Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy

Waimea, Hawai‘i

Our team traveled back to where our first Mele Murals project started back in 2014 in Waimea, Hawai‘i. In September 2019, a new group of students was formed to be the core hui haumāna (student leaders) from Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy (HPA).

Our staff and the core hui of HPA haumāna was lead by Kumu Ku‘ulei Keakealani on a huaka‘i (field trip hike) to Pu‘u Hoku‘ula. Kumu Ku‘ulei shared the mo‘olelo of the three significant pu‘u (hills) that oversee Waimea town. The title for the mural, “Pali Kapu o na Ali‘i o Waimea, refers to the collective name of the Waimea hills and is translated as the “Sacred Hillsides of the Ali‘i (chiefs) of Waimea.”

In ancient times, Hawaiians would go up into these mountains and ‘fish’ for manu (birds), which is called lawaia manu. It was tradition to gather feathers for the ‘ahu ‘ula (capes) and mahiole (headpieces) of their ali‘i. The birds represent patience because our Hawaiian ancestors had to wait for the birds to come as they patiently waited in the tall grass of the hills.

The central wahineʻs face in the mural represented the goddess Wao, who lives among the hills. During our meditation sessions, the haumāna (students) envisioned her face and her hair flowing into the water. Wao was known for being happy and connected to the nature around her. Waoʻs eyes peered upward to look at her husband, Makuakaumana. The haumāna learned about the mo‘olelo of Makuakaumana coming down to meet Wao and propose to her.

On the right side of the wall, another important mo‘olelo originated with Manaua, the guardian spirit, and shapeshifter. The portrait of Manaua was also painted in our first Mele Mural project at Kahilu Theater.

There was a mo‘olelo of three lawaia manu who go to Anna’s pond after fishing for birds. They asked her permission by putting a ti leaf in the water. Legend tells that if a ti leaf floats, one has permission to go into the pond. However, if the ti leaf doesn’t float, one is forbidden from entering. During meditation, the core hui haumāna envisioned big lizard eyes coming up out of the water.

The mural’s stories are now part of our visual landscape. They are alive in the hearts and minds of the students who worked so hard to complete it and will continue to perpetuate the tales of Waimea.

Big mahalo to the following community: HPA Core Hui haumāna, Kuʻulei Keakealani, Kumu Kūwalu Anakalea, Steve Perry, Keala Ching, Chadd Paishon, Malani DeAguiar, Adrienne White, Councilman Tim Richards & Amy Feeley, Maurice Messina, Melissa Samura, Patti Cook, Gens Johnson, Tim Bostock, Chip Miller, Robert McKendry, HPA Advancement Department – Hannah Candelario, Sheri Salmon, Leah Lavin, Zahaiva Knowles, Shaun Saito, HPA Marketing & Communication & Digital Cinema Class – Ari Bernstein, Patrick OʻLeary, HPA Maintenance – TJ Kalaniopio and Uncle Mike Hanano, Waimea Community Center staff – Lindsey Iyo, Jennifer Naliemaile, Hurcules Lee, Dr. Momi & Nicole Garcia at NHERC Heritage Center, Kaleolani at Kaupulehu Cultural Center, Mikala Yardley for Unveiling Event music, and the entire community of Waimea. Mahalo to all the participating schools of Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy, Waimea Elementary school, Kanu O ka ’Āina Learning Ohana, Parker School, Alo Kehau, Punana Leo ‘o Waimea, Small World Preschool, Waimea Country School, and Ke Kula ‘o ‘Ehunuikaimalino.

We give thanks to lead artists Estria Miyashiro, Luke Pomai DeKneef, Eugene “Eukarezt” Kristoff, and Kanoa Castro. As always, we mahalo our loyal staff, Tina Tagad, Angela Pastores, and Michele Tanabe. A warm mahalo goes out to Iwalani McCalla on the coordination and aloha during this entire project with Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy and the community of Waimea.

Viewer can find this mural below…

65-1260 Kawaihae Rd, Waimea, HI 96743, USA

Mural Name

Pali Kapu o na Ali‘i o Waimea” – Sacred hillsides of the ali‘i of Waimea

Date Completed

September 28th, 2019

School Served

Main school: Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy with additional schools of Waimea Elementary school, Kanu O ka ’Āina Learning Ohana, Parker School, Alo Kehau, Punana Leo ‘o Waimea, Small World Preschool, Waimea Country School and Ke Kula ‘o ‘Ehunuikaimalino

Lead Artists

Estria Miyashiro, Luke Pomai DeKneef, Eugene “Eukarezt” Kristoff, and Kanoa Castro

Cultural Practitioners, Kūpuna, Community Orgs

Ku’ulei Keakealani, Kūwalu Anakalea, Danny Akaka, Pua Lincoln, and Keala Ching

Sponsors & Supporters

The Healy Foundation, The County of Hawaiʻi, The Waimea Community Center, Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy, HPM  Building Supply, Danny Akaka, L&L Waimea, Starbucks Waimea, Tommy Bahamas, KTA Superstores, Pau Restaurant, Ippyʻs Hawaiian BBQ (Robin & Ippy), Hawaiian Style Cafe, Charlie Kanoa of Kanoa Hawaii (donated 400 ti leaves gratis for event), Maring Gacusana, HPA parents for artist meals at night, Xpress Reprographics, Akamai Art Supply, Muralshield/Sparc LA, Pro Rentals Hawaii, Sunbelt Rentals, Mikiala Yardley, Island Style Grindz, and sweets by Tropical Dreams.

Documented By

Michael Hanano videographer

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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