According David Malo, “The Makahiki was a time when men, women and chiefs rested and abstained from all work, either on the farm or elsewhere. It was a time of entire freedom from labor, and the people did not engage in the usual religious observances during this time, nor did the chiefs; their worship consisted in making offerings of food. The king himself abstained from work on the Makahiki days.” During the season of Kau (approximately March through September), the people worshipped, but then rested during the months of Makahiki, from October through February. In the Makahiki season of Hoʻoilo, rituals were dedicated to the akua Lono and were much milder and comfortable than those conducted at the time of Kū. Lono was the benefactor of agriculture, atmospheric and weather phenomena. Thus, dark coulds, heavy rain, thunder and lightening, earthquakes, wind and whirlwinds, funnel clouds, waterspouts, and most cumulonimbus clouds, known as ao puaʻa, were evidence that indeed, the time of Hoʻoilo and Makahiki was here. Lono was also the akua connected to the medicinal arts of healing or laʻau lapaʻau.
The Makahiki festival, in honor of Lonomakua (the Makahiki god), commenced with the first rising of the constellation of the Pleiades or Makaliʻi, over the horizon at sunset. ʻAuhau or tribute for Lonomakua, the Makahiki god, was made up of things such as, “Feathers of the ʻōʻō, mamo, and ʻiʻiwi birds, puaʻa or pigs, kapa, and bundles of pounded kalo or paʻiʻai, to serve as food for those who carried Lonomakua. When enough ʻauhau had been collected from the ʻāina to satisfy the demands of the tax collector, the kahuna who accompanied the idol came forward and uttered a prayer to set the land free. This prayer was called a pule hainaki.”
Lonomakua continued to make a circuit around the island. Upon the return of the Makahiki idol, the aliʻi sailed forth in a canoe accompanied by his retinue of warriors, to meet the Makahiki god on his return from his tour, a ceremony which was called Kaliʻi. When the aliʻi came to where the Makahiki god was, there was a large body of warriors with spears in their hands drawn up at the landing as if to oppose him. The king was accompanied by one of his own men who were experts in warding off spears. This man went forward in advance of the king. And as the king jumped ashore, one of the men forming the company about the Makahiki god came on the run to meet him, holding in his hands two spears bound at their points with white clothe called ʻoloa. One of these he hurled at the king and it was warded off by the warrior who went in advance. The second spear was not thrown; the man merely touched the king with it.
The work of closing the Makahiki began with the dismantling of the Makahiki idols which signaled the return of Kū. After the idols were put away in the luakini, the kahuna closed the services of the day with prayer. It was then that the Maoloha ceremony was initiated. A net with large meshes was then made which, being lifted by four men supporting it at the four corners, was filled with all kinds of food such as taro, potatoes, breadfruit, bananas, coconuts, and pork, after which the kahuna stood forth to pray. When the kahuna uttered the word hapai (lift) in his prayer, the four men lifted the net and shook it back and forth to make the food drop through the meshes, such being the purpose of the ceremony. This was called the net of Maoloha. If the food did not drop from the net, the kahuna declared there would be famine in the land; but if it all fell out, he predicted that the season would be fruitful.
Today, Makahiki ceremonies are conducted throughout the Hawaiian Islands honoring Lono with the sharing of food and music, the making and teaching of arts and crafts, poi or kalo ponding, and the interactive sporting competition of the Makahiki games. Some of these games are Kōnane, a two-person strategy game similar to the game of checkers. Ulu Maika, where a disc-shaped stone is thrown between two stakes. Moa Paheʻe, a dart sliding game similar to Ulu Maika. Haka Moa or standing chicken fight, where two players hold their left leg with their left arm and try to grasp their opponentʻs right arm and wrestle them to the ground is a favorite, but perhaps most challenging is the Ōʻō Ihe, where spears or javelins are thrown at a target, usually a banana stump, by the contestant. Many of these Makahiki games take skill and practice, but both those who are experienced and those new to Makahiki games, enjoy the event having eaten good food, listened to awesome local music, and the opportunity to practice their own skills at the Makahiki games while participating in an educational cultural event. As we say at this time of the year, Lonoikamakahiki!
 David Malo, Hawaiian Antiquities. Honolulu: Bernice P. Bishop Museum, 1992, page 141.
 Ibid., 331.
Donna (Donnie) Ann Kameha’ikū Camvel comes from the ʻili of ʻIolekaʻa in the Heʻe'ia Ahupuaʻa. She is a lineal descendant of the Līhuʻe, Kahanu, Pāoa, Kea, Lono ʻOhana, who have held original title to their kuleana lands since 1839 in Heʻeʻia. She recently completed her dissertation research on the restoration efforts now taking place in the Heʻeʻia fishpond, Heʻeʻia Uli (the Heʻeʻia wetland), and the family kuleana at ʻIolekaʻa, and received her doctoral degree in May of 2020 for her work.
Donna was one of the original founders of the Ahupuaʻa Restoration Council of Heʻeʻia (ARCH), a grassroots community organization formed to build capacity in the Heʻeʻia community in the restoration of the Heʻeʻia ahupuaʻa in 1998. She has spent the last twenty-five years working in the Heʻeʻia community, managing the familyʻs two and a half acre kuleana, teaching Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaʻi at Manoa and currently at Windward Community College. She is looking forward to effecting present and future collaborative efforts and partnerships in the continuing mission of restoring ʻāina and its waters from mauka to makai in the Koʻolaupoko moku.
We are so excited to have her onboard and helping to shape the future of our organization. Donnie can be reached directly at email@example.com.
The new school year has begun, vastly different from what many of Hawai`i’s families were hoping or expecting. The question I now ask is how can we engage children in the joy of learning and encourage them to engage with their community of peers within their local environment, understanding that they a part of a larger global ecosystem.
Hawai`i is fortunate to have so many organizations committed to the protection and stewardship of our beautiful islands. Non-profit organizations, such as Hui o Ko`olaupoko (HOK), have begun to play a larger and more instrumental role in our school systems by providing opportunities to learn about Hawai`i’s rich natural and cultural history, while acting as stewards of our beautiful ‘āina.
HOK has hosted over 600 educational field opportunities in Ko’olaupoko for hands-on experience learning about water quality and ahupua’a health. HOK has lead school field trips/service days at He’eia Estuary and Kaha Garden. We coordinate workdays that allow student volunteers to participate in local environmental cleanups and/or native plant vegetation. These workdays educate students and volunteers about the mission of HOK, the purpose of the specific restoration project, and actions individuals can take to have a positive effect on improving ahupua’a health.
During these unforeseen circumstances of Covid-19, we have been unable to host these school service days, but HOK is committed to continuing to create connections between windward school students and their ‘āina. Teachers and community organizations continue to collaborate in the best interest of the development and growth of our students and improvement of the communities that surround us.
Over the next year, HOK will be working to improve the watershed learning experience for students by developing and improving our place-based and cultural environmental education materials to complement our field trip and restoration activities at Kaha Park. If you are a teacher or school that is interested in collaborating with us in this endeavor, please reach out so that we can begin this new journey together.
As this new school year begins, I hope that you continue to engage in your community, first in researching and exploring the beautiful spaces that surround us in our everyday life. Explore community issues and organizations that are committed to working towards sustainable solutions to these issues. Finally, reach out and become involved in projects that work towards a stronger community and healthier environment for each one of us.
The mission of Hui o Ko`olaupoko is to protect ocean health by restoring the `aina: mauka to makai. This is done in partnership with stakeholders including interested citizens, non-governmental organizations, government, educational institutions and businesses while using and focusing on sound ecological principles, community input, and cultural heritage.