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Monday, October 13, 2008

Transcript of Nainoa Thompson's Mana'o shared at 'Ulumua Mahalo Pa'ina

Mahalo to Aunty Kaipo for Transcribing this critical instruction for our HLC 'Ohana

9/24/08 @ Hakipu'u / Kualoa

Aloha mai kakou,
It is a special day. You know it has been a couple of years getting us here. Where ‘Ulumua is ready for the sea. Much of the design you see took a lot of work.
‘Ulumua’s design is different from all the others. ‘Ulumua took a lot of thought. ‘Ulumua is different from all the other canoes.
Look at her lines. Look at how deep she is. Look at the keel how she carries so long. There are reasons for that. I will speak to that later. But in the process it began with a conversation one day with Mitch Doliet from Castle saying he wants to do something for the children of the Windward Side. He said: “Why don’t you build a sailing canoe.” My thoughts was well we will get those two canoes out of the mold over there and put a sail on top of it. It is the cheap thing to do. He said no “I want something unique. I want it distinctive. I want it different. And so we came up with this particular design. And it took my guess the people at the Marine Education Center 2,000 man hours to construct this. Not a simple thing to do. They built a mold so they could pull out these first two hulls. If this works, If this strategy works if the canoe is relevant and meaningful to children we should make more so that it can spread throughout the whole state, maybe the Pacific. We don’t know. Today is the day that we find out because if it is not relevant to you, the design wasn’t correct. But they worked hard at METC. The question was o.k. when the canoe is pau where does it go. The question was who takes kuleana for the canoe. Who is it for?
There were many ideas and thoughts were it ought to go. Mokoli’i, Coconut Island, canoe clubs, YMCA. It was thoughtful debate. But it landed here on this land on this special place, the land of Kaha’i, the great navigator mahalo for thanking us. No need to thank us. When Hokule’a came here to be born. The Hokule’a is supposed to be here. The Polynesian Voyaging Society was the privileged one to have been allowed to be in these waters and the land of Kaha’i. Do you know that even Kamehameha the Great lowered his sails when he crossed this bay at respect for its mana? To have us guys who don’t know anything to come over hereto have Hokule’a come here and launch it for the first time it touches the sea. It’s our privilege. We give no one privilege. We received it all and now to do the same thing with 'Ulumua. It is of the same privilege. You want to know my mana’o? I will speak from my heart opposed to my head. Let me try to do that. I am kua’aina from the land of Maunalua Bay. You guys been to Hawaii Kai and to ‘Aina Haina. What do you see over there today? Chuck and Cheeses. You see houses over there? Where are the houses over there? All over. Where? From the valleys to the ocean. Everywhere. Do they fill our valleys? Do they fill our ridges? When I grew up the road that we called Lunalilo that filled out the shopping center called Hawaii Kai. Hawaii Kai is a new name it is not an old Hawaiian name. That was dirt road. That place we call Hawaii Kai Marina is an old Hawaiian fish pond was Hawaii Kai’s biggest fishpond. The most productive fish pond in the state. Have you been to Wailupe Circle? Have you been to Niuiki Circle? Those are filled in fish ponds so you could get more beach front properties. Because it is changing the value of a fish pond to residential and residential means money. Why do you think we made those choices? Are we not educated? Are we not intelligent? What happened forty years ago? Today, we are struggling to save two of the last tiny little fish ponds that are left. We have a meeting at 2 ‘o clock today. If the University doesn’t take the land, we lose it to an auction the last two of all of Maunalua Bay. In my humble opinion in negative poor choices in investment development changes everything. Some people came primarily from the outside to build and construct, they had a vision. That vision had nothing to do with out values. We had no part of it. It crushed us. Today, what we have is congestion, high cost of living, lots of land you cannot afford. In order to meet the demand we widen the roads, we displace kama’aina. We pollute the streams. We destroy our rain forests. When I drive through the Wilson tunnel. Even though I am from the island of O‘ahu. I come from a very different place coming down this side. This side has chance. This side has hope, this side has strength. This side has the story of the other side a place we didn’t stand up we didn’t know how. Maunalua Bay compared to what it was when I knew it has all changed because of values, because of how certain people felt about of the value of the land because of the bottom line of money. Nothing to do with culture, ecology, nothing to do with community, nothing to do with history; ran us over. ‘Ulumua needed to come to a place of vision because that place had no vision. ‘Ulumua needed to come to a place of vision that is sacred. ‘Ulumua needed to come to the home of Kaha’i. ‘Ulumua needed to come to a place where to those who received the canoe clearly didn’t say we own the canoe, but we have deep responsibility for it in those values of responsibility and kuleana. In the debate of who it should go to Polynesian Voyaging Society, Marine Education Training Center, Castle Foundation.
‘Ulumua, it is lucky it has the Hakipu’u ‘Ohana. It is lucky it has a powerful family like the Hoes parents of that family like Charlene and Calvin and powerful children that would make this more than we imagined. I was here when the Hokule’a was launched. It had the badminton courts and the volleyball courts. But they have changed all that. Now over here is a place when you step on the land, you step with respect and you step with care. The reason we designed ‘Ulumua with a very sharp hulls. It is very difficult to turn this canoe. But this canoe sails awesome to upwind like you(r) ancestors. The difference is that it will move with the wind and it will move with your paddle. When you go to upwind it removes the need to tow the canoe. It removes the need to put an artificial engine on it. When it moves to upwind it is hard. Sailing (to) upwind is hard. ‘Ulumua is designed for (in) the hard times when you are challenged the most, when you are taken down to your core which is your values, when you are taken down to the bone of your physical endurance. It is in there when you grow. You don’t grow when it is easy. You grow when it is hard. We made this canoe hard to sail. You will sail in the old way when it is hard to paddle. Hawaiians are extraordinary. Two great things that are very identifiable is the fact that Hawaiians is that they were the greatest explorers on the earth. Hawaii is the most isolated place on the planet and therefore for many reasons the most special place on the planet. But they were the very first persons to find it 1400 years before Columbus was born and yet we don’t celebrate that globally. How come? There greatest explorers. When Captain Cook arrived the guess the median [of population] was guess 800,000 Hawaiians were here. They were strong. He wrote in his journals take some research. Read his journals about all the places he had been on earth Hawaiians were the greatest stewards of water. They had the best practice tenure of the land. And to me when you start talking about that back then there were 800,000 and nothing was brought in. They learned to live from the land and live from the sea. All three needed to be healthy for mankind to be healthy. Today, just a note that 95% of what we consume in Hawaii is brought in. You have four days of food. How come we are in this situation? My guess is how we educate ourselves. That the national agenda of education is to industrialize fundamentally we have done a great job at that but we have damaged the planet. So many ways, so my ‘olelo is confused but I am not confused in my thoughts. Ulumua is about leadership and education that canoe needs to bridge you to the land and to the sea. We need to resurrect new education. We need to redefine what is the educated child in the 21 Century. What does it mean to be intelligent if we cannot find a healthy, safe and secure future for children. Children then I don’t think we are. This canoe being here with this family and this ‘ohana and this sacred land because there isn’t. Can you tell me where there would be a better place. There isn’t. So us guys on the South side of Oahu failed to stand up so we honor you for you guys standing up when we did not. If you just think about friends defining your future. If that’s going to be important on this side it is over. I don’t think it will because you are too educated to intelligent, you have too much strength. The whole redefinition of education needs to be about values. The difference of the national agenda of education of Hawaii does take into account that Hawaii is special that it is different. It is not like Montana, Wyoming, or Pennsylvania. It’s Hawaii. Education you learn here is about taking care and protecting defining what is special. What happens when it is all gone? Want to know? Come to Hawaii Kai. That fishpond that served so many that maintained sustainability is now a private marina for the few who can buy land there. Is that right? ‘Ulumua is designed to be hard. ‘Ulumua is designed to challenge you. My belief in the challenges you grow and in the challenges you grow strong. And so that, my great dream is that ‘Ulumua becomes a tool and a platform to carry you into places that would connect you to new education to new values that protect Hawaii. In other words, ‘Ulumua in my great dream is a platform nurture new leadership where we weren’t there. Does that make sense? I cannot think of a better school. I cannot think of better teachers than here. I am just extraordinarily happy that we got here. It took a lot of time to get here. But it is a new day a new beginning. Ultimately It is getting to what Mitch wanted it to be where children on the Windward side. And having said that . . .


E 'Ulumua Kakou!
Let us find our way forward together!
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