Ahupuaʻa Boundary Marker Installation Begins

The first ahupua’a boundary marker, marking the border of the ahupuaʻa of Hōnaunau and Keʻei Nui, was installed!

The hand-carved posts were a labor of love for Hōnaunau community member Lolana Medeiros. Mahalo to Hawaiian Rockscaping and Keōua volunteers for building the ahu and installing the markers.



Celebration in Hōnaunau: South Kona Cultural Center Restored

West Hawaii Today, August 5, 2017

On July 30, more than 150 people gathered at Hōnaunau Bay for a traditional Hawaiian blessing of the newly restored Hale o Ho’oponopono. The attendees included many community volunteers who had worked on the building project, community members from the surrounding area and numerous kupuna who had been connected with the hale in the early days of its history.

The rebuilding of this significant South Kona cultural site was sponsored by the Keoua Hōnaunau Canoe Club and funded with a grant from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA). In addition to perpetuating the ancient art and culture of Hawaiian outrigger canoe paddling as traditionally practiced on historic Honaunau Bay, the canoe club seeks to promote awareness of Hawaiian culture and its preservation and perpetuation.Their youth program seeks especially to assure that the cultural knowledge is passed on to those who will preserve it for the future.

The Hale o Ho’oponopono, which translates to “house of making things right, bringing things into balance, healing” was constructed in the mid-1970s as part of the creation of a school of the same name.

The school had been established to fill the need of many Hawaiian children who had a difficult time relating to the education process as presented by the local public schools.

The students went fishing and opihi, or Hawaiian limpet, picking and were taught canoe maintenance, paddling and stewardship principles, along with a Hawaiian language curriculum.

The school’s traditional hale halawai, built by school staff and students, served as the center for many of these activities, which had a significant positive impact on the lives of many young Hawaiians coming of age in the 1970s.

 The building project has been a long time coming, noted Rafael Ramirez, a member of Keōua Hōnaunau Canoe Club for 42 years and its current president and head coach. The school at Hōnaunau Bay closed in 1995 and the hale gradually fell into disrepair. The concept of rebuilding the hale had been discussed at the canoe club for more than 20 years, and when a grant application written by a club member was approved by ANA in 2015, the long-awaited project could finally begin.
The process of rebuilding the hale was accomplished over a two-year period with a small core team of experienced and new hale builder haumana — interns — assisted by a cadre of community volunteers who participated in the seven hale building workshops that took place over the course of the project.

The hale building process was led by one of the most experienced practitioners in the state, master hale builder Walter Wong. Uncle Waltah, as he is known, orchestrated the project from start to finish, which was built according to Hawaii County’s building code for traditional and indigenous structures.

Puna Kihoi, who officiated the hale blessing, was a teacher at Hale o Hooponopono in the 1980s. One of the hale builder haumana, Randal Kahele, was one of her students at the school and their reunion at the blessing ceremony was an emotional reconnection for both.

The hale will be used for educational and ceremonial purposes and will serve to strengthen the cultural landscape of Hōnaunau Bay ­— a visible, enduring reminder of the significant and sacred nature of this place.

ʻOki Ka Piko

Please enjoy these photos from our blessing ceremony – ʻOki Ka Piko – honoring the completion of the restoration of the Hale O Hoʻoponopono.

The officiant of the event was Puna Kihoi, who is also a long-time member of Keōua Hōnaunau Canoe Club.








West Hawaii Today Joins Us for Final Workshop

Community restores hale for learning at Honaunau

By Tiffany DeMasters, West Hawaii Today

HONAUNAU —Walter Wong stood in front of the calm waters at Honaunau early Saturday morning, with a small gathering of people encircled behind him, to offer a prayer.

As alakai or leader of a hale construction at Honaunau Bay, Wong said, the prayer is given, “so our mana is pono to make our hale.”

Keoua Honaunau Canoe Club has hosted hale building workshops for the past few months as the group works to restore a structure across from the boat launch originally built as the school, Hale o Hooponopono, in the early 1970s.

Saturday was the final day in the workshop series. Volunteers thatched lolu leaves to ohia logs by ground as well as perched in the scaffolding.

Built with donated ohia, the hale is 20 by 40 feet. The original building was 20 by 36 feet.

With the assistance of Wong, member of Halau Hale Kuhikuhi, canoe club and community members have been able to restore the structure. School children have also donated time to its restoration.

“Watching it go up has been such a chicken skin experience,” said canoe club president and head coach Rafael Ramirez. “You get to see it take shape lash by lash – leaf by leaf.”

Ramirez said the hale is built traditionally with the exception of nylon cord and concrete to bring the structure up to fire code. Sprinkler heads have also been installed.

The hale, Ramirez added, is probably the most solid hale structure on the island.

“It’s very calming to work with your hands and put your mana into it,” Ramirez said.

Once completed, Ramirez said, it will be an educational center — a sacred spot for learning and ceremony.

Wong said the hale is a place that will share knowledge and to “teach right.”

“To make things pono with upbringing of children, be pono with the aina and have respect of land and culture,” Wong said.

Emely Wilson, 56, Honaunau resident, assisted with thatching on Saturday. Although she doesn’t paddle in the canoe club, she pays dues to the club and participates in events as a member of the community.

She said she wanted to be part of the restoration project because it’s in her community.

“We’ve built everything from the ground up,” Wilson said.

The Honaunau woman has been involved from the beginning. She has also spent time thatching on days not designated for workshop.

“I’m hoping it’s going to do what it’s supposed to do and keep kids out of trouble,” Wilson said.

Before the hale restoration started, Ramirez said, he knew it was a labor intensive project and would take more than just community donations.

The club applied for a grant with the Administration of Native Americans. They were turned down for three years until the group was awarded $350,000 in 2016. The money received will also go toward ahupuaa, or boundary markers in the community.

The hale should be complete in May with a dedication to be scheduled in June.

Iwikauikaua Joaquin teaches Patty Eames how to tie thatching at the Honaunau Canoe Hale Restoration on Saturday. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)


Uncle Walter Wong, right, shows Randall Kahele the correct way to attach palm fronds to the structure Saturday at the Honaunau Canoe Hale Restoration Project. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)


Uncle Walter Wong, right, shows Randall Kahele the correct way to attach palm fronds to the structure Saturday at the Honaunau Canoe Hale Restoration Project. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)


Jeff Reiner, along with other volunteers, lashes thatching for the Honaunau Canoe Hale Restoration project on Saturday. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

The Honaunau Canoe Hale restoration nears completion on Saturday. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

Kona Pacific Public Charter School in da Hale!

After our January lashing workshop, Uncle Waltah and our haumana, Lot, Randall, James, Paul, Iwikao, Jeff, and other volunteers worked on lashing the roof in preparation for our March 11th thatching workshop. The 5th & 7th grade classes from Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua also visited and learned basic lashing while helping to prepare and bundle the loulu leaves for thatching. Visiting artist Mark Andrew of Eugene, Oregon spent great part of his one-month vacation carving out an ‘Io, a Pue’o and ‘Auku’u (native Hawaiian birds of this area) from an ‘ohia log. His beautiful carving now graces the hale grounds.

Mahalo to all our volunteers for their enthusiasm and kokua!

Kona Pacific Public Charter School 7th grade students doing the project team for morning protocol at Kapuwai, adjacent to the project site.


Students observe visiting artist Mark Andrew

Kona Pacific 5th graders at morning protocol at Kapuwai.

5th graders bundling loulu palm for thatching