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Walk Stories 2018

  • March 20, 2019

    PAULA FUGA

    CULTURAL VOICE

    Though Fuga is no strict traditionalist, her birthplace and the legacy of her ancestors are prominent in her music. “When you grow up in a place heavily influenced by native culture, you’re influenced by it,” she said. “The accent, the diction, that’s my roots.” Though her influences are an eclectic mix including Motown and Reggae, the sounds of her kapuna are the foundation. “Sometimes when you play the ukulele and you turn it a certain way in the wind there’s a ring that gets left behind, this beautiful resonant note that captures the strings in the right way. That’s when the wind is playing the ukulele for you.” That sound is a timeless echo of generations past.

    Paula Fuga - Cultural Voice

    “When you’re given a gift, it’s your responsibility to use that gift to help others.”

  • March 20, 2019

    EKOLU LINDSEY

    CULTURALIST

    On the lush northwest coast of Maui in the Honokowai Valley one family chose to preserve a sacred place, and restore a native ecosystem. “My father knew there was so much work to be done,” said Ekolu, who, along with his mother Puanani, continues the work of the late Ed Lindsey. “He couldn’t do it all prior to his death,” he said. “I feel him working through me—I feel like a vessel. I don’t think about kuleana, but I carry it. My shoulders definitely got heavier.”
    ekolu-lindsey

    The archeological ruins of homesteads and taro patches in the valley show that this land once supported some 600 Hawaiian families. The land has now become an outdoor classroom for local school children and volunteers—a living piece of native history. “There are a lot of people who can do the talk,” said Puanani. “We say talk is easy, but doing the work can be very difficult.”

    ekolu-lindsey

    The work of Maui Cultural Lands is slow and deliberate—there’s little instant gratification in this labor. “I’m not an environmentalist,” Ed Lindsey once said. “I’m a culturalist.” Asked why this work is important by his then four year old grandson, he replied, “Because it’s who we are. Without this, we are just voices in the wind.” Puananiand Ekolu continue this selfless restoration of the Honokowai Valley with each native plant deposited into that rich soil. “As long as I can do the work, I’ll continue,” said Puanani. “I don’t ever want to sit back. It’s not me.”

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  • March 20, 2019

    NAINOA THOMPSON & KA‘IULANI MURPHY

    WAYFINDER & STUDENT NAVIGATOR

    Ka‘iulani Murphy first saw the Hokulea—the storied double hulled canoe of the Polynesian Voyaging Society—on an elementary school field trip. “It was truly larger than life,” said Murphy. “I thought that would be the last time I’d ever see that canoe.” Her path would actually soon lead her to the decks of the Hokulea as apprentice navigator, joining a fiercely proud tradition of Polynesian wayfinders under the tutelage of Nainoa Thompson.

    Thompson’s story and that of the Hokulea have been intertwined since its beginning. Once a novice sailor on its decks during its first historic trans-Pacific voyages, he now charts its course and guides this treasured cultural institution. He recalls vividly the day in 1976 Hokulea made landfall in Papae‘ete to the cheering throng of 17,000 Tahitians. “It was a symbol that every single one of those stories that the modern world starts to push into mythology, become more and more real,” he said. “That started to shift the worldview, things started to change towards that long road towards restoration and began to pull Polynesia out of the sea.”

     
    Murphy’s life has come full circle. As she prepares for Hokulea’s historic global circumnavigation, she furthers the work this canoe has done to revolutionize Hawaiian education. “Part of our kuleana is to share the lessons of voyaging with the younger generation,” she said. Thompson says this is no easy path to follow, but one with great distinction. “You become a mirror of the ocean,” he said. “It’s hard but it’s a privilege. It will take you to the bone—but you are honored to be there.”

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