Hawaiian Sea Turtles

26 01 2016

 

Sea turtles are air-breathing marine reptiles that are said to have been around for well over 100 million years.

There are three species of sea turtles native to the Hawaiian Islands:

the Green, the Hawksbill (called in Hawaiian as ea or honu’ea), and the Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea). The most commonly seen is the Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) known in Hawaiian as honu.

These animals have long been revered in Hawaiian culture representing strength, protection, wisdom, creation, and longevity. Turtles are features prominently in petroglyphs, in the fourth verse of the Kumulipo the Hawaiian creation chant, and ancient stories they often appear as helpers and demigods.

The Greeen Turtle can weigh up to 400 pounds when fully mature and primarily eat algae or limu, a Hawaiian seaweed.

They are gentle reptiles who live most of their lives in the ocean. They reach sexual maturity after 30-35 years and only then make the vast migration to the French Frigate Sholes to mate, nest, and lay their eggs. Satellite tracking data indicates that they can swim hundreds if not thousands of miles. Males accompany the females on these long journeys and mate with them offshore from the nesting beaches. They nest only at night and spend a lot of time to find the perfect nesting site. The sticky tears they shed while on land prevents their eyes from getting covered with sand and help to remove the excess salt from their bodies.

The female deposit up to 100 eggs, in the nest, and then covers them with sand and returns to the water leaving the eggs to incubate for two month’s time. Once hatched these tiny turtles weighing only one ounce take several days to immerge from the sand laden nests. Young Green Turtles are thought to be temporarily carnivorous feeding on the passing invertebrates. After departing the nests they begin a five to ten year journey back to the islands often called “the lost years” because little is known about this phase of their life cycle.

The life span of sea turtles is generally thought to be unknown. They grow slowly and are long lived. Adult sea turtles have two main predators: sharks and people. Tiger Sharks regularly feed on sea turtles of all size.

Male and female turtles look alike until they mature and the males develop a long tail that extends beyond the back flippers, while the female tail extends only to the end of her shell.

Green Turtles were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1978 and it is illegal to harass, harm or harvest sea turtles. Swimmers must keep their distance and respect these revered and ancient Hawaiian residents.






The Hawaiian Language: Hae

10 01 2016

Hae is the Hawaiian word for flag.

Ku’u hae aloha= my beloved flag

Keep the Hawaiian Language alive by teaching some one you love this word. Stop today to talk to a child about the beauty of the Hawaiian language.





Hawaiian State Flag

28 12 2015

commissioned by King Kamehameha I in 1816

The canton of the flag of Hawaii contains the Union Flag of the United Kingdom, prominent over the top quarter closest to the flag mast. The field of the flag is composed of eight horizontal stripes symbolizing the eight major islands (Hawaiʻi, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Lānaʻi, Maui, Molokaʻi and Niʻihau). A ninth stripe was once included representing the island of Nihoa. The color of the stripes, from the top down, follows the sequence: white, red, blue, white, red, blue, white, red. The colors were standardized in 1843, although other combinations have been seen and are occasionally still used.

Source: Wikipedia





Ancient Hawaiian Villages

20 12 2015

A traditional village of ancient Hawaiʻi included several structures. Listed in order of importance:

Heiau, temple to the gods, built on high-rising stone terraces. Sometimes adorned with wood and stone carved idols. A source of great mana or divine power, the heiau was restricted to aliʻi, the king and kahuna.

Kealakekua Bay Heiau

Hale aliʻi, the house of the chief. It was used as a residence for the high chief and meeting house of the lesser chiefs. It was always built on a raised stone foundation to represent high social standing. Kahili, or feather standards, were placed outside to signify royalty. Women and children were banned from entering.

Hale pahu, the house of the sacred hula instruments. It held the pahu drums. It was treated as a religious space as hula was a religious activity in honor of the goddess Laka.

Hale papaʻa, the house of royal storage. It was built to store royal implements including fabrics, prized nets and lines, clubs, spears and other weapons.

Hale ulana, the house of the weaver. It was the house where craftswomen would gather each day to manufacture the village baskets, fans, mats and other implements from dried pandanus leaves called lauhala.

Hale mua, the men’s eating house. It was considered a sacred place because it was used to carve stone idols of ʻaumakua or ancestral gods. Men and women could not eat with each other for fear that men were vulnerable while eating to have their mana, or divine spirit, stolen by women. Women ate at their own separate eating house called the hale ʻaina.

Hale waʻa, the house of the canoe. It was built along the beaches as a shelter for their fishing vessels. Hawaiians also stored koa or mahogany logs used to craft the canoes.

Hale lawaiʻa, the house of fishing. It was built along the beaches as a shelter for their fishing nets and lines. Nets and lines were made by a tough rope fashioned from woven coconut husks. Fish hooks were made of human, pig or dog bone. Implements found in the hale lawaiʻa were some of the most prized possessions of the entire village.

Hale noho, the living house. It was built as sleeping and living quarters for the Hawaiian family unit.

Imu, the communal earth oven. Dug in the ground, it was used to cook the entire village’s food including puaʻa or pork. Only men cooked using the imu.





To Whisper: the Hawaiian Language

10 12 2015

IMG_2299

Hāwanawana is the Hawaiian word meaning to whisper, or whispering.

Sometimes the wind blows and other times it is Hāwanawana.

Keep the Hawaiian Language alive by teaching some one you love this word. Stop today to talk to a child about the beauty of the Hawaiian language.





Learning Hawaiian Words: Ipu

1 12 2015

 

IPU

A gourd, an all purpose container used for food and water, or as a hula implement.





Hula

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.

HULA CIRCA 1908

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 DANCERS CIRCA 1890s

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.

HULA DANCERS CIRCA 1906

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 CIRCA 1930

Hula dancers: in traditional kahiko costume