20 11 2015

The hula is a dance formed by body movements combining with pictorial hand and arm gestures and rhythmic lower-body patterns that are named. It is accompanied by chant or song. and was developed in the by the Polynesians who settled in Hawaii. The chant is called a mele the hula dancer dramatizes the story told by the mele.


There are many styles of hula. They are commonly divided into two broad categories: Ancient hula, (which was practiced only by men), as performed before Western encounters with Hawaiʻi, is called kahiko.

Hawaiian history is an oral history. It was codified in genealogies and chants that were memorized and passed down through the generations. Chants told the stories of creation, mythology, royalty, and significant events and important people.


Hula is taught in schools called halau. The teacher of hula is the kumu hula, where kumu means source of knowledge. Hula dancing is a complex art form, and there are many hand motions used to signify aspects of nature, such as the basic Hula and Coconut Tree motions, or the basic leg steps, such as the Kaholo, Ka’o, and Ami.


Instruments that may accompany the hula:

  • Ipu- single gourd drum
  • Ipu heke — double gourd drum
  • Pahu — shark skin covered drum; considered sacred
  • Pūniu — small knee drum made of a coconut shell with fish skin cover
  • ʻIliʻili — water-worn lava stone used as castanet like instrument
  • ʻUlīʻulī — feathered gourd rattles
  • Pūʻili — split bamboo sticks
  • Kālaʻau — rhythm sticks

The dog’s-tooth anklets worn by male dancers can be considered instruments, as they underlined the sounds of stamping feet.


Hula dancers: in traditional kahiko costume

`Uli `Uli

14 11 2015

The `uli uli are gourd rattles used as hula implements. They can be used singly or in pairs, by all genders, from the most playful `auana to the fiercest kahiko dances.

Small gourds often from the la`amea tree are hollowed out and filled with ali`i poe seeds and topped off with colorful traditional feather-work.

Greetings for Various Holidays in Hawaiian

10 11 2015

Happy Birthday ~ Hau`oli la Hanau (pronounced how-oh-lay la ha-now)
Happy Sweet 16 ~ Hau`oli Momona ‘Umi Kumaono (pronounced how-oh-lay mo-mo-na oo-me ku-ma-o-no)
Happy Anniversary ~ Hau`oli la Ho’omana’o (pronounced how-oh-lay la ho-o-ma-na-o)
Happy Retirement ~ Hau`oli la Ho’omaha loa (pronounced how-oh-lay la ho-o-ma-ha low-a)
Happy New Year ~ Hau’oli Makahiki Hou (pronounced how-oh-lay ma-ka-hee-key ho)
Happy Thanksgiving ~ Hau’oli La Ho’omakika’i (pronounced how-oh-lay la ho-o-ma-key-kah-ee)
Happy Holidays ~ Hau’oli Lanui (pronounced how-oh-lay la-new-ee)
Merry Christmas ~ Mele Kalikimaka (pronounced may-lay ka-lee-key-ma-ka)
Happy Hanukkah ~ Hau’oli Hanukaha (pronounced how-oh-lay ha-new-ka-ha)
Happy Kwanzaa ~ Hau’oli Kawanaka (pronounced how-oh-lay ka-wa-na-ka)

Birds of Hawaii: `Apapane

4 11 2015

photograph by Peter LaTourrette

Hawaiian Birds

Because the islands are more than 2000 miles from North America or Asia there are some amazing birds in Hawaii. It has been said that the absence of predators and minimal competition allowed them to evolve in peace. It has been estimated that there were at one time are least seventy kinds of birds that were unique to Hawaii. Of these some forty percent are already lost to extinction and some thirty percent more that are considered endangered.

`Apapane (Himatione sanguinea) from the finch family, are considered a Hawaii Songbird. They have at least ten distinctive songs and six different calls. They foraging actively through tree tops of Ohia lehua, consuming the nectar from each flower as they pollinate them. The `Apapane will be aggressive with any bird that dares to drink from its flowers—even larger birds. They forage primarily in the upper canopy and only rarely feed from the ground. It also frequents flowering koa and mamane and has been observed feeding in pines and flowering eucalyptus. They also are known to snack on insects such as spiders and caterpillars.

5 inches. Both sexes look similar. The bodies are crimson red with a white abdomen and under tail coverts. The wings, tail, and legs are black. The bill is short, black, and slightly curved. Juveniles are similar to adults except are a grayish-brown color. Their wings produce a distinct whirring sound in flight.

Their nests are made from twigs, moss, ferns, rootlets, and lichens. They have 2-4 eggs that are white with reddish markings, there is a two week incubation period.

In early Polynesia, red feathers were most valued, as red was a sacred royal color. Feathers were plucked from the `Apapane birds and used in royal ‘ahu ‘ula-cloaks sometimes made from millions of the red and yellow feathers of small forest birds. They strode into battle wearing crested helmets, velvety with the scarlet feathers of the ‘i‘iwi and ‘apapane birds.

Some Favorite Big Island Places

20 10 2015

Like the name states, the Big Island is big. People come to the island of Hawaii and think they can see it all in a week, take my word for it you can’t possibly.

You can however see some highlights and explore the vast natural world and find places that are not overrun by people by getting  a tad off the beaten track. If you pack some decent walking shoes you can go many places and find yourself away from most tourists who go to the same spots and take the same photos.

Greenwell Farm’s Living History Display

Portuguese Sweet Bread hot from the wood fired oven Thursdays 10-1

Exploring the natural world of Hawaii is a highlight and part of that is visiting some of the sacred ancient sites too. These photos portray a few of my favorite places on the Big Island some of which long time island residents we know have yet to visit. Enjoy!

Mahukona a old sugar depot on the north shore

Ancient Heiau by Spencer Park

Aloha Greetings to Learn

15 10 2015

two palm trees

Aloha Au Ia ‘Oe
– I Love You
Aloha Aku No, Aloha Mai No – I give my love to you, you give your love to me
Aloha Kaua – May there be love between us (said to one person)
Aloha Kakou – May there be love between us (said to more than one person)
Aloha No Au Ia ‘Oe – I Truly Love You
Aloha Nui Loa – All my love
Aloha Pumehana – Aloha Au Ia ‘Oe ~ I Love You
Aloha Aku No, Aloha Mai No – I give my love to you, you give your love to me
Aloha Kaua – May there be love between us (said to one person)
Aloha Kakou – May there be love between us (said to more than one person)
Aloha No Au Ia ‘Oe – I Truly Love You
Aloha Nui Loa – All my love
Aloha Pumehana – Warm love, affection

Hawaiian Birds: Nene

10 10 2015
Photo by Alejandro Bárcenas

Photo by Alejandro Bárcenas

The Nene is the state bird of Hawaii and is also known as the Hawaiian Goose. They are 22-26″ a medium sized goose with a buffy neck with dark furrows. Heavily barred gray-brown above, lighter below (see photo).

Its strong toes are padded and have reduced webbing, an adaptation that allows it to swiftly traverse rough terrain such as lava. Black billed it breeds from November to June. Females incubate the 2-5 eggs for 29 to 32 days.

An herbivore they feed on plants native and introduced.

Nesochen sandivicensis

Nesochen sandivicensis


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