By Wendy Osher
The 6th Annual Hāna Limu Festival takes place this Friday and Saturday, Nov. 21 and 22, in East Maui.
The festival is organized by the non-profit group, Nā Mamo O Mū‘olea, to provide a deeper understanding of native limu (seaweed), and to become mindful of the roles the public plays in ensuring ocean resources are available for future generations.
Event organizers say the event last year drew between 500 and 600 people. This year, the event will focus on the theme, “Makai to Mauka” or ocean to mountain and will include cooking demonstrations, ʻopihi monitoring, limu identification, and educational booths.
Organizers say native limu is important, not only as a nutritious part of the traditional Hawaiian diet, but for its vital importance to the health of the ocean, providing food and shelter for native reef fish and other marine life.
The festival starts with a talk story session, E Wala‘au Kākou, on Friday, Nov. 21, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Helene Hall at Hāna Bay Beach Park. Discussion includes participation from kūpuna, community leaders, cultural practitioners and limu experts.
Speakers will discuss how our oceans and fresh water – and the health of limu, fish, plants, culture and more – are inherently connected. Speakers will include: Kumu Kau‘i Kanaka‘ole, Hālau O Nakaulakuhikuhi; Henry Chang Wo, Jr., ʻEwa Beach Limu Project; Skippy Hau, Aquatic Biologist, DLNR; Wally Ito, ʻEwa Beach Limu Project; Bill Thomas, Director of NOAA’s Pacific Island Fisheries Services Center; Celia Smith, UH Mānoa Department of Botany; and Sol Kahoʻohalahala, with Ahupuaʻa O Maunalei.
The festival continues from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Stuarday, Nov. 22, at Kapueokahi (Hāna Bay) with hands-on youth actiivties, entertainment, and demonstrations.
The list of activities on Saturday includes:
- Hula from Hālau O Nakaulakuhikuhi, under the direction of Kauʻi Kanakaʻole, granddaughter of Aunty Edith Kekuhikuhi Kanakaʻole and grandniece of Uncle Nakaula;
- Live music by Kaniala Masoe;
- Limu identification and touch tank;
- Cooking demonstrations with native limu by Chef Barry Villiarimo of Barefoot Café;
- Food booths;
- Silent auction;
- T-shirt sales with art by Hank Eharis, Board President of Nā Mamo O Mūʻolea;
- Talk story with kūpuna and limu experts;
- Craft booths with Hāna-made items; and
- Keiki games, art projects and interactive science activities.
The mission of Nā Mamo O Mūʻolea is to “perpetuate traditional management of the Mūʻolea ahupuaʻa, and to restore and maintain Mūʻolea’s natural, cultural, scenic, historic and marine resources for the benefit, education and enjoyment of our community and future generations.”