Tuesday, January 18, 2011



January 17 has a special meaning in Hawai`i well beyond today's celebration of Martin Luther King Day: It's the 118th anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy by a "provisional government," led by businessmen descended from American missionaries and supported by the presence of US Marines.

Whether or not independence-minded groups camp out on the grounds of `Iolani Palace in Honolulu today, as they have before, the late 19th century power grab will be on the minds of many.

As with any nation, the Native Hawaiian people do not speak with one voice politically, so "independence" (and "sovereignty," for that matter) mean different things to different people.

But, from my humble perspective, Native Hawaiians do come exceptionally close to unity in revering their royal dynasties. And it's good for visitors to remember 118 years is a few blinks ago in the chronology of Hawaiian cultural consciousness.

With that in mind, I'd like to acknowledge the past while taking inspiration from the present. On the gates of `Iolani Palace today are painted bronze plaques bearing the royal coat of arms, which were said to have been removed by the new regime in 1893, and like most of the palace furnishings, were sold at public auction.

But 90 years later, they were found, extensively restored and replaced on the four gates, each of which bears the name of a member of Hawaiian royalty.

The gate used for ceremonial occasions is called Kauikeaouli, after the man who became King Kamehameha III. It was he who. after the British government rejected a takeover of Hawai`i by one of its naval officers, coined the motto on the plaques: Ua mau ke ea o ka`āina i ka pono (as it's written today) -- "the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness."

I wonder, what would Dr. King say is the pono, or righteous, response to today's sovereignty movement(s)? I honestly don't know, but I'm glad this palace and these plaques are there to prompt us to think about it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Healing Garden-A Cultural Wellness Center

Iwalani E. R. Wahinekapu Walsh Tseu Kumu Hula of `Iwalani's School of Dance and creator of the `Iwalani Breast Cancer Foundation celebrated the 34th Anniversary Ho`ike of `Iwalani's School of Dance and Dedication of the newly formed Prayer and Healing Garden at Honouliuli, Ewa, along with Kumu Hula Aloha Keko'olani Simmons of Makakilo, Kapolei. Both Kumu Hula are welcoming all to acquire solace in the prayer and healing garden. They are teaching health and wellness through Hawaiian arts and cultural healing through music, song, and dance. Their belief that hula is healthy and hula is healing is a legacy that they pass on to their students daily.

Their long-standing sisterhood of 25 years is the basis for their emergence together and joining forces for this worthy cause. Kumu Hula `Iwalani is a cultural specialist teaching the fine art of hula and dedicating her time and hard work to educating the women of Hawai`i about breast cancer. She is a single mother and a two-time cancer survivor reaching out to others afflicted with this terrible disease that "knows no boundaries." Statistics provide evidence that breast cancer is highest amongst Hawaiian and Filipino women in Hawai`i. Her foundation is committed to increasing the quality of life for those in Hawai`i and for the rest of the world by raising breast cancer awareness. Representative Sharon Har of Kapolei recently awarded and acknowledged Kumu Hula `Iwalani Walsh Tseu at the Capitol of the State of Hawai`i for her outstanding achievements with her educational resources through community outreach to "Malama E Ke Kino," take care of the body and nurture the soul.

Kumu Hula Aloha is a cultural practitioner and instructor of Hawaiian-Pacific Island studies who shares her understanding via workshops, classes, blessing ceremonies, and guest speaking services. Her school of learning is entitled, "Ka Hale ‘o Na Ali'i ‘o Ke Kapu Ahi - The Keepers of the Sacred Fire." She instructs her classes with the constructive values, principles, and ethics which stem from Ka'u and Waipi'o Valley on the island of Hawaii. In 1998, she produced the first Hawaiian language and hula instructional hula video entitled, "Na Mea Hula Hawai'i," which was mentored under the care of Kumu John Keola Lake. Many loving na kupuna (Hawaiian ancestors) and na kumu (elders and teachers) from the entire Hawaiian Islands have shared their knowledge with her. She earned her B.A. In Hawaiian Art in 1997 and M.A. In Pacific Island Studies in 2004 at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. Her graduate research, "Na'au Poi: Spiritual Food for Cultural Enlightenment," examined na'au, an ancient Hawaiian conceptualization of the unification of body, mind, and spirit that serves as one's gut instinct.

Na'au Poi shares effective tools and skills to promote life, health, and prosperity among Hawaiians and other peoples. Kumu Aloha has held academic positions at various public and private institutions in Hawai'i teaching grades kindergarten through twelve, including Kapolei High School, and the UH Community Colleges.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Manu Samoa....National Rugby Union

Union Samoa Rugby Union

Nickname(s) Manu Samoa

Emblem(s) the Southern Cross 

First international

Western Samoa 0 - 6 Fiji

(18 August 1924)

Largest win

Samoa 115 - 7 Papua New Guinea

(11 July 2009)

Worst defeat

New Zealand 101 - 14 Samoa

(3 September 2008)

World Cup

Appearances 4 (First in 1991)

Best result Quarter Finals, 1991, 1995

The Samoa national rugby union team is the representative side of Samoa in international rugby union. In Samoa, they are often called Manu Samoa, in honour of a famous Samoan warrior, and from 1924 to 1997 competed as Western Samoa. They perform a traditional Samoan challenge called the siva tau before each game. They were formerly members of the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance (PIRA) along with Fiji and Tonga.[2] They are ranked 12th in the world. They have recently been bankrolled by millionaire Sir Michael Fay, one of New Zealand's wealthiest men.

Rugby was introduced to Samoa in the early 1920s and a governing body was soon formed. The first international was played as Western Samoa against Fiji in August 1924. Along with Tonga, these nations would meet regularly and eventually contest competitions such as the Pacific Tri-Nations - with Western Samoa winning the first of these. Samoa have been to every Rugby World Cup since the 1991 tournament. That tournament, along with the 1995 competition saw them make the quarterfinals.

Under their new coach, the All Blacks legend Michael Jones (himself of Samoan descent and a Samoan international), Samoa worked hard to create a side able to compete effectively in the 2007 Rugby World Cup, where they were grouped with England, South Africa, Tonga and the USA. However, Samoa had a dismal World Cup campaign, defeating only the USA and finishing fourth in their group, which forced them to go through qualifying for the 2011 World Cup. The team however comfortably qualified with 188-19 aggregate win over Papua New Guinea. Jones resigned immediately after the World Cup; in January 2008, Niko Palamo, formerly the country's under-19 and sevens coach, was named as his replacement. He would later be replaced by former sevens coach Titimaea "Dicky" Tafua in 2009. [3]

Manu Samoa play in blue and white uniforms. They do not train on Sundays because many of the team are devout Christians.