This meeting of the minds is available as a STBA podcast as well as a community consultation video. The conversation was prompted by an announcement by Mayor Michael Victorino that the County of Maui is now developing a portion of what was formerly referred to as the Wailuku Civic Complex into the Hālau of ʻŌiwi Art, a cultural center for hula and associated ʻōiwi arts.
Last year, Amanda Joy Bowers was selected to collaborate with SMALL TOWN * BIG ART and community consultants on a work of public art that speaks to Wailuku's history, culture and sense of place. Her application to create a 100-foot mural on a temporary construction wall surrounding the Wailuku municipal parking lot was inspired by the proverb: E Noho iho I ke ōpū weuweu, mai ho’oki’eki’e (Remain among the clumps of grasses and do not elevate yourself) from Mary Kawena Pukui's ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs and Poetical Sayings. Unveiled in June 2021, the Haʻahaʻa mural was celebrated by community consultants, construction teams, Hale Hōʻikeʻike supporters and Wailuku passersby. To hear the conversations that inspired and helped shape the thoughts process of Bowers go to: smalltownbig.org/manawahine.
Months later, the Huamakahikina Declaration, a historic document on the integrity, stewardship, and protection of hula, was ratified by an international coalition of Kumu Hula and subsequently adopted by resolution by the Maui County Council. Within the declaration, the Kumu Hula outline the need for facilities to support and celebrate hula and associated arts. Upon reading the declaration, County officials reached out to Kumu Hula Hōkūlani Holt and Kumu Hula Pueo Pata, who spearheaded the discussions around the Declaration. It quickly became evident that the needs of the Kumu Hula were consistent with the thoughts and ideas that the community had identified during reWailuku outreach and planning. Thus, a decision was made to establish Hālau of ʻŌiwi Art right in the heart of Wailuku (at the corner of Church and Vineyard Streets, where the Haʻahaʻa mural is currently installed). Mayor Victorino will be proposing a planning, design and construction budget to the County Council in the fiscal year 2023 budget. When the idea was shared with the STBA collaborators, it seemed as though Mary Kawena Pukui ‘s image gracing Vineyard Street did not happen by chance.
Mary Kawena Pukui dedicated her life to perpetuating ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, nā mea Hawaiʻi, and ʻike kupuna. She helped preserve hula kahiko; translated nūpepa, mele, and oli at Bishop Museum; co-authored the 1957 Hawaiian Dictionary; recorded Kanaka Maoli oral histories throughout ka pae ʻāina; and collaborated with social workers at the Queen Liliʻuokalani Children’s Center. As you will hear in this conversation, her work is at the heart of hula and provides the foundation for Wailuku’s SMALL TOWN * BIG ART program. We continue to be in awe of the relationships that she manifests through her extraordinary legacy.
E Kupa’a Kākou: https://ekupaakakou.com/