The 8th annual Makahiki Kuilima took place on January 12, with about 1,500 people in attendance. The event is an annual fundraiser for the Ke Kula ‘o S.M. Kamakau school. It is part of the school’s mission of community outreach to share the Hawaiian culture.
A highlight of the event is Hawaiian sledding or he'e holua, it is the only active sledding track anywhere in the islands.
“Makahiki Kuilima gives our students, and the entire school ohana, the opportunity to hear and speak Hawaiian outside of the school setting and to practice a living culture,” said event organizer Anne Stone.
The event also includes a Kukini Kuilima 5K run for all ages. About 100 people participated in the 3-mile trail race.
We talked story with Anne about the event, which shares the amazing Hawaiian culture with the community and visitors alike.
What is Makahiki?
The makahiki season, lasting 4 months, is a time of celebration and peace honoring the Hawaiian god Lono. Hula and sport are essential elements of that celebration and both figure into Makahiki Kuilima.
What are the games played at Makahiki?
Some of the games that are a part of the season are key in maintaining physical fitness: foot races (kukini), wrestling (haka moa and others), tug of war (hukihuki), surfing (he’e nalu), the lifting of large stones (hapai pohaku). Others are more for mental sharpness and stagy like Hawaiian checkers (konane). The event is always trying to grow to incorporate as many Hawaiian games as possible and has added things like hapai pohaku and Kukini Kuilima (5k fun run) over the years.
What is the highlight of the event?
For our students, one of the highlights of the event is the school’s annual competition to create the shirt design featured each year on the back the event shirt. It’s an opportunity for them to express their creativity and their understanding of the event’s cultural significance.
For the school at large and the community, the opportunity to see and experience the sport of he’e holua (sledding) is one of the main highlights. We are so fortunate that Turtle Bay Resort was willing to work with one of our school makua (parent), Tom “Pohaku” Stone, to build the only active kahua holua (sledding track) anywhere in the islands. Once a popular sport and pastime holua sledding almost completely disappeared except in legend and chant, it is through the efforts of Pohaku and the many students that he has worked with over the years that holua is still alive today. In terms of a crowd pleaser, everyone loves the hula-off, a dance-off of hula moves.
That is so awesome! We are already excited for Makahiki Kuilima 2020! Do you have the dates yet?
No firm date yet, the first 2 weeks of January is tentatively when the event is held and coincides with the anniversary of the founding of Ke Kula ‘o S.M. Kamakau.
You added the Kukini Kuilima 5K three years ago. Any other additions you see bringing to the event in the future?
We would like to add a surfing competition and a more formalized holua sledding competition, as well as working with other school and community groups around the State that hold their own Mahakiki games to create a championship where contestants compete in numerous events across the entirety of the season.
Makahiki Kuilima is a free event and open to the public. Besides Hawaiian cultural games and activities, attendees can also enjoy food trucks and local vendors.