Aloha Aina

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  • Hosted by Julia Steele

Waimanu Valley, Hawaiʻi island.
Credit Photo credit: Nate Yuen.

The 13-week “Aloha ʻĀina” series explores the roots and historical endurance of the values of aloha ʻāina, commonly translated as “love of the land.” The 65 episodes ask, what does it really mean to engage, to connect, to develop an intimate kinship with the environments and ancestral knowledge that have nourished and sustained these islands for centuries?

Commentary is provided by noted Hawaiian scholars and leaders, such as PuananiBurgess, Sam ʻOhu Gon, Davianna McGregor, Jonathan Osorio, and Walter Ritte. Through these voices and many others, the series invites listeners to deepen their understanding of aloha ‘āina and hopes to inspire them to incorporate these values into their everyday lives.

The 90-second Aloha ʻĀina vignettes air each weekday after Fresh Air (HPR-2) at 3:57 p.m.

The series is researched, written, and narrated by Julia Steele. Steele is currently an editor at Hawai‘i’s largest magazine, Hana Hou!, where she has written and edited numerous award-winning articles about Hawai‘i. She was the founding editor of Honolulu Weekly. She holds a BA in Pacific history and journalism from the University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa and a JD from Stanford Law School.

The theme music for the Aloha ‘Äina series is Project Kuleana’s recording of Liko Martin’s “All Hawai‘i Stand Together.” You can see and hear the song in its entirety here. Mahalo nui loa to all involved for their graciousness in allowing us to use the music for the series.

The series is a collaboration with The Kohala Center.

When Malia Akutagawa founded Sust‘āinable Moloka‘i in 2010 she was determined to create an organization that would follow the will of the island’s people. She created Moloka‘ipedia—a play on Wikipedia—to find out what that was.

“We do is all these needs assessments, asking the community what it wants, then we do projects around that. We created this twelve-point sustainability wheel of what would make our community happy and healthy. We had different areas like education, agriculture, green industry, that sort of thing.”

When Hōkūao Pellegrino was growing up in the ahupua‘a of Waikapū on Maui, he often played on an overgrown piece of family land, building clubhouses in the jungle of invasive species that crowded it. But when he became a young man—after he’d embraced ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i, studied native plants and woken up to his genealogical connection to the ‘land—he discovered that it had a powerful history: Buried deep beneath the jungle were lo‘i kalo his ‘ohana had cultivated for centuries, until the 1940s. Hōkūao decided to restore them.

Hōkūao Pellegrino is a kalo farmer on Maui in the region of Nā Wai ‘Ehā, The Four Great Waters.

“Nā Wai ‘Ehā is the poetic name for the moku, or division, that encompasses four ahupua‘a—Waikapū being the first, Wailuku being the second, Waiehu being the third, and the fourth Waihe‘e. These four streams, pre-Western contact, encompassed the largest kalo growing region in all of Hawai‘i.”

Episode 64: Aloha ‘āina with Hōkūao Pellegrino

Feb 3, 2016

When Hōkūao Pellegrino started his kalo farm on Maui in 2004, no one else around him was farming kalo. The young mahi ‘ai quickly realized he couldn’t do it by himself—to succeed he would need the support of the community. Fortunately all kinds of support did show up and today his farm is thriving. The experience has had a direct impact on the way Pellegrino thinks about aloha ‘āina.

Welcome to the sixty-fifth and final episode of Aloha ‘Āina. Over the course of this series we’ve explored Hawaiian kinship with the natural world, looking at the ideals of aloha ‘āina and a relationship with land that emphasizes reciprocity and reverence. We explored the history of the Hawaiian nation and the radical changes that have occurred since Captain James Cook sailed into Island waters. And we heard the voices of people who are working across Hawai‘i today, intent on restoring a sense of balance and honor to the human relationship with land.