Learning Journey: Miloli‘i, Moku o Keawe
- Posted on 29 Jul 2013
- In Stories of Place
(Shari Jumalon, July 23, 2013). On the morning of July 22, 2013 we arrived in the South Kona fishing village of Miloli’i.
Often esteemed as one of the last Hawaiian fishing village, Miloli’i residents pride themselves in upholding their traditional fishing practices. We were greeted by the families that reside in the area with a warm welcome.
Miloli’I is known for their annual Lawai’a ‘Ohana Camp, where participating keiki are taught traditional Hawaiian fishing methods within the three days. Some of the techniques taught are: Hawaiian ‘Opelu fishing (with net); Night Fishing for ‘Aweoweo, Ka-ka- fishing for ‘Opakapaka; Ka’ili fishing for Moana (casting); ‘Upena Ho’olei (throw net); and building imu (stacking rocks in shallow water to catch Manini when they hide in the rocks).
According to Walter Kahiwa Jr, a retired teacher, “The main goal of the Lawai’a Camp is to revive the fishing traditions. Since the death of several influential Kupuna (Walter Paulo & Eddie Ka’anana) there has been a decline in the fishing lifestyle.” Both men were noted experts in Hawaiian fishing methods, particularly ‘Opelu fishing.
Since these important techniques were quickly becoming endangered, the community took quick action and created the Miloli’i Community Hui. With the assistance of Kua o ka La Public Charter School, Hipu’u o Miloli’I Charter School has successfully completed its first school year. The school utilizes various teaching approaches like blended online instructional curriculum and face to face meetings and community based projects, along with Hawaiian language & cultural connection.
Each student is issued a tablet with academic software where approximately 50% of the math, science, history, and language art/English lessons are delivered online. There is no tuition but internet access is required for students to complete their assignments.
Through this community effort, the Miloli’i community is working towards restoring the fishing ko’a to previous productivity level. “Back in the days every family would care for a fishing ko’a. When we used to go (fish for ‘Opelu) the canoes used to be filled to the top, we had to jump in the water to make room,” according to Kahiwa. Through the Lawai’a Camps and the new charter school, “We are relearning to Malama the fishing ko’a and taking only what we need so the fishing ko’a can thrive again,” Kahiwa.
Every night during the week-long stay we shared various videos about voyaging, starting with “Papa Mau: The Wayfinder”.
While in Miloli’i we were visited by numerous people especially the keiki of Miloli’i. Many of them visited everyday and the kids even joined the crew on the 3 hour sail to Ho’okena.