Hilo High School

Hilo, Hawai‘i

In October 2019, our team returned to Hawai’i island for the fourth Mele Murals project in Hilo. Through a huakaʻi (fieldtrip) to sacred and significant sites in Hilo, the haumāna learned some of the moʻolelo of Hilo. Through these stories they have been blessed with an opportunity to reflect on lessons for their own growth.

One meaning of the name Hilo is the Hilo twist or braid of ti leaves. This is the larger kiʻi (image) carrying through the entire wall. We used the Hilo twist to represent the mixing waters that come down from Mauna a Wakea and Mauna Loa.

Hilo once had three unique puʻu (hills). Puʻu Halaʻi was given by Hina to her daughter, Hina Keahi (Hina of the fire). To another daughter, Hina Kuluʻua (Hina of the drippy rain) was given Puʻu Honu. During a time of famine, Hina Keahi sacrificed herself in an imu (pit oven) to feed her people. In jealousy Hina Kuluʻua copied her sister. Forgetting that her element was ʻua (rain) and not fire, she instead perished in the imu, and her people starved. Puʻu ʻŌpeʻapeʻa (bat) is currently being deforested for new developments and Puʻu Honu was sacrificed to become the break wall in Hilo Bay. Coincidentally (we do not really believe in that word) that wall now represents the protection and resiliency of Hilo to overcome tragedy such as the tsunamis of 1946 and 1960.

Hina came to live in the cave behind Waiʻānuenue (Rainbow Falls) in the Wailuku river. This river was the home of the great moʻo (lizard shapeshifter), Moʻo Kuna. Due to her incessant loud pounding of kapa cloth, the moʻo tried to flood her out of her home. Hina called her son, Maui for help, which resulted in a long battle between Maui and Moʻo Kuna.  In the end the moʻo was slain.

Both of these stories allow us to pause to consider the power of forgiveness as a healing act. Mihi (forgiveness) is a necessary act of compassion and courage that allows us to be stronger and move forward in kapu aloha. there are other lessons such as loyalty, sacrifice, selflessness, and working together to mālama this place.

Their actions caused a great deal of pain for all but had they stopped to listen to each other’s differences, the endings could have been peaceful. Hilo is known for its strength and resilience: through all the hardships and struggles the people of HIlo find a way to rebuild. Life is a never-ending cycle and if we remember to kokua each other and let forgiveness reign in our hearts, nothing is lost only lifted up.

A big mahalo goes out to the staff, parents, and haumāna of Hilo High School, Principal Robert Dircks, Freshmen 9th grade Core Hui – class of 2023, the School of Design Innovation Grant, Hālau ‘Ōhi‘a Cultural Advisors, Cheyenne Hiapo & Emily Leucht, Kumu Moses Kao‘okele Crabbe, Desiree Moana Cruz, Kumuola Marine Science Education Center, Vice Principal Jason Trimble, Erin Williams, Kumu Kristen Aiona, and Heidi Pana. Mahalo to our lead artists, Uncle Estria Miyashiro, Luke Pomai DeKneef, Eugene “Eukarezt” Kristoff, Mike Bam Tyau, Dan Madsen of Oasis Skateshop, Leandra Keuma, and support painters Leila Dudley, Rachel Short, Nicola Reaves-Pila, Kailyn Kealoha, and Pekelo Richmond. Mahalo to Easten Tanimoto for the documentation. Lastly, a mahalo to the support of our staff, Tina Tagad, Michele Tanabe, and our new Mele Murals coordinator, Angela Pastores, for all their support!

Mele:

“Noho Ana i Hilo”

Noho ana i Hilo, ka ‘āina Kawaūō Kulukulua,
ʻO Hilo, ‘āina hoʻolūlū lehua, nā lehua makanoe ō uka.
Hao mai ka ua kilihune ō ka nahele
Pū ʻia me ka ʻala ō ka maile ō Panaʻewa e.
Kunou mai nā wai moʻo ō Wailuku, he lua luku e nā Kānaka.
I Kaipalaoa e ‘ūwa ana i Haili ka leo mūkīkī ō nā manu.
Hoʻolono ai Waiōlama me Kawailepo;
I hoʻokahi me Wailoa a pae i ke Kula ō Hanakahi.
Akahi ka manaʻo ā ke aloha i noho ai i Mokuola.
I ola e nā kini e.

“Living In Hilo”
Living in Hilo, the damp land of Kulukulua,
Hilo, land of lehua showers, the lehua makanoe of the uplands.
Forcefully strikes the wind-blown rain of the forests
Together with the scent of the maile of Panaʻewa.
The moʻo waters of Wailuku beckon, watery grave of slaughtered men.
At Kaipalaoa all the way to Haili, the chirping sipping sounds of the birds.
Wailolama and Kawailepo streams comply,
Merge with Wailoa and wash the open lands of Hanakahi.
At last, thoughts of shared love dwell at Mokuola.
May the people be granted long life.

– na Edith Kanaka‘ole

English translation by Kalani Meinecke

 

Viewer can find this mural below…

556 Waianuenue Avenue, Hilo, HI 96720, USA

Mural Name

“Noho Ana i Hilo​” – Living in Hilo

Date Completed

November 4th, 2019

School Served

Hilo High School

Lead Artists

Cultural Practitioners, Kūpuna, Community Orgs

Hālau ‘Ōhi‘a Cultural Advisors, Cheyenne Hiopo & Emily Leucht, Kumu Moses Kao‘okele Crabbe, Desiree Moana Cruz, and Kumuola Marine Science Education Center

Sponsors & Supporters

School of Design Innovation Grant

Documented By

Easten Tanimoto @TanimotoFoto

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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