Waimanālo Elementary & Intermediate School

Waimānalo, O‘ahu

Our journey with this Mele Murals project with Waimānalo Elementary & Intermediate School started with a kanikapila (Hawaiian music produced in an impromptu jam session) event back in September of 2018. Our staff and the students were honored to experience the personal & live music performed by Kawika Kahiapo, Peter Moon Jr, and Gabby Pahinui Jr. Unlike listening to music from a CD or radio, the keiki were lucky to hear mo‘olelo (stories) on how the styles were developed in how they were played and background mo‘olelo on why the songs were created to express why Waimānalo is such a special place to reside.

Having worked with our team on the previous Blanche Pope Elementary Mele Murals project, Uncle Estria worked with Kawika Kahiapo and determined four portraits of great Hawaiian musicians to portray in the mural. Those four portraits were Palani Vaughan, Gabby Pahinui, Genoa Keawe, and Nickie Ahuna Hines.

The four Hawaiian musicians represented their generation that composed, promoted and professionally performed their music and Hawaiian culture. Although some people may not know Nickie Ahuna Hines, Uncle Estria and Kawika let us know that she was significant because of the many influences and great Hawaiian songs she created and people she taught. It did not matter that she was not as famous as a celebrity like the other musicians on the wall. Each musician painted on our mural has their connection toWaimānalo, whether they lived, taught, performed or has ohana (family) in Waimānalo.

Like all Mele Mural projects and before the mural was painted, a meditation session was held with the students taking them through a journey to imagine themselves as the water of Waimānalo. From the perspective of being the rainfall, to the waterfalls from gracing the Ko‘olau mountain range, to how water trails down to the ocean, the students sought how they feel about Waimānalo. From there, an interesting fact was drawn out about how only a few days out of the year that one can see all the waterfalls of the Ko‘olau mountain range, where it has to rain all night and the next morning needs to be clear. With this vision, it was decided to paint the four kūpuna musicians up in the clouds on the mural.

After our reflection session, one student saw the vision of himself looking down the mauna (mountain range) at the entire span of Waimanalo, like a iwa bird soaring down to the land. Other students drew up visions of a honu (sea turtle), a māno (shark) that was related to the mo‘olelo of Kamahouali‘i, and more visions of the special wind breeze that blows through Waimanalo. These animals and visions from the keiki were then incorporated into the layout of the mural.

The theme of “mauna to makai” (from the mountain to the oceans) was carried to the mural by portraying the Ko‘olau range on the back of the honu and the ocean scene in the body of the māno (shark).

With this special mural in Waimānalo, it shows how Hawaiian music legacy was established in Waimānalo in the past. Currently in the present, our living generation is passing it on to the keiki (youth) of Hawaii and in the future, it is the keikiʻs responsibility to pass that torch of the knowledge of music to the next generation.

The title of the mural is: “He mau makana nāu kēia na kō mākou kūpuna.” – These are gifts for you from we elders.

Mural Name

He mau makana nāu kēia na kō mākou kūpuna

Date Completed

November 2018

Schools Served

Waimānalo Elementary & Intermediate School

Lead Artists

Estria Miyashiro, Luke Pomai DeKneef, Kawika Kahiapo

Sponsors & Supporters

City & County of Honolulu Grant-In-Aid, Montana Cans, and Communities in Schools Hawaii Inc. 

We Need Your Help

Your tax deductible Annual Membership provides much needed support for arts education in Hawaiʻi.

Help purchasing much needed supplies for our wall murals.

Assist in funding cultural advisers for our youth workshops.

Help stage events surrounding our public mural unveilings.

We Need Your Help

Your tax deductible Annual Membership provides much needed support for arts education in Hawaiʻi.

Help purchasing much needed supplies for our wall murals.

Assist in funding cultural advisers for our youth workshops.

Help stage events surrounding our public mural unveilings.

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