During a recent restoration access with volunteers of Ka Pā Hula O Ka Lei Lehua, we rose at 4:30 AM to make way for the summit of Pu‘u Moa‘ulanui. Led by Kumu Hula Snowbird Puananiopaoakalani Bento, the group greeted the sun rising over Haleakalā with a chant learned throughout the week, bringing with it a much needed rain.
“After our chant, I invited the young ones to sit by me and talk story for a while,” remarks Snowbird, “As I reflected on the week that I spent on Kaho‘olawe, I thought of my haumana, Kui, who stood at this very spot with me just a few mornings prior with his wahine and keiki. I spoke to the youth about the idea of legacy. Kui had lost his father earlier in the year, who instilled in him his love of Kaho‘olawe. Now here he was, standing at Moa‘ulanui, sharing that legacy with his own children. When children see what we have passion for – when we can really show them – we ingrain responsibility. This is the best way to teach a child.
“It was at this moment that I realized that I was teaching the future teachers of our people. I always say ‘there’s no crying in hula’ but at that moment, I could not help myself. This was my a-ha moment.”