Caring for Kalo Teaches Hawaiian Values

Ka Papa Loi o Kanewai is more than just a taro patch. It’s a piko (center) for Hawaiian teaching and learning.  

You’d never know Kanewai is tucked away on University of Hawaii at Manoa’s campus. But just off busy Dole Street, you’ll find this traditional auwai (water system) for growing kalo (taro), a traditional Hawaiian food staple.

Over the years, the land was converted for other farming uses. Then in the early 1980s, UH students discovered remnants of a loi (taro patch) and created a movement to restore the land to its original use.

Kalo is an important part of Hawaiian history and culture. Ed “Makahiapo” Cashman, Jr., Kanewai’s director, says the loi teaches three important Hawaiian values:

  • Malama aina – take care of the land, which will feed and nurture you to make you healthy so you can help others.
  • Laulima – many hands working together to care for the land and each other.
  • Puu honua – a safe place where people can learn and practice Hawaiian culture.

“We hope visitors to this place will take the values and lessons they learn here to help others in their communities,” says Cashman.

Learn more about Kanewai in the video below:

Kanewai hosts volunteer workday projects with students and community groups every Saturday of the month. Blue Zones Project Manoa Makiki McCully Moiliili held a recent community event at Kanewai.

For more information about Kanewai and how you can get involved, visit the Kanewai website.

Photos courtesy of Blue Zones Project