Waimea Valley celebrates Makahiki

Waimea Valley celebrates Makahiki, Hawaii’s traditional peace and planting time.

Makahiki, a four-month season of peace, harvest and games in ancient Hawaii is remembered and celebrated each year at Waimea Valley.   The event is held over a two-day period and is filled with physical, spiritual and artistic Hawaiian cultural activities.  This year Makahiki will be celebrated on Saturday, October 12 and Sunday, October 13 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The event will feature a series of Hawaiian game demonstrations at Ka ‘ili ‘ili uka, the Valley’s Upper Meadow where guests of all ages will be able to participate and compete.  The traditional Hawaiian games include: ‘Ulu maika (disc throwing) Moa pahe ‘e (dart sliding), Kōnane (a checkers like game), ‘Ō‘ō ihe (spear throwing), Pa Uma (hand wrestling), Kulakula ‘i (chest pushing), Kukini (foot racing) and Hukihuki (tug of war).

A new Hōlua (sled), created by Tom Pohaku Stone and a sled run will be used on the meadow hillside to demonstrate the fast and unusual sport.    The use of the Hōlua requires upper body strength and a keen sense of balance.  In Ka Wā Kahiko (olden times) the Ali’i challenged one another on Hōlua slides that were bordered by jagged lava fields to demonstrate their bravery and their right to lead.  Sometimes the competitions ended in disaster with one or another chief ending up in the lava fields rather than at the finish line.

During the Makahiki season, spears were turned pointing downward in the hale or wrapped in kapa cloth to signify a time of peace and rejuvenation.  It was kapu or forbidden to create or engage in war.  However, mock battles and physical competition were encouraged to sharpen the fighting skills of young warriors.

To build a sense of community and good sportsmanship amongst the youth, Waimea Valley has invited several Central Oahu and North Shore schools to engage in friendly rivalry and competition all the while developing skills required in Hawaiian traditional gamesmanship.  Hawaii companies are also being called to take up the challenge of friendly competition by calling on their corporate rivals to participate in the Makahiki games.  Cash prizes will be will be awarded.  Registration deadline is Monday, October 7.

Several Hālau Hula and a Pā Lua (Hawaiian school of martial arts) will perform throughout the two-day event presenting Kahiko Hula.  The Hula and Lua practitioners to date include:  Ke Kai o Kahiki – Kumu Hula La’akea Perry; Hālau Hula Makana a Ke Aloha – Kumu Hula La’ai Felix; Na Makahonuakapiliwale – Kumu Hula Momi Cruz and Pā Ku ‘i a Holo (Hawaiian martial arts group) – Dr. Eli Mitchell.

There will also be Mo’olelo (storytelling) by elders sharing their memories of Waimea Valley and the history of the North Shore.  The event will also feature lomilomi (massage arts) specialists, native plants sales, feather lei makers, pohaku shapers, kapa makers, Hawaiian weapons artisan and artful jewelers. Also, delicious Island food and cold drinks will be available for purchase at the meadow site.

The word Makahiki means “year”.  It may also be a contraction of the word   Makali ‘i hiki or the “rising of the Pleiades”.  The season which runs for four consecutive lunar months from October or November through February or March is dedicated to Lono, the god of harvest, fertility and prosperity.  There is a heiau dedicated to Lono on Waimea Valley’s north valley wall.

In the spirit of the Makahiki season and the custom of sharing the abundance of the ‘āina, Waimea Valley would like to request that each family brings a canned good or a non-perishable food item which will be donated to the North Shore Food Bank.  Reduced admission to the event is being offered to Residents and Military personnel: $5 per person and $10 for a group up to 10 people.  Identification required.

Hi ‘ipaka LLC, dba Waimea Valley is a 501© (3) non-profit organization.  Its mission is to preserve and perpetuate the human, cultural and natural resources of Waimea for generations through education and stewardship. Makahiki 2013 at Waimea Valley is proudly sponsored by Bank of Hawaii.  For more information call (808) 638-7766 or visit our website at www.waimeavalley.net.


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