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VIDEO: ‘Awa for the Soul with Kapono’ai Molitau

By Wendy Osher

The bitter ‘awa root is often seen in ceremonial protocol throughout the Pacific, but is used in social settings as well.  Cultural practitioner Kapono’ai Molitau, who also sells the product at his Native Intelligence store in old Wailuku Town explains the different levels and protocols associated with the drinking of ‘awa.

“The social drinking of ‘awa is called ‘awa maika’i or ‘awa noa and does not have any ceremonies attached to it,” said Molitau.

Moliatu, who hosted an ‘awa bar at the annual Celebration of the Arts festival held over Easter weekend at the Ritz Carlton in Kapalua said, “There are other ceremonies, such as the one conducted at the opening of this year’s Celebration of the Arts event… that solely dedicate the kaloa (platter) to that of Kane.”

“Being gracious hosts, to be able to share the life giving water of Kane to all of their guests that have come and participated in the Celebration of the Arts, I think says a lot in regards to the duality concept of what the mana’o (thought) of wailua is—not only acknowledging your physical presence, but also your acknowledging your spiritual one,” said Molitau.

“And to be able to enhance it with pule (prayer), the mindset is that you create that mana (power) for that ‘awa—that wai ola a Kane—to create life for another.  It’s always nice to be able to say a pule for your guests for a well welcomed stay, but also for your own ‘ohana (family).  They are not only recognizing you as a person, but you and your family that have come before you.  So that ‘awa kaloa, that ‘awa wai a ola a Kane is not only dedicated to you physically, but to all of those members of your family that have come before you,” said Molitau.

“We acknowledge that on the concept of ‘awa maika’i as well, understanding that we all need the time to relax from a hard day’s work and ‘awa helps us do that, and also helps us gain a fair understanding of what are perspectives are right now.”

*** If you enjoyed this post, you may also like our story on the significance of the name Kaimiloa used for the Maui Fire Department.

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