By Paul Horner
On Friday, November 20, 2009 a blessing was held at the Keauhou Beach Resort to welcome the return of our Cultural department. Our new Cultural department includes Cultural Director Kumu Keala Ching, Kumu Hula and co-founder of Na Wai Iwi Ola; Huaka‘i Supervisor Rolinda Bean, entertainer and co-founder of Na Wai Iwi Ola; and Huaka‘i Facilitators Healani Kimitete-Ah Mow and Mana Hasegawa.
The blessing took place at the entrance of the new Cultural Office in the porte cochere area of the hotel. Kumu Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett presided over the blessing and proclaimed that the Cultural department shall be the new “piko” (center) of operations at our property. Also joining us were some key members of the local community, including the current President of Kamehameha Investment Corporation, John Rocha, and Dr. Greg Chun who is the new Vice President of the Keauhou Kahalu‘u Educational department, as well as Matt Hamabata, the Executive Director of The Kohala Center.
Our new cultural programming will include cultural activities seven days a week. Daily tours of our cultural sites, Hawaiian language classes, traditional Hawaiian lei making classes, makahiki games, Hula Kahiko, Hula ‘Auana, chanting, halau presentations, and live Hawaiian entertainment are all a part of our new comprehensive cultural program that starts in late December 2009.
Our new Huaka‘i department falls under the umbrella of our cultural programming. Huaka‘i will feature activities that actually took place on this land 500 – 600 years ago, pre-Captain Cook. The activities will include traditional net-making, lessons in Hawaiian dry-stack masonry, stories and lessons in the construction of the Holua sled, and in-depth lessons in traditional Hawaiian hula and chant. These activities will be for the guests that want a much deeper cultural experience. There will be daylight tours that include lunch and evening tours that will include dinner under the stars and lessons about the ancient Hawaiian understanding of the constellations in the night-sky. Huaka‘i will begin operations in mid-January 2010.