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A shared ocean

May 8, 2014
A shared ocean

A shared ocean

It’s National Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month. What is one thing that connects Asia Americans and Pacific Islanders and the world? A shared ocean. A recent weekend in April was an exercise of sharing the precious ocean. Three youth programs from Milolii, Hookena and Keauhou spent time with each other in Hookena sharing their knowledge about traditional opelu (Pacific mackerel scad) fishing and traditional Hawaiian sailing canoe skills. Protocol, meals, the beach, many life activities and the ocean brought them together with their host, the Hookena community group (KUPA), kupuna (elders),  community members, kids’ families and numerous friends and supporters. On Friday after a welcome from the community of Hookena, canoe rigging and preparation of palu (vegetable bait) occurred. Saturday was set aside for visiting and feeding the opelu ko’a, mixing teams of kids to sail four person sailing canoes, presentations about each group`s program and lots of ono food, company and beach time. On Sunday, everyone gathered in a circle to share their experiences.  As each Na Pe’a youth of Keauhou finished sharing their thoughts, they would press the fingertips of one hand together and place it on the next person’s open palm to symbolically and physically share knowledge. The gesture went around the entire circle as everyone, young and old, expressed their experiences. This was not the end of a gathering but a begining for many more times to gather and share the ocean. A message of stewardship and caring for the land as well as the ocean was the underlying theme of the event. Na Pe`a is a youth program in which the Hawaiian canoe is used to teach leadership skills and natural resource conservation to young people. It is based out of Keauhou and is a collaboration between the National Park Service’s Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail and Nakoa Foundation. Additional support is generously provided by Kamehameha Schools, Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa, Holualoa Inn, and the Zadoc W. and Lawrence N. Brown Foundation, Ala Kahakai Trail Association and numerous community members.

Go to this link and look for the Hookena video down in the right column. The short video made by the youth is about their weekend of sharing knowledge and the ocean.!news-and-events/ct9m To see more photos, visit

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