Located just steps away from Leeward Community College is Kuhiawaho, a lo’i talo (taro patch.) Using their resources, including a carefully calibrated irrigation system, Ron Fitzgerald, a teacher at Wai’anae High School, and his wife, Sammie A’i, a counselor at Ke Kula O Samuel M. Kamakau Hawaiian language immersion school, have created an oasis right here in Puʻuloa. What started out as a brush-covered parcel has become a two-acre working farm that hosts school groups and others from around the island. A place to reconnect with the ‘āina and to find peace in working the land, Kuhiawaho offers a Hawaiian sense of place right in our own backyard.
Besides being a local food source, a loʻi is an oasis of Hawaiian culture and connection to the land. Like rice in Asia or corn in the Americas, kalo has been a staple throughout Polynesia for thousands of years. To Native Hawaiians, kalo is our elder brother, and this kinship remains today.
We invite you to watch this video with Ron at Kuhiawaho. Shot on a very windy day by Mauna Burgess and Dariq Williams, Ron explains how the loʻi came to be and what he and Sammie hope to offer the community. To continue our focus on Kuhiawaho, next Monday, Pūpū A ʻO ʻEwa will share a photo gallery of Kuhiawaho by Kumu ʻIokepa Badis.
Meet the videographers: Mauna Burgess and Dariq Murray
Credit: Feature photo courtesy of ʻIokepa Badis