Maui torch march reaches Makena

Group finds fellowship, scary traffic

Around-island Hawaiian marchers make progress

By KEKOA ENOMOTO, Staff Writer
POSTED: February 24, 2009
Article Photos


Taro farmer Oliver Dukelow of Kahakuloa leads a group of marchers through his moku, or district, on Saturday.

MAKENA – The kaapuni, or circle-island torch march, that started at midnight Friday in Lahaina is expected to emerge in Makena by late today or early Wednesday, according to a spokeswoman of the journey known as E Ka’apuni A Ho’a Kukui Na Moku’aina.

“This cultural trek mixing urban life, traffic, vehicles, people and speeding is creating some interesting moments,” said Mahina Martin, kaapuni spokeswoman who is marching while on vacation from her position as Maui County communications director.

“So we want motorists to be careful,” said Martin, who said she had walked from Kahakuloa to Haiku.

E Ka’apuni A Ho’a Kukui Na Moku’aina is a grass-roots movement spearheaded by several West Maui groups, including the Friends of Moku’ula, the Kapu ohana of Kauaula Valley and Na Kupuna O Maui. Participants have undertaken a 193-mile torch-lit march that started and will end at Moku’ula (Malu-ulu-o-Lele Park in Lahaina), the ancient capital of the kingdom of Hawaii. The march aims to highlight Native Hawaiian issues, notably the ceded-lands case that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday.

The group is taking coastal roads and trails clockwise around island, and stopping intermittently to greet residents using Native Hawaiian protocol. Group members are paying their respects to the individuals and ohana of the island’s 12 moku, or districts. The moku include, in kaapuni order: Lahaina, Kaanapali, Wailuku, Hamakuapoko, Hamakualoa, Koolau, Hana, Kipahulu, Kaupo, Kahikinui, Honuaula and Kula.

Martin said public response was remarkable Saturday.

“In Waihee, there were hundreds out in the street, in the driveways. It was chicken skin,” she said. Kaapuni coordinator “Ke’eaumoku (Kapu) conducted protocol to the ohana representing the moku. As they passed each of the sections of Waiehu Kou homestead, people were just coming out onto their porches. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Later, “Leina’ala Kuloloio and her ohana greeted us as we got out of Maliko Gulch, and Uncle Bully Hoopai of Hana had their group out there greeting them.”

The marchers had left Hana at midday Monday, were traversing Kipahulu that afternoon and were expected to reach Kaupo on Monday night, she said.

Martin asked drivers to exercise caution.

“When motorists are zooming by, asking, ‘What’s that,’ it’s so dangerous,” she said.

Ohana members wishing to represent their respective moku in the kaapuni can call Ke’eaumoku and U’i Kapu at 250-1479. The date and site of arrival of marchers is pinpointed at Web site; click on “News,” then “Local News.”

* Kekoa Enomoto can be reached at

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