Aloha & Mahalo

Saturday, January 5, 2002
Suburbia, California 


This weekend, we stayed in town to honor and mahalo (thank) some kanaka makua -- extraordinary people -- in our Hawaiian community at a luncheon.  

>> Click here to learn what a kanaka makua is.  
They are few and far between.

The pū  (conch shell) was solemnly sounded, and so began Ke Alaula O Ka Huliau -- The Dawn of Changing Times, and we were called to order.  Kaiwi delivered an elegant opening prayer and blessing -- pule wehe -- in Hawaiian. 

For the last time, she held court.  

"She" is Ku`ulei, who with others in this group, warmly embraced and welcomed Pila (known here as DH) and me into the group, four years ago.  Back then, we had participated in one of the group's many and varied cultural activities, not having a clue that doing so would lead us to a multitude of blessings.  

"Talking story", we met hānai `ohana, Aunty Hannah, whose Hawaiian side of the family hails from Makapala in Kohala and Uncle Līkeke, who grew up in Hilo. Aunty Hannah's maternal Aunty and her husband, Richard Lyman, Sr., father of  Kamehameha School's "Papa" Lyman, helped to raise my grandfather, hanai-style, on the Big Island.  Small world.  

Family -- 'Ohana -- is not always what you're born with,
sometimes it's people you find, 
sometimes it's the people who find you.

After a weekend that was chockful of Hawaiian activities (lauhala weaving, learning a hula, singing "Hawai`i Aloha" in four-part harmony and more), we were lead right into the membership of the warmest, most loving 'ohana (family) of native Hawaiians and Hawaiians-at-heart, who live and perpetuate our culture, practice Hawaiian values, and nurture Hawaiian spirits with song, dance, prayer, chants, food, and all things Hawaiian.  

We have never experienced a group more spirited and loving -- more Hawaiian -- than this one. 

a kanaka makua, 
full of grace 
with the smile of immense radiance, 
warming hearts and firing up Hawaiian souls. 

Ku`uleialoha is the epitome of Hawaiian grace, dignity, strength, and warmth.  

A kanaka makua.  

A role model.  

An upstanding individual.

She is the outgoing president of our Hawaiian civic club, leading us for four years with much Aloha and dedication .

She and past president, Pa`ahana, presented the Kukui Lama Kū Award for 2002 to Kupuna (Elder) Ho`okaulana, a man filled with the spirit of Aloha, who lives up to every nuance and letter of his name, which means "to make prominent".  

Kupuna  Ho`okaulana, kanaka makua

The Outgoing Officers & Directors
Click here for an enlargement

Front row (L-R):Pu`ukū, Kaiwi; Papa Ho'oholo - Director, Paddy; Pelekikena - President, Ku`uleialoha; Papa Ho'oholo - Director, B.J; Hope Pelekikena 'Elua - 2nd VP, Keoki; Kākau 'Ōlelo Ho`oholo - Corresponding Secretary / Newsletter, Janice. 

Back row (L-R):  Immediate Past President, Pa`ahana; Hope Pelekikena `Ekahi - 1st VP, Jackie; Kākau `Ōlelo Ho`opa`a - Recording Secretary, Līkeke; Papa Ho'oholo - Director,Ho`okaulana; Papa Ho'oholo - Director, Denny; Papa Ho'oholo - Director, Pi`ilani; Parliamentarian, Scott; Papa Ho'oholo - Director, Aukake "Augie".

Ku`ulei -- short for Ku`uleialoha -- shared touching and insightful words about members of her administration.  Her gratitude to them for their hard work and dedication was immense and felt by all.  

Pa`ahana & Ku`ulei

Ku`ulei herself was honored with laudatory words, lei, makana (gift) of a beautiful book of Old Hawai`i photographs; and the gratitude of the entire club 'ohana. Ku`ulei's family was there to honor her as well. 

That's Nohea, Ku`ulei's grandson, in the striped sweater, in the photo below:

Ku`uleialoha's Family & Janice & George (Keoki)

More of Ku'ulei's family and Anna.

Myself, I am grateful for Ku`ulei's positivity and undaunted spirit. Early on, we learned that she had lost her beloved husband soon after she had assumed the role of president.  Not once did I ever see a shred of self-pitying, but only a valiant, strong woman who was not going to let a deeply painful personal loss get in the way of her commitment to the group and her family.  

Ku`ulei's smile and upbeat newsletter messages were constant reminders for me to move on in spite of life's losses, and to rise up and serve while mending a broken heart.  She helped me to keep on smiling and share my radiance and Aloha with those I serve. Her smile, her Aloha became a part of me.

The Incoming Officers and Directors were installed:

Pekelikena - President:  Jackie
Hope Pekelikena `Ekahi - 1st VP:  Kaiwi
Hope Pekelikena `Elua - 2nd VP:  Keoki
Kākau `Ōlelo Ho`opa`a - Recording Secretary:  Denny 
Kākau `Ōlelo Ho`opholo - Corresponding Secretary:  Lori 
Pu`uukū:  Pi`ilani
Papa Ho`oholo - Directors:  Ho`okaulana, Rode, Scott, Aukake, Maile H., Paddy
Immediate Past President:  Ku`uleialoha

Keali`ikiamoku & President, 2002, Jackie

With the passing of Nā Hō`ailona (Cherished Symbols) of ke kahili (feathered staff) and `umeke lōkahi (togetherness bowl) from Past-President Ku`uleialoha to President Jackie, the new administration took their oaths and were inducted. 

Seeing the roster in person and hearing Jackie's positive words (no closing of the `umeke's lid!), we know the traditions and responsibilities of this group are in the most able of hands.  

The two eldest kupuna (elders), both over 85 years old, were honored:

Kupunawahine (Elderwoman)  Esther & Kupunakāne (Elderman) Edmund

The doxology was sung in Hawaiian, filling the place with beautiful, dulcet tones, thanks to the talented choir members in the group:  Ho`onani i ka makua mau...

And then the feasting from the well-stocked buffet of varied dishes began with lots of "talk story" between bites.

The Merrie Monarch Bunch: Gil, Aletha, Scott & Denny 

Pila with Joe & BJ

Aunty Hannah, Leilani, and Uncle Līkeke

Aunty Hannah, Uncle Līkeke and tablemates

Tom, Kupunakāne Edmund, Kaiwi, Keali`i, Jane (Ka`ala) and Paddy

Johnson family members, Anna, Maile H and hubby

More celebrants.

My apologies to the two ladies at the edges.  
(I'm still learning how to point and shoot.)

With much Aloha and Mahalo in our hearts, on this day, we honored those who have given so much of themselves 


"Life is a Gift."

Me ke aloha pumehana,

Author Unknown

P.S.  If you would like to share a portion of yourself with words, in response to this journal entry, you may do it here.  

 "The only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson


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This web journal was created on a September Morn, 
September 29, 2001
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