Laiōpua 2020 board & stone carving to help ʻohana perpetuate Hawaiian culture
The nonprofit Laʻiʻōpua 2020 has announced a program for families interested in a cultural experience to hand-carve their own papa ku‘i ‘ai (board for pounding kalo) and pōhaku ku‘i‘ai (stone kalo pounder).
Kalai Papa & Pōhaku begins on Aug. 25 and includes an orientation and six half-day sessions; at its end, each ʻohana will have created a board and stone, which will last them a lifetime.
The class will be taught by Keahi Tomas, a mahiʻai kalo, educator and wood worker, who learned this concept of ʻohana building from Kumu Earl Kawaʻa.
Kawaʻa coined the phrase, “one board, one stone in every home,” and Keahi has adapted his practices and titled this Hawai‘i Island program “Kalai Papa & Pōhaku,” reflecting the creation of a poi board and stone pounder.
Tomas will be assisted by Kamuela Meheula, mahiʻai kalo and ʻāina based educator, and Kekoa Kahoʻonei, an aloha ʻāina educator and carver.
Funded by a County of Hawai‘i WaiWai grant, La‘i‘ōpua 2020 Executive Director Kawehi Inaba describes the program as bringing families together for learning and empowerment.
“It’s an opportunity for parents and children, kūpuna, aunties and uncles, brothers and sisters to share a culturally profound and meaningful experience,” she said.
The program goals also are to assist the ʻohana in “strengthening their commitment as a family and ultimately their commitment to serving their communities.”
There is no cost for the program. There is a $150 refundable deposit for each ʻohana; refund of the deposit is contingent upon 100% participation in the program by each ʻohana. Sessions will be held at Laʻiʻōpua 2020 at 74-5210 Keanalehu Dr. in Kailua-Kona and at other locations related to the program.
For more details on the program and to register, visit Laiopua.org/board&stone.