Thousands to gather on Front Street for Aloha ‘Aina Kukahi Unity March
LAHAINA – The well-publicized, most current standoff at Mauna Kea against the construction of the TMT (Thirty-Meter Telescope) commenced mid-July, and there is no end in sight.
The daily updates on YouTube of the protectors at the base of the mauna are a lesson of Kapu Aloha for us all.
Kapu Aloha is a relatively new term reflecting a centuries old code of conduct to treat all with respect, dignity and compassion.
In the tradition of the Hawaiians’ beloved last monarch, Queen Liliu’okalani, the protectors remain steadfast, and the message has been streamed across the planet.
Although we are over 95 miles distant from the action on the Big Island, we are not isolated on the West Side.
“It’s a trickle down effect,” warned Ke’eaumoku Kapu.
Kapu is the president of the recently restored Lahaina league of citizens, the Hui Aloha ‘Aina o ka Malu ‘Ulu o Lele (HAA Lahaina). He is also the cultural advisor of Na Aikane O Maui.
On Saturday, Oct. 5, Na Aikane O Maui, HAA Lahaina and Aha Moku Inc. are organizing a major action in Lahaina: a processional march down Front Street from Mala Wharf to Pakala (Kamehameha Iki Park).
It is a statewide call to action.
“We will be joining Oahu, Kauai and Molokai in this Aloha ‘Aina Kukahi Unity March,” Kapu announced.
There is even a collaborative effort planned in Japan on Oct. 6 at the Ka Hula Hoa event at the Yokohama Oshanbashi Hall.
At least 5,000 to 7,000 people are anticipated to participate in this peaceful show of might in historic Lahaina Town.
The assembling of this massive gathering in our small town is challenging, but organizers are working with the Maui Police Department and Mayor Michael Victorino to ensure the safety of all.
According to his spokesperson, Brian Perry, “Mayor Victorino continues to support the people’s First Amendment right to peacefully assemble and speak out on issues important to our community.”
There was a meeting with MPD officers held at Na Aikane o Maui Cultural Center on Wednesday, Sept. 25, to discuss the complicated coordination of the 1.2-mile march down Alanui Moi (the historic name of Front Street).
Kaipo Kekona is the logistics coordinator on behalf of HAA Lahaina, and it’s no easy task.
There are 15 intersections, including the small ones, along the pathway. Sixty kia’i (protectors) dressed in blue will be interspersed among the marchers to maintain Kapu Aloha. They will communicate through radio and hand signals. There will be crossing guards and water stations along with over 20 first responders.
Signs will be posted the night before on Front Street announcing that cars will be towed after noon.
Parking is at Lahaina Aquatic Center, where shuttles provided by Akina Tours and Transportation will transport participants to Mala between 12:30 and 1 p.m.
“The march starts promptly at two o’clock sharp,” Kapu advised; and, according to Officer Corey Tom, the entire length of Front Street will be closed to traffic.
Kanani Puou is the secretary of HAA Lahaina. She is also in charge of the social media announcements on Facebook, including a code of conduct.
Number one reads, “Kapu Aloha, always.”
There will be no weapons, no alcohol or smoking of any kind.
Participants are urged to malama each other, pick up trash and stay on designated roadways during the march.
“Leave the sidewalks open for visitors and businesses,” Puou affirmed.
Suggestions for what to bring were also posted, including reusable water bottles to refill at the water stations, hats, sunglasses, umbrellas for shade and sunscreen.
At the end of the procession, chairs and mats are recommended for participants “to enjoy the music, guest speakers and protocol.”
With the procession proceeding smoothly, it is anticipated to end at Pakala by 3:30 p.m.
“We encourage all who know the oli, pule and hula to join us,” Puou said.
Across the street at Na Aikane o Maui Cultural Center, enough food for all will be offered along with T-shirts and hats for sale.
“All proceeds that come out of this are going to an organization that directs all monies to Mauna Kea,” Kapu explained.
“By 6:30 p.m., everything should be pau,” Kapu said.
Puou is determined.
“Our objective is to hopefully get our people to be more educated and active in things that need to be protected, so that we have a place to call home, and so does our future generations.”
The march is one of several actions planned.
Junya Nakao announced at the meeting held last Wednesday, “We are going to occupy all of Kaanapali Beach to claim our cultural gathering rights and access to the beach.”
Through these collective cultural actions, the accomplishment of specific results is paramount.
“It is important that we continuously show support spiritually, mentally and physically,” Kekona advised, “like keeping the world watching, keeping our elected officials on their toes But more than anything else, to help our people on the mauna to feel the pride they have instilled in the people of Hawaii to lift their spirits and keep their heads held high. We are here for them no matter how long it takes.”