There is something you will see just about everyday at the Ka Papa Loʻi O Kānewai at UH Mānoa’s Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge—students, keiki to college age, pounding poi and learning about the Hawaiian culture. Recently, however, there was a first for the loʻi patch—about 30 of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa football Warriors came down as a team to experience this tradition firsthand.
“We are just learning a little bit more about Hawaiʻi and pounding some poi and it’s been a great experience out here,” said UH quarterback Sean Schroeder.
“This is my first time doing something like this since I have been in this program,” said UH defensive lineman Paipai Falemalu. “And this is my fifth year here.”
The players from the mainland said it was something they will never forget.
“You hear all about the culture but to actually see it and feel it, and actually be a part of this, it’s really a great thing,” said Schroeder.
The players are usually thinking about pounding their opponents not poi, but the volunteers said the boys were up for the challenge.
“They did fantastic for their first time,” said volunteer instructor Daniel Salsedo. “Most guys they struggle their first time but they did pretty good.”
“I haven’t pounded poi or taro since I was a little kid so it was a great experience to do this once again,” said Falemalu.
The players now have a better understanding of what it means to represent Hawaiʻi.
“Just how rich in culture Hawaiʻi is, learning little tidbits here and there, it just enriched my experiences in undertanding Hawaiʻi a little bit more,” said Schroeder.
“It’s a great experience for me, being from the islands, and especially my teammates from the mainland. They get to experience the Hawaiian culture that a lot of people really don’t get to experience,” said Falemalu.