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Try traditional Hawaiian games at foundation’s Makahiki event

By Staff | Nov 8, 2012


LAHAINA – Hawaiian games will be held at Campbell Park next to the Baldwin Home Museum on Front Street from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 18, in observance of the beginning of the Makahiki Season. The public is invited to participate in this free family event, and all ages are welcome.

An oli and blessing by cultural liaison Kekoa Yap will open the festivities at 1 p.m., followed by an explanation of the history and significance of Makahiki. In ancient Hawaii, games of skill, strength and wit were played during the Makahiki Season, which officially began when the constellation Pleiades was first observed rising above the horizon at sunset. The four-month Makahiki Season marked a temporary halt to war and was a season of feasting and competitive games.

Game areas will be set up at the park, and the public can move from one game to the next throughout the event. Ulu maika is a game similar to lawn bowling, played with specially formed stone disks instead of balls. One of the most popular sports in early Hawaii, the goal of the game is to roll the “ulu” or “maika” between two wooden pegs set in the ground.

Tall banana stumps will be the targets for o’o ihe (spear throwing). It takes a strong arm and a good eye to throw a wooden spear hard enough to stick into the target. Everyone is encouraged to give it a try.

Participants will form equally matched teams to play huki huki (tug of war), which will be scheduled several times during the afternoon. Huki huki was one of the few team games played in old Hawaii.

Konane boards will be set up on mats in the shade. Using 64 black and white pebbles as playing pieces, this game, similar to checkers, was a favorite of King Kamehameha the Great. The winner of the game is the one who is able to block his opponent from further moves.

An area will also be set up to engage in lo’u lo’u (pulling hooked fingers), uma (hand wrestling) and pa uma (standing hand wresting).

Coconuts will be husked onsite to provide a refreshing drink, with water also available throughout the event.

The Makahiki Games are coordinated by Lahaina Restoration Foundation with assistance from the staff at Old Lahaina Luau. Game pieces have been provided by the Kaanapali Beach Hotel. The County of Maui’s Office of Economic Development is providing financial support for this free, public event.

For more information, visit www.lahainarestoration.org or call 661-3262.