Lahaina continues to grow,” from Princess Nahi’ena’ena Elementary School at the turn of the century to the 11th grade in 2018 at Lahainaluna High School.

Na Leo Kalele, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the dedicated parent-teacher organization hosting the event on Saturday.

Makua (parent) Lahela Kulukulualani is a longtime HLIP advocate with two children in the program.

“I have vested my life into this program for the last 11 years. My son Nainoa is my eldest; he is a junior at LHS with Kumu Kau’i. He began Kaiapuni at Ke Kula ?’o Nawahiokalani’opu’u in papa malaa’o; and my daughter Naiomi is in eighth grade with Kumu Kanoe. She began Kaiapuni at Punana Leo o Hilo.”

The Lahainaluna High School graduate, Class of 1999, is steadfast and proud.

“It truly is an honor that my children were able to be part of those schools and able to come home to Maui, home to Lahaina and continue to perpetuate their culture,” Kulukulualani said.

Kalikolehua Storer, another LHS graduate and Na Leo Kalele parent, appreciates the HLIP advantages.

“This program raises leaders along with partnering with parents to empower our children to be a leader. Hawaiian culture is not what is seen in the magazine, poster or hula show; it is a lifestyle of raising leaders through language and culture,” Storer advised.

The list of tasty delights at Ho’oulu is one giant step into the local experience, with Hawaiian fare, Korean chicken, hamburger steak, Teppanyaki 2 Go, poi malasadas, wai lemi, chow fun and rice pudding on the menu.

The four-hour live entertainment lineup will excite the most discerning musical palate and includes Na Keiki Kaiapuni O Lahaina, Maleko Lorenzo & Friends, Pono Murray & Leipono, Leohane, Kuikawa and more.

Event emcee is Kamalapua Kanuha, cultural advisor of the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas.

“Our ‘olelo Hawai’i, Hawaiian Language spoken by our ‘keiki o ka ‘aina’ are truly the adhesive that binds our community as one. To be present at this event is to be in the presence of our Na Kupuna. You will definitely feel the heartbeat of Hawai’i through the voices of our kamali’i. When we support our children, we’re supporting our tomorrows,” Kanuha observed.

Kanuha encourages the community to attend the benefit.

“When we participate and support educational programs, we build healthy communities,” she added.

Attendance donations are accepted: five years and under are free, and admission for attendees ages six and older is $5 presale or $7 at the door.

“We hope Lahaina will come out and kako’o (help) our immersion keiki. We already know that all DOE (Department of Education) teachers put forth so much of their own resources; well, Kaiapuni Kumu have even less access to equitable resources, which is so frustrating being that both English and Hawaiian are the official languages of Hawaii,” makua Uilani Tevaga said.

“This is more than a fundraiser though; this is (to) create curiosity from our community on what immersion is, and why so many families both native and not (non-Hawaiian) are choosing this pathway for their family.”

“The funds raised will go to many areas in the program as a whole, from field trips to teacher materials. All classes benefit,” Tevaga added.

With the program expanding, more teachers are needed. For more information, or event tickets, call (808) 987-6735.

Kumu Kau’i provided an important link of the Ho’oulu celebration to Lahaina, past, present and future.

“Lahaina is famous for the many ‘ulu trees and thus given the name ‘Malu-ulu-o-Lele’ or ‘Mala-ulu-o-Lele,’ which describes the great cool shade that was provided by the many ‘ulu trees of the olden days here in Lele, Lahaina.

“I believe this is what makes ‘Ho’o-ulu’ so special to Lahaina and nowhere else. The original name of our community, Malu-ulu-o-Lele, is embedded in the event name ?Ho’o-ulu.’ It describes who we are as people of Lahaina and our intentions to grow, to feed, and inspire our community to increase knowledge and cultural well-being by looking into the rich mo’olelo of our past and nourishing our keiki to become Native Hawaiian leaders of their own community,” she concluded.