Kani Ka Pila Challenge Takes Hawaiʻi by Storm

Aug 27, 2018

The #EKaniKaPilaKakou Challenge was posed to Hawai'i residents holed up in their homes awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Lane. The social media challenge called on everyone to sing a song honoring their hometown or current residence and upload it to social media.
Credit Ku'uwehi Hiraishi

Parts of the state are still recovering from Hurricane Lane, which is now a tropical storm. Hawai‘i residents spent several days holed up in their homes anticipating the hurricane’s arrival. As HPR’s Ku‘uwehi Hiraishi reports, some residents found a creative way to wait out the storm.

There’s nothing like an impromptu jam session or kanikapila as we like to say here in Hawai’i to help everyone pass the time. As the state waited for Hurricane Lane to make landfall, residents from across the island chain uploaded videos to social media in what’s being dubbed the Kani Ka Pila Challenge.

Singer and Songwriter Ānuenue Pūnua posed the challenge on her Facebook page.

“Honestly, there was nothing to do at home after we cooked and cleaned. I got my ukulele, called my daughter, and said let’s go,” says Pūnua.

She challenged everyone to sing a song of their birthplace and upload it to social media.

PŪNUA: Ok, so to fight the boredom, weʻre going to play a song. Weʻre going to do Kāneʻohe....”ʻŌlapa ka ʻuila i Kāneʻohe, ka hui lau lima Hiʻilaniwai...”

The response she got was overwhelming. Families, children, professional singers and amateurs all joined in the fun.

“I think it inspired people to bring whatever they had you know,” says Pūnua.

“There were a lot of keiki. I think I really liked that,” says Pūnua, “There were a lot of keiki who shared a song that they knew and or they wanted to do it. They kind of pushed their parents to do it.”

Pūnua says even though it took something like an impending hurricane to force everyone to stop and share music with family and friends, she hopes the Kani Ka Pila Challenge played a small role in bringing music back into our homes.