Honoring Pacific island cultures
Puukohala National Historic Site holds annual festival
By CHELSEA JENSEN
Cultural demonstrations, hands-on crafts, games, music and an array of displays drew scores of Big Islanders and visitors alike Friday to Puukohola National Historic Site for Pacific Islander Heritage Day.
Young and old spent the day immersing themselves in various Pacific island cultures, learning the traditions of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Hawaii and other regions. From basket weaving and lauhala bracelet making to marmar lei making and cloth printing, the event featured an array of activities that kept attendees busy.
Ning Lin of Kansas attended the event with her family after hearing about it just days before while visiting Puukohala National Historic Site in Kawaihae.
“It’s really a good event, especially getting up close with the locals who know the culture,” she said after making a ti leaf lei. “The cultures here I really admire.”
The free event, described by Puukohala Park Superintendent Daniel Kawaiaea as a “mini cultural festival,” strives to honor and provide a means for the public to learn about all of the cultures throughout the Pacific. The festival has been held for more than 20 years, growing each year.
“We want them to have a respect for all cultures and learn about the contributions that all of different cultures provide to make Hawaii, Hawaii,” Kawaiaea said. “This event allows us to recognize, appreciate and respect all the contributions of the Pacific Islands and Hawaii.”
The event also coincides with national Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, which celebrates Asians and Pacific islanders in the United States each May.
The event was sponsored by the Hawaii Pacific Parks Association, Micronesians United-Big Island, the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s Pacific Islander Student Center, the Royal Order of Kamehameha-Kohala Chapter and the Waimea Hawaiian Civic Club.
Email Chelsea Jensen at email@example.com.