Garden of Niuhelewai to be unveiled in Kapalama

Honolulu CC is home to new lo'i

Honolulu Community College
Billie K T Lueder, (808) 845-9187
Interim Exec Asst to the Chancellor, Chancellor's Office
Posted: Oct 13, 2011

The garden is home to  20 varieties of taro.
The garden is home to 20 varieties of taro.
Ka Māla o Niuhelewai, The Garden of Niuhelewai
Ka Māla o Niuhelewai, The Garden of Niuhelewai

Honolulu Community College will celebrate Ka Māla o Niuhelewai, The Garden of Niuhelewai, on Friday with food and music to recognize the mohala (blossoming) of the māla (garden) project made possible by a $25,000 Kauhale grant from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.  


The event is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. October 14 at the garden, which is located behind the Keiki Hau'oli Children's Center on the main Dillingham campus.


In March, Honolulu Community College started building the dry stack pā pōhaku (rock enclosure) with the help of Makanani Attwood of Kaho‘olawe and Ron Johnson, two Native Hawaiian agricultural practitioners. Over the past eight months, students and staff and faculty members learned how to set rock, prepare the land, plant and care for approximately 20 varieties of kalo (taro) and kī (ti leaf).
“The māla creates awareness by connecting to student learning, while promoting sustainability through mãlama'ãina (caring for land/earth),” shares Mark Alapaki Luke, Honolulu CC Hawaiian studies instructor and project coordinator.
The historical land use of the Honolulu Community College campus is thoroughly documented in the Land Court Awards and old maps of the Kalihi-Kapãlama area. The campus area alone was home to 45 documented lo'i (taro patches), fed by Niuhelewai Stream and two springs, all of which were diverted and filled in after 1900.
During the fall semester, Summer Bridge, Hawaiian Studies, Geography, Hawaiian Language and Botany classes, along with students and employees across campus, have participated in the garden. The State of Hawai'i Taro Task Force also helped in the planting. Most recently, native plants have been planted in various areas on the campus in collaboration with other programs in effort to bring back indigenous plants to the area.
Some of the huli, or cut stems, came from Ka Papa Lo'i o Kãnewai at the University of Hawai'i Mãnoa. In the near future the huli from the Honolulu CC mãla will be shared with other O'ahu schools, including St. Louis School, King Lunalilo Elementary and Koko Head Elementary. In the spring of 2012 there will be a hands on harvest and preparation of mea'ai (food) from the mãla by the campus and surrounding community.