A group of people in a taro garden

The public is invited to get muddy in the loʻi at Ka Papa Loʻi o Kānewai. (Photo courtesy Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge)

Students and families are invited to participate in hands-on learning about the traditional and modern cultural practices of taro farming and enjoy award-winning music and hula as part of an open house event hosted by the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa on Saturday, November 3, 2–6 p.m.

The Family Fun Day is part of a series of family days and concerts to raise awareness and gain support for the school’s Ka Papa Loʻi o Kānewai cultural garden.

The event is free to the public, though donations are welcome. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. Parking is available in the structure next to Hawaiian Studies ($5/day) and along Dole Street. No alcohol or smoking is allowed.

Participants should expect to get muddy if helping inside the loʻi kalo.

“We want people to come learn all about kalo, how to make poi, and how they can grow kalo in their own yards. We’ll do tours of the loʻi and we’ll have food and drinks available for sale,” says Kānewai Director E. Makahiapo Cashman.

Plans in place to enhance garden

Donations will go entirely towards improving the site. Critical repairs and improvements are needed at Kānewai, and there are plans for the construction of a modest learning center.

“We currently host over 30,000 students every year,” says Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge Dean Maenette Benham. “A learning resource center will serve more Mānoa students, learners from preschool through high school, and families.”

The overhaul of Kānewai will cost about $1.3 million, with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development contributing $670,000 in grant funding.

“We have the HUD commitment, the plans, the clearances, and the vision,” says Benham. “All we need is the remaining $630,000.”