Maui’s Hālau Keʻalaokamaile will carry out a native tree reforestation project with the help of a grant from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA).
The halau, under the direction of Kealiʻi Reichel, was awarded a $240,697 two-year grant from the OHA to help restore native trees and propagate cultural practitioner crops on a six-acre parcel within the 258-acre Hōkū Nui Maui regenerative farm complex.
The six-acre native habitat is located around and in close proximity to the Hālau Keʻalaokamaile building site, for use by Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners and their students. The reforestation project is designed to restore native flora and fauna, enhance the watershed and perpetuate cultural practices at the site.
Hōkū Nui Maui LLC, which is located in the Pi`iholo area of Makawao, has donated 3.4 acres of land to build a permanent home for the hālau to engage the community in perpetuating Hawaiian traditional values through arts, dance, language and agricultural practices. The property will also include multipurpose classrooms and a resource library to collect Maui-specific chants, songs and valuable wind, rain and place names. Traditional knowledge from these sources will also be used to identify plants for the restoration project.
The Hewahewa ‘ohana—Koa, Kahaku, Kepa and Ka‘awa—will lead the restoration design and planting of the site. The Hewahewas–alongside Reichel–will develop protocol and cultural education content as an integral part of the planting and maintenance process. Hālau Keʻalaokamaile will facilitate the participation of six additional Native Hawaiian cultural groups in the reforestation and education project.
Hōkū Nui Maui is creating an approximate 30-acre Native Habitat Corridor and this partnership with Hālau Keʻalaokamaile helps to create a template for future sustainable restoration and cultural education efforts at the site.
Photo courtesy Hālau Keʻalaokamaile